If mountain ranges were musical genres than the Dolomites would be opera – like La Traviata or Eugene Onegin. You know the ones that are so beautiful that crying is the only appropriate response. We’ve visited the Dolomites three times and we simply can’t get enough. This corner of Italy is one of the most sensational hiking destinations in the Alps. If milky blue lakes, jagged peaks, and jungles of stone make your heart sing, then you’re going to love hiking in the Italian Dolomites. To help you figure out where to hike, we’ve curated all the best day hikes in the Dolomites.

 

Where are the Dolomites

The Dolomites are a mountain range in northern Italy, close to the Austrian border. Forming part of the Southern Limestone Alps (like Slovenia’s Julian Alps), the Dolomites stretch across three Italian regions: Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige (Trentino – Südtirol), and Friuli Venezia Giulia. For a general overview of traveling in the Dolomites, read our Dolomites Travel Guide.

Planning a summer trip to the Dolomites? Read Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer.


The Best Dolomites Day Hikes

These Dolomites hiking trails are ordered and grouped by hiking base. For example, the first three hikes are accessible from Val Gardena.

  1. Seceda Ridgeline to Rifugio Firenze
  2. Resciesa Plateau to Seceda Ridgeline 
  3. Col da la Pieres
  4. Adolf Munkel Trail 
  5. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit 
  6. Lake Sorapiss 
  7. Lake Pisciadù 
  8. Rifugio Puez and Rifugio Gardenacia
  9. Armentara Meadows Trail
  10. Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella
  11. Vajolet Towers


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#1 Seceda Ridgeline to Regensburger Hütte Day Hike

Easy Hike in Puez – Odle (Geisler) Nature Park

Hiking Base: Ortisei, Val Gardena 

Resciesa to Seceda Hike - Best Hikes in the Dolomites

Seceda Lookout

The Seceda ridgeline is one of the most beloved photography spots in the Dolomites. The ridge can easily be accessed from the town of Ortisei (St. Ulrich) in Val Gardena via the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableways.

This Instagram-famous spot is just the beginning of a wonderful loop trail in the Puez Odle Nature Park. From the mountain summit station Seceda, you’ll follow a level path along the Seceda ridge to the dagger-like Geisler (Odle) peaks. Next, you’ll hike to the rustic alm of Pieralongia and then ultimately to the mountain hut Regensburger Hütte (Rifugio Firenze). Enjoy lunch at the hut, before following the loop trail back to Seceda. For more info on this Dolomites day hike, read Seceda to Regensburger Hütte.

  • Trailhead: Seceda Mountain Station
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: Ortisei – Furnes – Seceda in Ortisei
  • Distance: 8.5 km Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed: 3 – 4 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying at Garni August in Ortisei, Val Gardena. Look for accommodation in Ortisei.

#2 Resciesa to Seceda Day Hike

Moderate Hike in Puez – Odle (Geisler) Nature Park

Hiking Base: Ortisei, Val Gardena 

Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites, Italy: Resciesa to Malga Brogles to Seceda

Rifugio Brogles (Brogles Hütte)

The Seceda ridgeline can be approached in a number of ways. The easiest way is via the Ortisei – Furnes – Seceda cableways (mentioned above). However, a more exciting way to approach Seceda is from the Resciesa plateau.

To reach the plateau, take the Resciesa funicular from Ortisei in Val Gardena. From the top station, the trail crosses the Resciesa alp and descends to Rifugio Malga Brogles. You’ll have fantastic and varied views of the Geisler peaks from both the trail and the hut. From the rifugio, the “hard” part begins. You’ll ascend to the Seceda ridgeline via s steep trail.

Once at the top, you can marvel at the views. Depending on where you’re staying in Val Gardena, you can either descend to Ortisei via Ortisei – Furnes – Seceda cableways or to Selva di Val Gardena via the Col Raiser gondola. For detailed trail descriptions and more info on this hike, read Resciesa to Seceda

  • Trailhead: Resciesa Funicular Top Station
  • Cableway Ascent: Resciesa Funicular in Ortisei
  • Cableway Descent: Ortisei – Furnes – Seceda (or Col Raiser Cable Car)
  • Distance: 8 km Point-to-Point
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
  • Time Needed: 3 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying at Garni August in Ortisei, Val Gardena. You can also stay in Selva di Val Gardena and Santa Cristina.

#3 Col dala Pieres Day Hike

Difficult Hike in Puez – Odle (Geisler) Nature Park

Hiking Base: Selva di Val Gardena, Val Gardena 

Rifugio Stevia and Col dala Pieres - Best Day Hike in the Dolomites

This excellent Dolomites hiking trail is for confident hikers who crave intoxicating views of Sella, Langkofel and the Geisler Peaks. This hike begins with a Col Raiser cableway ascent from Selva di Val Gardena

From the Col Raiser mountain station, follow the easy trail to Rifugio Firenze (Regensburger Hütte). That’s the same hut mentioned in the very first hike on this list. From the rifugio, you’ll ascend to Forcella Piza (2489 m), the mountain saddle between Muntejela and Mont De Stevia. From Piza, the trail continues left to Col dala Pieres summit.

