Want to hike the Dolomites? It is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise to take on this Italian mountain range, but choosing what hike is best for you can be challenging.
Even though there are over thirty popular trails, some are better than others. Therefore, we picked the best hikes in the Dolomites to help you see everything this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer!
Read also: Best Lakes to See in the Dolomites
What is the Best Time to Hike the Dolomites?
The best time to hike the Dolomites is in the summer months. The trails are popular between early June to late September. This all depends on when snow begins to fall in the mountains.
Snow can cause difficult to impossible trail conditions and is not recommended unless you are skilled in that area. In the winter, temperatures commonly fall below 0°C and sometimes even hit -20°C.
That is why it is best to visit in the summer when the wildflowers are blooming, and there are more hours of sunlight each day.
Average temperatures in the summer range from 7°C to 27°C, depending on the elevation. Be sure to always check the forecast before starting your hike. Summer can also bring rainstorms, so it is crucial to be prepared.
Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Hike the Great Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The Tre Cime Di Lavaredo are three noticeably rocky peaks in the Sestoa Dolomites in Italy. This hike is rated as moderate with a distance of a 6.2-mile loop, with an elevation gain of 1,646 feet. It is rated five stars on Alltrails due to its breathtaking views.
As it is trendy, I recommend visiting it during the low travel season in the fall.
Nevertheless, in the summer months, wildflowers bloom all around the trail. Ideal for those looking for an opportunity to capture stunning shots on the path.
The limestone peaks ranging from east to west are named Kleine Zinne, Cima Grande & Westliche Zinne. The trail starts relatively easy for the first 1.5 miles. After that mark, the hike turns into a short climb that gets your heart racing.
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo is the most popular hike in the Dolomites for a reason. The views are worth the climb!
Explore Lago di Federa
The best time to visit this area is in October when the trees turn yellow and orange, backed by snow-capped peaks. Lago di Federa is a unique area of the Dolomites because you need to hike.
Start at the Ponte de Ru Curto parking lot. This is where you will begin your Croda da Lago – Lago Defera adventure. This seven-mile hike has an elevation gain of 2,884 feet and is rated as hard.
The first part of the hike is relatively easy and will bring you through a lush forest. At that point, you can choose which route you want to go, right or left. Since it is a loop trail, the choice is up to you on which way to start.
Pick the left trail passes to go up the mountain clockwise if you want an easier hike. Unfortunately, this is when the trail will begin to get steep. But the beautiful viewpoints of Val Negra and Cinque Torri will distract you from the uphill battle.
Hike around Lago di Braies
From here, you will begin your way down to the lake, where you can explore the area. It is about a twenty-minute walk before you arrive at Lago Deferda.
Taking the 0.4-mile path around the lake is recommended to get a view from all angles. Lago di Braies is a gorgeous lake surrounded by large trees, which is just one of the reasons the hike is so beautiful.
Once you make it down to the lake, explore the area! Visit Mountain hut Rifugio Croda da Lago. A refuge run by a mountain guide is open from June to November. It serves as a base camp for mountaineers and climbers.
The refuge has fifty-one beds and even toilets and showers. If you want to turn your day hike into an overnight one, accommodations start at 33,00 Euro for a single room or 19,00 euro for a dorm room.
Once you are done exploring the lake area, continue your loop hike back up the parking area. It will be a steep climb back up to the top. But don’t forget to stop and take in the mountain views of some of the highest peaks in Italy, the Dolomites.
Lago di Carezza Loop Hike
A short and sweet hike is the Lago di Carezza Loop Hike. A 0.7-mile loop with an elevation gain of 101 feet. This hike is rated as easy, with views of an alpine lake. It is located on a mountain plateau in South Tyrol, Italy.
The lake is one of the most gorgeous alpine lakes in the country! The colors of the lake provide icy blue and turquoise green waters, accompanied by mountain peaks. The hike is very peaceful and brings you alongside a flowing creek.
The trail is recommended in the summer months but note that there is no swimming in the lake. There are bathrooms and a cafe in the parking area, where you do need to pay 2 Euros for an hour to park. Lago di Carezza is a must-see and quick stop on your Dolomites adventure.
Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint Hike
This hidden hike is a journey that most adventures in the Dolomites want to take. But, unfortunately, the walk itself is not on All Trails and has only been found by other hikers.
