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Hiking The Tre Cime Di Lavaredo Loop (Dolomites)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Wandis Hamer



Welcome to the breathtaking world of the Dolomites, a mountain range in northern Italy known for its stunning landscapes and world-class hiking trails. Among the many trails in the region, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop stands out as one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring. This loop takes you around the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also known as the Drei Zinnen, which are three distinctive peaks that rise majestically against the sky.


Embarking on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is like stepping into a postcard-perfect alpine paradise. The pristine trails, towering cliffs, and panoramic vistas will leave even the most seasoned adventurers in awe. Whether you are a passionate hiker seeking a challenge or simply someone who loves to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty, this trail is guaranteed to satisfy your wanderlust.


In this guide, we will take you on a virtual tour of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop, sharing practical information, trail highlights, and tips to make your adventure unforgettable. Get ready to experience the magic of the Dolomites and discover why hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is a bucket-list-worthy experience.


Overview of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is a circular hiking trail that takes you around the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo peaks in the Dolomites. The loop offers a mesmerizing combination of breathtaking views, challenging terrain, and a rich natural and cultural heritage. It is a moderate to difficult hike, covering a distance of approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and reaching an elevation of around 2,400 meters (7,875 feet).


The trail offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush meadows and dense forests to rugged cliffs and expansive rocky terrains. The highlight of the loop is, of course, the towering peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo themselves. These distinctive rock formations are a sight to behold and have become an icon of the Dolomites.


The loop can be completed in a day, with an average hiking time of 4-6 hours. However, many hikers choose to spend multiple days in the area, exploring the surrounding trails and enjoying the unique atmosphere of the Dolomites.


While the loop is a popular choice for hikers, it is essential to come prepared and be in good physical condition. The trail involves some steep ascents and descents, as well as rocky sections that require careful footing. However, the effort is undoubtedly worth it, as each step rewards you with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.


Whether you are a seasoned hiker seeking a new challenge or a nature enthusiast looking for a remarkable adventure, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is sure to leave a lasting impression. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Dolomites and create unforgettable memories along the way.


Getting to the Dolomites

The Dolomites are located in northern Italy and can be easily accessed by various means of transportation. Here are the most common ways to reach this stunning mountain range:

By Air:

The closest airports to the Dolomites are Venice Marco Polo Airport and Innsbruck Airport. Both airports offer domestic and international flights, making them convenient options for travelers coming from different parts of the world. From the airports, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to reach your desired destination in the Dolomites.

By Train:

The Italian railway network is well-connected, and traveling by train is a comfortable and scenic way to reach the Dolomites. The main railway stations in the region are Bolzano, Bressanone, and Trento. From these stations, you can take local buses or taxis to your final destination in the Dolomites.

By Car:

If you prefer the flexibility and convenience of driving, renting a car is a great option. The Dolomites are easily accessible via the A22 Autobahn, which connects the region to major cities in Italy and neighboring countries. The roads in the Dolomites are well-maintained, and driving through the picturesque mountain passes is a memorable experience.

By Bus:

There are several bus services that operate within the Dolomites, providing transportation between towns and villages in the region. This is a budget-friendly option for travelers who prefer not to drive or rent a car. The bus services are reliable and offer regular schedules, making it convenient to explore different parts of the Dolomites.


Once you have arrived in the Dolomites, you can choose your basecamp depending on your preferred starting point for the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop. Popular towns to consider include Cortina d’Ampezzo, Auronzo di Cadore, and Misurina, all of which offer accommodation, dining, and other amenities for visitors.


Remember to check the local transportation options and schedules in advance, as they may vary depending on the season and weather conditions. It is also important to have a good map or navigation system to navigate the winding mountain roads and trails.


Now that you know how to get to the Dolomites, it’s time to start planning your adventure in this spectacular mountain range.


Starting Point: Rifugio Auronzo

The starting point for the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is the renowned Rifugio Auronzo. This mountain hut is located at an elevation of 2,333 meters (7,654 feet) and serves as the gateway to the stunning trails of the Dolomites. Arriving at Rifugio Auronzo is an experience in itself, as you’ll be greeted with sweeping views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.


There are several ways to reach Rifugio Auronzo. If you’re driving, you can take the toll road from Misurina that leads directly to the hut. The road is well-maintained, although steep and narrow in certain sections. Alternatively, you can park your car at the parking area near Lake Misurina and take a shuttle bus to Rifugio Auronzo. The shuttle service operates during the summer months and allows you to enjoy the scenic ride without worrying about parking.


If you prefer public transportation, there are regular bus services that connect the towns in the Dolomites to Rifugio Auronzo. You can check the local bus schedules and plan your trip accordingly.