We recommend making a detour to Rifugio Stevia for their hearty South Tyrolean food. Continue reading about this day hike in our Col dala Pieres trail guide.

  • Trailhead: Col Raiser mountain station
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: Col Raiser Cable Car in Selva di Val Gardena
  • Distance: 13.8 km Loop
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Time Needed: 6 – 7 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying in Hotel Rodella in Selva di Val Gardena. Hotel Rodella is walking distance to the Col Raiser valley station, making it super convenient to start and end this hike. If you have a car, another great option is Dorfhotel Beludei in Santa Cristina in Val Gardena. This excellent hotel is a 7-minute drive or a 35-minute walk to Col Raiser.

#4 Adolf Munkel Trail

Easy Day Hike in Puez – Odle (Geisler) Nature Park

Hiking Base: Val Gardena, or Val di Funes

Best Dolomites Hikes - Adolf Munkel Trail

The Adolf Munkel Trail is an easy loop trail that takes you to the foot of the Geisler (Odle) Peaks. The trail begins at Zanser Alm (Malga Zannes) in Val di Funes in South Tyrol. You can either base yourself in Val di Funes, or continue staying in Val Gardena. It’s a 50-minute drive from Ortisei (Val Gardena) to Malga Zannes (Val di Funes).

One of the highlights of this Dolomites hike is stopping for a leisurely lunch at Gschnagenhardt Alm (Malga Casnago). Read Adolf Munkel Trail for more info.


#5 Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit

Easy-Moderate Day Hike in Tre Cime (Drei Zinnen) Nature Park aka Sexten Dolomites

Hiking Base: Cortina d’Ampezzo

Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites - Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop

The loop trail around the iconic Three Peaks, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, is the best day hike in the Dolomites. It starts at the mountain hut Rifugio Auronzo, which is accessible by a toll road (30 EUR for private cars). From Rifugio Auronzo, you can either hike on Trail 101 (right) towards Rifugio Lavaredo, or on Trail 105 (left) towards Langealm. Both ways are beautiful.

Though most people venture here to see the Three Peaks, they soon realize that Tre Cime is just the beginning of an unending visual feast that extends in every possible direction. Remember the bit about opera? Well, we’re in the Wagnerian realm now. For a tasty lunch and the most impressive view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, head to Dreizinnenhütte (Rifugio Locatelli). Read our guide to Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo for more details on this Dolomites hiking trail.

  • Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: None
  • Distance: 9.7 km Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying in Cortina d’Ampezzo at Camina Suite and Spa. If you stay in Cortina, you’ll have a lot of hiking options nearby. Look for accommodation in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

#6 Lago di Sorapiss Day Hike

Moderate Hike in Dolomiti d’Ampezzo

Hiking Base: Cortina d’Ampezzo

Best Dolomites Hiking Trails - Lago di Sorapis

Lago di Sorapiss is a glacial lake within the region Veneto. The lake takes its name from the mountain Sorapiss. Framed by a ring of trees, Lago di Sorapiss is one of the most stunning lakes and day hikes in the Dolomites. Apart from the mountain backdrop, the most spectacular feature of the lake is its unique turquoise color. The water also has a milky quality due to suspended powdered rock. You might think you’re looking at an enchantress’ pool filled with a magic potion.

To get to the lake, start at Passo Tre Croci near Cortina d’Ampeszzo. The hike takes 2 hours one-way. Follow Trail no. 215 towards Rifugio Vandelli. The first half of the trail is flat, but the second half is steep. Part of the path is secured. We saw people of all ages on this trail.

  • Trailhead: Passo Tre Croci
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: None
  • Distance: 12 km out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Needed: 4 hours 
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying in Cortina d’Ampezzo at Camina Suite and Spa. Look for accommodation in Cortina.

#7 Lake Pisciadù Day Hike

Difficult Hike in the Sella Group

Hiking Base: Corvara, Alta Badia

Lake Pisciadù Day Hike - Best Dolomites Hiking Trails

Ascent to Cima Pisciadù

This is one of the best hikes in the Dolomites for experienced hikers. This loop trail begins at Passo Gardena, the mountain pass between Alta Badia and Val Gardena. From the pass, you’ll follow a lovely balcony trail to Val Setus, a steep sloping “valley” characterized by crumbling rocks and scree. The ascent up Val Setus to Lake Pisciadù is steep and partially secured (no equipment necessary). 

At Lake Pisciadù, there’s a mountain hut you can stop in for food and refreshments. If you feel energized, you can hike all the way to Cima Pisciadù (1 hour one-way) for more thrilling views. 

From the lake, This Dolomites hike continues steeply down to Val de Mezdi and ultimately back to Passo Gardena, or to Colfosco / Corvara (two villages in Alta Badia).

