• The Cimon della Pala rises above Passo Rolle in the Dolomites of Italy
  • View of the Brenta Dolomites (Dolomiti di Brenta), Dolomites of Italy
  • View of the Pale di San Martino, Italian Dolomites

Brenta & San Martino Dolomites

Hiking in the Northeastern Italian Alps


In the summer of 2018, join us in the Dolomites of Italy to explore two lesser known mountain groups–the Brenta Dolomites (Dolomiti di Brenta) and the Pale di San Martino. These two mountain groups along with seven others make up the magnificent Dolomites range of the northeastern Italian Alps. This is a brand new Dolomites hiking trip and the third Dolomites hiking tour offered by Mountain Hiking Holidays.

Cut off from the main portion of the Dolomites by the Adige River, the Brenta Dolomites mark the western extent of the complex geomorphology that defines the Dolomites. In contrast to other portions of the Dolomites, the peaks of the Brenta group are massive and blocky in character exhibiting less of the slender soaring forms that are more commonly found in the eastern Dolomites.

The Pala Group of the Dolomites (known as the Pale di San Martino in Italian) along with the Friulian Dolomites (Dolomiti Friulane) and the Belluno Dolomites (Dolomiti Bellunesi) constitute the southernmost ramparts of the range. The Pale di San Martino is known for its dramatic cliff faces and more importantly for the extensive high plateau (Altipiano di Fradusta) that extends across the top of this mountain group. Here, the surface of the ancient coral reefs that formed these mountains is exposed. The landscape of the altipiano is austere, lunar-like and unforgetable!

Arrival Day
Plan your arrival in Bolzano (Bozen), Italy for this day.

Day 1
Overnight in Molveno
Transfer from Bolzano to Bletterbach Geopark which protects a red rock gorge at the base of the sharp peak of the Weisshorn. Explore the network of trails in and around the gorge. Enjoy lunch in a typical Dolomites mountain refuge before continuing by vehicle to the lakeside town of Molveno. Settle in for a two-night stay.

Day 2
Overnight in Molveno
This morning, the Molveno-Pradel lift will whisk you up the eastern slopes of the Brenta Dolomites. From the top of the lift you can hike a spectacular trail hanging above the Seghe Valley to the Rifugio Croz dell’Altissimo. You can continue further climbing steadily to reach the Rifugio Selvata set in a subalpine bowl. For a challenging and vigorous hike, you can ascend through exciting limestone terrain to the lofty Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti surrounded by the peaks of the high Brenta.

Day 3
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Begin the day with a vehicle transfer from Molveno to the mountain town of Madonna di Campiglio. Ride the Grostè lift to its upper station set in the windswept, rocky high country of the Brenta Dolomites. Descend directly to the green meadows at Spinale or choose a longer route that leads you through the high pastures of the lovely Vallesinella. Settle in for a four-night stay in Madonna di Campiglio.

Day 4
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Take the Cinque Laghi (“Five Lakes”) cable car into the Presnella massif. Presanella is not part of the Dolomites, but it offers impressive views eastward to the bulk of the Brenta Dolomites. From the upper cable car station, set off on a choice of hikes that will lead you past the lakes of Ritorto, Lambin, Gelato, Serodoli, and Nambino. The views of the Brenta Dolomites across the waters of these lakes are not to be missed!

Day 5
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Ascend by cable car once again into the Presnella massif, this time to hike to the lakes of the Melodrio basin–Lago Scuro, Tre Laghi, Lago Alto and Lago delle Malghetti. Revel in high country meadows and enjoy views of the Brenta Dolomites from a series of lakes and tarns–plentiful in the Presanella but more infrequently found in the porous terrain of the Dolomites.

Day 6
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Today’s hikes will take you into the rocky heart of the Brenta Dolomites! Choose a hike that takes you over spectacularly engineered trails to the Rifugio Brentei, set in a basin below the massive bulk of the Cima Tosa (peak). Or, choose a longer hike that ascends to the Rifugio Tuckett set in a boulder-strewn basin at the base of a narrow valley leading up to the pass called Bocca del Tuckett (“Tuckett’s Mouth”). Behind the refuge rise the sharp peaks of Castelletto Superiore and the Cima Sella. From Rifugio Tuckett, the longer hiking option continues to Rifugio Brentei before returning to the starting point.

