• 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
  • Trail leading to Rifugio Tuckett in the Brenta Dolomites

Best Hikes in the Dolomites III

The Brenta Dolomites & Pale di San Martino

Printable version of trip itinerary

We are offering all three versions of our popular Dolomites tours in 2018. See a map of the areas covered by each of the three Dolomites tours. For a July trip, see the description for our “Best Hikes in the Dolomites 2” hiking tour (featuring the mountains of the Fassa, Fiorentina, Badia and Gardena valleys). For a September trip, see the description for our “Best Hikes in the Dolomites 1” hiking tour (featuring the Sesto Dolomites and the mountains of the Badia and Gardena valleys).

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 (Altopiano 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 altopiano is austere, lunar-like and unforgetable!

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

Day 1
Overnight in Molveno
Dinner included
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.

The Weisshorn (Corno Bianco) rises above the red walls of Bletterbach Gorge.

Well-built trail to Rifugio Croz dell’Altissimo.

Day 2
Overnight in Molveno
Breakfast and dinner included
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 Pedrotti and the neighboring Rifugio Tosa, the latter the oldest mountain refuge in the Brenta Dolomites. Revel in alpine splendor surrounded by the skyscraping peaks of the high Brenta.

The Rifugio Pedrotti near the Bocca di Brenta.

Day 3
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Breakfast and dinner included
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.

Brenta Dolomites high country near Groste.

Day 4
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Breakfast and dinner included
Take the Cinque Laghi (“Five Lakes”) cable car into the Presanella 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!

Lago Serodoli, Presanella massif.

Rifugio Brentei in the Brenta Dolomites.

Day 5
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Breakfast and dinner included
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.

Rifugio Tuckett with the deep notch of the Bocca del Tucket in the background.

Cobalt blue waters of the Tre Laghi, Presanella massif.

Day 6
Overnight in Madonna di Campiglio
Breakfast and dinner included
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 Malghette. 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.

Reflections, Tre Laghi, Presanella massif.

Lago delle Malghette and the Brenta Dolomites.

Day 7
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
Breakfast and dinner included
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.

Looking north from Lago di Bombasel toward the Latemar group.

The Pale di San Martino from near Rifugio Tognola.

Day 8
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
Breakfast and dinner included
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.

Sunset on the Pale di San Martino.

Still waters, Lago di Colbricon.

Day 9
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
Breakfast and dinner included
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.

Heading up the Canali Valley en route to Rifugio Treviso.

Day 10
Overnight in San Martino di Castrozza
Breakfast and dinner included
On this last day of hiking, explore the altopiano (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 altopiano 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.

The high plateau (altopiano) of the Pale di San Martino and Rifugio Rosetta.

Departure Day
Depart San Martino di Castrozza for Bolzano rail station and your onward connections. Planned arrival time in Bolzano is 12:00 noon. Please plan your departure from Bolzano accordingly.

A view of the maroon cliffs of the Crode Rosse and the peak of Cusiglio from Passo Rolle.

Printable version of trip itinerary

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The Brenta Dolomites as seen by the Pradalago webcam on June 12, 2017 at 12:40 PM.

Enjoy a panoramic view of the Brenta Dolomites as seen by the webcam at the upper station of the Pradalago lift at Madonna di Campiglio. The best views are during the morning and early evening hours. Madonna di Campiglio is six hours ahead of Eastern time and nine hours ahead of Pacific time.

Photos on this page are by John Osaki and Asen Marinov (© All Rights Reserved) except as otherwise credited.

Trip Dates
June 29 – July 8, 2018 (10-day version)
June 29 – July 5, 2018 (7-day version)

Price
$4,695 (10-day version)
$4,350 (7-day version)

Single supplement
$400 (10-day version).
$350 (7-day version).
Single accommodations are subject to availability and may be limited.

Meeting Point
Hotel in Bolzano (Bozen), Italy on the morning of June 29, 2018 for both the 10-day and 7-day version of the tour. We suggest you plan your arrival in Bolzano for June 28 at the latest. 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
For the 10-day tour: Tour services end officially in San Martino di Castrozza, Italy after dinner on July 8, 2018. However, your lodging for that evening and your transfer to the train station in Bolzano, Italy the next morning is included in the price of the trip. Estimated arrival time in Bolzano on the day of the transfer is 12:00 noon. Please plan your departure from Bolzano for some time after 12:00 noon.
For the 7-day tour: Tour services end officially in San Martino di Castrozza, Italy after dinner on July 5. However, your lodging for that evening and your transfer to the train station in Bolzano, Italy the next morning is included in the price of the trip. Estimated arrival time in Bolzano on the day of the transfer is 12:00 noon. Please plan your departure from Bolzano for some time after 12:00 noon.

Accommodations
For the 10-day tour: Ten nights in hotels. All rooms with private bath. Ten breakfasts and ten dinners are included. Please note that lodging in Bolzano on the evening of June 28 (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.
For the 7-day tour: Seven nights in hotels. All rooms with private bath. Seven breakfasts and seven dinners are included. Please note that lodging in Bolzano on the evening of June 28 (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.

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Trips for the adventurous hiker since 1996

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