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Explore the most pristine region of the Dolomites
Hike in an absolute isolation from civilization
Enjoy a perfect solitude on the trail, even in August
Admire one of the chief landmarks of the Dolomites – the impressive Montanaia tower
Ascend the peaks with incredible panoramas on the 9 and 10 Day Tours
Sleep at some of the most authentic alpine mountain huts
This trek is different in many ways from all other hikes through the Dolomites: the route runs through the Friuli Dolomites – the most untouched and completely uninhabited region of the Dolomite Alps. The Friuli Dolomites group is a compact continuous chain of peaks with picture-perfect landscapes that are bound to dazzle even the most jaded of seen-it-all hikers. Friuli Dolomites are virtually untouched by modern civilization. These mountains have no public roads, chairlifts, or any infrastructure whatsoever. Most mountain huts rely on generators for electricity, not to mention the fact that there are just eight mountain huts in the Friuli Dolomites over an area of 21,500 hectares.
The Friuli Dolomites are not among the highest mountain groups of the Dolomite Alps. The highest peak of the Friuli Dolomites is Cima dei Preti, or “Priests' Peak”, towering 2,706 meters high. Nonetheless, the trek will be far from easy. These mountains are very steep. Along the route you will have to go uphill and cover 1,000 meters of altitude at a time as well as go downhill the same distance almost on a daily basis. You will face continuous steep ascents and descents along talus slopes. This explains the fairly high complexity of this trek despite the short distances between mountain huts. You will be rewarded for this complexity with breathtaking views of pristine mountains and a feeling of total escape from civilization.
To embark on this itinerary, you must be in a good physical shape and have prior mountain hiking experience. You will be overnighting in manned mountain huts that offer comfortable beds, a hot shower, breakfast and dinner.
StyleHut to Hut Hiking
Tour Duration7 - 10 days / 6 - 9 nights
Start / FinishValle del Piave (Pieve, Calalzo)
This is a private tour on the dates of your choice.
Validity of prices: Summer 2020.
Self-guided tour: supplement € 80 applies to one-person bookings.
Guided tour: minimum 4 participants.
Day 1: Arrival in Valle del Piave
You arrive in the Valle di Piave valley on your and check in at one of our basecamp hotels. Townlets in Valle di Piave get only a trickle of tourist traffic despite being nestled among marvelously beautiful mountain landscapes. Thanks to this, a genuine mountain ambiance will welcome you right upon arrival.
Day 2: Ascent to the Highland
Ascent 1050 m. Descent 30 m. Distance 10 km. Walking time 4 hours.
On first day of the trek, our itinerary will take you uphill from the valley across a forest to an exquisitely beautiful location with a mountain hut near Monte Vedorcia. Here all mountain groups surrounding the Piave Valley can be admired from two viewing spots just 100 meters apart. In the evening you can marvel at a magnificent sunset that colors the chain of peaks of the Spalti di Toro mountain group all shades of orange. In the morning be sure not to miss the sunrise on the other side with panoramic vistas of the Antelao, Pelmo, and Civetta mountain groups. Another highlight of the day is a one-of-a-kind mountain hut. It is the most homelike hut you will come across on our itineraries. Built entirely out of wood, the hut can accommodate just 16 guests. Dinner is cooked in a real wood-fired oven and served in a parlor with a traditional Alpine fireplace.
Day 3: Panorama of the Friuli Dolomites
Ascent 700 m. Descent 1100 m. Distance 10 km. Walking time 5 hours.
Today’s itinerary will bring you to the main mountain group, Spalti di Toro, offering the first glimpse deep into the Friuli Dolomites. You will have many other chances to admire them on subsequent days of the trek. The mountain pass across the Spalti di Toro ridge offers a view of the most high-altitude region of the Friuli Dolomites with Cima dei Preti, or “Priests' Peak”, towering 2,706 meters high. Up on the pass you will appreciate the full extent of the solitude and seclusion offered by the Friuli Dolomites. The horizon is completely devoid of all traces of civilization, with mountain peaks stretching out as far as the eye can see. Slightly below the mountain pass the trail takes you past the edge of a forest belt through a landscape enchanting with its pristine beauty. Local vegetation is typical of a wooded tundra with infrequent larches and a dense underbrush cut up into “islands” by dry river beds that come back to life only in spring or during torrential rainfall.
Day 4: Monfalcon di Forni Pass
Ascent 1100 m. Descent 970 m. Distance 10 km. Walking time 6 hours.
Starting today, all treks between mountain hut will be much more challenging. You will climb 1,000 meters on average and descend by as much on a daily basis. All huts on the route except the first one are at relatively low altitudes of 1,200 to 1,600 meters. In the morning hours you will set off from the hut and go uphill and then go downhill to the next hut in the latter half of the day. Today’s itinerary crosses one of the major passes of the Monfalconi mountain group that separates the Spalti di Toro ridge from the Cridola group. All mountain passes and saddles along the route offer breathtaking panoramic views, and the Monfalconi di Forni pass is no exception. The fang-shaped Busas tower rises in front of the pass a short distance away. Endless mountain expanses open up beyond the tower. The route to the mountain pass follows a steep talus slope, much like the downhill trail on the other side. Going up and down talus slopes presents one of the biggest challenges of this hiking route.