Day 7
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
Travel by vehicle to the town of San Martino di Castrozza set in a valley at the foot of the Pale di San Martino mountain group. En route to San Martino, ascend by cable car into the mountains south of the town of Cavalese from where you’ll enjoy a hike to the blue mountain tarn of Lago di Bombasel. From the lake, views extend northward to the Latemar and Rosengarten mountain groups. After the hike, continue by vehicle over the Passo Rolle and decend to San Martino where you’ll settle in for a four-night stay.

Day 8
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
This morning, a short vehicle transfer will bring you to Passo Rolle which offers stunning views of the massive, shark-toothed peak of the Cimon della Pala. From Passo Rolle, a trail leads to the still waters of Lago Cavallazza surrounded by an entourage of smaller tarns each reflecting the dramatic peaks of the Pale di San Martino. Continue to the refuge and lake of Colbricon before descending to the meadows at Malga Ces where the hike ends. Longer option hikers can continue beyond the Colbricon lake ascending to the Punta Ces, a high vantage point offering wonderful views toward the Pale di San Martino. The longer option continues to the Rifugio Tognola where a cable car covers the final descent to San Martino di Castrozza.

Day 9
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
Today’s hikes lead to the Rifugio Treviso, set on the slopes of the upper Canali Valley. You can choose a hike that proceeds directly up the Canali Valley to reach the refuge. Alternatively you can choose a more difficult hiking option that will take you from Passo Cereda over the Forcella d’Oltro (pass) to reach Rifugio Treviso.

Day 10
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
On this last day of hiking, explore the altipiano (high plateau) atop the Pale di San Martino. The Rosetta funivia (cable car) carries you in two stages from San Martino di Castrozza to its top station near the Passo Rosetta. You can choose a hike across the altipiano to the remnant Fradusta Glacier and its blue-green meltwater lake before retracing your steps to the cable car station. A more challenging hiking option continues beyond the Fradusta Glacier and descends to the remote Rifugio Pradidali surrounded by the rocky spires and pinnacles of the Torre Pradidali and Cime Canali.

Departure Day
Depart San Martino di Castrozza for Bolzano rail station and your onward connections.

We are accepting early reservations for this trip. If you are interested in being part of this trip in 2018 please reserve a place at our Trip Reservations page. Note that we will not process any deposit payments at this time. Once trip dates and a firm price have been determined, we will notify you. If at that time you reconfirm that you wish to book a place on this trip, we will then process the deposit payment.

Photos on this page are by John Osaki except as otherwise credited.

Trip Dates
Summer 2018 (Specific dates TBA)


Single supplement

Meeting Point
Bolzano (Bozen), Italy. The nearest large international airports are in Munich, Germany and Milan, Italy. Connecting air service is also available to Innsbruck, Austria. Rail service is available from each of these cities to Bolzano.

Departure Point
Bolzano (Bozen), Italy. The nearest large international airports are in Munich, Germany and Milan, Italy. Connecting air service is also available to Innsbruck, Austria. Rail service is available to each of these cities from Bolzano.

Ten nights in hotels/inns with private bath. Ten breakfasts. Inclusion of other meals TBD. Please note that lodging in Bolzano on the evening prior to the start of the trip is not included in the trip price; however, we will be happy to assist you in booking accommodations for that evening.

Other Information
For travel to the Dolomites, the nearest large international airports are in Munich, Germany and Milan, Italy. Rail connections are available from both airports to the cities of Bolzano and Bressanone. You may consult rail schedules at Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) website.


Mountain Hiking Holidays

Trips for the adventurous hiker since 1996

PO Box 86250, Portland, OR 97286-0250, USA

503-715-0844 / Toll-free 1-800-313-0345 or 1-888-743-0723


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