The Best Hikes In The Dolomites

There are many amazing hikes in the Dolomites, and a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to walk them all. Part of the Alps and scattered across the North East of Italy in the regions of Trentino – Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Dolomites are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.

This is one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the world, with 18 peaks which rise over 3000 meters. Needless to say, it is a real paradise for nature and adventure lovers, home to some of the best hikes in Europe, as well as plenty of opportunities for rock climbing and via ferrata. Hiking in the Dolomites is always a very rewarding experience, whether on a long or short distance walk.

I have hiked the Dolomites of Trentino – especially, but not only, in the Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa. So I thought I’d share the best hikes in the area, and I have asked some blogger friends to introduce you to their favorite hikes. Continue reading for a selection of incredible hikes, and for some final tips to make the most of your trip to the Dolomites.

The Most Rewarding Hikes In The Dolomites

Corno Bianco Hike, Val di Fiemme

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Total walking distance: 4.9 kilometers, 3 miles
Time: 3 hours
Starting Point: Passo Oclini

The area of Corno Bianco, in Val di Fiemme (a valley spread across Trentino and Alto Adige) has some of the nicest hikes in the Dolomites. The area is easily accessible, with trails that all go to the peak, some of them loop trails and others there and back. I followed trail K to begin with, and then took a turn to trail W.

The peak of Corno Bianco is at 2,317 meters (7,602 feet) above sea level, and the main access point is Passo Oclini, at 1,989 meters (6,532 feet) above sea level. The trail starts right behind the hotel and restaurant located at the end of the parking lot. It definitely isn’t the biggest ascent one can come across when hiking in the Dolomites, but the first part of the trail, which goes through beautiful pastures, is quite steep.

Once you go past that, you will walk through a more arid landscape of rock and gravel and have to climb over some boulders. Once you get to the top, you get views of the Bletterback Canyon.

There’s no water fountain along the trail, so make sure to bring enough water for the duration of the hike.

Alta Via Dei Monzoni

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Total walking distance: 13 kilometers, 8 miles
Time: 5 hours
Starting Point: Seggiovia Costabella, Passo San Pellegrino

The Alta Via Dei Monzoni trail doesn’t just offer stunning mountain views, but also an opportunity to learn more about World War I (WWI), as lots of trenches of both the Austrian and Italian army are scattered here.

The main access point to the trail is the parking lot right outside Seggiovia Costabella (Costabella Skilift), in Passo San Pellegrino. From there, you can hop on the ski-lift to the initial point of the trail, at around 1,918 meters (6,292 feet) above sea level – doing this saves around 1 hour time off the overall hike.

Many hikes in the Dolomites are located in the same areas where it’s possibly to ski during the winter, so it is not uncommon to catch the ski-lift to the starting point.

The trail follows beautiful pastures of Campagnacia, and slowly ascends all the way to the Rifugio Passo delle Selle, at 2,528 meters (8,294 feet) above sea level. The view from there is splendid: on a clear day you can see the Cimon del Bocche massif, Lagorai, Latemar, Catinaccio and Pale di San Martino peaks.

After reaching the Rifugio Passo delle Selle, the trail becomes very narrow, following the first Austrian line: this is where the Austrian army had built its trenches during WWI. You can see sniper stations, cannon stations and artillery tunnels.

The trail goes on to Ponta de Recoleta, and from there it starts descending to Fango. Instead of following the official trail, it is also possible to go to Colifon, where there are the Italian trenches, and once again walk through the pastures to either go back to the ski-lift or to the Rifugio Paradiso.

There are at least 6 more historical trails that can be followed in the same area and that are all maintained by a group of volunteers called Sul Fronte Dei Rircordi. No water fountains can be found along the trail, but the Rifugio Passo delle Selle sells water, food and many other things – make sure to take enough for at least the first part of the hike, though.

One of the perks of this hike is seeing the Alpine Start, a flower that only grows in this region and that is highly protected.

