Cortina d’Ampezzo Hiking Trails

The best hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Hello and welcome to my guide to the best excursions and hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo! I am a certified Mountain Guide, born and raised here, so I know this place very well and I have selected for you the ten most beautiful mountain hikes that you can do in Cortina. You can walk through lush forests, crystal clear alpine lakes and breathtaking panoramas, or venture to the highest peaks of the Dolomites for an exciting and unforgettable challenge.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, as there are countless magnificent hikes that can be done in Cortina. In fact, it’s no coincidence that this magnificent town is known as the “Queen of the Dolomites.” I have tried to include routes suitable for all levels of experience and difficulty. However, there are many others that require excellent knowledge of the area. Many itineraries take place in wild places and on unmarked and rarely traveled paths.

Some of the most beautiful hikes that I am going to list are already very well-known, but I couldn’t leave them out of this list. For example, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop, the stunning Lake Sorapis, or the Croda da Lago circular route. In addition, you will find some lesser-known hikes that are definitely worth your attention.

For each hike, I will provide you with a link to a detailed description of the route, duration, and difficulty, along with practical tips to prepare yourself for the hike. I hope this guide helps you discover the natural beauty of Cortina d’Ampezzo and have unforgettable mountain experiences.

If you’re looking for the best hikes in Cortina, it’s worth noting that every corner of these stunning mountains is steeped in history. In fact, these places are scattered with traces and memories of World War I, which add a unique charm to your mountain hikes. Moreover, if you’re passionate about geology, these mountains are like an open book, easily readable for those who appreciate the wonders of nature.

A few words about Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo boasts a favorable and extraordinarily panoramic position in the Valle d’Ampezzo. Located in the province of Belluno in Veneto, it is one of the main destinations for hiking enthusiasts in the North Italian Dolomites. Nestled among the rocky peaks of the mountain groups of Tofane, Sorapiss, Cristallo, Pomagagnon, and Croda da Lago, Cortina d’Ampezzo is surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. In 1956, Cortina hosted the seventh edition of the Winter Olympic Games. Thanks to television, this event brought images of Cortina and the Dolomites to the world and launched the era of winter tourism.

Cortina d’Ampezzo has always been a top destination for those who love the mountains, its landscapes, sports, and entertainment. In summary, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a true paradise for those seeking adventure and natural beauty.

But Cortina is also an ideal destination for those who seek Italian fashion and shopping, as well as local crafts, art, jewelry, and antiques. Corso Italia, the beating heart of Cortina, is one of the most famous shopping streets in Italy, always crowded with tourists attracted by the shop windows, cafes, and restaurants that line it. Visit Cortina and discover its beauty, elegance, and unique spirit!

One last suggestion: if you are looking for an incoming agency to organize your vacation in Cortina and the Dolomites, play it safe and rely on CortinaIn.

Quick tips for hiking in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Where is Cortina d’Ampezzo located?

Cortina d’Ampezzo is located in Northern Italy, in the Veneto Region, in the province of Belluno.

When is the optimal time for hiking in Cortina?

The best periods to visit Cortina d’Ampezzo are summer (from June to the end of September) and autumn (from the end of September to the end of October). It is recommended to go hiking between late May and late October. However, in May, snow still remains above a certain altitude, especially on north and west facing slopes. Also, keep in mind that many alpine huts are closed in October.
If you want to enjoy the real taste of the mountain, if possible avoid August, there are too many people. Unfortunately, visitors often do not respect nature, causing disturbance, making noise and behaving in a way that can be harmful to the natural beauty and peace of the mountain environment.

How do you reach Cortina?

The nearest international airport is Marco Polo in Venice. From the airport, there are some bus companies that offer a shuttle service from the airport to Cortina. For example, CortinaExpress. The nearest railway stations are Calalzo di Cadore (south of Cortina) and Dobbiaco (north of Cortina). For detailed information, visit the How to reach Dolomites and Cortina d’Ampezzo page.

What is the best map for hiking trails in Cortina d’Ampezzo?

Tabacco Map No.03, Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Ampezzane Dolomites. More information is available on the dedicated Maps and Books page.

The 10 best hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Dolomites

1. Croda da Lago – loop trail

Best hikes in Cortina: Croda da Lago circiut.
Autumn colors near the refuge Palmieri.

Undoubtedly, the route around Croda da Lago is one of the most rewarding in terms of geology and landscape. The circular hike begins in a splendid fir forest, crosses the picturesque Val de Formin, skirts the wonderful high-altitude meadows of Mondeval, leads to the shores of the beautiful Lake Fedèra, and finally, through the forest, returns to the Rucurto Bridge, the starting point of your trip. Yes, it’s one of the best hikes in Cortina!

