In Val Fonda with snowshoes

A snowshoe walk in Val Fonda described today can be a valid alternative to more challenging hikes when seeking a route that is not steep, not strenuous, and does not pose orientation problems. It can also serve as a great option when time is limited but the desire to explore a new corner of the magnificent Dolomites is strong.

The length of the itinerary can vary according to our choice since it is not a circular route, allowing us to decide at any moment how far to go back. However, if you are looking for sunshine, this may not be the right place. The route unfolds in the depths of Val Fonda, in the shadow of the imposing peaks of the Monte Cristallo and Piz Popena group that overlook the valley.

The name Val Fonda itself suggests that the winter sun can’t warm the gorge’s depths. It originates high on the Cristallo Pass, between Piz Popena and Monte Cristallo, extending northward between Monte Fumo and Cristallino di Misurina.
This unique feature gives Val Fonda a distinctive character. No longer the cheerful Dolomites, it’s now imposing, with stern mountains providing a backdrop to this intriguing walk in the valley floor.

Few people visit Val Fonda with snowshoes, but this place is well-known among ski-mountaineers who can enjoy a fantastic descent in fresh snow with a vertical drop of over 1300 meters. The starting point for the ski descent is the Cristallo Pass (2808 m), which can be accessed from Tre Croci Pass or by first ascending Val Fonda and then the Cristallo Glacier to the pass, before descending along the same route taken on the ascent.

Iced waterfalls in Val Fonda

Snowshoe walk in Val Fonda

Access to Val Fonda

  • From Cortina d’Ampezzo, reach the Carbonin area by following SS 51 Alemagna towards Dobbiaco, approximately 20 km.
  • From Dobbiaco, reach Carbonin (Schluderbach) also via SS 51 Alemagna but heading south, about 10 km.

Once in Carbonin, turn off SS 51 and take SS 48bis towards Misurina.
Follow the road for about 1 km, until you reach the Marogna Bridge (1476 m), where you can park.


The route to follow is truly simple and evident. Leaving the streambed of the river (Rio Val Fonda) to our left, we head southeast, towards the clear entrance of the valley. The path ascends gently, with the slope almost imperceptible.

In a short time, we reach the narrow entrance of the valley, a deep gorge that takes on the appearance of a canyon.

Continuing in the gorge, after a while, we will need to cross the Rio Val Fonda a couple of times as it flows through the valley, the only obstacle in our path. Let’s be careful not to wet the snowshoes, as this may lead to the formation of annoying snow clumps.

Along the route, we will have the opportunity to observe numerous crystalline-looking icefalls. We continue snowshoeing until the slope increases. At this point, it is advisable to stop and turn back. The steep slopes above us are exposed and, under certain conditions, pose the risk of avalanches. Proceeding further assumes having good mountaineering knowledge and, of course, carrying all the necessary equipment to safely tackle an alpine route rather than a snowshoe walk.


1h – 2h 30′ (the time varies depending on how far we want to venture into Val Fonda).

Topographic map Tabacco – scale 1:25,000 n° 03 – Cortina d’Ampezzo and Dolomiti Ampezzane
You can purchase it here.

Related pages:
Snowshoes, everything you need to know.
Itineraries with snowshoes in Cortina.

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.
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