Val San Nicolò Hike, Val di Fassa

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Total walking distance: 13 kilometers, 8 miles
Time: 5 hours
Starting Point: Sauch, Val San Nicolò

Val San Nicolò is located in the middle Val di Fassa, not far from a small village called Pozza di Fassa. It’s an incredibly scenic place! The main access point is the parking lot in the village (well, hardly more than a few houses) in Sauch, which is at 1,700 meters (5,577 feet) above sea level. That’s where the tar road ends and the dirt road starts, getting deeper into the forest and then into the valley, where there are many trails.

The trail I followed goes along the main road and the river, to reach some small yet pretty waterfalls. It isn’t a hard trek – in fact, this is one of the easiest Dolomites hiking trails.

Val San Nicolò gets crowded as the day goes along – it’s a popular destination for local families with younger children as the hikes are very easy. There is a coffee shop and restaurant at the very beginning of the trail, but nothing else for a while, so make sure to carry enough water for the hike.

Passo Rolle to Baita Segantini Hike

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Total walking distance: 6 kilometers, 3.7 miles
Time: 2 hours
Starting Point: Passo Rolle

The hike that goes from Passo Rolle to Baita Segantini will reward you with incredible views. Passo Rolle is a high mountain pass at almost 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level in Val Venegia and which connects Fiemme and Primiero Valley. The area is packed with hiking trails and there even are some via ferrata and climbing opportunities.

The hike from Passo Rolle to Baita Segantini starts rom the parking lot of Passo Rolle – you can follow one of two trails. One is very easy and it basically is a dirt road that was once used by mules. The other is slightly more difficult, though the trail remains between easy and moderate, and cuts through the field.

Once you get to Baita Segantini, where you will find a small lagoon, you will finally see the Cimon della Pala, one of the most beautiful peaks of the Dolomites. From there you can either head back or continue hiking – there’s a trail that will take you to Val Venagia. The “Trekking of Cristo Pensante” (Hike of Thinking Christ) is thought to be one of the best in the region, leading all the way to Mount Castelaz.

Wear appropriate gear for this hike as the terrain can be very muddy after heavy rains. Depending on the season, you will still find some snow along the trail – that was the case for me, when I hiked at the beginning of June. You won’t really need to pack lunch for this hike as you will be able to get a proper local meal at Baita Segantini – however, make sure to check it is open before you go.

Pale di San Martino
Taking in the view of Pale di San Martino

Lago di Calaita to San Martino al Lago hike

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Total walking distance: 10 kilometers, 6.2 miles
Time: 5 hours
Starting Point: Lago di Calaita, but you can also start in San Martino

The trail that goes from the scenic Lago di Calaita, located at 1,621 meters (5,318 feet) above sea level, to San Martino al Lago is by far one of the best hikes in the Dolomites. To be fair, the lake itself is pretty but nothing special, but the views along the hike are incredible. The trail starts right by the lake and follows a thick, scenic forest. Once you get to an opening in the forest, you will spot the Pale di San Martino, among the most famous peaks of the Dolomites.

You have to follow trail n. 350, which is very well marked. Make sure to wear proper hiking boots, as there are some parts where the trail may be muddy or uneven. Bring water for the hike, as well as food. If you are in the mood for something very very easy, you can opt to just walk around the lake for better views of the Pale di San Martino. If you, on the other hand, want something a bit more challenging, you can also pick other trails such as the one to Cima Folga or that to Pisorno Lake.

Path of the Larches

Path of the Larches

Submitted by Victoria of Guide your Travel

Level of Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Total walking distance: 5.8 kilometers, 3.6 miles
Time: 2 hours
Starting Point: San Cassiano village centre.

Located in the heart of the Dolomites, the Path of the Larches is the perfect winter hike for those who love the great outdoors and all types of adventure. The trail is very scenic especially when the landscape is covered in snow. Pack your camera because this is the perfect spot to take photos.

The hike is fairly easy to manage and suitable for beginners. While this hike is most impressive in winter it’s definitely far easier to manage in the summer when there is no snow. Most of the hike leads through dense forests so it’s definitely a sight worth seeing. You might even be so lucky to spot some birds or other native wild life.

Hiking in the Dolomites
Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Lake Sorapis

Submitted by Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Total walking distance: 14 kilometers, 8.7 miles
Time: 4 hours
Starting Point: Passo Tre Croci

Lake Sorapis is one of those breath-taking lakes the Dolomites is known for. Except this one is slightly different – you see, getting to Lake Sorapis requires a bit of a hike. The hike is 14 km (to and back) and is quite frankly one of the most rewarding hikes in the Dolomites.

