Ahhh the Dolomites! Arguably one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the world, you'll immediately fall in love with the charming villages of Cortina and Dobbiaco as you wander over rolling green pastures and stay the night in enchanting refugios. A Dolomites tour is a refreshment for the soul and a giant step back to a quieter time.
What are the best hikes in the Dolomites? It's no easy pick! We've been running our hiking tour 'Dolomites Adventure' for many years now, and we believe that we bring our guests on some of the most scenic trails in the region. Here are our guides' recommended top five.
So, what are the best hikes in the Dolomites?
1. Tre Cime de Lavaredo Hike
The soaring peaks of Tre Cime de Lavaredo are one of the most iconic landmarks in the Dolomites. The loop trail around it is arguably the best day hike in the Dolomites. It takes around 5 hours to complete.
First climbed in the 1930s, these three massive rock monoliths, which seemingly rise out of nowhere in isolation of other peaks, loom large high over the valleys below. It’s difficult to look away! As you hike further around the peaks, their shape and form evolve with every step – the views keep getting better! Keep an eye out for bunkers and old barracks on the trail, as this area is dotted with reminders of the First World War.
Hiking Distance: 13 kilometers (8 miles), 5-7 hours
Elevation Gain: 610 meters (2,000 feet)
Elevation Loss: 610 meters (2,000 feet)
2. Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park, Cortina to Alta Badia
This 3-day hike is one of our favorites, and feature as part of our 'Dolomites Adventure'.
The first day you'll be following the turquoise Boite River higher up the Valon Scuro with the massive Piccola Croda Rossa looming large above you. Stop for lunch at Rifugio Senes, before completing the easy 1-hour hike down to Fodara Vedla, a rifugio surrounded by massive peaks to the south, east, and north, and the vast Vallone di Rudo to the west. If you are keen on more hiking, you can hike above Fodara Vedla to Col de Lasta where you'll be greeted by 360-degree views of the highest peaks in the Dolomites. Every way you look you’ll be blown away by orange and red spires, including the imposing Croda Rossa (10,320 feet), saturated in the late afternoon light. It’s a sight to behold!
Hiking Distance: 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles), 4-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 920 meters (3,020 feet)
Elevation Loss: 640 meters (2,100 feet)
Optional Extra Hike: 5.3 kilometers (3.2 miles), 1-3 hours
Elevation Gain: 490 meters (1,608 feet)
Elevation Loss: 130 meters (426 feet)
The second day after breakfast, you’ll hike down through the larch fir forest and into the Pederu valley. As you descend the valley, the towering peaks of the Lavinores Range reveal themselves in dramatic red and yellow – typical coloring of the Dolomite rock. After a mid-morning break at Rifugio Pederu, you’ll head deeper into the natural park and ascend the Vallone di Rudo and into a wide-open basin, home to Rifugio Lavarella, a comfortable family-run mountain hotel. This place is in an incredible setting, surrounded by massive peaks and small alpine lakes. After lunch, it’s an easy stroll to Rifugio Fanes, through the moonlike landscapes of the Pian Dies Sarens trail to Passo di San Antonio, where you’ll spend the night. If you’d like, you can venture for an extra hike this afternoon taking advantage of the many trails within the Vallone di Rudo
Hiking Distance: 7 kilometers (4.3 miles), 3-5 hours
Elevation Gain: 700 meters (2,300 feet)
Elevation Loss: 620 meters (2,040 feet)
Optional Extra Hike: 9 kilometers (5.5 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 426 meters (1,398 feet)
Elevation Loss: 426 meters (1,398 feet)
On the last day, you’ll hike out of the Fannes-Sennes-Braies Natural Park, onto the Gran Fanes plateau and drop down and over the Col de Locia. The landscape here changes around every corner – from sweeping meadows and steep rocky ridges to deep valleys of larch forest. The final stages of the hike will bring you down to Alta Badia – often described as the “heart and soul” of the Dolomites. With tiny villages dotted along the valley, this region is a step back in time and picture-postcard beautiful.
Hiking Distance: 11.4 kilometers (7 miles), 5-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 780 meters (2,556 feet)
Elevation Loss: 1,111 meters (3,645 feet)
3. Lago di Dobbiaco
Lago di Dobbiaco hike, also known as Toblacher See, is an easy 1-hour round hike accessible to anyone. Read the multiple info panels about the flora and fauna as you meander from pebble beach to forest to wetlands, admiring the reflections of the dramatic mountains in the emerald lake.
Hiking Distance: 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles), 1 hour
4. Setsass Dolomiti Range
A short distance to the Valparola Pass, this magnificent high ridgeline trail affords superb 360-degree views the whole way. No matter which way you turn, you’ll have the highest peaks in the Dolomites up close and personal and on show – Conturines, Sas de Pütia and Marmolada (to name just a few), the “Queen of the Dolomites”.
Hiking Distance: 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), 5-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 730 meters (2,395 feet)
Elevation Loss: 785 meters (2,575 feet)
5. Via ferrata Cinque Torri
A hike with a whole lot of fun and more of the best views across the Dolomites. The mountain range is home to multiple via ferratas, which are protected climbing routes using steel cables, ladders, or rungs to allow soldiers to safely climb up and down rocky sections of the mountains. You can now do these via ferratas with only a harness and no technical climbing knowledge, for a totally safe adrenaline rush. The via ferrata Cinque Torri, featured as an optional activity on our 'Dolomites Adventure', goes to the summit of Mount Averau, for what we believe is the best 360-degree view of the entire Dolomite Mountain Range. Cinque Torri is a group of 7 dramatic rock spires rising sharply from the meadows below.
These are our guide-recommended 5 best hikes in the Dolomites! If you want to learn more about all the amazing activities in that wonderful region, have a look at our blog on the best things do to in the Dolomites.