The Dolomites are a mountainous group that extends into north-eastern Italy and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its landscape and geological characteristics. Considered among the most beautiful mountains in the world, they include imposing peaks such as the Vajolet Towers, the Three Peaks of Lavaredo, the Cimon De La Pala, the Tofana, the Monte Pelmo or the Antelao, the Catinaccio, the Sella Group, the Brenta and the Marmolada.
Countless hiking trails allow anyone, experts or simple families with children, to discover the beauty of the Dolomite landscapes.
But what are the most beautiful excursions for lovers of walking in the Dolomites? Below we will describe some of the most evocative and exciting paths for walking in one of the most coveted scenarios by mountain hiking enthusiasts on the Dolomites, which offer unique and unforgettable sceneries and landscapes.
Ring of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo represent one of the most iconic views of the Sesto Dolomites and rise between South Tyrol and the province of Belluno: the highest of the three peaks is Cima Grande which reaches almost 3000 m.
This excursion starts from Dobbiaco, from which you can reach the Auronzo Refuge at an altitude of 2320 meters by bus: from here the path n. 101 which, in a continuous rise and fall, leads to the Lavaredo Refuge and the spectacular Forcella Lavaredo. The route continues downhill at the foot of Mount Paterno up to the crossroads that leads to Rifugio Locatelli, from which you can enjoy a unique view of the Three Peaks. At this point you can take two ways, one of which goes down to the bottom of the Rienza valley and continues up to the panoramic Forcella Col di Mezzo.
Excursion to Viel Dal Pan Refuge
One of the most beautiful panoramic excursions in the Dolomites, also suitable for less experienced people, is this route that starts from the Pordoi Pass and connects Arabba, in the heart of the Brenta Dolomites, with Val di Fassa. Once the car has been parked here, proceed on foot on a dirt path towards the church, and then take the Viel dal Pan path n. 601. This ancient path was traveled in the past by the flour traders of Belluno.
The path leads up to the Fredarola Refuge, located at 2370 meters above sea level in the shadow of the majestic Sassolungo and Mount Sella. Cross a panoramic pass to descend to the Viel Dal Pan Refuge from which you can see the Marmolada glacier and Lake Fedaia.
Excursion to Lake Coldai
The starting point of this excursion is the picturesque village of Alleghe, from which you can then reach Piani di Pezzè by car or by cable car. From here the path n. 564 which descends slightly towards the heart of this village among woods and characteristic barns: the route is easy as it is well marked both by red and white flags and by wooden signs.
You walk up to the Forcella di Alleghe and the Chalet Col dei Baldi: in this characteristic alpine-style building you can stop for refreshment while tasting typical dishes with a view of the Marmolada and Mount Pelmo.
The path continues up to Malga Pioda and the Coldai Refuge from which the view sweeps wonderfully over the entire Val di Zoldo. Through the path n. 556 you reach Lake Coldai, a lake of glacial origin in whose waters Mount Civetta is reflected.
Excursion to Vallesinella waterfalls
This excursion starts from Passo Grostè, which can be reached by bus from Madonna di Campiglio, one of the most fashionable tourist resorts in all the Dolomites. Once at the top, at 2400 meters above sea level, take path no. 316 which, winding among morainic boulders, leads directly to the Tuckett Refuge located in a glacial basin surrounded by the peaks of the Brenta Dolomites.
From the Refuge the path n. 317 which, crossing larch woods and alpine vegetation, first reaches the picturesque Casinei Refuge located in a clearing in the woods and then the Malga Vallesinella di Sopra. A steep staircase runs alongside streams to the bubbling Vallesinella waterfalls, a stone’s throw from the Vallesinella refuge. Those who are particularly fit can also reach the Middle Falls, whose water jump is visible at a very close distance.
Excursion to Cinque Torri
The Cinque Torri (Five Towers) are those rocky peaks that rise above the Falzarego Pass and are located right in front of the Tofane. The Bai De Dones Refuge, a stone’s throw from Cortina D’Ampezzo, is the starting point of this excursion: first take path no. 424 along the shores of Lake Bai De Dones and then path no. 425 which leads straight to the Cinque Torri Refuge. Personalities such as King Vittorio Emanuele III stayed in this building, built in 1904.
The next stop is the Scoiattoli Refuge on the Mout de Potor, a real viewpoint on the Tofana di Rozes and the Cinque Torri. A must-see is the open-air museum of the Great War with the clearly visible remains of the trenches and artillery posts used during the Great War.
Then continue on path n. 439 until you reach the Averau Refuge in Forcella Nuvolau at 2413 meters above sea level, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Marmolada and Mount Civetta.
Excursion to the Vajolet Towers
This route takes place in the heart of Val di Fassa and looks like one of the most spectacular ones: in this case the difference in height is almost non-existent, so much so that it is also accessible by younger hikers. The starting point is the Ciampede Refuge located at 1998 meters above sea level in the shadow of Mount Catinaccio. You can reach the refuge from Vigo di Fassa by cableway or by chairlift from Pera di Fassa, thus overcoming a fair difference in height in a very short time.
