After a brief bus transfer from Dobbiaco, your adventure begins at Lago di Braies — a stunning alpine lake tucked between steep rock faces and towering peaks in the northern part of the Dolomites. You can admire the surroundings while ascending toward the Forcella Sora Forno mountain pass.
Depending on availability and preference, you can stay the night at Rifugio Bella or continue until you reach Rifugio Sennes beside the Senessee lake upon a gently downwards-sloping path.
9 km and 1000 m elevation gain
The day begins with a descent towards Rifugio Pederu where a military camp used to stand during WW1. On your way, you will cross a lively mountain stream. Afterward, the path gradually ascends through a valley enclosed by the surrounding mountain peaks.
Upon reaching an elevated plateau above 2000 meters of elevation, you will soon be at your destination for the night, be it Rifugio Fanes or Rifugio Lavarella. They lie close to each other, near picturesque alpine lakes.
10 km and 750 m elevation gain
The first ascent of the day to the striking Lago di Limo will be enough to warm you up for the remainder of today’s journey. Following a relatively flat path across rocky terrain, you will eventually climb more steeply toward the Forcella di Lago mountain pass.
A treacherous descent follows, meaning you have to be sure-footed. After that, you will gradually ascend across an upsloping rocky plateau and reach Rifugio Lagazuoi, perched on top of a ridge at 2750 meters of elevation overlooking the Falzarego pass.
12.5 km and 1300 m elevation gain
Leaving the route’s highest point, you will descend across a landscape marked by WW1 combats. Passing tunnels and former warehouses, the path takes you below the commanding Tofana di Rozes mountain peak toward the Falzarego pass.
The pass connects to Cortina d’Ampezzo to the east. You will strike straight towards the south, though, and follow a forest path past the fascinating rock towers of Cinque Torri until you reach Rifugio Nuvolau. Boasting a spectacular view from its ridge, it allows you to see the peaks across the valley of Cortina.
9 km and 760 m elevation gain
Retracing yesterday’s steps along the ridge, you will find your way below it, crossing the scenic Passo Giau and its alpine meadows where cattle are grazing.
You will continue upon an up-and-down path, surrounded by green meadows and an open view of the mountain tops. High above them all, the grandiose Monte Pelmo looms with its two peaks, and you will spend the night in its shadow at Rifugio Citta di Fiume.
15 km and 780 m elevation gain
Beginning with a descent to Passo Staulanza, the day gets more demanding with a climb to the Forcella Coldai mountain pass.
After that, you will traverse beneath the mighty Monte Civetta, one of the Dolomites’ symbols. Slowly descending beneath the mark of 1800 meters of elevation, you will reach Rifugio Vazzoler among the pine trees.
18 km and 1100 m elevation gain
Today’s stage is slightly shorter than some of the last ones, and it begins with a 300-meter descent before climbing to the Forcella del Camp mountain pass on the southern side of the Civetta massif.
Steep rockfaces will keep you company from above as you follow the trail past Rifugio Carestiato to Rifugio Passo Duran.
11.5 km and 900 m elevation gain
Southbound, you will initially follow the road but not for long. As you climb over the first ridge, a new valley will open up before you and uncover the traversing path beneath the Tamer Grande mountain peak.
As kilometers pass, you will feel like you are entering a new world with grassy ridges all around you. Crossing Cima de Zita calls for some added caution, but following that climb, you only have to descend to Rifugio Pian de Fontana through a funnel-shaped landscape.
16 km and 1300 elevation gain
On your last day, you only need to descend to La Stanga in Val Cordevole, where you can catch a bus to Belluno. The path is not demanding as you will avoid the via ferrata section across the Schiara massif.
11 km and 600 m elevation gain
The Alta Via 1 trail that passes through the Dolomites showcases Italy’s most beautiful mountain scenery. The landscape is known for its abnormal natural beauty and somewhat dark history. Many scenic places, such as the Falzarego mountain pass, bear the scars of World War I battles.
Unlike its sister, Alta Via 2, it is appropriate for every regular hiker, overcoming 120 kilometers and 6700 meters of elevation across nine stages. From its beginning at Lago di Braies to its conclusion in La Stanga, Alta Via 1 feels like an experience that transcends everything you thought was possible.
From the scenic alpine meadows at Passo Giau to the redoubtable face of Monte Civetta and rock-formed towers of Cinque Torri, a hiker can be afraid to blink lest they miss something.
On Alta Via 1, hikers often walk well away from civilization, meaning your only chance of experiencing the trail as you should, is by sleeping in the mountain huts along the way. Or, as Italians call them, ‘rifugios‘.
An authentic mountain lodge high up in the Alps with homemade Italian dishes and enough comfort for a good night’s sleep — what more could a tired trekker seek?
Our Alta Via 1 hut-to-hut tour includes all rifugio bookings, and we equip you with a precise GPS track of the planned route. You will not miss any landmarks either, as our written guide with the itinerary includes a highlights section for every day.