Once you arrive at Rifugio Auronzo, take some time to soak in the breathtaking views surrounding you. The hut itself offers basic amenities, including accommodations, a restaurant, and restroom facilities. It is advisable to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak hiking season, as the hut can get crowded.


Before starting your hike, make sure you have all the necessary equipment, including sturdy hiking boots, layered clothing, a backpack with essential supplies, and plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to have a map of the trail and a compass or GPS device to help you navigate the route.


The starting point at Rifugio Auronzo offers several trail options for hikers. The classic route is to embark on the loop in a counterclockwise direction, heading towards Rifugio Lavaredo as your first stop. However, depending on your preferences and time constraints, you can also choose to hike in a clockwise direction or customize your route.


Whichever way you choose to start your hike, be prepared to be immersed in the stunning beauty of the Dolomites. The adventure that awaits you on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is bound to be an unforgettable experience.


Day 1: Hiking from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Lavaredo

On the first day of your Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop adventure, you’ll embark on a scenic hike from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Lavaredo. This leg of the journey offers stunning views of the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo peaks and takes you through picturesque landscapes.


Starting from Rifugio Auronzo, follow the well-marked trail as it winds its way through meadows and forests. The initial section of the hike is relatively moderate, allowing you to warm up your legs and enjoy the surrounding scenery.


As you continue along the trail, you’ll gradually ascend and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo peaks. These towering rock formations are a sight to behold, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture the beauty of these natural wonders on camera.


After hiking for a few kilometers, you’ll reach an area known as the Locatelli Saddle. This is where you’ll have an up-close encounter with the magnificent Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Take the time to savor the moment, as the views from this vantage point are truly awe-inspiring.


From the Locatelli Saddle, the trail continues to Rifugio Lavaredo, your destination for the day. The hike becomes slightly more challenging at this point, with rocky sections and steeper inclines. However, the sense of accomplishment and the incredible views make it all worthwhile.


Upon reaching Rifugio Lavaredo, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and a cozy mountain refuge. This is the perfect place to rest, refuel, and recharge for the next day’s adventure. The rifugio offers comfortable accommodation, delicious meals, and a vibrant atmosphere where you can meet fellow hikers from around the world.


Before calling it a day, make sure to explore the vicinity of Rifugio Lavaredo. Take a leisurely stroll around the area and soak in the serenity of the Dolomites. The evening sunset casts a magical glow on the surrounding mountains, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere.


As the first day comes to a close, prepare yourself for a restful night’s sleep at Rifugio Lavaredo. Reflect on the incredible landscapes you encountered and the sense of achievement in completing the first leg of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop. Tomorrow, a new day of adventure awaits as you continue your journey through the mesmerizing Dolomites.


Day 2: Hiking from Rifugio Lavaredo to Rifugio Locatelli

On the second day of your Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop, you’ll continue your exhilarating journey through the Dolomites, hiking from Rifugio Lavaredo to Rifugio Locatelli. This section of the loop offers a mix of challenging terrain, stunning vistas, and a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.


Leaving Rifugio Lavaredo behind, you’ll follow the well-defined trail as it winds its way through alpine meadows and rocky slopes. As you ascend, be prepared for some steep sections, requiring careful footing and a moderate level of fitness.


As you hike higher, the wide-open expanses of the Dolomites will unfold before your eyes. The panoramic views are mesmerizing, with snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and vibrant alpine flora dotting the landscape.


One highlight of this leg of the hike is the opportunity to visit the Forcella del Lago Pass. This scenic lookout offers stunning vistas over Lake Misurina and the surrounding mountains. Take a moment to pause and absorb the tranquility of the scene, capturing the beauty on camera to cherish the memories.


Continuing along the trail, you’ll make your way towards the enchanting Val Rimbianco. This picturesque valley is known for its rugged cliffs and vibrant meadows, creating a captivating contrast of colors against the backdrop of the surrounding peaks.


The final stretch of the hike leads you to Rifugio Locatelli, situated near the world-famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo peaks. This rifugio offers a welcoming resting place, with stunning views of the towering cliffs right at your doorstep.


After reaching Rifugio Locatelli, take some time to relax, recharge, and appreciate the natural wonders surrounding you. Enjoy a well-deserved meal at the rifugio, savoring the delicious local cuisine while mingling with fellow hikers.


As the evening sky paints the mountains with warm hues, take a walk around the area to fully immerse yourself in the serenity of the Dolomites. The calmness of the alpine landscape and the majesty of the surrounding peaks create a truly awe-inspiring ambiance.