Luckily, we can tell you how to get there. The hike is a 2.4 mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of 370 feet. Even though the route may be easy, it is not recommended for those who fear heights.
The hike starts at Rifugio Auronzo, where you access the trailhead by vehicle. Since the road is private, you must pay 30 EURO to drive to the access point. If the road is closed for some reason, plan an extra 90 minutes to walk it.
Begin at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop Hike that goes around the three peaks. As most hikers will take that trail and stay to the right, you will not. Instead, you will walk the other way, away from Tre Crime.
There, you will find the Cadini di Misurina Hike which brings you to the viewpoint. The Cadini di MIsurina trail is 6.2 miles long, but don’t worry. You do not have to go nearly that far. The famous viewpoint is only 1.2 miles into the hike.
Make your adventure a little bit longer by stopping by Rifugio Lavaredo, a refuge built in 1954. The trail is very narrow, and it’s essential to be safe and go slow to get to the viewpoint. The famous spot is worth every slow step. Enjoy the view and get this bucket list photo!
Located near Selva di Val Gardena in South Tyrol, Italy, is an adventurous but rewarding hike, Daunei Seceda. This hike is moderate, with a high elevation gain of 3,202 feet. The trail is an 11.8-mile loop that brings you along the edge of a lush green mountain.
I recommend taking the loop clockwise for the best views. The views of the hike provide lakes, greenery, and sharp mountain peaks. Unfortunately, this trail can get covered with snow in the winter months.
I would also advise taking it on during the summer months from July to September, especially since you need to take Passo Gardena to the trailhead. The high elevation gain may be a strenuous climb for some, but taking breaks along the route will help you reach the top.
Val di Funes Hike
Val di Funes Panorama Trail Loop is located near Villinos, South Tyrol. A moderate rated 8.5-mile hike with 2,024 feet of elevation gain. This hike is a loop that brings you through a small mountain village.
There is lots of sightseeing on this trail, including the historic Santa Maddalena Church. You will see the church at the beginning of the track. It then takes you through meadows and forests alongside farmsteads. The panoramic view from the top showcases the Odle & Geisler Peaks and the Villnoss Valley.
Take in the astonishing view of the church with a backdrop of the mountains. A truly photogenic experience, especially at sunrise or sunset.
Alpe di Siusi Hike
An easy four-mile hike is the Alpe di Siusi Family Tour – Val Gardena. This is a popular trail located near Kastelruth/Castelrotto, South Tyrol, Italy. The walk showcases Alpe di Siusi, Europe’s most extensive alpine plateau.
Enjoy your surroundings which include tractors, cattle, and horses. The trail is recommended for all skill levels with an elevation gain of only 695 feet. Afterwards, take the Mont Seuc Cable Car to the top of the plateau for a unique experience.
After you work up your appetite hiking, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants near the trailhead.
Lago di Dobbiaco Hike
One of the most gorgeous lakes in the Dolomites is Lago di Dobbiaco. A less crowded lake compared to Lago di Braies.
The lake is next to the main road in Alta Pusteria in South Tyrol. The Lago di Dobbiaco and War Cemetery hike is about 4.8 miles with 826 feet of elevation gain, making it a leisurely stroll with breathtaking scenery. The turquoise blue waters complement the grey stone mountains.
You will be visiting the War Cemetery along your journey, a historical feature. The hike is also a nature trail, making it easy to read all about the history of Lago di Dobbiaco.
After you are done, take a dip in the lake. Swimming is allowed, but the water is cold, at an average of 16 °C. A great place to jump in and cool off, but not for too long. Take a break from the crowds and visit this hidden gem.
Lago di Sorapiss Hike
A moderate option is Rifugio Cristallo – Lago di Sorapis via Trail 217. A 6.1 mile hike with 2,424 elevation gain located near Cortina d’Ampezzo, Veneto, Italy.
The hike provides views of Lake Sorapis, a high-altitude lake. I also recommend visiting the area when the temperatures are best for hiking in the summer months. The white rock formations and lush pastures will take your breath away.
The best part of this lake is that it can only be reached on foot. Attracting hikers from all over the world! The hike does have steep areas and is recommended for experienced hikers. However, fellow adventures share that the lake is worth the climb even with the steep incline.
