There are few mountain ranges in the world as jaw-droppingly beautiful as the Dolomites. This dramatic mountain range is home to some of the best hiking in the world.
Its unique beauty combined with its extremely versatile terrain makes it a hot spot for hikers of all levels.
Famously known for dramatic, rocky cliffs peering down into vast mystic valleys and ancient villages, the dolomites take you back in time. It is a bucket list destination for hikers around the globe.
Planning Multi-Day Hike in the Dolomites
The first thing to consider is what time of year is best to hike in the Dolomites.
The good thing about the Dolomites is their temperate climate. Every season offers something different but you can hike at any time of the year other than the winter.
Summertime in the Dolomites offers a variety of other activities aside from hiking.
You can tackle mind-blowing mountain bike trails, staggering road cycling routes taking you over some of the most famous Italian passes, and all levels of rock climbing.
There is a network of trails allowing you to explore deep into the mountains. The huts in the mountains known as ‘rifugi’ are open throughout the summer.
You have options to do multi-day hikes amongst other things such as watching bike races and going to music festivals.
For those of you who prefer to hike in warmer temperatures and work on your tan, then the summer is your time of year to visit the Dolomites.
Autumn is famously one of the most beautiful seasons of the year.
With the crowds gone and the trees turning a soft golden colour, it is a perfect painting everywhere you look. The air is crisp and a perfect temperature for hiking.
The orientation of the sun casts dramatic light and shadows over the vastness of the mountains as far as the eye can see.
The sunrise offers a pink tint to the rugged rocks and the sunset paints the landscape with warm golden tones. You will witness some of the most beautiful views you’ve ever seen and get some of the best photographs you’ve ever taken.
Wintertime offers top drawer skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports.
With some of the best skiing & snowboarding in the world, you won’t be short of things to do if you head to the Dolomites this winter.
Having hosted the Winter Olympics in the past, the dolomites offer options for all levels from beginners to full-time professionals.
Due to the high snowfall, the hiking and biking trails close for the winter unless you decide to get a guide and hire snow hiking gear. This requires a high level of knowledge and expertise due to the dangers of avalanches and crevasses.
In the spring the snow starts to melt, the famous dolomite limestone is revealed and the wildlife starts to flourish once more as nature starts to sing its song.
Springtime is a great time to be in the Dolomites, you feel the first signs of warmth in the sun, the air abundant with new smells and sounds and the trails open again for hiking.
You are the early bird, guaranteed to catch the worm.
Catinaccio To The Sciliar
This heroic four-day hike starts in Nova Levante, situated in the Val d’Ega, which meanders through meadows to the famous Hirzelweg Trail.
This trail leads to the well documented Christomannos monument, something that does not disappoint. At this point, you get to spend the night in the beautiful Rigufio Roda di Vael.
On day two, undoubtedly with some fatigue in the legs and colour in the cheeks, you’ll climb to the Passo Cigolade where you get the savour the views, after which you’ll descend to the beautiful Rifugio Vajolet, at this spot you’ll nestle in for the second night.
Once settled in, you can hike up to the Passo Santner if you still have some energy leftover that you want to use up!
On day three you’ll begin by crossing the Passo Principe, after that you’ll stumble upon the Alpe di Tires and Rifugio Bolzano.
As fatigue takes hold you’ll tackle the final leg of the day by climbing up the Monte Petz, which opens up a mind-blowing view of the skyline revealing all the surrounding mountain peaks, making all of the hard work worth it.
On the last day, you’ll descend from the Sella Cavaccio to San Cipriano. The Valle Nigra trail will take you to the Passo Nigra and then bring you back to where you began.
This gorgeous 52-kilometre hike is challenging and requires solid fitness levels and sufficient alpine experience. The best months to tackle this epic are between June and October.