  • Where: Cortina d’Ampezzo Dolomites
  • Trailhead: Ponte di Rocurto (Cortina)
  • Distance: 12,8 km
  • Elevation gain: 885 meters
  • Time needed: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to hike: From mid June to October
Read More: Croda da Lago loop trail

2. Misurina and high Val Popena – loop trail

Lago di Misurina.
Misurina Lake seen from the high Val Popena.

If you are looking for an unforgettable experience to admire the Dolomites during your stay in Cortina, you cannot miss the climb to the ruins of the Popena refuge, which represents one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in the surroundings of Lake Misurina. Despite the lake often being crowded with tourists and surrounded by numerous souvenir shops, Misurina also offers the possibility to explore numerous trails, ranging from the easiest and shortest, such as the lake tour, to the longest and more alpine ones.
Although the walk is well-known to local hikers and insiders, it’s often overlooked by most visitors who tend to flock to other equally beautiful, but much more crowded places such as Nuvolau, Croda da Lago, Tre Cime di Lavaredo. So, why not escape the crowds and experience the tranquility and natural beauty of Val Popena on your next mountain excursion?

  • Where: Dolomiti d’Ampezzo
  • Trailhead: Misurina
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Elevation gain: 460 meters
  • Time needed: 3h 15min.
  • Difficulty: Medium Difficulty, with some stretches on gravelly, exposed terrain not suitable for those afraid of heights.
  • When to hike: From May to November
Read More: Misurina and High Val Popena

3. Tre Cime di Lavaredo – loop trail

Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
The mythical triad: the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo are famous all over the world and must be included in the list of the most beautiful hikes to do in Cortina d’Ampezzo and its surroundings. Unfortunately, the beauty and fame of the area have become a double-edged sword as it attracts a large number of tourists during the summer, who flock to the trail that starts from the Auronzo hut and leads to the Lavaredo Refuge, crosses the homonymous fork, and finally reaches the Locatelli Refuge.

Before describing the hike to the Tre Cime, it is important to emphasize that if you want to fully enjoy the experience of this magnificent Dolomite area, it is best to avoid coming in July and August and to follow the instructions provided in the following description.

  • Where: Cortina d’Ampezzo Dolomites and Sexten Dolomites
  • Trailhead: Refuge Auronzo, accessible by car (toll road) and bus
  • Distance: 9,5 km
  • Elevation gain: 410 meters
  • Time needed: 3 hours 30 min.
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • When to hike: From the end of May to October
Read More: Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop trail

4. Lake of Sorapis

Best hikes in Cortina d'Ampezzo and Dolomites: Lake of Sorapis.
Going up to Lake Sorapis.

Did you know that Lake Sorapis (or Sorapiss or Sorapìs, originally Sorapíš in Dolomite Ladin) has stunning turquoise waters? This natural beauty attracts thousands of tourists every year. However, as in other destinations that offer fantastic landscapes, the massive influx of visitors is seriously endangering the integrity and harmony of the place.

We all must do our part to preserve and protect this wonder of nature. In this case, as with the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, I recommend choosing the right time for this wonderful hike in the Cortina d’Ampezzo area.

  • Where: Cortina d’Ampezzo Dolomites
  • Trailhead: Passo Tre Croci
  • Distance: 5,2 km – Round trip
  • Elevation gain: 290 meers
  • Time needed: 2 hours from Passo Tre Croci to the lake
  • Difficulty: Easy but with exposed sections not suitable for those who are afraid of heights
  • When to hike: From the end of May to October
Read More: Lake of Sorapis

5. Croda de r’Ancona

Best hikes in Cortina d'Ampezzo: Croda de r'Ancona.
On the summit of Croda de r’Ancona. In the background Tofana di Mezzo and Tofana Terza.

The ascent to Croda de r’Ancona is truly easy and accessible to everyone, but even though the route is easy, it doesn’t follow a numbered trail, so its identification requires a bit of experience. Although the peak at 2366 meters is not a high one, the view from it is nevertheless stunning and enhanced by the almost complete silence.
Some tunnels and numerous remains of war artifacts remind us of the valor and hardships of men forced to live and fight in often hostile environments. In conclusion, the Croda de r’Ancona deserves to be added to the list of best hikes in Cortina.

  • Where: Natural Park of the Dolomites of Ampezzo
  • Trailhead: Malga Ra Stua refuge (accessible by car)
  • Elevation gain: 670 meters
  • Time needed: Ascent 2 hours and 30 min. Descent: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to hike: From June to October
Read More: Croda de Ancona

6. Tofana di Rozes – loop trail

Best hikes in Cortina and Dolomites: Tofana di Rozes.
The majestic Tofana of Rozes.

If you are a mountain enthusiast looking for an unforgettable experience, you absolutely must try the Tofana di Rozes hike. This trail will take you through breathtaking scenery and pristine mountain landscapes, along a path that develops above the vegetation line. Along the way, you will be able to admire the massif of Monte Antelao and the Marmolada, the tallest mountain in the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hike requires good physical preparation and mountain experience, but the reward for the effort will be an experience you will not easily forget.