Monte Pic Summit Hike
Monte Pic is a mountain summit above Santa Cristina in Val Gardena. The mountain is not as famous as others because it is a lesser-known hiking option.
This secret trail offers 360 views of Selva di Val Gardena, Cima della Vezzana, Monte Stevia and more. Pra Plan – Monte Pic is rated moderate, taking an average of four hours to complete.
Begin your 3.7-mile trek from the parking lot, then walk up the gravel road. From there, follow the wooden signs for the trail. The trail itself brings you through a wooded forest with viewpoints along the way.
You will even pass some goats and farms about halfway to the summit. Once you reach the top, take a moment to enjoy the views. It is a steep climb with 2,011 feet of elevation gain. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the summit before making your way back down.
Adolf Munkel Hike
Hike at the foot of the Geisler/Odle Group in Val di Fune, South Tyrol. The Adolf Munkel Trail is a 2.5-mile hike with an elevation gain of 567 feet.
This out and back trail brings you through meadows and a lush forest. Eventually you will reach Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm and Rifugio Odle/Geisler Alm.
This moderate hike inclines for the first mile and a half until you get to the photo area. The photo area provides stunning views of the Dolomite formations. Although this is the shortest route you take, you can add on additional mileage by starting lower on the trail.
The trail is recommended from early June to mid-October due to snowfall later in the season. However, October is the best month to hike, thanks to the autumn weather.
You can even take the Col Raiser lift to get to this area. So enjoy this short but rewarding hike by soaking in the views of the Dolomites.
This hike takes you through the Sassolungo Group, a photographed mountain. The peaks of these famous mountains include Sasso Levante, Innerkofler Tower, Punta delle Cinque Dita, Sassopiatto and Sassolungo.
Begin your 10.7-mile hike at the Passo Sella car park. This moderate hike has an elevation gain of 3,477 feet. This steep hike is a loop that brings you above the treeline, so make sure to pack your sun protection. You can even view the infamous Piz Boe from this trail, one of the highest mountains in the region.
The trail is best used in the summer months, from June to September. Stop by the Rifugio Locatelli during your hike! A mountain hut that you can even stay overnight at. In October, it becomes snow-covered relatively quickly, making the walk impossible. Instead, enjoy hiking the Sassolungo Group Loop, a must when visiting the Dolomites.
Vajolet Towers Trail
The Vajolet Towers are six summits between Tierser Tal and Eggental in South Tyrol. These Ferrata routes are sought after by rock climbers but are also used by hikers. The hike to the Vajolet Towers is not for the faint of heart and is rated hard for the adventurous.
This is a two-day hike beginning at the cable car you will take from Vigo di Fassa to Ciampedie to the Gardeccia refuge. From there, you began your trek up on a path, eventually leading to the rocks.
Here you will climb up the rocks in a steep climb. Next, you will pass through the Val di Fassa valley and the Paso Principe Pass and Refuge. You will then stop at the Vajolet Refuge, where you can spend the night.
It is time to go up to the Vajolet Towers in the morning! Spend some time rewarding your hard work to get to this point. You can then take the trail back down to the cable car and ride that down to the trailhead.
The Catinaccio – Vajolet – Rosengarten hike is 15.7 mi with an elevation gain of 5,351. A true accomplishment for any outdoor enthusiast.
Brenta Hikes in the Dolomites
The Brenta Dolomite Trek is a ring route of fifty-five miles, which breaks the hike into 11 stages. The stages eventually bring you entirely around the mountain range of the Brenta Dolomites.
The Brenta Dolomites Trek Segment 1: Peller Refuge – Costanzi Bivouac hike is Stage 1. This 11.5-mile adventure has an elevation gain of 3,284 and is rated hard. You will take the trail out and back to avoid going into another section. The hike brings you from Peller Refuge to Costanzi Bivouac.
Take in the trail’s history by viewing all of the historic places, including a church. The church honors and remembers a group of hikers who died in the mountains in 1950. Today, visitors come from all over to honor the lives of those who passed away in the mountains.
This pretty hike is on a dirt path surrounded by green grass and significant mountain peaks. Get an idea of what it would be like to take on the Brenta Dolomite Trek by starting with section 1!