Day 5: Gentiana Trail
Ascent 1210 m. Descent 1030 m. Distance 9 km. Walking time 6 hours.
Today you will venture deep into the Friuli Dolomites by following a scenic trail named after the gentian – a flower considered to be one of the symbols of the Alps alongside the edelweiss. This trail is remarkable not so much for its vegetation as for the magnificent vistas opening up from it. The trail has been cut through thickets of the dwarf pine on a slope facing the central region of the Friuli Dolomites. From altitudes of 1,800 - 1,900 meters you will see endless panoramas of mountains towering above the narrow Meluzzo Valley. Among other memorable highlights of today’s itinerary are idyllic landscapes of the Canpuros meadow nestled among the slopes of a natural amphitheater, making it a perfect place for a rest stop. An equally indelible impression is created by the panoramic view of the Monte Cridola with its numerous talus slopes – white strips descending into thickets of the dwarf pine. Today you will not avoid a steep descent down a talus slope. Unlike the other legs of the itinerary, however, today’s trail down the slope is less challenging.
Day 6: Monte Pramaggiore
Ascent 970 m. Descent 1310 m. Distance 10 km. Walking time 6 hours.
This trail offers a good chance of sighting Alpine ibexes. Masters of this place, they are unlikely to run away from you and will instead pose for photos from a distance of less than 10 meters away. But use your common sense and do not venture all the way to Alpine ibexes to the edge of the abyss. Today’s route takes you across three mountain passes on your way to one of the biggest landmarks of this region – the Monte Pramaggiore. Much of the itinerary runs through high-altitude regions with their magnificent views of endless wild mountains, trails skirting sheer walls, and a challenging uphill climb along a poorly maintained trail. Toward the end of the day the trail goes down to the Meluzzo Valley with the entire route’s most out-of-the-way mountain hut isolated from the outer world.
Day 7: Montanaia Tower
Ascent 1080 m. Descent 1650 m. Distance 13 km. Walking time 7 hours.
The Campanile di Val Montanaia tower is the chief and best known landmark of the Friuli Dolomites. It towers 170 meters in a gorge at an altitude of some 2,000 meters. It is a very unusual specimen of natural architecture even for the Dolomites. While the Dolomites have many spires like this one, all the others are located at high altitudes, while the Val Montanaia tower sits in a wide gorge in the meadow belt. This fact makes it easily accessible on today’s route, and it will undoubtedly inspire photography enthusiasts. Above the tower the trail takes a steep ascent toward the mountain pass, vanishes in the talus slope and reappears only on the very approaches to the pass. The descent along the talus slope on the other side of the mountain pass is the longest and most complex downhill leg of the trek. After going down to the forest belt, you will be able to take the load off your feet and have a meal at a mountain hut before continuing along easy trails to your basecamp hotel in the Piave valley.
Day 8: Departure from Valle di Piave
The trip ends here: this is the day of departure from Friuli Dolomites. You explored the most pristine area of the Dolomites. No other hut-to-hut itinerary in the Dolomites goes so deep into the wilderness.
The primary itinerary plus 1 or 2 extra hikes in the wilderness of the central Friuli Dolomites
The 9 and 10 Day Tours follow the main itinerary and additionally include 1- or 2-day stops in the central region of the Friuli Dolomites that is farthest removed from any civilization. Here we offer a selection of 3 routes for one-day treks: an easy ascent to the Monte Ferrara summit with a breathtaking panorama; a loop hike to a deserted highland camping site; and the most challenging trek along the ridge linking the peaks of Postegae. You may embark on these treks with a light backpack, as you will return to the same base camp in the evening.
This is a private tour on the dates of your choice.
The prices are per person and include the VAT tax.
Validity of prices: Summer 2020.
The indicated tour duration includes the days of arrival and departure. Accommodation on the day of arrival and night before departure is included in the price.
Self-guided tour: supplement applies to one-person bookings
7 Day Self Guided Tour € 80
8 Day Self Guided Tour € 80
9 Day Self Guided Tour € 80
10 Day Self Guided Tour € 80
Single supplement includes single room accommodation in the basecamp hotel on the first and the final nights of the tour.
Guided tour: minimum 4 participants.
The basecamp location for this trek are the towns in the Valle di Piave valley – primarily Calalzo and Pieve. You can reach them from Venice which is the most convenient airport for travel to Friuli Dolomites. The travel time is approximately 2 hours by bus and train. The Treviso airport is the second convenient option: the travel time is approximately the same. Depending on the schedule of your flight you may need to stay overnight in Venezia to catch the bus. We can help you plan the logistics and provide you with train and bus schedules: please contact us before you buy the plane tickets.
