Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is an excellent day in the Dolomites with stunning views of jagged limestone peaks, top quality rifugios and awesome photo opportunities. Here’s everything you need to know.

In the south-east corner of the Alps, the Italian Dolomites beckon hikers with jagged peaks, vertiginous slopes and high alpine meadows.

In terms of iconic Dolomites scenery, Tre Cime di Lavaredo is up there with the beautiful emerald gem of Lago di Braies. Beyond the inviting paths and massive sandstone monoliths which give Tre Cime its name, hundreds of rocky peaks, framed by lush green valleys, dot the horizon.

The scenery is mesmerising.

The best way to explore this remarkable landscape is to grab your favourite hiking boots and walk the 10.3 kilometre Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop. It’s an easy to follow trail across high rocky ledges, verdant alpine meadows and panoramic mountain vistas. It’s one of our favourite hikes in the Dolomites.

To cap it off, Tre Cime has rifugios in panoramic positions where you can enjoy a well-deserved beer, hearty Italian/Austrian food and breath in the fresh alpine air.

Here’s what you need to know.

TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO HIKE SUMMARY


SUMMARY A circular hike around 3 iconic peaks in the Italian Dolomites

DISTANCE 10.3 kilometre round trip

TIME 3 hours, 20 minutes

ELEVATION 400 metres (+/-)

DIFFICULTY Easy to Medium

BEST TIME Late July or Early September

/ JUMP AHEAD
TRAIL CONDITIONS AT TRE CIME
HIKING ROUTE
TRE CIME MAP
WHEN TO GO
GETTING TO RIFUGIO AURONZO
WHERE TO STAY
WHAT TO TAKE

BREATHTAKING VIEWS ON THE TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO LOOP

As soon as we set off from the car park at Rifugio Auronzo, an endless array of jagged peaks stretched across the horizon. We followed the well-maintained trail as it curved along the base of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. But the three towers, foreshortened by proximity, were saving their majesty for a little later.

We passed a small chapel and a cross – slightly off the path – with views across the valley before we dropped down to Rifugio Lavaredo. Being a little too early to stop, we proceeded up to the ridge at Forcella Lavaredo where we were thoroughly gobsmacked with the phenomenal view in front of us.

Hundreds of jagged peaks in a variety of twisted shapes lined the horizon like a crumbling forest of rocky skyscrapers. To our left, light reflecting off the massive sandstone monoliths of Tre Cime di Lavaredo made the scene glow with an ethereal enchantment.

The trail gently dropped below the summits of Croda Passaporto and Monte Paterno to Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte) which has an enviable position in front of Tre Cime’s three towers. It’s the iconic image of the Dolomites and the ideal place for lunch.

After Rifugio Locatelli, the trail dropped, rose again and followed a narrow rocky ledge. A deep drop on one side provided panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, while the other side clings to the base of the three towers. It was a spectacular part of the walk.

Soon we came to Malga Langalm. We grabbed a beer in the sun and found Sorgenti del Rienza; an idyllic location with Tre Cime reflected in a small lake. From here the trail rose to Forcella Col di Mezzo ridge where a high alpine grassy meadow transformed the scenery to a winding picturesque trail dotted with alpine flowers.

TRAIL CONDITIONS FOR HIKING TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO LOOP

From Rifugio Auronzo car park, the trail can be completed in either direction, but we recommend walking anti-clockwise keeping Tre Cime di Lavaredo on your left. The views are better.

The path around Tre Cime is straight-forward – although rocky in places – and easy to follow. A number of different trails traverse the area, so pay attention to the signs to make sure you stay on the correct path. Our detailed route description is below.

The Tre Cime towers should always be on your left-hand side, so it will quickly become clear if you go wrong.

The 10.3-kilometre loop has 400 metres of ascent/descent with a nice mix of uphill and downhill sections. There are no particularly tricky places and no special equipment is needed.

The most challenging section is the drop from Rifugio Locatelli down the valley and back up the other side. But it is not too difficult and anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should have no problem.

If you need a rest there a many great rifugios in which to recharge.

