Hiking the Dolomites

Hiking the Dolomites : Dolomites are a part of the Alps that are situated in Europe. Historically called the pale mountains, hiking the Dolomites is considered a great achievement by the trekking community. Despite its intimidating stretch of 1200km, hiking the Dolomites is relatively easier and achievable with any amount of experience.

However, as with any long trail, you need to prepare well in advance before starting your journey. As that requires hours of research and planning, we’ve prepared a guideline for you in the form of this article. You’ll be informed about the landscapes, weather, day hiking opportunities, overnight trails, clothing, tools, and wildlife in the Alps.

Dolomite Landscape Information


Dolomites, covering more than 141,903 ha, feature some of the most intriguing and intimidating vertical walls and sheer cliffs. Although you’ll be hiking the narrow, long, and deep valleys more than the mountains themselves, the landforms in the Dolomites present a great opportunity to experience one of the most picturesque mountain ranges in the world.

As a hiker, the collection of 18 peaks and 9 serial properties diverse in landscapes like steeples, pinnacles, and rock walls will give you enough opportunities to explore the glacial landforms and karst systems. But be aware of the frequent avalanche, landslides, and floods.

Consider referring to the above-mentioned topological map to comprehend the landforms of the Dolomites best hikes. The dark red areas in the map refer to the valley that you may walk during your hike with occasional elevations. Depending on your physical condition and accommodation opportunities, you can customize the trip to your liking.


The highest point in the Dolomites is the Marmolada (3342 m). Most hiking trails in the Alps are in the easy to medium difficulty range, but a few of them may require advanced hiking skills.

For example, the Tour du Mont Blanc full circuit hike requires around 9500m height gain across the 170km walking length, whereas the Tour of the Vanoise can be explored with just 6000m of total elevation. If you’re an experienced senior trekker, starting with Alta Via 1 may be preferable as it’s one of the most mesmerizing trails in the Dolomites.


Most of the Alpine Dolomite is heavily covered in trees and blooms. Due to their diversified occurrence, most of the plant species are unique in their appearance and characteristics. From the high-altitude belts to the lower parts of the Dolomites, extremely rare plants and epidemic species can be observed during your hike.

The lower regions mostly comprise broadleaf trees, which make their way to the conifers and beech trees in the midsection. Although the high-altitude belt is enriched with Norway spruce and conifers, larch and Swiss stone pines are also prevalent in this region. In the snow-covered peaks, dwarf willows and only some unique high-altitude blooms can be seen.

Overnight Stay Information

When you take a long vacation and complete full circuits by staying overnight in different hotels and huts, that’s considered overnight or hut-to-hut hiking. Let’s discuss some of the most breathtaking overnight hiking trails in the Dolomites. Starting from:

  1. Alta Via 1

    Stretching over at least 8 days, Alta Via 1 is a UNESCO heritage Site with hundreds of limestone peaks, forests, and spires. Alta Via 1 is located in Northern Italy. Starting from Lago di Braies and ending at La Pissa bus stop, the total distance of Alta Via 1 is around 120km. However, with a total elevation of only 6550m, it shouldn’t present severe challenges to even the older hikers.
    As you aren’t allowed to camp on this hike, self-guided or guided tours are the best options. Mont BlancTreks offers extensive details about the guided & unguided tours on the Dolomites best hikes. They also provide hotels in Dolomites, Dolomites itinerary, food, and guidance to complete the full circuit.

    The first 3 days during the Alta Via 1 trek prove to be the most difficult due to the long walks, high elevations, and lack of acclimation. Pace yourself, drink plenty of water, and you’ll be able to take on the challenge for the next few days.

  2. Alta Via 2

    The Alta Via 2 is the longest and most challenging hike in the Dolomites. It may take you more than 12 days to complete the full circuit. Totaling 200km in length and 10500m in elevation, Alta Via 2 offers the more experienced hikers a great opportunity to explore the true magnificence of the Alps. However, you can break it down into various hikes and take one at a time. The full Alta Via 2 hike starts from the city of Brixen and passes through the slope of the highest peak Marmolada. It also passes the Puez Odle National Park and the Sella group.

    The first few days during Alta Via 2 are full of hikers. But as you keep going on, the trail becomes progressively quieter. Whether due to hikers ditching the plan or becoming humbler, you can experience a quiet natural serenity even in the summer.

  3. Pale Di San Martino Traverse

    One of the mountains traversed by the Alta Via 2 is Pale di San Martino, however, if you’re short on time, you may simply go for this 3–4 day trek. This somewhat altered route begins close to Passo Rolle, one of the Dolomites of Italy’s most picturesque mountain passes, and travels across the center of the range. Along this crossing, you may complete a few beginning via ferratas and summit extensions.

    The fact that Pale di San Martino isn’t exactly a popular destination for tourists from the outside and is located in the lovely Trentino area of Italy makes it even better in my opinion! A real adventure off the usual route.

  4. Alta Via 4

    Between San Candido and Pozzale, the 92 km long Alta Via 4 travels across the Italian Dolomites. It may be completed in five to seven days. Along the route linking San Candido and Sexten, the AV4 begins next to the Alte Säge restaurant. From the airports of Milan or Venice, trains will take you to San Candido. Nevertheless, Innsbruck, Austria, is the nearest international airport. By train, it’s only 2.5 hours away.

    The journey ends in the little settlement of Pozzale, which is near Pieve di Cadore. Additionally, trains from the latter travel to important Italian metropolitan centers.

