Bonacossa trail, an amazing equipped path
The Bonacossa trail is a partially equipped itinerary that allows you to cross the Cadini di Misurina group, offering a splendid panorama to those who walk it. The route enters a characteristic area of the Dolomites, rich in peaks, spires, bell towers, towers, and saddles. Although it is partially exposed, the trail is not technically difficult and offers wonderful views of the Dolomites of Cadore.
However, this hike is reserved for experienced hikers. The Bonacossa trail connects the Col de Varda refuge with the Auronzo refuge, crossing saddles and ledges in a spectacular territory in every respect. The magnificent mountain group of Cadini di Misurina can make you think of the realm of Mordor, so suggestive and spectacular it is. Among these Dolomite spires with fairy-tale names such as the Ultimo Spirito, the Castello Incantato, the Torre del Diavolo, and the Gobbo, you can experience the feeling of being transported to another world.
As I have already said, the Bonacossa trail does not present significant technical difficulties, but it still requires proven experience in mountain hiking. The physical effort should not be underestimated, and you often walk on gravelly and sometimes treacherous terrain. In addition, the continuous ups and downs are felt in the legs. However, it is possible to shorten the hike, as you can read below.
I recommend bringing via ferrata equipment (helmet, harness, gloves, and dissipator) and, depending on the winter snowfall, also crampons. In fact, considering that the Bonacossa trail reaches 2,400 meters in altitude, after a winter rich in snow, this remains for a long time in the north-facing couloirs. In particular, in the stretch between Forcella del Diavolo and the Fonda Savio refuge, it is not uncommon to come across some treacherous snowy slabs that you must cross by force.
The length of the Bonacossa trail from Rifugio Col de Varda to Rifugio Auronzo is approximately 7.5 kilometers. The average time to complete the trail is around 5 hours. However, there are some alternative routes that allow you to shorten the trail. In this case, you will not reach Rifugio Auronzo, but instead return to Misurina.
It has a moderate difficulty level. Although it does not present technically challenging sections, the trail is long, with exposed sections, and the gravelly terrain requires a surefootedness and experience in mountain hiking. Despite the moderate technical difficulties, the Bonacossa Trail should not be underestimated! The most challenging points are the descent from Forcella Misurina into Cadin della Neve and the ascent from Forcella di Rimbianco to the entrance of Cadin di Longeres. I recommend wearing appropriate shoes (no sneakers) and, depending on the season, crampons.
The Bonacossa trail goes up and down through several forks. The difference in altitude is about 740 m uphill and 620 m downhill.
Yes, the cozy and popular (very popular) refuge Fonda Savio.
The Alberto Bonacossa trail starts at the Col de Varda refuge. The refuge can be reached by cable car from Misurina or by foot from Misurina.
Of course, the trail can also be done in the opposite direction, starting from the Auronzo refuge and arriving at the Col de Varda refuge.
From July to the end of October, depending on the snow conditions.
Road access and starting point of Bonacossa trail
To reach Misurina, the highest hamlet of the Municipality of Auronzo di Cadore, there are a few options: from Auronzo di Cadore, head towards Misurina; from Cortina d’Ampezzo, take the pass Tre Croci; from Dobbiaco, go through Carbonin.
From Misurina, take the chairlift up to the Rifugio Col de Varda, the starting point of the Sentiero Bonacossa. The refuge can be reached both by chairlift and by walking along the dirt road that starts right next to the lift station. It takes about an hour to walk up on foot.
The Bonacossa equipped path, description of the itinerary
From the refuge, take path no. 117, passing by a stone with a plaque dedicated to the memory of the mountaineer Alberto Bonacossa. After a stretch among the bushes, the path climbs obliquely through the scree of Grava di Misurina. You will reach Forcella Misurina (2,380 m) , where you can enjoy a beautiful view of Cristallo, Sorapis, and the high Val d’Ansiei.
From the pass, descend along the opposite side. The descent has some steep sections equipped with ropes and ladders, and leads to Cadin della Neve, where path no. 118 intersects and where there is often a large snowfield even in the middle of summer.
NOTE: This point represents a possible first escape route in case of bad weather or unforeseen events. Descending along Cadin della Neve on path no. 118, you will reach Misurina.
NOTE: This point represents a second escape route. Descending along the Cadin dei Tocci on trail n° 115 leads to Lake Antorno or, alternatively, to Misurina.
After a well-deserved break at the refuge, our walk continues on the Bonacossa Trail. From the refuge, one must head towards the Passo dei Tocci, just a few meters above the Fonda Savio. Following the signage and continuing on trail n° 117, we enter the Cadin del Nevaio. This section includes some equipped parts. A short ascent now leads to the forcella di Rimbianco (2,176 m), which connects the Cadin di Rimbianco with the Val de le Ciampedéle.
NOTE: This point represents a third escape route. Descending along the Cadin di Rinbianco on trail n° 119 and subsequently on n° 101 leads to Lake Antorno.
Crossing a panoramic ridge with remains of Alpini positions and an equally panoramic ledge, we arrive at an equipped section that requires attention in case of humidity. This is the most challenging point of the Bonacossa Trail. However, it is well equipped with some pegs and a ladder.
From the Auronzo refuge, you can descend to Misurina using the bus service. IMPORTANT: Make sure to check the bus schedules before leaving. There are not many runs, especially during low season. Alternatively, the descent on foot along the path n° 101 takes about an hour and a half.
If, on the other hand, the Bonacossa trail has been traveled in the opposite direction, starting from the Auronzo refuge, once you reach the Col de Varda refuge, you can decide whether to descend on foot to Misurina (40 minutes) or take advantage of the chairlift.
Supporting points for the Bonacossa Trail
Refuge Col de Varda – Tel. (+39) 0435 39041
Refuge Fonda Savio – Tel. (+39) 0435 39036
Refuge Auronzo – Tel. (+39) 0435 39002
Chairlift Col de Varda