NEW for 2017! Hiking in the Dolomiti di Brenta

Guided

from €1.890

Hike across lush valleys set beneath Dolomite spires, high alpine plains rising up to meet majestic pale mountain landscapes, and from lake to lake in sculpted glacial valleys... Join us in the Western Dolomites!

  • Length 7 Days / 6 Nights
  • Trip Type Hiking
  • Activity Level
  • Start / Finish Madonna di Campiglio
  • Dates This trip is available as a custom, private departure on dates of your choosing from mid-June to late-September

Highlights

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the Brenta Dolomites, the westernmost dolomitic mountains in Italy
  • Discover the Five Lakes Tour – the Giro del Cinque Laghi – one of the most beautiful paths in the Adamello Mountains
  • Breathe in pure air and experience a variety of hikes among spectacular landscapes in a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
  • Overnight in a rifugio, and experience the warm hospitality of mountain inns in the Dolomites
  • Experience Adamello Brenta Natural Park, where the glacial granite of Adamello offers a distinct contrast to the soft limestone-based dolomite of the Brenta Group

 

About the Western Dolomites – the Dolomiti di Brenta

Lush valleys set beneath Dolomite spires, high alpine plains rising up to meet majestic pale mountain landscapes – sound familiar? Well, yes, but no! The Western Dolomites, while officially part of the Dolomite Mountains, are isolated from the rest of the Dolomite range. Officially known as the Dolomiti di Brenta, or Brenta Group, they lie two hours to the west of what most think of as the Dolomite Mountains – like an outlying island of dolomitic rock. Geographically these mountains have not always been considered a part of the Dolomites, but geologically they undeniably are, and today they are officially recognized as a part of the Dolomite Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Western Dolomites offer all of the same activities that you find in the rest of the Dolomite Mountains – hiking, biking, via ferrata, climbing, canyoning, and skiing. But in the Brenta Group, the sharp, majestic peaks play host to numerous remnant hanging glaciers, or vedretta in Italian. And unlike the rest of the Dolomites, the light colored dolomitic spires of the Western Dolomites are provided a stark and beautiful metamorphic contrast by the Adamello-Presanella group of mountains across the valley. The wildlife found here is different too – while home to all of the usual mountain fauna, the Western Dolomites is among the richest of the Alps, even including a small, protected population of brown (grizzly) bears!

We have become positively captivated by the amazing opportunities for adventure and breathtaking landscapes the Western Dolomites offer. But don’t take our word for it – come see for yourself! 

Day by Day

Day 1 ~ Arrive in Madonna di Campiglio, Brenta Dolomites

Arrive in Madonna di Campiglio on your own and check in to your luxury hotel (private transfer available on request).

Madonna di Campiglio (1,550m / 5,085') is an elegant town nestled in a breathtaking valley, surrounded by Adamello Brenta Natural Park on three of its four sides. Set between the Dolomiti di Brenta (Brenta or Western Dolomites) and the glaciers of Adamello and Presanella, Madonna is one of Italy’s most fashionable ski resorts, second only to the Dolomites’ Cortina d’Ampezzo. Tourism began here in the late 19th century, when the Austrian Empress Sissi and Emperor Franz Josef visited. After the imperial journey, the popularity of Madonna di Campiglio never really ended, and today the town is still one of the most visited in the Alps in both summer and in winter. The main square of Madonna di Campiglio offers fantastic views over looking the Brenta massif, and the town serves as the starting point for a multitude of hikes. Quintessentially Italian, and vibrantly attractive, Madonna di Campiglio offers considerable traditional charm, with elegant buildings that date back to the 19th century. And, thanks to the completion of a tunnel bypass in 2000, today the town is virtually car-free!