From the Ciampede Refuge, take the flat path no. 546 up to a basin where the Gardeccia Refuge stands: continue climbing up to the two adjacent Vajolet and Preuss refuges at an altitude of 2248 meters. From here begins the most demanding part of the route along path no. 542 clearly intended for more experienced hikers as amply indicated by the signs present: walking on particularly rocky ground, you reach the Re Alberto Refuge, on which the legendary Vajolet Towers stand out.
Pale di San Martino
Sharp spiers, superb stone cathedrals and very high towers whose peaks are lost in the sky: this is the Pale di San Martino, a magnificent Dolomite group that saw the birth of the history of mountaineering. You go up with the Colverde-Rosetta lifts and from the top station you will soon reach the Pedrotti alla Rosetta Refuge (2581 m), the crossroads of the numerous itineraries that cross the Pale plateau.
Heading south, on path no. 708-709, with various ups and downs you reach Passo Pradidali Basso (2658 m), then up to the Fradusta glacier and the lake at the base.
Throughout the crossing, numerous Dolomite groups are visible to the east such as Civetta, Antelao, Tofane, Pelmo, while the north side consists of the northern chain of the Pale, with its highest peaks: Cimon, Vezzana, the Bureloni, Focobon, Campìdo and the high valleys of Cantoni, Galline, Comele, Val Strutt and Valgrande. From here, along the path, you reach the signpost n. 707 of the Forcella del Miel and following it you return to the Rosetta Refuge
Vallelunga is located in the heart of the Puez-Odle Natural Park, a spectacular naturalistic area in particular from a geological point of view.
The route starts from Selva di Val Gardena, at the foot of the Sella Group and at the entrance to Vallelunga: you walk in the shadow of peaks such as Col Turond and Puez up to the valley floor. From this point on, the path becomes more difficult, overcoming a difference in height of 600 m until reaching Giogo Ciampac. From the pass, take path no. 2 which leads straight to the Crespina plateau and its legendary lake. From the Crespina plateau, continue past the Sella del Cir and Passo Gardena to the Jimmy Refuge and the nearby Dantercepies cable car, from which you return directly to Selva di Val Gardena.
Excursion to Val di Gares
This tour takes place in the Agordino, the Dolomite area where the most UNESCO-listed mountain ranges rise.
It starts from Gares, a small village at the foot of the Pale di San Martino reachable by car from Canale d’Agordo, the birthplace of Pope Luciani. After parking the car near the Capanna Cima Comelle Refuge, take a path in the woods until you reach Pian delle Giare.
What makes this one of the best excursions in the Dolomites is the opportunity to visit the Comelle Waterfall, in the Val di Gares. If the lower part of the falls is easily accessible even by children, the upper one can be reached via path no. 704. Continuing on this road you can also reach the spectacular Orrido delle Comelle beyond which, overcoming inaccessible rocky stretches, you reach the panoramic Pian delle Comelle.
Excursion from Lake Braies
This is one of the easiest excursions to do in the Dolomites, but also among the most scenic because it starts right at the wonderful Lake Braies, in Alta Pusteria: in its emerald waters, which can also be navigated by a wooden boat, the top of Mount Croda del Becco is reflected.
Around the lake there is a 3.6 km long path, which can also be covered by children as there is a difference in height of just 50 meters. After having traveled it, perhaps with a stop at the picturesque church that rises almost on the shores of the lake, you can deviate towards path n.1: after a stretch that runs along the lake waters, the path winds its way through fir and pine along the path n.19. This track is slightly more demanding, with lots of ups and downs and crossing a pretty wooden bridge: this leads to the Malga Foresta, which rises on a green plateau crossed by the Rio Fosco torrent, with picnic areas and wooden carousels for children.
Excursion to Mount Croce Pass
Nature and history make this excursion unforgettable: it starts from the Prati di Croda Rossa, near Moso di Sesto in Val Pusteria. Not far away there are many traces of the battles of the First and Second World War, part of the Open Air Museum of ‘Alpe Anderter: the fortifications of the Vallo Alpino, which later fell into disuse with the Cold War, are very suggestive. In this border area between Alto Adige and Veneto there was the front line where Italians and Austro-Hungarians.
The actual excursion begins along an easy path, slightly downhill, through groves of larch and fir trees, with Mount Paterno, Croda rossa di Sesto, Croda Sora i Colesei and Cima Nove in the background. You continue in the most uncontaminated nature, without any refreshment point other than the Malga Schellab at 1819 meters above sea level, up to the Mount Croce Comelico pass at 1640 meters above sea level.
The climb to the Marmolada, wherever you decide to tackle it, is an adventure for trained hikers who are also prepared to face moderate difficulties on ice. The ascent of the north-east face and the descent along the via ferrata is certainly one of the most exciting adventures that can be experienced in the Dolomites, which mixes a pleasant and not too demanding climb on ice. Then descend along the imposing west corner of the Regina to Forcella Marmolada. From here, a long path leads back to the pass.
This excursion is to be tackled only in perfect weather conditions and with complete ice equipment: ice ax, crampons, harness, rope and via ferrata equipment. Sunglasses, gloves, hat and high mountain clothing are essential. It requires a minimum of mountaineering experience. On the via ferrata, even in the height of summer, it is not uncommon to find icy stretches.