This hike is suitable for most fitness levels and should take around 4 hours to and back. The path is well marked across the full length. Both the beginning and end of the hike require a little bit of a climb. Don’t worry though as the rest of the hike is a tranquil walk along the ridge of the mountain.

If you are suffering from vertigo this hike is perhaps not an option for you as there are quite a few narrow paths and stairs which offer sweeping views over the mountains but require you to hug the mountain wall rather close and to not think about the large open space right beneath your feet where you are – in fact – hanging.

Make sure to wear solid footwear as some parts require you to clamber over rocks. A rain jacket, water bottle and a healthy sense of adventure can also be useful to pack in your daypack.

Getting to Lake Sorapis is easy: you can go both by car and by bus. If you choose to travel by car, tap Passo Tre Croci in your GPS. There is ample parking on the road about 100 meters before the trailhead. The bus stop is also called Passo Tre Croci, the number 30 bus from Cortina will get you right by the trailhead.

hikes in the Dolomites
Summer months are perfect for hiking in the Dolomites – that’s the best time to spot Alpine Stars

Practical Information For Hiking In The Dolomites

The best time for hiking in the Dolomites

Summer is the best time to fully enjoy all the hikes in the Dolomites. The days are nice and long, and the weather pleasantly warm – the altitude keeps the temperatures down. It does rain quite regularly; but rain typically comes at night and only lasts an hour or so.

Here are more reasons to visit Trentino in the summer.

The nicest villages to access the hikes in the Dolomites

The main city in Trentino is Trento; yet the best access points to the hikes in the Dolomites of Trentino are the villages scattered around Val di Fiemme, Val di Fassa and Primiero Valley.

Cavalese, in Val di Fiemme was founded in the 11th century, and nowadays is a major tourist destination as it is really well connected to all the ski slopes and it provides easy access to hiking trails. The village is itself a nice place to visit, with an interesting museum and art gallery with permanent and temporary exhibits; and there are plenty of good hotels, restaurants and bars.

Moena, in Val di Fassa, is a pleasant place to spend a few days, with tiny cobbled streets, a beautiful old quarter, charming bridges and plenty of good accommodation options and restaurants.

Fiera di Primiero is a gorgeous small village in Primiero Valley, near the more famous San Martino di Castrozza. It’s an incredibly scenic place, surrounded as it is by the montains, and from there you can easily reach Mezzano di Primiero, also known as Mezzano Romantica – one of the prettiest villages in Italy. It’s a great access point for more hikes in the region.

Where to stay when hiking in the Dolomites

There’s a good choice of accommodation options for those hiking in the Dolomites. The best hotels are in the region of Trentino. Here is a selection:

Nearest Airports

There’s no airport in Trentino. The best option is to fly to Verona (lots of budget airlines fly there) and either rent a car or take a bus to one of the villages of Trentino. It’s around 180 km (112 miles) from Verona airport to Moena, which takes about 2 hours depending on traffic; and 155 km (96.3 miles) to Cavalese, taking around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Alternatively, you can fly to Bergamo (there’s plenty of budget airlines going there) or Venezia Marco Polo, which is well connected internationally.

hiking in the Dolomites
Wearing appropriate gear is important when hiking in the Dolomites

What to pack when hiking in the Dolomites

I always recommend wearing appropriate gear when hiking, as having the right pair of shoes and pants will make a difference in the overall experience. This is even more so the case when hiking in the Dolomites, for some of the trails, despite short, can be very technical. Here are a few essential items to pack:

Other useful information

There are many more hikes in the Dolomites – some short and fun like the ones mentioned here, others long and challenging. The websites of the tourism boards of Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa provide updated information on the best trails and on many other things to do in the area.

Remember to always get a good travel insurance for your hiking trips. You can find a good one here.

What are your favorite hikes in the Dolomites?

Further Readings

If you are planning a trip to Trentino, make sure to read my other posts:

Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of Visit Trentino during my trip, and I wish to thank them for the wonderful experiences. Needless to say, the views expressed in this post are my own.

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