At Rifugio Locatelli, you’ll find comfortable accommodations to rest and rejuvenate for the next day’s adventure. As you settle in for the night, reflect on the breathtaking landscapes you experienced, and anticipate the excitement that awaits you on the final leg of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop.


Day 3: Hiking from Rifugio Locatelli back to Rifugio Auronzo

On the final day of your Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop, you’ll embark on an unforgettable journey as you hike from Rifugio Locatelli back to Rifugio Auronzo. This section of the loop offers stunning views, diverse landscapes, and a sense of accomplishment as you complete the epic adventure through the Dolomites.


Leaving Rifugio Locatelli behind, you’ll follow the trail as it winds through alpine meadows and rocky terrain. As you descend, take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and the magical play of light and shadow shifting across the landscape.


One of the highlights of the hike is the opportunity to explore the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo up close. Take a detour to reach the base of these iconic peaks and marvel at their sheer grandeur. The jagged rock formations and the towering cliffs will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds you.


Continuing along the trail, you’ll encounter a variety of landscapes, from lush meadows to serene forests. The beauty of the Dolomites unfolds with each step, offering a sense of tranquility and a connection with nature that is hard to find elsewhere.


As you approach the end of the loop, you’ll find yourself back at Rifugio Auronzo, where you started your journey. Take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences and memories you’ve created during your time in the Dolomites.


After completing the hike, consider celebrating your accomplishment with a delicious meal at Rifugio Auronzo. Enjoy the local cuisine and share stories with fellow hikers, reminiscing about the challenges and the breathtaking moments of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop.


As you bid farewell to the Dolomites, take a last look at the majestic peaks and vast landscapes that have left an indelible mark on your heart. The memories and the sense of adventure will stay with you long after you leave this remarkable mountain range.


The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is more than just a hike; it’s an immersive experience that allows you to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and admire some of the most captivating scenery in the world. From the towering peaks to the rugged trails, every step of the journey is an opportunity to be inspired and find a sense of peace in the beauty of the Dolomites.


As your adventure in the Dolomites comes to an end, take these memories with you and cherish the time you spent exploring this extraordinary destination. Until your next adventure awaits, farewell to the magic of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop!


Trails and Highlights of the Loop

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop offers a variety of trails and highlights that showcase the breathtaking beauty of the Dolomites. Here are some of the notable features and attractions you’ll encounter along the way:

1. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Peaks:

The three iconic peaks, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, are the main highlight of the loop. These towering granite spires are a sight to behold and serve as the centerpiece of the entire hike. Be prepared to be awestruck by their majestic presence and take plenty of pictures to capture their beauty.

2. Locatelli Saddle:

The Locatelli Saddle offers a prime vantage point to admire the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Situated along the trail, this scenic lookout provides breathtaking views of the mountains and the surrounding valleys. Take a moment to soak in the awe-inspiring landscapes and appreciate the natural wonders of the Dolomites.

3. Forcella del Lago Pass:

Located on the second day’s hike, the Forcella del Lago Pass treats you to magnificent panoramic views of Lake Misurina and the surrounding mountains. This viewpoint offers a unique perspective of the Dolomites and is a great spot to pause and appreciate the beauty of nature.

4. Val Rimbianco:

Val Rimbianco is a picturesque valley characterized by rugged cliffs, vibrant meadows, and stunning alpine landscapes. Hiking through this enchanting valley is a delight for nature lovers, as it offers a diverse range of flora and fauna, providing a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

5. Alpine Meadows and Forests:

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop takes you through a variety of landscapes, including alpine meadows and dense forests. These natural environments offer a refreshing change of scenery and create a peaceful atmosphere as you make your way along the trails.

6. Mountain Huts and Refuges:

Throughout the loop, you’ll have the opportunity to rest and refuel at the mountain huts and refuges. These cozy establishments provide comfortable accommodations, delicious meals, and a vibrant atmosphere where you can connect with fellow hikers and share stories of your adventures.


With its stunning trails and mesmerizing highlights, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop offers a truly unforgettable hiking experience. Each step of the journey reveals the magical beauty of the Dolomites, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.


What to Pack for the Hike

Proper preparation and packing are essential for a successful and enjoyable hike on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop. Here are some items you should consider bringing with you:

1. Hiking Boots:

A sturdy pair of hiking boots is crucial for tackling the varied terrain of the loop. Choose boots that provide ankle support, have a good grip, and are comfortable for long-distance walking.

2. Layered Clothing:

The weather in the Dolomites can be unpredictable, so pack layered clothing to adapt to changing conditions. Choose moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer.

