Day 1 - San Vito di Cadore
Pick-up at Marco Polo airport in Venice and drive north to San Vito di Cadore 3,000′ (993m), a charming alpine town at the foot of Antelao. Take the rest of the afternoon for a leisurely stroll in town or cycle along the scenic bike path of the Dolomites. Bring your bathing suits, you may want to dip in the indoor heated pool while enjoying an unsurpassed view of the famous north face of Pelmo (3,168m). A brief orientation and presentation of hiking in the Dolomites program will be followed by a welcome aperitif and dinner. This also serves as a great opportunity to know each other.
San Vito will be home for the next three nights.
Day 2 - Forcella Lerosa
HIKING TIME: 5 HOURS • VERTICAL HEIGHT: 1,200 (400m)
The trail head 4,536′(1,512m) is along the Alemagna road in Cimabanche. No longer the dirt road built by the Austrian-Hungarian emperor back in 1828, the “German”road (Alemagna is the Latin word for German) still connects Cortina d’Ampezzo to the northern valleys of Sud-Tyrol. We reach the high point at Forcella Lerosa 6,060′(2,020m). An old cross and other scattered remains remind us that this was a battlefield during World War I, and that we stand on the what is left of a hastily-built Austrian cemetery. Croda Rossa 9,438′(3,146m) towers above with its gray and reddish limestone sediment over the course of millions of years on the ocean bed in the Jurassic period- 190 million years ago-. A very small percentage of iron ore gives the limestone its reddish hue, particularly stunning at sunset. This well known phenomena is locally referred to as the enrosadira. The valley is populated with century-old pino cembro (Pinus cembra),some of which are said to be over 800 years old.
Lunch at Malga Ra Stua (1,668m) and walk back on a comfortable trek.
Day 3 - Tre Cime di Lavaredo
HIKING TIME: 6 HOURS • VERTICAL HEIGHT: 1,800 (600m)
Our hiking in the Dolomites adventure today begins at the terminus of the highest paved road in the Dolomites at Rifugio Auronzo 6,960′ (2,340m) and takes us on a loop around one of the iconic symbols of the Dolomites, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. We pass Rifugio Lavaredo and head east, crossing moraines of bygone glaciers. We crest Pian de Cengia 7,884′ (2,628m) and work our way down on the north side of Monte Paterno. We’ll take our lunch stop overlooking a vast range of peaks sedimented in the late Triassic period -over 220 millions ago-. This is rocky territory and few but the most tenacious plants grow here like the alpine poppy (Papaver rhaeticum) with its bright yellow flowers. We pass Rifugio Locatelli 7,215′ (2,405m), spectacularly located below the north face of the Tre Cime, and complete the loop to return to our starting
Day 4 - Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park
HIKING TIME: 5 HOURS • VERTICAL HEIGHT: 2,400 (800m)
We enter the magic kingdom of Fanes, where century-old traditions sparked the imagination of many writers, first and foremost Carlo Felice Wolf and his famous “Legends of the Pale Mountains”. As we walk past the remains of the once proud castle of Podestagno overlooking the valley, we begin our ascent into the woods and onto a spectacular view of the Travenzanzes gorge at Ponte Outo (high bridge in Ladin dialect. Note, not Latin but one of its lesser known offspring, with a “d”!). The vegetation feels tropical in its lushness, spruce (Picea abies) alternating with silver fir (Abies alba). We break for lunch at the minuscule lago di Fanes. As we approach our destination at Rifugio Lavarella 6,126′(2,042m) we encounter Lago di Limo with its abundance of fossils in the surroundings. The food at the Rifugio is authentically local south-Tyrolean cuisine.
This is our accommodation for the night.
Day 5 - Falzarego-Nuvolau
HIKING TIME: 9 HOURS • VERTICAL HEIGHT: 3,000 - 3,600 (1,000 - 1,200)*
Today marks the longest stretch of the hiking in the Dolomites adventure. We will start at the Rifugio on an initial steep climb followed by flat terrain over alpine meadows and gentle creeks with water plentiful.
This is a great place to admire the geological structure of Sass de la Crusc, originally deposited at the seafloor 150-200 million years ago and subsequently forced up 9,000′ (3,000m) by plate tectonics.
We break for lunch close to Passo Falzarego 6,327′ (2,109m), with an unparalleled view of another icon of the Dolomites, le Tofane.
Our walking in the Dolomites adventure continues on a gradual ascent towards our final destination at Rifugio Averau, overlooking the 5 Torri.
A smooth trail gives way to more rugged terrain as it winds upwards. This may well be the closest experience next to climbing! Dinner will be served in a spectacular setting among the stars, the food cooked to perfection by the chef.
Overnight stay at the Rifugio, where the views are guaranteed to offer a “wow” experience!
*Depending on the route, which is determined by the snow pack at the time
Day 6 - Lastoi de Formin-Mondeval
HIKING TIME: 5 HOURS • VERTICAL HEIGHT: 1,200 (400m)
The hiking in the Dolomites adventure starts on a long descent towards passo Giau ’6,708′ (2,236m) where we briefly stop for a great cappuccino! We continue walking on a southerly course cutting through what was an ancient coral reef petrified in place by subsequent volcanic lava, located between Lastoi de Formin and Monte Cernera. We traverse the high alpine meadows of Mondeval, site of a paleolithic burial site.The remains of this 8.000 year-old hunter were later reconstructed in what became the Museum Cazzetta in Selva di Cadore, a beautiful little town nestled in the mountains a few miles away. This is where we break for lunch, surrounded by myriads of flowers, including the rare (but not here where it is abundant!) Nigritella nigra and Nigritella rubra, two species of orchids that have a distinct scent of vanilla.
From this vantage point we have an unsurpassed view of Pelmo 9,510′ (3,168m)!The valley is populated with marmots, and their chirping echo around us as we approach the main road below. Our accommodation for the night is in a cozy family owned and run hotel located in the scenic val Fiorentina. The museum is just a few miles down the road.
Day 7 - Rifugio Citta’ di Fiume-Col de la Puina
HIKING TIME: 6 HOURS • VERTICAL HEIGHT: 2,400 (800m) INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP
After a hearty breakfast with homemade bread and marmalade, we head out on the trail located just outside the hotel. We trek east to the cul-de-sac at Rifugio Citta’ di Fiume 5,754′ (1,918m). This is where we break for lunch. It is an idyllic place with staggering views of the Pelmo. The sound of rolling rock avalanches can be occasionally heard as gravity brings down loose debris from the mountain tops. After lunch we embark on a new hiking in the Dolomites adventure as we climb to the very top of a mountain. This is a pleasant surprise so I will not spoil it by describing it here, suffice it to say that it is a safe traverse and it is not far from the Rifugio. Fun is guaranteed!
We will spend the night at a warm and hospitable bed-and-breakfast in the Zoldo valley, a memorable place to spend our last day in the Dolomites.
Day 8 & 9 - Prosecco wine region
Today we head south towards the river Po valley and away from the Alps to the Prosecco wine-growing area. The rolling hills covered in vineyards offer spectacular views of the vast Padana plains ranging all the way from Torino, past Venice and into the bay of Trieste in the Slovenian border.
We will visit a wine cellar and have lunch at a local restaurant. You can spend the rest of the day at leisure.
We will have a farewell dinner at an exclusive winery surrounded by the vineyards of Glera grape used to make Prosecco.
The next morning we will drive to Venice for your return flight home or the continuation of your adventure.
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Over time my passion has taken me regularly hiking in the Dolomites and for the past six years in leading the Walk the Dolomites hiking tours. For more information contact me at email@example.com