Hiking in the Dolomites

Dolomites: Marmolada

Marmolada (3,343m): The highest peak of the Dolomites

This summer we’ve decided for a hiking trip in the Dolomites. While researching and planning a trek route, I’ve trawled a number of sites and blogs across the Internet. This post is a summary of what I found. It should be a simple introduction to the Dolomites and its main high altitude trails with an overview of the main online resources.

[This post was updated in March 2017. The overview of all Alte Vie has been improved and broken links have been fixed]

What and where

The Dolomites: Sassolungo/ Langkofel

Sassolungo/ Langkofel (3,181m)

Full of stunning mountain ranges and solitary towers that abruptly rise up from the ground and form high walls of rock, the Dolomites are a great scenic backdrop for an Alpine trek. So much so that they have been declared a natural heritage site by UNESCO.

Spreading roughly between Bressanone and Belluno, the Dolomites run through the Italian – Austrian border region of Alto Adige/ Sudtirol. The region is bilingual with many locals speaking German and most places having an Italian and a German name. During World War I the previously Austro-Hungarian border region saw intensive fighting between Italian and Austrian troops as the front line followed the peaks of the Dolomites.

One of the legacies of the fierce battles are the Dolomites’ renowned via ferrata. Many were set-up by troops to allow them access to areas that would have otherwise not been accessible without full climbing equipment. The trails secured with iron ropes, bridges and steps give hiking in the Dolomites a unique dimension. Outdoors Magic has written a very good beginners guide to via ferrata in today’s Dolomites.

See also: What is a via ferrata aka Klettersteig?

Alte Vie: Dolomites’ high altitude trails

Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Dolomites

Tre Cime di Lavaredo/ Drei Zinnen (3,003m)

By far the best online account of the Dolomites for hikers, trekkers, climbers and similar folk is on Summit Post. It covers an overview of the main mountain groups, weather updates, recommended maps of the region and much more. Most importantly the post lists the 10 main high altitude routes through the Dolomites.

The Alte Vie are traditional long distance hautes routes. Each combines standard walking etapes with stretches of via ferrata and uses local rifugios (mountain huts) for accommodation.

Below is a an overview of the 10 long-distance trails including a few links to more detailed route descriptions.

Alta Via 1: Via Classico

  • Start – End: Pragser Wildsee (Lago di Braies) – Belluno
  • Length: 150 km; 9 – 12 days

Find out more:

Alta Via 2: Via delle Legende

  • Start – End: Brixen (Bressanone) – Feltre
  • Length: 160 km; 12 days

Find out more:

Alta Via 3: Via dei Camosci

  • Start – End: Toblach (Dobiacco) – Longarone
  • Length: 120 km; 10 days

Find out more:

Alta Via 4: Via Grohmann

  • Start – End: Innichen (San Candido) – Pieve d Cadore
  • Length: 90 km; 8 days

Find out more:

Alta Via 5: Via di Tiziano

  • Start – End: Sexten (Sesto) – Pieve di Cadore
  • Length: 100 km; 10 days

Find out more:

Alta Via 6: Via dei Silenzi

  • Start – End: Sappada – Vittorio Vento
  • Length: 190 km; 14 days

Alta Via 7: Via di Lothar Pateras

  • Start – End: Pieve d’Alpago – Segusino
  • Length: 110 km; 11 days

Alta Via 8: Via Panoramica

  • Start – End: Brixen (Bressanone) –  Salurn (Salorno)
  • Length: 160 km; 13 days

Alta Via 9: Via Transversale

  • Start – End: Bozen (Bolzano) – Santo Stefano di Cadore
  • Length: 180 km; 14 days

Find out more:

Alta Via 10: Judikarienhöhenweg

  • Start – End: Bozen (Bolzano) – Lago di Garda
  • Length: 200 km; 18 days

Find out more:

The Belluno turist board website provides further detailed information about routes 1 and 2 including descriptions of individual trek stages and technical difficulty of both Alta Via. Some basic, practical information about the Dolomites is available from Besthike.com.

Books and maps

Cicerone have published a number of useful guides for the Dolomites. Here is a pick of a few:

Information on what maps to use is available from the Summit Post.

Related posts

Have you hiked or trekked in the Dolomites or are you planning a trip there? Leave a comment and share your experience!

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5 comments

    1. Thanks Matt!

  1. […] Hiking in the Dolomites – THE MARMOT POST […]

  2. Henry · · Reply

    Thanks for this! Saved alot of time for me..

  3. Gus · · Reply

    Thanks, again, for your quick reply. I think that’s me done now!

    Regards,

    Gus

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