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The northern half of Brenta Dolomites is the right place for a hike away from crowded trails. The vast area to the north from the Groste pass is little walked and offers exciting hiking in solitude.
The Pietra Grande hike is a loop itinerary with excellent panoramas. The eastern trails are exposed, and let us see lake Tovel – a true pearl of Brenta Dolomites that lies 1,000 meters below our trail. This lake has an emerald green color in the blue-sky weather and is famous thanks to a unique phenomenon: until the 1950s the lake waters turned blood-red during the warmest period of the summer. It was caused by lake algae that colored the waters red during its blooming season.
The western side trails offer a great panorama of the Ortler Group. These are much higher mountains than the Brenta Dolomites. Their snowy peaks and vast glaciers will add white color to the views from our trail.
This hike is an opportunity to see how the Dolomites were formed 250 mln years ago. The itinerary passes close to a site with thousands of fossil shells of a prehistoric ocean. Although fossil shells are not rare in the Dolomites, the quantity and density of them in this area is outstanding.
The hike finishes at the mountain inn Rifugio Graffer which bears the name of one of the most renowned alpinists in the Dolomites – Giorgio Graffer. Some of his trails are still accessible only for professional alpinists. We can stop in Rifugio Graffer for lunch and enjoy a typical alpine cuisine.
Pietra Grande loop is not a difficult hike. It is an appropriate choice to anyone who is used to walking. However, there is a very steep ascent on the scree to the northern saddle, and you must be prepared for it. We will use a cable-car to reach the highland.
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