Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the most unusual, popular, and just fantastic mountain range in the whole Dolomites. At the same time it a big Nature Park with the same name. You can hike it in three days with two overnight stays in mountain huts (rifugios), including the most popular trek of the park called Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop. I did it twice: in August 2013 and July 2017. Here’s all the basic information and advice.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park: Overview
Dates when rifugio open: from June 21 to September 21.
Start and finish: bus stop at rifugio Auronzo.
Type of route: circular.
Duration: 3 days with two overnight stays in the mountain huts (rifugios).
Total hiking distance: 36 km (10 km + 15 km + 11 km).
Altitude gain and drop: day 1: +100 m, day 2: -1000 m, + 600 m, day 3: + 800 m.
Level of difficulty: Loop — easy, Park — middle.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park: Why Hiking
Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the main and most recognizable symbol of the Dolomites, which can be seen on all postcards. The name translates as “Three peaks of Lavoredo” — the shape of the mountain massif is similar to three teeth. The highest point is 2999 meters.
The route is popular not only among hikers but also among climbers: there are climbing routes on the peaks and you can see little people climbing on one of the three peaks.
There is no need to walk far behind the beautiful views on Tre Cime di Lavaredo — it starts right from the bus stop, including the deep canyon at the back of the mountain range.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park: How to Get There and Come Back
Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the few mountains in the Dolomites, at the foot of which you can come by bus, at a height of 2500 meters. From here you can start immediately on the route.
During the summer season, there is a daily bus service from Belluno to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The operator is Dolomiti Bus — one of the two main bus companies in the Dolomites (public transportation). The journey time is about 3-4 hours, costs 70 euros for a round trip. On the way, there are two transfers: in the town of Calalzo di Cadore and at Lake Misurina before climbing the pass. To get out you will need to take the bus at 11 am. On the evening of the same day, you will be in Belluno.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park: Photos
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park: Where to Hike and Where to Stay
The bus arrives at the starting point in the afternoon. On the first evening, you can circle around Tre Cime and sleep in one of the three world famous mountain huts: Auronzo (near the bus stop), Lavaredo, or Locatelli. There’s just enough time to come to sunset. The last rifugio is further away than the others, but it offers the best view of the mountain. This mountain hut is of course the most popular — places should be booked in advance by phone or email on the site.
The next morning you can go hiking for all day and go down the Fiskalina Valley, 1548 meters, along one of the trails through rifugio Fendovalle, go around the neighboring mountain, Cima dei Tre Scarperi / Dreischusterspitze and climb back to rifugio Auronzo, 2320 meters, through rifugio Locatelli, looking out over the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Nature Park on the way.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park: Three Features of the Route
- Mountain huts in the Dolomites is usually closed for the night from 22:00. You can hardly see the starry sky. But next to rifugio Locatelli there is a small wooden house for 5—10 people where those who can’t find a place are accommodated. You can leave it at night or in the early morning. Alternatively, you can ask for it.
- The descent to the valley up to 1500 meters and the return to 2500 meters on the same day can be tiresome for unprepared hikers, like it happened to me in the first time. In addition, there will be another climb in the middle of the route — to the Innergsell mountain, 2085 meters, along a steep forest path. Take your time — you have the whole day ahead of you, use up your strength, and stay overnight in rifugio Tre Scarperi / Dreischusterhütte, 1635 meters. The hut has a large common room with 20—30 beds, most of which will be free. To catch the bus at 11 a.m., which leaves from Tre Cime di Lavoredo, it will take about 5 hours to get off.
- The best time for a hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is late August, when the weather is not so hot, but not yet very cold. There will be a full moon in the sky, and Tre Cime di Lavaredo will shine with all the colors of the rainbow. The sunrise should not be missed either — the sun paints one after another all the surrounding mountain peaks like a brush, fragment by fragment.
Cover photo: hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop and Tre Cime Nature Park in July, 2013 © Tatiana Kuznetsova.
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