Unlike the majority of the Dolomites, which exhibit the influence of both the Austro-Hungarian and native Ladin history and cultures, Madonna is undeniably Italian. That said, in the late 19th century during the Habsburg Empire, the village briefly served as a summer extension of the court of Vienna, and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria liked to walk in the woods here. Reaching further into history, Madonna di Campiglio dates back to the 12 century, when a church on the main road served as an inn for those

Depending on when you arrive, you may have time for a short hike or to explore the town. Enjoy a welcome aperitif before dinner at your hotel.
D… Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio (4-Star)


Day 2 ~ Discover the Five Lakes
If you are taking a private guided trip, you will meet with your hiking guide in the morning for a trip briefing. If you are taking a private self-guided adventure, you will meet with a Dolomite Mountains representative who will provide a trip briefing and orientation, as well as maps, Italian mobile phone, and everything necessary for your self-guided adventure. 

The first hike of your trip is a perfect introduction to the region: hiking on a path that winds among beautiful granite mountain lakes, with incredible vistas across the valley to the Dolomiti di Brenta. 

The Giro del Cinque Laghi, or Tour of the Five Lakes in English, is an incredible circuit that takes you past five glacial lakes in the Adamello-Presanella Alps. These lakes, surrounded by granite blocks and peaks, offer the perfect contrast to the dolomite and limestone landscapes you will be immersed in for the duration of your trip. Limestone, and its magnesium infused counterpart Dolomite, are porous, so lakes are less common in dolomitic landscapes.
(4-5 hours hiking 10.3km / ~6 miles, 492m / 1,614' ascent, 1,044m / 3,425' descent.)

Hiking Options
If you are interested in setting out on a longer or shorter hike on your first day, we can easily accommodate you! There is a large network of trails connecting the regions lakes, and multiple lifts servicing the various trailheads. We can add or remove lakes from your itinerary, and increase or reduce elevation change, ensuring that you have a fantastic, eye-popping hike that is just right for you! This can be discussed in advance with our office team, or with your guide or a Dolomite Mountains representative at the beginning of your trip.

B… Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio (4-Star)


Day 3 ~ Up the Western Slope to the Heart of the Brenta Dolomites
After breakfast, walk to north to catch the Grostè cable car, and ride to the top station, Rifugio Stoppani, set on Passo del Grostè. (The cable car ride, while optional, takes a bit of the sting out of this itinerary!) From the rifugio, descend on the Dolomiti Di Brenta Trek Expert (DBT) trail. This long distance loop covers the most famous side and the wildest corners of the Brenta Dolomites, with 11 stages and four variant routes to accommodate both hikers and mountaineers.

Hiking a series of ups and downs, you’ll first reach Rifugio Tuckett e Sella (2,272m / 7,454') where you can stop to enjoy a mid-morning coffee or snack, and enjoy the perfect placement of the rifugio along this jaw-dropping segment of todays hike – sweeping vistas west to the white slopes of Adamello and the superb pyramid of Presanella.

From here, your route takes you deep into the most rugged regions of the Brenta massif. Hike downhill to reach the Sella del Fridolin pass (2143m / 7,031'). Shortly after the pass, head south toward Rifugio Maria e Alberto ai Brentei where you can enjoy lunch. En route a short section of trail runs through the Galleria Bogani tunnel – when you exit the opposite side you will be treated to the most incredible vista up the Val di Brenta Alta! Rifugio Brentei stands in a wide grassy space in the central part of Brenta Group. The grandeur of the surrounding environment is incomparable: vertical walls of the Punte di Campiglio and Cima Mandron rise from the grassy expanse, and the frozen wall of Canalone Neri joins Crozzon di Brenta to Cima Tosa.

From Rifugio Brentei, climb to the Bocca di Brenta (2,552m / 8,373'), or mouth of the Brenta. This a small rock saddle is the most important and frequented pass in the Brenta Group, linking the Val Brenta with Vallone dei Massodi. From Bocca di Brenta, the path descends rapidly to your rifugio for tonight (2,487m / 8,159').
(4-5 hours hiking 11.1km / 6.5 miles, 959m / 3,147' ascent, 946m / 3,104' descent).
B,D… Rifugio


Day 4 ~ Down the Eastern Slope to Molveno
Departing from your rifugio, head west to briefly rejoin the DBT Expert path, before heading south onto the Sentiero Palmieri. Traverse the western flanks of the Cima Tosa, along the impressive karst depression of Pozza Tramontana, on a good path high along the eastern margins of the Brenta Range. Heading east, sneak through the Passo di Ceda high above the gorgeous Lago di Molveno, before entering the forest and descending toward the lakeshore. You’ll meet a carriage road and traverse and descend into the lovely village of Molveno, and on to your hotel for tonight.
(~4 hours hiking, 9.4km / 5.5 miles, 290m / 951' ascent, 1,888m / 6,194' descent. A more challenging hiking option is also available.)