Dolomites World Heritage Geotrail II
This one is not for the faint-hearted! This hike takes you 176 kilometres from Bletterbach to the Sexten Dolomites over 10 days. This hiking trail was created to allow people to discover the fossil archipelago of the Dolomites World Heritage.
In 2009 the Dolomites was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the staggering beauty of its scenery, landscape, and its scientific value in geomorphology and geology.
It was for this reason that this particular hike was designed, intending to present the finest parts of the dolomites whilst combining it with incredible history and scientific value, it encompasses the ultimate hiking experience in the Dolomites.
The Dolomites World Heritage Geotrail takes in the whole Dolomites World Heritage Site in 47 different parts. 10 of these traverse the South Tyrolean Dolomites, passing through some of the most staggering and geologically profound mountain ranges in the Dolomites. This Geotrail is a mixture of endurance trails and educational beauty.
You can split each stage of the trail up as single-day excursions as there is always public transport that can take you back to where you started from.
The juxtaposition between beauty and struggle makes this hike unique, with its ultimate challenge being to complete it in 10 days. The best time of year to undertake this mammoth hike is between May and October.
The Alta Badia High Route
The Alta Badia High Route allows you to explore the Alta Badia tableland hiking through the jaw-dropping beauty of the Dolomites.
This particular route takes you through an array of breath-taking landscapes, winding through the natural parks Puez, Odle and Fanes, Senes, Braies, all UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as the impressive Sella Group.
The multi-day ring route hike, at an altitude difference of 5000 meters will last from four to six days depending on your fitness levels. You will hike from one mountain hut to another, always maintaining your altitude.
The total distance of this hike is 76 kilometres and is an intermediate level hike. The best time of the year for this hike is between June and October.
The Alta Via Route
The Dolomites are home to some of the world’s most breathtaking, challenging multi-day trails. The Alta Via is one of the most well known and classic treks of this famous comic book wonderland.
This hike takes 6 days and 5 nights, taking you through amazing mountain passes, caves, meandering valleys, meadows and more.
This route is ideal for people who want to fully immerse themselves in the beautiful Italian scenery. Alta itself is short and punchy and gives you a feel for what this amazing area has to offer.
This beautiful hike won’t just take you through some of Italy’s finest scenery but also give you a chance to interact with some of the local cultures.
The ideal time to undergo this epic is between June and October. The total distance of this hike is 120km but shorter versions are available if you are limited on time.
The Adolf Munkel Trail – Single Day Hike
Via Delle Odle is a hiking trail at the foot of the Geisler/Odle Group in Val di Funes, South Tyrol.
Dramatic, dynamic, versatile and simply mesmerizing, the Adolf Munkel Trail meanders its way through forest and mountain pastures, reaching a zenith at Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm and Rifugio Odle/Geisler Alm.
From these dream-like alpine views, the sawtooth Odle/Geisler peaks soar up into the atmosphere like icebergs in the sky. The Dolomites are famously full of mountains and glass-shaped shards from another world as if you’ve entered another dimension altogether.
A land far more epic than any mortal trodden land we know. Unexplainable in beauty, provoking emotion you didn’t know existed for something so vast.
While this hike is an ode to the Geisler Group, it’s also an opportunity to savour the alpine pasture culture of the Dolomites. There are three opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry along the route and we hope you indulge.
The Dolomites offer such a diverse range of hiking. It depends mainly on the time of year you want to hike and the level of skill and fitness you have.
No matter which trail you decide to do, you will not be disappointed. All of these trails offer staggering beauty that will leave you speechless.
Multi-day hikes naturally require a good level of endurance. If this is something you’re not sure of, there are plenty of single-day hikes or even half-day hikes to start with.
Some of the trails listed above have options of doing parts as a single-day excursion.
With hikes ranging from 50 kilometres to 200 kilometres, it’s worth doing your research and being honest with yourself about your fitness levels. Although these should be challenging, they should not put you at risk and the main goal is to enjoy it.
All of these hikes are available year-round apart from wintertime when the trails are closed.