A hike in the Alps Dolomites Italy
We just returned from an INCREDIBLE hiking experience in the Dolomiti, the Northeastern Alps of Italy.
Alps and Beyond, provided a customized trip and guided us to see the best the Dolomites have to offer! Here’s a description from Alps & Beyond, along with several photos highlighting our experience….
The Italian Dolomites are truly a hiker’s paradise. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, the Dolomites include 18 peaks which rise to above 9,000 feet. It is one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs, and deep long valleys. Thousands of trails wind their way between pinnacles of these jagged mountains, which magically turn from pale grey to gold and pink at sunset.
Here’s our day to day hiking itinerary:
Day 1 & 2: From Cortina d’Ampezzo to Tre Cime di Lavaredo
We were accompanied by Valerio, a local English-speaking guide who enriched our experience by sharing the local history, traditions, culture and anecdotes of the area. If we didn’t have Valerio, we would have been doing alot of this – pointing in opposite directions!
Our week in the Dolomites started in the famous town of Cortina d’Ampezzo. After a relaxing arrival into this Italian Alpine village, we settled into a cozy and comfortable small inn, Hotel da Beppe Sello and enjoyed the local homemade pasta in their restaurant known as the “giant ravioli”. The following morning, we left Cortina and transferred to our trailhead and hiked the loop around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo pillars, and even did a mini-ferrata scaling down Monte Paterno.
Along the way, we had clear vistas of the Cadini mountain group to the south, with its spectacular rock spires and formations. The Sesto group bisects the border between the south Tyrol area and the Veneto region which our guide told us was the frontier between Hapsburg Austria and Italy until 1918. The First World War took place throughout this mountain range and we saw trench systems carved into the rough Dolomite rock, defensive barricades of stones, and barbed wire lining the front lines. The Tre Cime pillar formations are separated by erosion along ancient fault lines dating back to the era when the rock was underground and submerged by water.
Day 3: Hike from Tofane di Rozes to Rifugio Lagazuoi
We transferred to the trailhead for the Day 3 hike through the Tofane di Rozes mountains. We hiked under impressive rockwalls, and watched rock climbers ascending thousands of feet up steep verticals, and met other hikers along the way. After hiking for several hours, we reached the Lagazuoi Rifugio (rifugio = mountain hut), to spend the night. Lagazuoi is one of the highest rifugios in the Dolomites and is primely situated at 9,000 ft. with expansive 360 degree views of the Dolomites. We took off our boots, sat on the terrace to watch an amazing sunset, while sipping on a well-deserved drink after our days hike in the Alps.
Day 4: Hike from Lagazuoi Mountain through Valle Badia to Corvara
We woke up early and watched the sunrise, then headed down the mountain. But first our Guide Valerio made sure we were well-equipped with helmuts, carribeaners and were attached by rope before descending through the famous WWI tunnels. After our descent to Passo Falzarego, we hiked under the Settsass mountain towards the Pralongia high plateau. From the plateau, we had a splendid view of the Badia Valley as we hiked down to Corvara. The Badia Valley is one of the few Ladin speaking valleys of the Dolomites crowned by Sassongher and Sella massifs. After a full day of hiking, we fell into a deep slumber at the comfortable Hotel Table, and rested up for a last couple days in the Dolomites.
Day 5 & 6: Hike from Corvara to Rifugios and Ferrata in Southern Dolomiti
Our itinerary was changed to avoid stormy weather, so Valerio found some hikes in the Southern Dolomiti area. Instead of hiking the Sella Massif and its pyramidal peak at 9,000 + ft., Piz Boe, and taking the “via ferrata” route at Piz da Lec, we challenged ourselves with another ferrata option near the Marmolada area.
Our skilled and licensed guides trained us on how to use the cables, chains, climb the metal ladders and use a harness and other special devices for our climbing experience. When we reached the peak, we hiked closeby to a tiny mountain hut, and celebrated our summit with a panoramic view to the North. Just when we thought we had reached our physical limits, our guides encouraged us to try the rapelling technique and we decided to go for it and scaled down the last 200 feet to the base of the mountain.