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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.