3. Backpack:

A comfortable backpack with a capacity of at least 20-30 liters is ideal for carrying your essentials, including water, snacks, extra clothing layers, and a first aid kit. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and a waist belt for added comfort.

4. Water and Snacks:

Stay hydrated by carrying enough water for the duration of your hike. It’s also a good idea to bring lightweight, energy-packed snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.

5. Map and Compass:

Although the trails are well-marked, it’s always a good idea to have a map and compass as a backup. Familiarize yourself with the route and landmarks before setting out.

6. Sun Protection:

Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by carrying sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and lip balm with SPF. The high altitudes and reflective surfaces of snow or rocks can intensify sun exposure.

7. Trekking Poles:

Trekking poles can provide stability, support, and reduce strain on your joints, especially during steep ascents or descents. Consider using them if you are comfortable with them.

8. First Aid Kit:

Carry a basic first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, blister treatments, and any personal medications you may need.

9. Extra Essentials:

Other essential items to pack include a headlamp or flashlight, a lightweight rain jacket, a pocket knife or multi-tool, insect repellent, a camera or smartphone, and extra batteries or power banks.


Remember to pack as light as possible while ensuring you have all the necessary items for your safety and comfort. Be mindful of the weather forecast and adjust your packing accordingly. With the right gear, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the challenges and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop.


Safety Tips and Considerations

Exploring the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop in the Dolomites is a thrilling adventure, but it’s important to prioritize safety before and during your hike. Here are some essential safety tips and considerations to keep in mind:

1. Check the Weather:

Before you embark on your hike, check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions. The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and it’s crucial to be aware of any potential storms or extreme weather that may affect your safety.

2. Plan and Prepare:

Plan your hike in advance and be familiar with the trail route, distances, elevation changes, and estimated hiking times. Carry a map, compass, or GPS device, and let someone know about your hiking plans, including your expected return time.

3. Stay Hydrated and Fueled:

Drink plenty of water throughout your hike to stay hydrated, especially in high altitudes. Carry enough water and energy-rich snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike.

4. Dress in Layers:

Wear layered clothing to adjust to changing weather conditions. The temperature can vary significantly throughout the day, so be prepared to add or remove layers as needed.

5. Protect Yourself from the Sun:

Apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, a hat, and lip balm with SPF to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The sun’s intensity at higher altitudes and reflective surfaces can lead to sunburn and discomfort.

6. Hike with a Buddy:

Whenever possible, hike with a companion or in a group. Having someone with you adds an extra layer of safety and support in case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

7. Follow Trail Markings:

Stick to the designated trail and follow the trail markers or signs. Straying off the path can be dangerous and may lead to getting lost or encountering hazardous terrain.

8. Be Respectful of Nature:

Leave no trace of your visit by practicing responsible hiking. Respect wildlife, stay on designated trails, dispose of waste properly, and avoid picking or damaging vegetation.

9. Be Prepared for Emergencies:

Carry a well-equipped first aid kit and know how to use it. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures and have the necessary supplies to deal with potential injuries or emergencies.


Remember, your safety is paramount when hiking in the Dolomites. By following these safety tips and considerations, you can have a memorable and enjoyable experience on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop.



Embarking on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop in the Dolomites is a remarkable adventure that combines breathtaking landscapes, challenging hiking trails, and a deep connection with nature. From the iconic peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo to the serene alpine meadows and rugged cliffs, every step of the journey offers a feast for the senses.


Throughout the loop, you’ll encounter highlights such as the Locatelli Saddle, the Forcella del Lago Pass, and the enchanting Val Rimbianco, each offering its own unique beauty and magnificence. The mountain huts and refuges along the way provide a warm welcome, comfortable accommodations, and delightful local cuisine that nourishes body and soul.


As you hike through the diverse landscapes of the Dolomites, you’ll find yourself immersed in the tranquility and awe-inspiring vistas that only this mountain range can offer. The towering peaks, pristine meadows, and winding trails will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.


However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety during your adventure. Check the weather forecast, plan and prepare your hike, dress accordingly, stay hydrated, and be mindful of your surroundings. By following these safety tips, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the Dolomites.


Whether you choose to complete the loop in one day or take your time and explore the surrounding trails over several days, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop promises an unforgettable journey. With every step, you’ll feel a deep connection with the natural world and a sense of accomplishment as you soak in the beauty of the Dolomites.


As your adventure in the Dolomites comes to a close, reflect on the memories and experiences you’ve gathered along the way. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is more than just a hike; it’s a transformative experience that allows you to disconnect from the everyday and indulge in the wonders of the natural world.


So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop. The magic of the Dolomites awaits, ready to captivate your senses and leave you with lifelong memories of this breathtaking alpine paradise.