The Cinque Torri are rock formations in Cortina d’Ampezzo and Monte Averau in the Eastern Dolomites. The rock formations are home to several towers and peaks taken on by rock climbers.
The towers include Torre Grande, Tore Latina, and three other peaks. Baita Bai de Dones – Cinque Torri is a 4.5-mile hike with an elevation of 1,364. This loop starts from the parking lot at the foot of the lift. It is a moderate trek uphill that will get your heart racing.
This is a historical path that features old WWII trenches, a must-see! Once you reach the top, you can stop at the Scoiattoli Refuge, where you can relax and enjoy a bite to eat. After refueling, take your last leg of the hike to the towers. Here you can take your time and explore the peaks before heading back down!
Croda Da Lago
Croda da Lago – Lago Federa is a 7 mile trail located near Cortina d’Ampezzo, Veneto. This hike is rated hard with an elevation gain of 2,884.
Begin your loop counterclockwise for better views of Lago Federa. Enjoy the crystal blue waters of the lake while making your ascent up the trail. You will be surrounded by fields of wildflowers that are known for their vibrant purple hue. Finally, visit the Croda da Lago refuge, which is open every day until November 1st.
Take a break and enjoy some delicious lunch or a homemade dessert. On your way back down from the loop, watch out for jagged rocks. Be sure to stay alert and hop over the rocks rather than stepping directly on them. Finish your hike by continuing down towards the parking. A fantastic lake hike with stunning views!
The Lagazuoi Tunnels are a historical tourist attraction recommended for all visitors to the Alta Badia area. The Lagazuoi Galleries were created by soldiers during World War I and can now be accessed.
If you decide to enter the tunnels, you need to bring a headlamp and a helmet. This is because the tunnels are very dark, and you will be covered most of the way.
To get to this area, you can take the cable car from Passo Falzarego to Piccolo Lagazuoi. Which is the most minor peak of Monte Lagazuoi. From there, descend through the tunnels. Outside the tunnels is the summit of Piccolo Lagazuoi, a remarkable mountain.
When you are done exploring the tunnels, stop by the Rifugio Lagazuoi, a wooden mountain hut with yummy dining options!
Where to Stay While Hiking in the Dolomites?
There are plenty of fabulous accommodation options in the Dolomites. But, first, you need to decide on what area you would like to make your home base.
Hotel Montepana in Val Gardena
Val Gardena, South Tyrol, is an excellent location since it is home to many hiking spots. Hotel Montepana is a cozy hotel that sits at the foot of Sassolungo. The rooms here are at an average of $100 per night.
Hotel Cristallo in Alta Badia
Another excellent base location is Alta Badia. Which is also an accessible area for hiking. Alta Badia is a ski resort in the winter, making it a fun location year-round. Hotel Cristallo is a stunning mountain resort with a wooden alpine design. This hotel is an average of $250 a night. Take a dip in their relaxing jacuzzi after a day out on the trails.
The Dolomites has a variety of hotel options for all adventurers. The best way to decide is to find a basecamp area around your most sought-after hikes.
Essential Tips to Hike the Dolomites
In addition to checking the weather, you always need to ensure your backpack is filled with hiking essentials.
Always Bring an Extra Layer
Most importantly, bring extra layers. Weather can dramatically drop on the mountains due to a storm moving in. So bring a thick rainproof jacket to protect you from the wind and extra socks if yours get wet.
Bring Double What You Eat
Next, pack high-protein snacks and plenty of them. Always bring double what you would eat if you get stuck overnight on the trail for any reason. Sometimes hikers lose their way or hit bad weather, causing them to take shelter. Trail mix, beef jerky, and protein bars are excellent high-protein snacks.
Lastly, always bring more than enough water. The rule of thumb is to drink a half-liter of water per hour of moderate activity. In addition, most hikers purchase a hydration bladder for easy access to water when on the trail.
Final Thoughts about the Best Hikes in the Dolomites
Visiting Northeast Italy should be added to your summer travel list. This region attracts over four million visitors from June to September every year.
So it is no wonder why hiking the impressive Dolomites area has become a bucket list activity. With over thirty trails, you have plenty of hiking options to choose from.
Make a list of your most sought-after hikes, and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Dolomites of Italy!