The Dolomites are one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world with scenery unlike anywhere else. The stunning limestone cliffs are geologically unique.
Across the landscape, and at elevations, rifugios offer warm and convenient refuge for hikers and travelers. With Tyrolean mountain , breathtaking scenery, and regional cuisine, the Dolomites make for an unforgettable hiking or traveling experience.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE DOLOMITES
The infrastructure for getting into the mountains and accessing a vast network of trails and rifugios is outstanding, with well-developed roads through the mountains, as well as gondolas that go bottom to the alpine in a matter of minutes. For this reason, hiking in the Dolomites . It is very common toup with friends and family during a hike or meal at a rifugio.
The Dolomites are a great place to visit for any level of hiker or traveler, whether day-hiking, sightseeing, or hiking from rifugio to rifugio over the span of many days. The Dolomites are perhaps one of the most accessible international destinations for traveling for the purposes of outdoor adventure and hiking.
The trails themselves range from being well-maintained and traveled to being moderately technical, some even requiring the use of technical climbing gear known as “Via-Ferrata” gear. Generally, it is best to it these without special knowledge.
It is important to note that the Dolomites are relatively high in altitude. While the towns bottoms are at 3000-4000 feet, the trails often travel well above 7000-8000 feet. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the effects of altitude by acclimating gradually, staying hydrated, and using adequate sun protection.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO HIKE:
The best times to hike in the Dolomites are generally late-June to early September. Depending on the severity of the previous winter, the trails should be clear of snow, and the weather is warmer and days longer.
In the summer, especially during the warmest months of July and August, common in the afternoons in the mountains. While hazardous, meaning as long as you check the weather the morning of, and are off mountain peaks when the are building, they are relatively easy.
The fall is also popular for hiking, as it tends to be quieter for tourism, and the weather is great for photography and sightseeing. Many locals I met also recommended visiting in the winter. Though hiking opportunities are limited, there are many ski resorts in the area; in fact Cortina D’ampezzo will be the host city for the winter.
Most trips to the Dolomites start by flying into Venice or Milan, then traveling northwards into the mountains via a short bus ride, arranging transport, or renting a car. Before traveling or arranging a hiking tour, it is important to choose what town to base yourself in: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Bolzano, Trento, and Merano are the main hubs with the most tourist infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants, and trailheads nearby.
Once in the Dolomites region, many travelers will choose to stay in the towns listed above while embarking on day trips nearby. Most hikes are just a short drive outside of town, and oftentimes there are also gondolas that allow for quick and easy access to scenic vistas, alpine trails, and rifugios in the most spectacular settings.
It is commonplace for locals to ride gondolas into the alpine to access trails or have a meal at a mountaintop rifugio, and then hike back into town for dinner. Local transit is often quite good, but it can be helpful to rent a car or book a guided tour to maximize your time on the trails and take of local knowledge.
Lately, it is becoming an increasingly popular option to rent a campervan to travel through the Dolomites while staying in regional campgrounds.