Molveno (864m / 2,835') is located at the northern end Lago di Molveno, a 4-kilometer (2.5 mile) long lake at the foot of the Brenta Group and Paganella Mountain. The Italian novelist Antonio Fogazzaro (1842-1911) described the lake as "A precious pearl inside an even more precious chest," with deep iridescent blue waters that reflect the spires of the Brenta Dolomites. The town itself is characteristic of the region, with a historic center that is closed to traffic, and has been at the center of history multiple times, with relics that range from an old Roman bridge and road to Napoleonic fortifications.

Check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner there.
B… Hotel in Molveno (4-Star)


Day 5 ~ Malga Spora / Passo del Grostè
While todays hike features a very long ascent, this trail doesn’t disappoint ­– it is considered by many a “not to miss” excursion in the Dolomiti di Brenta!

Just north of Molveno is the hamlet of Andalo (1,024m / 3,360') where you’ll begin your hike. An initially steep, forested ascent gives way to smaller larch and scrub pine, and ultimately to patches of Dolomite, as the vertical walls of the Cima Dagnola emerge. Suddenly you’ll find yourself at Malga Spora (1,854m / 6,083'). This hut is adjacent to one of the few flat grassy glades in the rugged landscape of the southern Brenta, and functions as an alpine pasture each summer. Catch your breath and enjoy a beverage or a snack before you continue your ascent.

From Malga Spora, ascend the eastern side of Crozzon della Spora to reach Passo della Gaiarda (2,242m / 7,356') with fantastic sweeping views that can reach all the way to the northern chain of the Brenta on a clear day. Descends slightly before climbing climbs again to cross Sella del Turrion (2,224m / 7,297'). The area that surrounds this pass is very interesting from a geological point of view: it is a plateau formed of karst, rock that has been eroded by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone and dolomite, leaving behind landforms such as the towers, ridges, and fissures you’ll see here.

Continue to Passo del Grostè, which you will recognize from the first day of this loop, and on to the cable car to descend into Madonna di Campiglio for your much-deserved victory celebration!
(~6 hours hiking ~13.5km / 8 miles, 2,053m / 6,736' ascent, 625m / 2,051' descent, using bus transportation. Itinerary can be shortened by using taxis between your hotel and trail head / lift base at the beginning and end of the day.)
B… Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio (4-Star)


Day 6 ~ Tour of the Empress  / Giro dell’Imperatrice Sissi                
Today you can choose to either rest your weary legs from hiking, or to hike one more day before you depart! If you choose to hike, you will experience a beautiful walk that showcases the pristine landscape that immediately surrounds the town of Madonna and makes the region so popular. This is a loop hike – and said to be one of Emperor Franz Josef’s favorites.

Starting from your hotel, you’ll walk first past the 19th century Santa Maria Antica church in the center of Madonna di Campiglio (1,550m / 5,085'), before arriving at a notch in the rock overlooking Madonna di Campiglio: “Empress Square” and “Sissi Rock.” These stones sit in remembrance of where Empress Elizabeth of Austria used to stop to take in the panorama of Madonna di Campiglio during her walks, when the Empress and Emperor Franz Joseph were hosted by Madonna between 1889 and 1894. From here, follow the Giro dell’Imperatrice Sissi trail – the Tour of the Empress.