ROUTE FOR HIKING TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO LOOP

The trail begins at the car park at Rifugio Auronzo. Follow the wide gravel track (path 101) that starts from the car park and heads east past the rifugio. Keep the three towers on the left. The path gently descends to a wayside chapel and then to Rifugio Lavaredo.

A number of paths meet here but turn left and remain on path 101 to ascend to the Forcella Lavaredo ridge for a great view. Keep following the wide track (101) as it drops down the other side, passing under the peaks of Croda Passaporto and Monte Paterno. Then continue on the short climb up to Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte).

Leaving Rifugio Locatelli – via the church tucked behind it – take path 102 which makes a small clockwise loop before zigzagging down the rocky valley. This is the steepest and hardest part of the walk but it’s not too difficult.

Upon reaching a junction of trails, take path 105 heading south-west rising up the other side of the valley, past Malga Langalm and up to Forcella col di Mezzo ridge. Follow path 105 as it bends around Tre Cime and drops gently back to the car park.

The paths are well signposted and clearly shown on Google Maps.

TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO HIKE DISTANCES


RIFUGIO AURONZO TO RIFUGIOO LAVAREDO

30 minutes | 1.7km

RIFUGIOO LAVAREDO TO FORCELLA LAVAREDO

15 minutes | 0.6km

FORCELLA LAVAREDO TO RIFUGIO LOCATELLI

45 minutes | 2.2km

RIFUGIO LOCATELLI TO MALGA LANGALM

1 hour | 3.2km

MALGA LANGALM TO RIFUGIOO AURONZO

1 hour | 3.2km

HIKING TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO MAP

Although the paths are well marked and clear, it’s a long walk and the cloud can come in quickly so take a map. A handy book to take with you is Shorter Walks in the Dolomites which has good maps and details of Tre Cime and other great walks in the area.

To save this map, click on the star the right of the title – this will download it to your saved maps in Google maps so you can have the route with you on the walk.

WHEN TO HIKE TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

The best time to hike the Tre Cime loop is late July or early September. Any snow will have gone, the crowds will be a bit lower and the cable cars and rifugios in the region will still be running.

Generally, the hiking season in the Dolomites roughly runs from late May to early October depending on the weather conditions and the height of the walks you want to undertake. The best weather is in the summer months, but August is also the busiest time and this is a popular walk.

Many cable cars and rifugios in the Dolomites only open from mid-June to end of September, with only a few remaining open until early October.

The views at Tre Cime are great at all times of the day, but make sure you leave early enough so you don’t have to rush and in peak season it will help you beat the crowds.

TRAIL HEAD – GETTING TO RIFUGIO AURONZO

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike begins from Rifugio Auronzo which is 23 kilometres from Cortina d’Ampezzo (40 minutes’ drive) and 23 kilometres from Dobbiaco (35 minute’s drive).

BY CAR – RIFUGIO AURONZO PARKING

Access to the car park at Rifugio Auronzo is via the 7-kilometre (very scenic) toll road that leaves the SP49 near Misurina, northeast of Cortina.

The toll gate is just past Lago d’Antorno.

Entrance to the parking is from 8am to 5pm but you can exit at any time. The charge is €30 per day (€45 for campervans). The Rifugio Auronzo parking has quite a few spaces but it can get busy so it’s a good idea to arrive early.

To Rifugio Auronzo toll road and parking is open from the end of May until the end of October.

RIFUGIO AURONZO BY BUS

To get to the car park at Rifugio Auronzo from Cortina you have a choice of taking the 445 and changing onto the 444 or the 030 and changing onto the 031. Both routes take about 90 minutes, cost €15 and run regularly from June to mid-October.

Alternatively, if you are coming from Dobbiaco, there is a shuttle bus (444) shuttle bus which takes 45 minutes.

WHERE TO STAY TO HIKE TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

The best place to stay to do the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is Cortina, which is 23 kilometres from Rifugio Auronzo. It’s a charming town with a good range of facilities and public transport connections.

Parking in town is not that easy. So its a good idea to select centrally located accommodation with parking so you can easily walk into town in the evening.

