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Home » Adventure Travel » Adventure Travel Trips » Alta Via in the Italian Dolomites

Tre Cime, Italy

Alta Via 1, 3, & 4 in the Italian Dolomites

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August 24 -
September 9, 2018

CMC Members: $2853
Non-Members: $3170


Trip Overview

The Dolomites are in the northeast corner of Italy, close to the Austrian border. From the American point of view, the Dolomites are perhaps Europe's most underappreciated mountain range. Despite their proximity to tourist-thronged Venice, not many Americans visit. Too bad. These ramparts of white and pink limestone thrusting up to 10,000 feet from rolling green meadows are more dramatic and esthetic (albeit smaller) than the familiar movie-logo snow-capped peaks of the Alps just to the north. Three-thousand-foot walls attract hard-core rock climbers, while energetic hikers tread a vast network of superb foot trails serviced by a system of rifugios—overnight huts that are really more like small basic hotels, with food, wine, heat, electric lights, bunks, many with hot showers and sometimes even private rooms. The rifugios allow a hiker carrying only a modest pack to stay out on the trail for days or even weeks at a time—an outdoor luxury virtually impossible on this side of the Atlantic.

Much of this region was formerly part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire and following World War I was awarded to Italy. Subsequently, all of the names of the region, including the mountains, were translated into Italian. Yet today many of the region’s people still hold on tightly to their Tyrolean roots and speak German as well as Italian. Therefore, another thing that makes the Dolomites so special includes enjoying the wonderful Tyrolean/Italian blend of culture, architecture and cuisine. 

The Dolomites are justifiably popular. Here lies the beauty of the long distance, high-level trails, the Alte Vie or "high routes". Six established hiking trails traverse the Dolomites from top to bottom, from north to south, maintaining medium-high altitude with stunning vistas. In August 2016, I lead a CMC trekking trip on the Alta Via 1. This trip is a special compilation of the Alta Via 1, 3 and 4.

The trip will mainly consist of a ten-day trek, on a connecting network of the Alta Via 1, 3 and 4, from mountain rifugio/hotel to mountain rifugio/hotel, for 62 miles with 17,000 feet of vertical gain (VG). Much of the hiking is above tree line with wonderful panoramic views and well marked trails. The rifugios/hotels are situated in remote and highly scenic places along the trails where you can buy drinks, meals or a night's lodging. There are an extraordinary variety of walks and hikes through every imaginable type of terrain, mountain formation and setting. There are gradual ascents through meadows and woods, which end at picturesque small lakes.



Friday, August 24 - Fly to Venice

Sat, August 25 - Arrive in Venice. The company Funactive will shuttle us to the Hotel Titian Inn. Spend the afternoon resting or visiting Venice.

Sun, August 26 – Shuttle to Niederdorf and the Hotel Rose.

Mon, August 27 – Hike around the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Enjoy the spectacular views along with a beer/wine and lunch at a rifugio.

Tue, August 28 - Funactive shuttle transfer from Niederdorf to the Sporthotel near Bad Altprags.  Connect from path 15 to 16 and then to 33 (Alta Via 3). Hike to Rifugio Pratopiazza. Luggage transfer to the rifugio. Hiking time 6 to 6 ½ hrs. (VG 3772 feet), ~ 8 ½ miles.

Wed, August 29 - Hike from Rifugio Pratopiazza to Hotel Croda Rossa in Carbonin (Alta Via 3). Luggage transfer to the hotel. Either take path 34 with one exposed but well protected spot or path 37. Hiking time 2 to 3 ½ hrs. (VG 820 feet), ~ 3 to 4 ½ miles.

Thurs, August 30 - Hike from Hotel Croda Rossa to Rifugio Bosi, on Monte Piana, on path 6a (Tourist path and part of the Alta Via 3).  Luggage transfer to the rifugio. Include a visit to the WWI open air war museum on Monte Piana. Hiking time 3 hrs. (VG 2929 feet), ~ 4 miles.

Fri, August 31 - Funactive shuttle transfer from Rifugio Bosi to Misurina. Hike to Rifugio Col de Varda , first around beautiful Lake Misurina and then on path 120 (Alta Via 4).  Luggage transfer to the rifugio.  Hiking time 2 hrs. (VG 1033 feet), ~ 2 ½ miles.