  • Where: Dolomiti d’Ampezzo
  • Trailhead: Angelo Dibona refuge (accessible by car)
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Elevation gain: 830 meters (using the Minighèl Ladder via ferrata). 960 meters if you prefer to avoid the via ferrata
  • Time needed: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy if you avoid the ferrata
  • When to hike: from mid June to October
Read More: Tofana di Rozes loop trail

7. Cengia Paolina, the Paolina’s Ledge

Best hikes in Cortina: the demanding Cengia Paolina.
One of the best (but demanding) hike in Cortina: the Paolina’s Ledge

The Cengia Paolina is a legendary and historic route that traverses the Tofane di Mezzo and di Dentro to the north, offering a breathtaking view. The path follows the tracks of the ancient paths of the Great War.
It should be emphasized that the Cengia Paolina is an alpine path reserved for experienced hikers, as it requires some basic climbing skills. In addition, orientation can be difficult, especially in case of fog. The red markers that once indicated the path have faded or even disappeared, and the cairns do not easily withstand the summer weather and winter snow.
To tackle this famous itinerary, you need to be well-prepared, have a steady pace, and a good familiarity with heights: only then can you truly appreciate the beauty of the place.

  • Where: Dolomites of Ampezzo
  • Trailhead: Refuge Angelo Dibona (accesible by car) or refuge Giussani
  • Distance: 14 km – Point to point
  • Time needed: 9 -10 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • When to hike: From July to September
Read More: Paolina’s ledge

8. Lakes of Fòses, Sennes, and Fodara – loop trail

Ibex in the Dolomites.
An ibex is resting in the Natural Park of the Dolomites of Ampezzo.

This wonderful hike takes us initially to the glacial basin of the Fòses lakes. From there, we continue on to the Biella mountain hut, and then proceed to reach the plateaus of Sennes and Fodara. It’s an unforgettable but long walk, seventeen kilometers. Yes, it’s long, but for sure it’s one of the best hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo. This beautiful excursion takes place in the Natural Park of the Dolomites of Ampezzo and the Natural Park of the Dolomites of Fanes, Sennes, and Braies, located north of Cortina d’Ampezzo. These two areas constitute a single protected zone, which extends across provincial and regional boundaries.
With a bit of luck and a watchful eye, you can admire the agility of the ibex that lives among these mountains.

  • Where: Natural Park of the Dolomites of Ampezzo – Natural Park of the Dolomites of Fanes, Sennes, and Braies
  • Trailhead: Malga Ra Stua refuge (accessible by car)
  • Distance: 17 km
  • Elevation gain: 720 meters
  • Time needed: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy. However, do not underestimate the length of the route
  • When to hike: From mid May to October
Read More: Foses, Sennes, Fodara Vedla

9. Val dei Chenopi and Pratopiazza – loop trail

Best hikes in the Dolomites: Pratopiazza.
Pratopiazza. In the background the Mt. Cristallo and the Piz Popena.

If you’re looking for a pleasant stroll in the mountains that’s neither difficult nor dangerous, then you should consider taking the Cimabanche Pass (1529 m) to Plätzwiese (known as Prato Piazza in Italian), a beautiful plateau that stretches up to an altitude of about 2000 m. This stunning plateau is protected by UNESCO due to its valuable alpine ecosystem and breathtaking panorama.
At the southern end of the plateau lies the Sperrwerk Plätzwiese ruins. These ruins are the remnants of a fort that dates back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So, history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike will enjoy exploring the fascinating traces of the past while taking in the picturesque landscape that surrounds them.

  • Where: Natural Park of the Dolomites of Ampezzo – Natural Park of the Dolomites of Fanes, Sennes, and Braies
  • Trailhead: Pass Cimabanche
  • Distance: 12,5 km
  • Elevation gain: 520 meters
  • Time needed: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to hike: From mid May to October
Read More: Pratopiazza

10. Sentiero Bonacossa – Equipped path

Best hikes in Cortina: the Sentiero Bonacossa.
The mountain group of Cadini di Misurina.

The Bonacossa Trail includes some equipped sections that, although easy, make the route still challenging. There are some stairs to help during steeper sections. It is not a simple walk, but a hike that requires a steady pace and some ability to walk on gravel terrain. However, the Bonacossa Trail offers incredible views of the magical Cadini di Misurina mountain range. The path goes through the characteristic Dolomite group, among peaks, spires, bell towers, towers, and saddles, providing wonderful views of the Cadore Dolomites.

  • Where: Dolomites of Cadore
  • Trailhead: Misurina (Col de Varda, accessible by chairlift from Misurina)
  • Distance: 7,5 km – Point to point
  • Elevation gain: 550 meters
  • Time needed: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium difficulty
  • When to hike: From mid June to October
Read More: Bonacossa equipped path