The other option is to stay in Dobbiaco which has a little less going on than Cortina, but it does have a more direct shuttle bus to the trail head at Rifugio Auronzo.

BOOKING YOUR TRIP If you book your trip via our hotel links we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps keep Anywhere We Roam on the road. All our travel resources are on our book page. Thanks for your support – Paul & Mark.

CORTINA

AL LARIN HOTEL

Simple but clean, this budget hotel is just one mile north of the town centre. It’s an easy walk-in or a quick ride on the bus that stops outside.

CORTINA

CRISTALLO RESORT AND SPA

Just 5 minutes walk to the centre. this was the first luxury hotel in town. It has an indoor pool, sumptuous spa and all the trimmings you would expect.

DOBBIACO

HOTEL ROSEGARTEN

Family run property in the centre of Dobbiaco, Hotel Rosegarten has a traditional restaurant, excellent views and breakfast for champions.

TRAVELLING TO THE DOLOMITES

The Dolomites is a large mountain range in northeastern Italy. As a popular location for both skiing and summer hiking, there are plenty of good options for getting to the Dolomites. 

BY AIR

The Dolomites is serviced by several international airports. Venice and Innsbruck are closest to Cortina. However, driving from any of the airports is straightforward and beautiful, so it’s best to check the prices and times from your home airport.  

MAIN AIRPORTS SERVICING THE DOLOMITES

(DRIVING DISTANCES TO CORTINA)

CANOVA DI TREVISO

136 kilometres | 1 hour 45 minutes

VENICE MARCO POLO

148 kilometres | 1 hour 50 minutes

INNSBRUCK

164 kilometres | 2 hours 10 minutes

KLAGENFURT

 228 kilometres | 2 hours 45 minutes

VERONA

265 kilometres | 2 hours 55 minutes

BY TRAIN

Unless you are already in Italy, getting to the Dolomites via train is unlikely to be a good option. The major train stations are no closer than the airports.

However, if you are arriving from Italy the train station at Calalzo di Cadore is 35 kilometres to the south of Cortina. Dobbiacco has its own train station.

WHAT TO TAKE ON THE TRE CIME LOOP

1 / The Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is a medium length walk and the path is sometimes rocky, so decent hiking boots are best. We use something like these. If you go with trainers make sure they’re pretty sturdy at least. Hiking poles can also help to bypass some of the strain from your legs to your arms.

2 / The hike is well marked and pretty straightforward, but if you’re anything like us, a physical map is nice to have. The on you need for Tre Cime is the Cortina Tobacco Map.

3 / There are plenty of refreshments on route with rifugios well placed along the route. All of them sell food and drink, but we recommend lunch at Rifugio Locatelli for their hearty dishes with great views. In any case, Carry plenty of energy replenishing snacks and a water filter bottle. If you’re up for making life a bit easier we highly recommend a hydration bag like this one.

4 / Weather conditions on the walk can change dramatically. Always take a waterproof and some warm clothes. Every 1,000m you rise the temperature drops about 5 degrees and if the clouds come over and the wind picks up it can get cold quickly. Similarly, clouds can clear quickly. Even if it looks overcast before you set off, the sun could be shining in no time. So pack a hat and/or sunscreen.

5 / If you want to up your photography game, we highly recommend investing in good quality ND Filters, they’ll really make your images pop. To use the filters, you’ll need a decent tripod, the Ultralight SIrui is the best we’ve come across.

MORE READING FOR YOUR DOLOMITES TRIP

The Dolomites is an area we love going back to. With exception hiking, dramatic scenery and a blend of Austrian and Italian culture it’s one of our favourite destinations in the Alps. Here’s some more reading to help plan your Dolomites road trip itinerary.

See the best of the Italian Dolomites on a one-week Road Trip Itinerary

Breath-taking Dolomites views hiking the Sassolungo–Langkofel circuit

How to hike to the turquoise waters of Lago di Sorapis

10 breath-taking reasons to visit the Italian Alps

9 Great Hikes in the Dolomites – Easy strolls to exhilarating hikes

How to visit beautiful Val di Funes (Villnöss)


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