Reinhold Messner once said that every mountain in the Dolomites is like a piece of art. And to say he saw many is an understatement. Is that really something you can afford to miss during your lifetime?
Hiking in the Alps is typically possible from mid-June to late September, depending on the snow conditions at high elevations. Many hiking routes cross mountain passes that are located above 2000 meters, so it is important to check the current conditions if you plan to visit in early summer.
Keep in mind that the huts along these routes close for the season outside of this time frame, so it is not possible to plan multi-day tours outside of these months.
Read more about the hiking season on the Alta Via 1.
We have rated our tours on a difficulty scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most challenging. The difficulty level of a tour indicates how fit you need to be and how much hiking is required. All of our Alta Via 1 tours are suitable for people who are regularly active and can hike for about six to eight hours per day.
In addition to the physical demands of the hike, there is also a technical difficulty level to consider. This refers to the skill level required to navigate the path. A level 1 trail is smooth and wide, like a gravel road, while a level 5 trail is uneven and exposed, requiring the use of your hands for balance. Essentially, the higher the technical difficulty level, the more surefooted and skilled in scrambling you need to be.
We recommend booking your tour as soon as possible to secure a spot, as accommodations along the trail tend to fill up quickly. This will help you ensure that you have a place to stay during your trip.
In the event of an injury, it is best to call local emergency services. While you may be in a remote area and unable to continue without further exacerbating your injury, it is important to remember that you will be hiking along popular trails and will not be completely stranded.
However, if you are feeling too tired to continue hiking, you can choose to reroute towards the nearest town along the trail and find public transportation there. Although Alta Via 1 does not pass directly through any large towns, it does pass close to some of them.
Most of the huts along our hut-to-hut hikes are equipped with showers, but their availability may depend on recent rainfall. Keep in mind that mountain huts are not luxurious hotels, so don’t expect the same level of amenities. However, they do offer a comfortable and convenient place to rest after a day of hiking.
Read more about the mountain huts in the Dolomites.
No. The huts provide blankets and pillows for comfort, but it is a good idea to bring your own sleeping liner to reduce the need for the huts to wash their bed linens every day. If you don’t, you might need to buy one on the spot.
Cell phone reception in the mountains can be unreliable. You may be able to get a signal if you can see a town or if you are near a mountain hut. Even if you cannot get a signal inside the hut, you may be able to get one by stepping outside. Wi-fi is not widely available in the mountains, and is only offered at select lodges.
If you dress appropriately, you can typically complete most stages of the hike even in light rain. However, if a storm is forecasted, it is important to not hike and to wait until the storm passes, even if that means spending an additional day at the hut. This is for your own safety.
Most accommodations offer vegetarian meal options, although vegan options may be more difficult to find in huts. However, we will let you know in advance if there are any vegan options available so that you can plan accordingly.
In addition to the essential items such as hiking shoes, a backpack, and sports clothes, there are several other important items you should pack for your hut-to-hut hiking tour.
Check out our comprehensive list of recommended equipment.
While we do not require you to have insurance before booking, we strongly recommend that you do. Look into joining the Italian Alpine Club, which might provide coverage in the event of any unexpected incidents during your hike.
Mountain huts may not be luxurious, but they are cozy and comfortable, offering warm beds, delicious meals, and toilets. You can choose between private rooms and dormitories, but it is important to book in advance if you want to avoid sharing a room with other people. Keep in mind that huts are popular and can fill up quickly, so it is best to plan ahead to secure your preferred accommodation.
You can read all about the comfort of rifugios here.
As long as children are physically prepared for long hiking days and are sure-footed, they should not have any problems participating in the tour. We recommend that children be at least eight years old in order to ensure their safety and enjoyment of the experience.
None of the stages offer any shortcuts if you want to get to the end of your hike. If you get too tired, you can conclude your hike sooner at one of the road-equipped mountain passes or head for the nearest town.
There are several ways to get to the Dolomites. If you are flying to Europe, you can then combine your flight with a bus, train, or car ride.
You can read more about it on our subpage.
Alta Via 1 is the least technically challenging hut-to-hut hiking route in the Dolomites. However, its most demanding parts can be compared to The Walker’s Haute Route.
As a long-distance route, it includes anywhere between five and eight hours of hiking per day across uneven terrain with a significant elevation gain for nine consecutive days. Any regular hiker should be able to do it, but you should not come unprepared.
Read more about the technical and physical difficulties of Alta Via 1.
There are great train and bus connections to Cortina d’Ampezzo from most nearby airports. From Cortina, you can travel to Dobiacco and catch a bus to Lago di Braies where you start your hike.
You can finish your hike at the La Pissa bus stop or La Stanga. A bus will then take you to Belluno, from where there are great connections to the nearby airports.
You can read more extensively about it here.