Hiking around the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif is not easy. But the superb, constantly changing views and excellent rifugios made it one of our favourite walks. Here’s all you need to know.


The Dolomites, in northern Italy, may not be as high as other regions of the Alps, but they are no less spectacular. Everywhere you look near vertical rocky peaks tower over green meadows swaying in the breeze. It is this dramatic contrast between inhospitable mountains and gentle fields that makes the area so visually stunning. And nowhere is this contrast more emphatic than around the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif.

Here, towering spires of rock rise out of the gentle grasses of the highest large Alpine meadow in Europe. Beyond grazing cows, spectacular views open up across the endless mountain ranges that make the Dolomites one of our favourite destinations.

A great way to explore the area is to circumnavigate the entire Sassolungo – Langkofel massif on foot. It’s a challenging, 17.6km circuit but, with constantly changing views and a few perfectly placed rifugios, it’s an excellent day hike.

If you feel up to the challenge, here are all the details.

HIKING THE SASSOLUNGO - LANGKOFEL CIRCUIT


SUMMARY / A challenging, circular day hike with constantly changing stunning scenery

DISTANCE / 17.6km circuit

TIME / 6 hours

ELEVATION / 1000 metre ascent and 1000 metre descent

DIFFICULTY / Medium – Hard

HIKERS / Mark & Paul

EARLY CAPTIVATION ON THE SASSOLUNGO – LANGKOFEL CIRCUIT

We set off early for our hike and shortly after leaving the Passo Sella car park, the magnificent sight of the Sassolungo massif rose dramatically before us. Three sharp peaks of grey rock protruded out of the green meadows and rose inexorably into the skies. They were in order: Sasso Piatto (Platkofel in German) on the left; Punta Grohman (Grohmansptize) in the middle; and Sassolungo (Langkofel) on the right.

Half an hour after leaving, we reached Friedrich August Hutte – one of the most idyllic mountain rifugios. The aroma of freshly baked donuts and coffee wafted in the air. Reclining chairs facing Marmolada (the highest mountain in the Dolomites) beckoned us to sit and soak in the views. It seemed too soon to stop, then again it seem ridiculous not too.

After our early coffee, the path slowly climbed around the contour of the Sasso Piatto peak. Cool mountain air blasted our faces, until the next turn provided shelter and brilliant sun. We passed cyclists carrying their bikes over sections too rocky to cycle, shaking our heads at their audacity.

Before too long, the undulating rocky path led us to the highest point on the Sassolungo – Langkofel circuit, rifugio Sasso Piatto. Shortly after leaving the refugio, the path veered right to deliver one of the best views of the hike, Alpe di Suisi (Seiser Alm). The largest high-altitude Alpine meadow in Europe, backed by the rugged peaks of Catinaccio and the anvil of rock of Sciliar massif, was a breath-taking sight.

ASCENDING TO RIFUGIO VICENZA AND HOMEWARD BOUND

Hugging the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif on our right, we spent 45 minutes passing in and out of pine forests. To the left, the gentle sloping meadows of Alpe di Suisi glowed in front of the jagged spires of the Puez-Odel massif. We sat on a wooden fence, with a cow keeping us company and admired the scene.

Continuing on, we took the steep detour up to Rifugio Vicenza – 300 m above us. As we ascended the gravel track, the scene changed from Alpine meadows to inhospitable rock face. The rifugio, surrounded by cliffs on 3 sides, has a bird’s eye view over layers of vertical rock and weary walkers making their way up the path below.

Feeling recharged we headed back down and continued the contour around the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif. Soon the views changed again and as we approached Rifugio Comici, the Sella massif peaked into view. This is a colossal block of stone. With only an hour of downhill walking to go, we grabbed a beer, pulled up a deck chair in front of Sella and celebrated a challenging but extremely rewarding hike.

TRAIL CONDITIONS OF THE SASSOLUNGO – LANGKOFEL CIRCUIT

Since the trail is a circuit you could walk either way round. However, we recommend hiking clockwise as the views are better and the hiking a little easier. The route described above begins at the Passo Sella car park (€5).

You could also take the cable car up from Selva to Campioni and complete the circuit from there. But keep in mine that this would add an additional 2 km to the hike.

The path around the massif is easy to follow at all times, however, a number of different trails traverse the area. Pay attention to the signs to make sure you stay on the correct path (see below). Since the massif should always be tight on your right-hand side it will quickly become clear if you go wrong.

Although the ascent/descent is 1000 m, there are no particularly tricky sections and no special equipment is needed. At 17.6 km, the Sassolungo – Langkofel hike is a bit of a slog. But with many rifugios available to rest, and a nice mix of uphill and downhill sections, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should have no problem.

The most challenging section is the steep climb up to Rifugio Vicenza which can be skipped if needed.

RELATED / HIKING TRE CIME

ROUTE FOR HIKING SASSOLUNGO

Leave the Passo Sella car park on PATH 557 – often called the Friedrich August Weg – which passes Friedrich August Hutte on the way to Rifugio Sasso Piatto.

