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Hiking the Alta Via Route in the Dolomites

Augustina Lagos Marmol, Dolomite Mountains
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8 day
Augustina Lagos Marmol, Dolomite Mountains
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  • Experienced thru-hikers may want to combine some of the stages of Alta Via I and II. Over 8 days, hike across Cinque Torri, across the Pelmo and Civetta areas covering the second portion of Alta Via I, then move onto Alta Via II. Admire a variety of different landscapes and geological features as you walk from the foot of the highest mountain in the Dolomites, the majestic Marmolada, to Val di Contrin and Val di Fassa.

    • Arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo (1,224m / 4,016′) on your own and check into your hotel (private transfer available on request). Cortina d’Ampezzo is a charming alpine resort town surrounded by stunning peaks. Host to the 1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina enjoys a reputation for great skiing in winter, and in the summer attracts hikers and climbers who challenge the rocky faces of the nearby mountains.

      In the afternoon you will meet with a Dolomite Mountains representative who will provide a trip briefing and orientation, as well as maps and everything necessary for your self-guided adventure. 

      Accommodation: Hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo (D)

    • Today you will explore the Lagazuoi-Cinque Torri area – of great interest for both the spectacular mountains around and the abundance of reminders of the terrible years of WWI, due to the adjacency of the former border between the long-dismantled Hapsburg Empire and Italy.  

      There are also options for several other beautiful hikes in the area, including the WWI open-air museum at Cinque Torri.

      Hiking: 3.7 km / 2.3 miles
      Elevation: 478m / 1,568′ ascent, 156m / 512’ descent
      Accommodation: Mountain hut (B, D)

    • After breakfast, from your rifugio, pass a chapel, and begin to hike uphill to the rear of grassy Col Piombin, which takes its name from past mining activity. The trail leads over the Forcella Giau (2,360m / 7,742’) with plenty of ups and downs; here the views of the Tofana and Monte Cavallo are inspiring, not to mention the mountains on display to the south: Monte Fromin, Cernera, Pelmo and the upswept flank of Monte Mondeval. Along the hike, you’ll have great views of the majestic Sorapiss, the unmistakable pyramid of Antelao and far off the Cadore Dolomites. All of a sudden the Pelmo (3,168m / 10,394′) will be incredibly close, and at this range, it’s easy to understand why it was dubbed ‘Throne of the Gods’. 

      The last part of the day leads below Pelmo’s north face, (which is 1,006m / 3,300′ straight up to the top) to your comfortable mountain Rifugio at Passo Staulanza  (1,783m / 5,850′), your home for tonight. 

      Hiking: 12.8 km / 8.0 miles
      Elevation: 380m / 1,250’ ascent, 830m / 2,720’ descent
      Accommodation: Mountain hut (B, D)

    • Departing your rifugio, you’ll hike by several farms and join a popular trail that climbs to the shoulder of Monte Coldai, anchoring one end of the famous Monte Civetta. After stopping for lunch at Lago Coldai, continue to the Col Negro di Coldai that looks over at the towering west face of Monte Civetta. This “wall of walls” extends for over 4 miles (6km)! About midway, past this wall, you climb to your rifugio, perched on a mountaintop with views to the Val Civetta, down the Alleghe Valley, and west to the Marmolada Glacier. This overnight stop is unforgettable. 

      Hiking: 10.8 km / 6,7 miles
      Elevation: 1,130m / 3,707’ ascent, 644m /2,113’ descent
      Accommodation: Mountain hut (B, D)

    • From the rifugio, descend to the Val Civetta over the Col Rean, through beautiful, open, green meadows to the narrow valley of Val Corpassa. The route takes you right below the sheer rock faces of the Torre Venezia (2,337m / 7,667′) and the Torre Trieste (2,458m / 8,064′), both rising some 600 meters (2,000′) vertically from the valley floor. You may even get to see some climbers ascending these impressive towers! Pass by the Rifugio Vazzoler (1,723m / 5,656′) and ascend steeply through a dense forest to Forcella de l’Orso and alongside Monte Moiazza’s southern flank to Rifugio Bruto Cartestiato. Continue to Rifugio San Sebastiano, following a clear white gravel lane across pasture clearings and light wood (a 40-minute hike). From Rifugio San Sebastiano you’ll have your private transfer to Malga Ciapela. Though a strenuous day over rugged terrain, this may be one of the prettiest and most varied hikes of your trip.