  • Trailhead: Passo Gardena
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: None
  • Distance: 8.5 – 13 km Loop or Point-to-Point  (depending on route)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Time Needed: 6-7 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying at Hotel Col Alto in Corvara, Alta Badia. Look for accommodation in Corvara.

#8 Rifugio Puez and Rifugio Gardenacia Day Hike

Moderate Hike in Puez – Odle Nature Park

Hiking Base: Corvara, or La Villa, Alta Badia

Rifugio Gardenacia and Puez Day Hike - best Dolomites hiking trails

Rifugio Gardenacia

This moderate day hike in Puez-Odle is best approached from Alta Badia. You can either start the hike in the village of La Villa or in Corvara. 

From La Villa, take the Gardenaccia chairlift up and follow the trail to Gardenacia mountain hut. Gardenacia is one of our absolute favorite rifugios in the Italian Alps. From the hut, cross the Gherdenacia alpine plateau and hike to Rifugio Puez. As you approach Rifugio Puez, take in the impressive views of Vallunga (Langental) Valley. Read about this hike in detail in our Rifugio Puez trail guide.

  • Trailhead: Gardenaccia chairlift top station
  • Cableway Ascent: Gardenaccia chairlift in La Villa
  • Distance: 13.2 Point-to-Point
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Needed: 6 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying at Hotel Col Alto in Corvara, Alta Badia, or at Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa, Alta Badia.

#9 Armentara Meadows Trail

Easy Day Hike in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park

Hiking Base: La Villa, Alta Badia

Armentara Meadows - Best Day Hikes in the Italian Dolomites

Some of the most beautiful Dolomites hiking trails are blissfully easy. If you’re in the mood for a gentle saunter across sloping meadows, this is for you.

Walking across Armentara meadows is like listening to a Rossini, or Donizetti opera. It’s light, happy and effortless. That’s my last opera reference, promise!

The Armentara plateau is accessible from the village of Badia in Alta Badia. You can read all about this gentle walk in our Armentara Meadows trail guide.

  • Trailhead: La Crusc Church
  • Cableway Ascent: Santa Croce Chairlift in Badia
  • Distance: 4 km Point-to-Point
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed: 3 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying at Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa, Alta Badia. Look for accommodation in La Villa.

#10 Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella Day Hike

Moderate Hike in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park

Hiking Base: La Villa, Alta Badia

Rifugio Lavarella and Fanes Day Hike - Best Dolomites hiking trails

Approaching Lavarella Hütte

This Dolomites day hike starts in Capanna Alpina (Alta Badia) and ends at Rifugio Fanes (Fanes Hütte) and Rifugio Lavarella. The trail follows the Alta Via 1 route in Fanes Nature Park. These two rifugios are located directly across from each other and make for a scenic lunch destination. Rifugio Fanes is one of the most luxurious huts in the Italian Alps and Rifugio Lavarella is home to the highest brewery in Europe.  

Most hikers will do a return-hike (out and back), starting and ending in Capanna Alpina. For a more challenging variation, you can do a point-to-point hike ending in La Villa. Read this Rifugio Fanes trail guide to find out which option is best for you.

  • Trailhead: Capanna Alpina
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: None
  • Distance: 17 km out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Needed: 6 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying at Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa, Alta Badia. Look for accommodation in La Villa.

#11 Vajolet Towers Day Hike

 Difficult Hike in Sciliar – Catinaccio (Schlern – Rosengarten) Nature Park

Hiking Base: Nova Levante, Eggental

Gartlhütte and the Vajolet Towers - Best Dolomites hiking trails

The Vajolet Towers are six summits in the Rosengarten – Catinaccio Dolomites. These majestic towers are a worthy day hiking destination in the Dolomites if you’re staying in Val di Fassa, or in Eggental.

From Kölnerhütte (accessible by chairlift from Nova Levante), there are two ways to get to the towers. You can either take the hiking path via Tschagerjoch (Passo delle Coronelle) or the Santner Via Ferrata route. 

If you take the via ferrata route up, you’ll plateau at Santnerpass. The view of Gartlhütte, the mountain hut at the foot of the towers, is glorious. We hiked here as part of our 3-day hut-to-hut hike across the Rosengarten. You can find out more details about the Santner via ferrata ascent and the trek in our guide.

  • Trailhead: Kölnerhütte
  • Cableway Ascent / Descent: Laurin II Chairlift in Nova Levante
  • Distance: 8 km out and back (without the via ferrata)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Time Needed: 6 hours
  • Where to Stay: We recommend staying in Nova Levante in Eggental. 

The Dolomites Hiking Season

The best time to hike in the Dolomites is from late June until the end of September.  Dolomites hiking trails are mostly clear of snow. Rifugios (mountain huts) are open and cableways are operating.

We tried hiking in the Dolomites in May and were shit out of luck. Too much snowfall and rain prevented us from exploring the Dolomites in Spring. October may still be promising, but many rifugios (mountain huts) and chairlifts will already be closed. Our favorite month to hike in the Dolomites is in September. You can read about Septemeber in the Dolomites here.


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