At Rifugio Sasso Piatto take PATH 527 which passes through a gate then descends before turning right. (Do not take the path that rises up over the mountain).

The path follows the contour of the massif, drops and then comes to a crossroads at the gap between Sasso Piatto and Sassolungo mountains.

You can continue straight ahead around the massif on PATH 526, but we suggest you make the 300m climb up to Rifugio Vicenza and the rocky heart of the mountain before descending back to the path.

Once you are back down after the detour to Rifugio Vicenza, follow PATH 526 past Rifugio Comici and back to the car park at Passo Sella.

It takes about 6 hours walking time to complete the circuit. But allow for 8 hours, taking plenty of breaks and a leisurely lunch.


HIKING SASSOLUNGO – LANGKOFEL / DURATIONS & RIFUGIOS

PASSO SELLA TO FRIEDRICH AUGUST HUTTE / 30 minutes | 1.8km

FRIEDRICH AUGUST HUTTE TO RIFUGIO SASSO PIATTO / 1 hour 20 minutes | 4.3km

RIFUGIO SASSO PIATTO TO RIFUGIO VICENZA / 1 hour 40 minutes | 4.6km

RIFUGIO VICENZA TO RIFUGIO COMICI / 1 hour 30 minutes | 4.2km

RIFUGIO COMICI TO PASSO SELLA / 1 hour | 2.7km


SASSOLUNGO – LANGKOFEL HIKING 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 (or hit the star on our map to download to your phone) and a compass. We suggest you purchase Shorter Walks in the Dolomites. It has good maps and details of this and other great walks in the area.

Click on the icon to the left of the title on the map. To save this map, click on the star the right of the title – this will download to: YOUR PLACES -> MAPS in Google.

WHAT TO TAKE ON THE HIKE

The Sassolungo – Langkofel circuit is a long walk and the 300m climb up to Rifugio Vicenza is rocky. Ideally proper hiking boots is what you want, however, there is nothing to stop you doing the walk with any shoes – as long as they have good grip.

Weather conditions on the walk can change dramatically. Make sure you take a waterproof and some warm clothes. Additionally, the walk is not in shade, so bring sunblock and a hat on hot days.

There are plenty of refreshments on route as all five of the rifugios serve food and drinks. Rifugio Friedrich August Hutte is a great place to stop for morning coffee. And if the weather is good, Rifugio Vicenza high in a crevasse, has spectacular great views and good food.

Make sure you have a water bottle to fill at the rifugios up as you go around or a hydration pack like this one.

Take a map and a compass.

Don’t forget your camera.

BEST TIME TO HIKE SASSOLUNGO

The hiking season in the Dolomites roughly runs from late April to October depending on the weather conditions. The best weather is in the summer months, but it is also the busiest time and this is a popular walk.

Another consideration is that cable cars in the region only open from mid-June to end of September.

We recommend hiking the Sassolungo – Langkofel circuit in late June / early July or September. The snow will have gone, the crowds will be a bit lower and the cable cars in the region will be running.

The views are great at all times of the day, but make sure you leave early enough so you don’t have to rush.

HOW TO GET TO THE SASSOLUNGO – LANGKOFEL HIKE

Sassolungo – Langkofel is in an area of the Italian Alps known as the Dolomites. It can be accessed via a number of airports: Innsbruck airport is a 2 hour drive, Verona airport 2 hours and 40 minutes and Venice airport 3 hours.

The trailhead is from the car park (€5) at Passo Sella, a 2,183m high pass on the SS242 road between Selva and Canazei. If you don’t have a car the 471 public bus runs from Selva to Passo Sella every 20 to 30 minutes.

Finally, you can take the cable car from Selva to Campioni and begin the walk from there. Please keep in mind, however, that this option will add another 2km to the walk.

WHERE TO STAY

The best place to stay to undertake the Sassolungo – Langkofel hike is Selva Val Gardena. It’s a cute village with good facilities and it’s about a 25-minute drive to the car park at Passo Sella. Additionally, there are good bus connections and the cable car runs up to Campioni. Check accommodation options in Selva Val Gardena.

Another option is Ortisei, a cute village set into the mountains with panoramic views all around. It’s about the same distance to Passo Sella. Check accommodation options in Ortisei.

WHERE NEXT?

The Dolomites is one of our favourite mountain destinations, it’s a great place for a road trip with some truly magnificent day hikes. Try the hike around the iconic peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo or the rough climb to the rocky buttresses of the Vajolet towers. Both of which are excellent.

All our hiking articles are in our On the Trail roam page.

HIKING THE ITALIAN DOLOMITEES

HIKING TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below – we will always reply. But before you go any further why not follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER and sign up to our monthly NEWSLETTER.

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Hiking the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif is a challenging but rewarding hike with superb, constantly changing views and excellent rifugios. Here's all the information you need for this classic walk in the Dolomites. #dolomites #hikingdolomites #hiking

Hiking the Sassolungo – Langkofel massif is a challenging but rewarding hike with superb, constantly changing views and excellent rifugios. Here's all the information you need for this classic walk in the Dolomites. #dolomites #hikingdolomites #hiking

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