From here you’ll walk past the working shepherds hut Malga Fevre (1,958m / 6,424'), before climbing on a dirt road all the way to Rifugio Monte Spinale (2,104m / 6,930'). After enjoying lunch here, continue on the giro, descending Monte Spinale by a different, easy path, to Rifugio Malga Montagnoli (1,804m / 5,919'). Continue hiking to the base of the gondola Grostè (1,646m / 5,400'), before returning to Madonna di Campiglio.
(3 hours hiking 8km / 4.5 miles, 578m / 1,896' ascent and descent. Option for a longer hike extending this route is available.)
B… Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio (4-Star)


Day 7 ~ Depart
Breakfast and departure on your own (private transfer available on request). 

B…

Cost

Guided Trip:
From € 2.770 per person (minimum 2 participants)
From € 1.890 per person (minimum 4 participants)

Self Guided Trip:

From € 1.025 per person (minimum 2 participants)
From € 965 per person (minimum 4 participants)

Private room supplement in rifugios: €15 per rifugio, per person (based on availability)
High season supplement from July 20th to August 31st: 5% surcharge


Cost Includes:

  • Trip briefing
  • Logistics and map of the area
  • 4 nights accommodation at 4-star hotel in Madonna di Campiglio
  • 1 night accommodation at 4-star hotel in Molveno
  • 1 night accommodation in charming rifugio (mountain inn) in shared dormitory rooms (3-8 people)
  • Meals as noted in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • Lifts noted in itinerary (guided trips)
  • Local English speaking hiking guide for 5 days (guided trips)
  • Italian mobile phone for local emergency calls during the trip (self guided trips)
  • Local tourist tax
  • Italian VAT tax 

Airport transfers available on request.

Accommodation

Want to learn more about our Luxury Hotels?                       

Luxury accommodations in the Dolomites combine the ultimate in comfort and refinement. From five star hotels, Michelin star-rated restaurants, and pampering spas, just because you are in the mountains does not mean you cannot have a truly luxe Italian experience in the Dolomites! From the chic town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, a popular destination for the rich and famous, to the quiet and discreet luxury of San Cassiano in Alta Badia, you will find accommodations with credentials ranging from membership in the exclusive Relais & Châteaux to The Leading Hotels of the World!

    

Want to learn more about our Mountain Inns & Rifugi?

Rifugi – or mountain huts in English – are the classic accommodation for hikers, climbers, mountaineers, and ski mountaineers in the Alps. Set in spectacular locations high in the Dolomites, rifugi are accessible only on foot (with a few exceptions that are reachable by car). These marvelous establishments are open primarily in the summer, with a select few in winter, and offer meals and sleeping facilities.

The Dolomite rifugi are considered the best in the Alps. While some are dormitory style with bunk beds, many meet the standard of a simple guest house with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms, and each has its own unique character and charm. Bedding and linens are provided, hot showers are available, and meals are served in common dining areas – like a small mountain inn set high in the mountains with the most incredible vistas in the Dolomites. Whether you’re hiking in summer or skiing in winter, an overnight rifugio stay is not to miss on a Dolomite holiday.

To learn even more about rifugi in the Dolomites, check out our Rifugios in the Dolomites article, and learn about one of the best ways to experience these incredible mountains!

Group Trip Dates

Trip name   Trip dates   Min persons   Trip status   Price    
25-30 Jul
2017
4
Available
€ 890
27 Jul - 3 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1260
8-14 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1520
15-21 Aug
2017
4
Sold out
€ 2660
16-21 Aug
2017
4
Limited space
€ 890
16-20 Aug
2017
4
Limited space
€ 890
18-24 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1260
23-30 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1730
26 Sep - 1 Oct
2017
4
Limited space
€ 1520
26 Sep - 1 Oct
2017
4
Limited space
€ 2660
3-7 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 890
3-10 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 1730
3-10 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 1730
10-15 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 890
12-18 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 1260
14-19 Feb
2018
4
Limited space
€ 2200
21-27 Feb
2018
4
Available
€ 1900
28 Feb - 2 Mar
2018
4
Available
€ 2200
25 Mar - 2 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1540
25 Mar - 2 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 2200
4-9 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1220
4-9 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1270
11-17 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1900
18-23 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1690