Day Hiking Information

If you’re intending to use a hotel as your base camp and explore the trails during the day and get a good rest at night, day hiking is what you’re thinking about. Day hiking opportunities are ample in the Dolomites, but not every trail can be explored this way. Here are a few day hiking locations that may become your next favorite.

  1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo

    An UNESCO World Heritage, Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites. Stretching to a 10km distance and with 340 m elevations, this day hike is one of the easiest and most beautiful trails in this whole region. Starting from the Rifugio Auronzo and finishing exactly there after a 4 hours hike, you can take a rest at the Drei Zinnen hut and take endless pictures of the trail. We recommend starting early to experience the most breathtaking views of the Dolomites. Stay in Dobbiaco or Sexten to extract the most out of the hike.

    However, being very populated, you may encounter hundreds of other hikers seeking similar experiences as yours.

  2. Cadini di Misurina

    This short high-elevation hike is not for hikers who’re afraid of heights. Although the hike is only about 4km with an elevation of 100m, you’ll encounter narrow peaks and steep ridges at the end of the trail.

    The walk, typically, isn’t very difficult, but from Rifugio Auronzo, consider going left towards Tre Cime di Lavarado and not right towards Cadini di Misurina, if you have a fear of heights. However, most experienced hikers plan these two hikes together to save on the €30 required to enter the national park.

    Same as Cime di Lavaredo, stay in Sexten or Dobaccio for the best experience.

  3. Lago di Braies

    Made popular by the blue mountain lake, Lago di Braies has gained significant popularity in recent years among day hikers. You need to take a car or public transport to the Lago di Braies parking lot and start your hike from there. You’ll also come back to the same spot after a 4km long hike around and beyond the lake.

    It’s best if you can muster waking up before sunrise and experience the first light in the mountain tops and the lake. It’s also better to start early to get a spot in the parking lot. A lot of visitors gather around the hike during the sunrise, however, most of them are photographers who typically leave after the light is gone.

    Plan your stay in Sexten or Dobbiaco for the best experience.

  4. Lago di Sorapis

    The difficulty of this day hike is easily compensated by the turquoise lake surrounded by the mountain tops. The patch of green around the lakes in spring and white snow in winter make it one of the most mesmerizing day hikes in the Dolomites.Moreover, as it’s a relatively challenging hike with 14km of walking distance and 460m elevation, not many day hikers can complete it. It also is not suitable for travelers who fear heights.

    You would start from Passo Tre Croci and end back up there after a 5-6 hour hike. We advise you to stay in Sexten or Dobbiaco for the best experience.

Weather Information

The summer months from mid-July through September are the best time to visit the Dolomites for hiking, adventure tours, and family trips. Although the temperature may reach around 27 C in the mid-summer, the pleasant breeze of the Dolomites will surely be able to refresh you. You’ll also be able to enjoy 7-8 hours of sunlight during summer.

During the fall, mostly October, the Dolomite starts losing its warmth and the minimum temperature starts heading towards single digits. But, it still is a great time to visit the Dolomites for a late summer hike.

The winter is quite harsh in the Dolomites for trekking. The mountains and valleys get covered in snow as the temperature reaches the freezing point. However, if you still want to go hiking in the Dolomites in winter, many huts stay open during this time.

Spring brings the warmer days back with lots of rain. Although a botheration, rain is welcomed in the mountains for it being able to clear the skies and grow flowers and plants. However, you may not be able to hike for long as the sunlight gets scarce in winter.

Let’s look at the month’s average temperatures in the Dolomites:

Month Avg. High Temperature (C) Avg. Low Temperature (C) Daylight / Day
January 6 -5 9
February 9 -2 10
March 15 2 12
April 19 5 13.5
May 23 9 15
June 27 13 15.75
July 29 15 15.5
August 28 15 14
September 25 11 12.5
October 19 6 11
November 11 0 9.5
December 7 -4 8.75

Clothing Information

  • Take fast-drying, convertible trousers.
  • Wicking shirts that dry-out fast are suitable for this hike.
  • Avoid cotton clothes during hikes, but bring leggings and t-shirts to wear in the hut.
  • Wear two pairs of socks. One wicking pair on the outside, and one woollen pair inside to prevent forming blisters.
  • Take waterproof jackets.
  • Get a pair of good-quality gloves.
  • Hiking boots are a must. If the shoes are now, consider making sure that they don’t give your blisters.
  • Flip-flops for the hotels and huts.

Hiking Tools Information

  • Water Bottle or Hydration pouch
  • Sleeping bag
  • Towels
  • First aid kit (small compact ones)
  • Sunscreen
  • Power bank, chargers
  • Guide maps and books
  • Walking poles


Hopefully, you’ll now be able to keep up with the planning for hiking the Dolomites. The landscape is diverse in the Dolomites with glacial hills and valleys every step of your way. We also have enlisted a few day hikes and overnight treks to encourage you to start the planning. Consider avoiding the winter and spring when hiking the Dolomites, but bring yourself back to the ranges every summer to experience a new hiking trail. Moreover, fall back on the clothing and tool recommendations for more lighter and effective hiking.





Related Videos about Hiking the Dolomites :




Hiking the Dolomites

hiking the dolomites hut to hut, hiking the dolomites on a budget, dolomites hiking multi day, hiking the dolomites blog, hiking the dolomites in september, dolomites hiking tours, hiking the dolomites in may,