Proper hiking boots are a must for the mountains. We recommend high boots because they support the ankle better than any low boots and provide better stability on a rocky terrain. Even in the middle of the summer in the Dolomites you must bring some warm clothes with you: waterproof and windproof jacket, fleece jacket, long trekking pants and a cap. A raincoat, poncho or other type of rainwear is necessary. Other necessary items are the toiletries, light clean footwear to use in the huts, sunglasses and at least 2 one-liter bottles for water. You'll receive a detailed packing list specifically for your trip at the booking. We ask all participants to read it carefully and be well prepared for the hiking trip.
For detailed information on the gear and clothing please read Hiking Gear.
The first and last nights of your trip are in one of our basecamp hotels. While hiking, you will stay overnight in the mountain huts. You can count on the following services in the mountain huts: a bed in a shared room or in a private room (must be booked in advance), shower with hot water, toilets, meals, and a possibility to buy take away water and snacks such as sandwiches and chocolate. Shared rooms are equipped with bunk beds with mattresses, pillows and blankets. Bed linen is not provided in shared bedrooms: you must have a sleeping bag liner with you. Typically, it is a light cotton bag. Warm sleeping bag is unnecessary, since there are blankets in the bedrooms. In private rooms you are often offered bed linen, thus a sleeping bag liner is not required. If you book private rooms, we inform you on whether you need to bring a sleeping bag liner. Most huts have a heating system, but it is normally not required in the summer months. You will need clean footwear for the huts: light slides are an ideal solution. For detailed information on the huts please read Mountain Huts in the Alps.
In hut-to-hut hiking tours you are served a breakfast and a dinner in the huts and mountain hotels on the route.
Normally, the breakfast is served from 7am to 9am. It usually includes an unlimited quantity of coffee and tea, bread, butter, jam, honey and chocolate spread. In addition, some huts offer ham, cheese and muesli for breakfast. After breakfast we recommend filling your thermos with hot water or tea: ask the staff, and it will be for free in most huts.
The dinner time in the mountain huts is 7pm or 7:30pm for all guests. A typical dinner in a hut is very rich and includes a starter, the first course (such as pasta, risotto, dumplings), the second course (meat with a side dish) and a dessert. Any drinks at dinner (water, wine, beer, tea, coffee) are not free and should be ordered and paid separately.
Lunch. The route runs through the wilderness with no huts on the way to stop for lunch. There is a possibility of a packed lunch that you can order in the hut where you stay overnight. A typical packed lunch includes 1 or 2 sandwiches, yoghurt, chocolate bar, water, and it normally costs € 7 - 10.
Our guided hiking tours are led by professional guides, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience and with passion for mountains. They permanently work in the region of the exact hiking tour, have professional licenses, are experts in emergency situations, regularly upgrade their qualifications and work in accordance with national regulations.
For self-guided hiking, it is necessary to be properly dressed, follow the safety rules and make realistic time calculation for day crossings – preferably according to the hiking schedule that we provide. Our self-guided hiking trips are planned so that they do not require specific skills or gear, unless it is clearly specified in the tour description. You can expect well-maintained trails equipped with direction signs. Exposed sections of the trail are secured on the self-guided routes: it makes them safe provided that you follow the basic safety rules for hiking in the mountains.
Mountains are a natural environment with a high level of risk, so we insistently ask all participants to read the safety rules and emergency procedures: Safety Considerations. If you have questions about the safety rules, please contact us +39 0463 63 60 80.
Insurance. It is important to have an appropriate insurance that covers the hiking activity. You don't need to include the climbing activity in your insurance, unless you are planning to climb during the hike.
Visa. We will provide you with a booking confirmation for all days of your trip. If you need the Italian visa, you can enclose this document with your visa application.
The most stable weather conditions in the Dolomites are statistically from the second week of July till the middle of September. This period in the Dolomites is characterized by warm sunny weather and modest rainfall. Earlier in June, the weather is normally favorable, but it is less reliable, and the mountain passes may be blocked by snow remaining from the winter. In June we may have to change the route depending on the snow situation on the passes. The second half of September in Dolomites is a beautiful period, but the weather is again less predictable: the probability of incessant rain increases, and it may snow at the altitude above 2,000 meters.
It is never hot in the Dolomites at the elevation of 2,000 m (6,560 ft) and above where most of the hiking routes pass. In a sunny day in August the temperature at 2,000 m can reach 20° C (68° F) suring the warmest hours of the day. It is comfortable for hiking. In a cold cloudy day, the temperature can stay at around 10° C (34° F) during the entire the day. It is always chilly at night and early in the morning. Thunderstorms, often with hail, are typical for the warmest months (July and August). In the Dolomites valleys at the altitudes of 1,000 – 1,500 m (3,280 – 4,920 ft) the day temperature can reach 27° C (80° F). It is fresh in the valleys in the morning and evening, and it is not stuffy at night even in the hottest weeks of the summer.
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