Hiking around Misurina, don’t miss this one!

Best hikes in Misurina and surroundings.

There are many possible walks and hikes around Misurina, but if you’re looking for an unforgettable way to see the Dolomites, you can’t miss the climb to the ruins of the Popena refuge.

Certainly, the one I am about to describe is one of the most beautiful hikes you can do around Lake Misurina. In fact, the famous lake is not only a crowded tourist spot with numerous souvenir shops. Misurina is above all the starting point for numerous trails: easy and short, like the walk around the lake, but also long and mountaineering.

The hike to the ruins of the Popena refuge is mostly an easy walk, but still has a short stretch where a secure step is necessary. As you will see if you continue reading, just before reaching the Popena fork (2214 m), the trail becomes steep on a gravelly and friable exposed terrain, where a fall could have unpleasant consequences.

If this scares you, maybe because you are not used to hiking in the mountains, know that there is another way to reach the Popena fork and the remains of the homonymous refuge. I am referring to the trail that runs through the Val Popena.

But let’s go back to the most beautiful hikes around Lake Misurina, and in particular to the loop path that I am about to describe. I suggest following the itinerary clockwise, as the most challenging section is easier to navigate uphill. The trails you will have to follow are, in order: 224b – 222 – 224.

I won’t go into detailed explanations on how to get to Misurina, the highest hamlet of the Municipality of Auronzo di Cadore. Just a few words about it: from Auronzo di Cadore direction Misurina; from Cortina d’Ampezzo through the Tre Croci Pass; from Dobbiaco to Carbonin. If you don’t have a car, there is still a bus service that takes you from these towns to Misurina.

Hikes in misurina: access to the 224b trail to Forcella Popena

The starting point of our hike is the Malga Misurina farmstay. The farmstay is situated in a panoramic position at an altitude of 1.795 meters, in the immediate vicinity of Lake Misurina. During the low season, you can park near the farmstay, but avoid doing so during high season to leave space for the customers of the bar-restaurant.

The well-marked trail begins right next to the farmstay and heads decisively towards the forest above it, not far away.

Trail Description

The hike now begins, and almost immediately you come to a fork: here you must turn left (south) and continue on the 224b trail.
The trail is very comfortable, and with a first diagonal stretch followed by some switchbacks, after about 200 meters of elevation gain, you reach a second fork. This is the junction with trail no. 222, which you will use on the descent.
Instead, continue on the 224b trail, turning sharply to the left. The path continues with a long and panoramic diagonal above the woods upstream of Pousa Marza, which can be seen lower down.

I’d like to point out that it’s possible to reach our destination, Forcella Popena and the remains of the homonymous refuge, also from the bridge over the Rudavoi stream or from Pousa Marza, which can be reached in half an hour from the old road worker’s red house. In this case, however, it’s necessary to organize yourself with two vehicles, leaving one in Misurina for the return trip.

If you also enjoy winter hiking in addition to summer excursions, I suggest the beautiful snowshoeing excursion to Pousa Marza.

The Cason de Pousa Marza seen from our path

The view from up here is wonderful, it ranges from the Tre Cime to the Cadini di Misurina, from the wild Marmarole group to the severe north face of Sorapis, which I climbed with my friend Francesco many years ago.

Now comes the most challenging section of the trail. We are at the end of the long diagonal and a clear sign suggests the ascent of an uninviting scree.

In a few minutes, we arrive beneath the rocks, where an ancient boundary stone proudly displays itself. The stone once served to mark the border between the Serenissima Republic of Venice and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, dated 1753.
Italy is a country with a long and rich history, and the boundary stones reflect this.

These stones have been used for centuries to mark Italy’s borders, and each one has its own story to tell.

The ancient boundary stone

In this blog, I have told the story and significance of one of these stones, that of the Muraglia di Giau.

We cross the ancient artifact and begin to climb up a steep and crumbling channel. This is the most difficult stretch: nothing too daunting if you are an experienced hiker, but certainly challenging if you are not. As I have already mentioned, a fall here could have serious consequences. So, bear in mind the following: if you are looking for an easier walk, there are several hikes in Misurina. Whatever you choose to do, you won’t regret choosing this magnificent area of the Dolomites.

After climbing the steep channel, we reach the final stretch, which has recently been equipped with wooden stairs and walkways. It’s a great job, but it will have to contend with violent storms and frequent landslides that, combined with the harshness of time passing, are changing the landscape.

We have now reached the summit of the climb (2214 m) and the remains of the Popena refuge. This refuge, born from an idea of Lino Conti, has an extraordinary story that deserves to be known.

Close to Forcella Popena

It’s not only the story of a refuge, but also of a man who, armed with strong determination, built it alone, only to see it vandalized and destroyed by unknown people. I have told the story of the refuge on this site, but you can only see the Italian version. But Google can help you translate it, if you are interested… here is The history of the Popena refuge (in Italian language).

We are at Forcella Popena; in front of us are the ruins of the refuge, and behind it stands the imposing mass of Piz Popena and, lower down, just above us, the Corno d’Angolo. And again, the long and wild Val Popena, very popular with ski mountaineers in winter. The Popena Towers, Punta Michele, Cristallino di Misurina.

Looking south, in the distance, we can see Croda da Lago and Becco di Mezzodì, and the summit of Monte Civetta. To the north, the Tre Cime, to the east, the Cadini di Misurina… there are too many magnificent peaks to list them all; you have to see them to fully appreciate the beauty of this place!

After a well-deserved break, we descend along Val Popena on path no. 222 until we come across a first junction. Here, I recommend turning right and following the path that crosses the scree descending west of the Pale di Misurina, and ends at Forcella delle Pale.

Alternatively, you can continue descending until the next crossroads, where you turn right and start climbing along trail no. 224, which also leads to Forcella delle Pale.

The path on the scree

With little effort, you reach the saddle. Here there is the junction with trail no. 224, which we will follow downhill to Malga Misurina, our starting point. Here too, the view of the surrounding panorama is wonderful.
Below is Lake Misurina, with its pedal boats, bustling with tourists, buses, cars, and motorcycles. In front of us, to the east, is the Cadini group and to their right is the long chain of the Marmarole. Quite a sight!

To conclude our beautiful excursion in Misurina, all we have to do is descend along the comfortable trail.

The descent is easy and presents no difficulty. The path lowers gently, and the 350 meters of elevation difference that separate us from Malga Misurina are covered willingly.

In a short time, we reach the junction with the trail we took uphill, and then continue to the right along the same one.

Forcella delle Pale and Marmarole group

Fun fact

And here we are at the end of our beautiful hike in Misurina. Before reaching the malga, if you turn around and look behind you, a keen eye can spot the slender shape of the Guglia de Amicis. Although the tower is only about sixty meters high, its climb is considered a classic in mountaineering, perhaps because of its history. The summit was first reached back in 1906 with a daring aerial crossing by Tita Piaz and Edmondo de Amicis’s son, who wanted to name it after his father, the famous author of the book “Cuore” (Heart).

The daring bell tower has steep and overhanging walls on all sides, too difficult to climb in those days. To conquer the summit, Tita Piaz devised a rope maneuver that consisted, in a nutshell, of an aerial crossing along a rope fixed to the wall behind the spire.


Enrico Maioni Mountain Guide Dolomiti

Enrico Maioni

Certified Mountain Guide, with a wide know-how of the Dolomiti.
I was born in the heart of the Dolomites, where I live and work to this day.
Do you want to receive my posts by email? Subscribe to my newsletter!