      Hiking: 16.9 km / 10.5 miles
      Elevation: 650 m / 2,130’ ascent, 1,270 m / 4,170‘ descent
      Accommodation: Hotel in Malga Ciapela (B, D)

    • In the morning, from Malga Ciapela hike west along the river Torrente Pettorina. The trail climbs steadily through thick forest to reach pasture clearings. After you pass and the farm Malga Ciapela Agriturismo, the uphill section begins in earnest.

      The small, uninhabited village of Franzedàz is worth a visit, which will give you a good understanding of how, in past times, life was strictly connected with pastoralism: families would move up here with their animals during summer. Leave the high pastures and hike on the gravelly terrain that leads to Forca Rossa (2,490,/8,127′): the colored geological formations here reveal Triassic sedimentations. From here begins your descent in the direction of Passo San Pellegrino, and reach your rifugio for the night. 

      Hiking: 12.8 km / 8.0 miles
      Elevation: 1,050 m / 3,450’ ascent, 700 m / 2,300‘ descent
      Accommodation: Mountain hut (B, D)

    • After breakfast depart from your rifugio past a string of photogenic hay barns and chalets into a lightly wooded area, reaching Albergo Miralago (1,920m / 6,299′). Hike to the road and Passo San Pellegrino and continue toward Passo Valles, which strikes out southeast across marshy terrain, chopped up by cows and horses that belong to the nearby farm. You quickly enter some pretty woods and climb steadily, crossing a cascading stream along the way. Continue to climb to Corda degli Zingari (2,297m / 7,536′), a broad crest on the edge of the Altopiano degli Zingari. Hike down the dirt track beneath Monte Predazzo admiring the vast slabs of the metamorphic Lagorai chain extending east to north, to Passo Valles (2,031m / 6,663′) and have a private transfer to your hotel, where you can enjoy a well-deserved dinner and night’s rest. 

      Your luggage will be waiting for you at your hotel.

      Hiking: 8.4 km / 5.2 miles
      Elevation: 630m / 2,066′ ascent, 560m / 1,837′ descent
      Accommodation: Hotel in Moena, Val di Fassa (B, D)

    • After a relaxing last breakfast, prepare for departure as you reminisce about your last five days spent hiking through one of the most special places in the world and meeting incredible people!

      • Trip briefing
      • Logistics and maps of the area
      • 1 night in a 3-star hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo
      • 4 nights in mountain huts
      • 1 night in a 3-star hotel at Malga Ciapela
      • 1 night in a 3-star hotel in Moena
      • All breakfasts
      • Dinners as per itinerary
      • Local English-speaking professional hiking guide (guided trips)
      • Transfers in the area as per itinerary
      • Duffel bag transfer to your rifugio on Days 3 and 5 – please bring the duffel bag from home
      • Luggage transfers from Alta Badia to Moena
      • Local tourist tax
      • Italian VAT tax

      Airport transfers available on request
      Luggage transfers available on request

    • What you get on this Alta Via hiking adventure:

      • Local English-speaking hiking guide
      • 7 to 8 days of hiking, depending on your chosen itinerary
      • Accommodation in hotels and mountain huts with shared dormitories 
      • All breakfasts and dinners as indicated in the itinerary
      • Group shuttle from Venice Marco Polo Airport to Cortina d’Ampezzo and back
      • Transfers in the area as indicated in the itinerary
      • Local tourist tax
      • Italian VAT tax
      • A €15 donation to Wow Nature’s reforestation projects makes your trip carbon-neutral
      • All logistics and map of the area

      What’s not included:

      • Lunches, personal drinks, coffee and snacks
      • Luggage transfers (not included in the open group trips) — clients must hike with a pack weighing roughly 15lbs. The huts have all the food and bedding (some huts may not have sleeping sheets/sleeping bag liner so it’s best to bring this)
      • Everything not indicated in the itinerary
      • Any additional expenses
      • Travel insurance
      • Guide gratuities — optional
    • The Alta Via I hiking adventure can be completed by any normal fit hiker with previous experience with multi-day hikes, who are prepared to walk for between 4 and 8 hours per day. The most important thing to take into account is the significant number of days that you will spend trekking. It will greatly help your enjoyment of the trek to arrive fit at the start, used to walks of similar distance and height gain to those that you are about to face.  There are no via ferrata sections on this tour.