Sat, September 1 - Hike from Rifugio Col de Varda to the Hotel Cristallo on paths 120 and 1120 (Alta Via 4).  Luggage transfer to the hotel. Hiking time 2 ½ to 3 hrs., ~ 4 miles.

Sun, September 2 - Hike from Hotel Cristallo to Rifugio Vandelli on path 217 (Alta Via 4). No luggage transfer. Hiking time 3 hrs. (VG 1758 feet), ~ 4 miles.

Mon, September 3 - Hike from Rifugio Vandelli to Rifugio Faloria on path 215 (Alta Via 3/4) to Passo Tre Croci and then on 209 and 212 to Rifugio Falloria. Luggage transfer to the rifugio. Hiking time 4 hrs. (VG 1300 feet), ~ 8 miles.

Tue, September 4 - Hike from Rifugio Faloria to Rifugio Croda de Lago on path 214 and then 220 to Zuel (Alta Via 3). Then hike from Zuel on path 432 to the rifugio. Luggage transfer to the rifugio. Hiking time 5 hrs. (VG 3057 feet), ~9 ½ miles.

Wed, September 5 - Hike from Rifugio Croda de Lago to Rifugio Staulanza on path 434 to 436 then 458 and 467 to Rifugio Citta di Fiume. Take path 472 to Rifugio Staulanza (Alta Via 1). Luggage transfer to the rifugio. Hiking time 3 ½ hrs. (VG 825 feet), ~ 7 ½ miles.

Thurs, September 6 – Hike from Rifugio Staulanza to Forno di Zolda and overnight in the Hotel Garni Posta. Continue on path 472 (Alta Via 1) to 499 and then 492 into Forno di Zolda. Luggage transfer to the hotel. Hiking time 4 to 4 ½ hrs. (VG 1505 feet), ~ 10 miles.

Fri, September 7 - Funactive shuttle to Venice. We will overnight in the Hotel Titian Inn nearby to the Venice airport.  From here we can catch a bus at the nearby bus stop for a trip into the old part of Venice for dinner and a little sightseeing.

Sat, September 8 - Spend a day sightseeing in Venice.  Possibilities include walking the back alleys of Venice to St. Mark's Square, with its huge trapezoid 596 feet long by 266 feet wide, and then taking a vaporetto (water taxi) back down the Grand Canal. From St. Mark's Square, you can visit the magnificent St. Marks Basilica, built between 1043 and 1071, a harmonious blend of Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Islamic styles.  We can also visit the Doges Palace, decorated mainly by Venetian marble craftsmen in the most elaborate of the medieval styles, the Flamboyant Gothic. Other options are to take a water taxi over to the island of Murano and view some glass factories where skilled glass blowers have been blowing glass since 1289. For those that want to skip the tourist attractions, it is easy to walk away from St. Mark's Square down small alleys to visit lazy tree lined quaint neighborhoods and squares where the real Venetians live. Be sure to try some of the fresh local seafood. We found the grilled seafood platters particularly scrumptious at this time of year!

Sun, September 9 - Fly home


All nights will be spent at Italian Alpine Club (CAI) huts, private mountain refuges or small hotels, mainly in remote locations, and all with hot showers. All accommodations will be a shared double room (in all hotels and otherwise where available) or dormitory.

Pre-trip Activities and Requirements

Pre-requisites for the trip are very good physical conditioning, the ability to hike 62 miles in 10 days with 17, 000 feet of vertical gain and an ongoing, regular, conditioning program. A CMC-Denver Group hiker rating is not needed for this trip but some mountaineering experience and a head for a little bit of exposure is desired. We will carry day packs (a suggested list of items is provided) which include all clothing typically needed for changing alpine weather conditions. One night will be spent in CAI huts where no luggage transfer is possible. For these 2 days of hiking you will need to also carry a change of clothes, a sleep sack for hygienic purposes at the huts, personal toiletries, water and lunch.  The huts provide bedding and meals.  Because we will be hiking at alpine levels, the weather can be most unpredictable, necessitating well thought out element and clothing choices.

Attendance of the pre-trip planning meeting is mandatory, as there will be much to discuss. The meeting will be conducted via teleconference, with presentation slides provided via YouTube, and you will receive ample notice of the date and time. Topics will include suggested equipment, packing, training, cultural notes, and security precautions.



Trip Leader: Denise Snow


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