About the Author: “Ciao! I’m Summer Rae and you can find me either out in nature hiking or searching for my next adrenaline rush, reading my favorite book, or writing about my travels. I currently live in Northern Italy! You can read all about my life/travels on my blog Outside This Small Town at outsidethissmalltown.com or view my life through photos at instagram.com/
In the Italian Dolomites, you’ll find the famous three peaks known in Italy as Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Surrounding the three peaks of Lavaredo lie some of the most famous hiking trails in the Dolomites. My favorite 6-mile loop that I’m recommending below encircles this structure and provides epic views of not only the peaks themselves, but also panoramic views of the surrounding Dolomites.
To provide a bit of background, the Dolomites are located in Northern Italy, and are often referred to as the “pale mountains”, taking their name from the carbonate rock dolomite. This region is widely popular for its winter and summer sports. In the winter, you can find a variety of sports including, but not limited to, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. In the summer, you can find hiking, mountain biking, cycling, paragliding, and more.
To date, the trail described below is one of my favorite hiking trails and destinations in the Dolomites. It feels as if you’re on another planet and the views are tough to beat. In the summer, the flowers bloom and the grass turns a luscious green in stark contrast to the pale gray of the Dolomite rock and the patches of snow still left over from the cold winter.
Traveling by car or bus is easy, and you’ll find plenty of parking at Rifugio Auronzo. The Tre Cime Natural Park was a declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2009. To drive up to Rifugio Auronzo, you will have to pay a hefty entrance fee to the Natural Park of 30 euros per car, but it’s absolutely worth it! Many hiking trails in the Dolomites (and all over Italy) have huts along the way referred to as rifugios. They are often places to board for the night, but also serve as a great spot to grab lunch, snack, or dinner. There are many along the Tre Cime hiking loop during the summer and winter season. They make for the perfect resting point to refuel and grab a drink while enjoying the views. Just be sure to check their websites to confirm opening times (otherwise, I’d recommend carrying snacks/picnic).
In July and August, it can get pretty crowded with tourists, so my advice is to visit in the off season or slightly before the opening season – like June or September. The weather can often be unpredictable so make sure you are prepared with the appropriate gear. Case in point: I visited in June and when I left my home it was 80 degrees and shortly after arriving at Tre Cime, it dropped to low 40’s. Rain moved in quickly in the afternoon and it started snowing. Luckily, we were able to take shelter in the huts until the worst of it passed, but it helps to be prepared!
The trail is an easy to moderate one, with only a few incline sections, but otherwise a great hike! My dog loved joining us (until it started raining, that is). The entire loop will take an average of just above 3 hours, including stopping time for lunch at any of the huts – we chose Malga Langalm.
If you’re looking for an incredible hike in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, Tre Cime di Lavaredo is not to be missed!
Trail Specifics: Follow trails 101 to 105 for just under a 6-mile loop hike!