      The Alta Via II hiking tour is only advisable for experienced trekkers with surefootedness, experience in the mountains, and a head for heights. It is undeniably more strenuous than the Alta Via I, remaining at higher elevations throughout (as high as 2,900m / 9,514′), and with great reward. The Alta Via II includes sharp ridges and steep slopes, which require some previous experience in the mountains.

      Keep in mind that you’ll be carrying a backpack, probably around 15 lbs. You will have to pack your own clothing, toiletries, and other personal items. No need to worry about cooked food and bedding—the huts (except a linen or sleeping bag liner which is recommended).

    • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Backpack with a load-bearing waist harness (30-50L bag)
      • Smaller duffel-bag
      • Waterproof backpack cover
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Trekking poles — optional
      • Light pillow case and silk or nylon sheets*
      • Small towel for the shower
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Head torch (for visits to the Lagazuoi area)
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

      *Sleeping sheets are often provided by the huts, but it’s always best to bring your own just in case. 

      Your guides will provide via ferrata equipment, including a helmet, harness, and lanyard with a shock absorber.

      Here’s a list of clothes you need to bring:

      The summer months have warm temperatures and plenty of sun. While temperatures may reach 25°C (80°F) on the valley floors during the day, evenings can be as cool as 10°C (50°F). As you gain elevation, it will get colder. For every 1,000m you climb, the temperature will drop for 6.5°C (3.6°F for every 1,000 feet). What may be a 27°C (80°F) day in Alta Badia could be 15°C (60°F) on one of the summits during the day, and 0°C (30s°F) in the evening. 

      • Long hiking pants
      • Thermal layers (long-sleeved top and long pants for the cold nights)
      • Light shorts for warmer days or for lounging in the rifugio
      • Lightweight down jacket
      • Lightweight Gore-Tex, or equivalent, rain/wind parka and pant
      • Lightweight T-shirts
      • Lightweight hiking socks, liner socks, and athletic socks
      • Sleepwear
      • Baseball cap or sun hat with wide brim
      • 3/4-finger leather glove for dexterity for via ferratas
      • Sturdy hiking boots, and make sure they’re broken in before your trip
      • Hiking boot or shoe that accepts crampons for AVII trips
      • Lightweight shoes, slippers or flip flops (hiking boots are not allowed in most rifugios)

      Synthetic fabrics are the most effective barrier against the cold. They provide the best insulation, they are light in weight, wick away perspiration, and dry quickly if wet.

    • During your Alta Via adventure, you will stay in a combination of hotels and mountain huts.

      The huts in the Dolomites are of a higher standard than most mountain huts, so if you are used to Alpine refuges you will be pleasantly surprised. You will mainly stay in the most comfortable specifically selected huts on the route.  

      If you wish to stay in single rooms with private/shared bathrooms, you will need to pay an additional single room charge. If you happen to be booking the trip alone and no other participants are willing to share a double or twin room, you will be required to pay the single room charge.

    • Huts available en route serve delicious hearty meals at reasonable prices.

      A vegetarian option is always available but options for Celiacs and vegans are very limited. We suggest that you carry your own snacks and supplements, and let us know if you have any particular requests or allergies. 

    • Group sizes:

      • The tours listed above are not private. All pricing is per person.
      • The standard group size on these Dolomites hiking tours is 5-6 guests and 1 guide, and the maximum group size is 10. Solo traveler are welcome!
      • It takes a minimum of 4-6 participants for the tour to be arranged.
      • Private room supplement in mountain huts can be booked based on availability

      If you’re traveling with a larger party, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

      Age requirements:

      • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this hiking adventure.
      • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

      If you plan to hike with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • To get to the Dolomites, most people fly into Venice International Airport Marco Polo (VCE). Another options include Klagenfurt (2.5 hours), Trieste (2.5 hours), Verona (3 hours), and Innsbruck (3 hours) and a small regional Bolzano Airport in the province of South Tyrol in northern Italy.

      If you’re flying into Venice Marco Polo Airport, a group shuttle from there to Cortina d’Ampezzo is included in the price of the tour (and back as well). The group shuttle departs at 2 pm on arrival day and at 9 am on departure day.

      Venice is 2.5 hours away from Corvara and 2 hours from Cortina d’Ampezzo. Bolzano is about an hour away from Corvara and 2 hours from Cortina d’Ampezzo.

      You can rent a car or take a shuttle service from both airports. Private transfer by the guides is available on request.

    • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

      We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Dolomites, Italy, please refer to the Italian Ministry of Health website.

      Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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