Dolomita di Brenta –the Wildest part of the Alps

dolomita di brenta

The Dolomita di Brenta is a mountain group that is part of the Dolomites, listed on the UNESCO heritage list. Although these mountains are certainly not the highest in the Alps, they might well be contender as some of the most impressive. The Dolomites in the Northeast of Italy are characterized by their roughness and purity. The sheer peaks are an impressive sight hiding adventurous trails, such as via ferrata, and mountain hut treks. It is the main reason why enthusiast hikers and mountaineers have visited the region for over 100 years.

About the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomita di Brenta is a mountain group in the Italian Dolomites. It is fully located within the borders of the province of Trente, isolated from the rest of the Dolomites. The massif is surrounded by four valleys: Val di Sole, Val di Non, Valli Giudicarie and Val Rendena.

The highest peak of is the Cima Tosa with an altitude of 3176 meters. Its glaciated summit was first ascended in 1865. The region is especially popular with travelers looking to do the via ferrata, a challenging trail well-known in the area. One of the main attractions of this region is Lago di Tovel, a mountain lake that has had a deeply red color since the ‘60s.

Accommodation around the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomites always have appealed to adventure seekers looking for something more challenging than just hiking. But even in winter, this region attracts visitors. The most famous winter sport destination is Madonna di Campiglio in Val Rendena, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Feeling Hotel Fontanella, is a modern family-run building, with a wide and spectacular view of Lake Molveno and the Brenta Dolomites. At Hotel Fontanella you will not only relax! In Molveno and the Brenta Dolomites you can practice many activities both in summer and in winter, fun is guaranteed in every season at the Hotel.

Vallesinella, located at the gates of the Nature Park at the foot of the Adamello Brenta Dolomites, surrounded by nature and just 4 km from Madonna di Campiglio. The only 3-star hotel in Madonna di Campiglio near the Vallesinella waterfall and at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites.

Hotel Lory, is centrally located in this  picturesque village and  on arrival you will marvel at the fantastic view over the mountains and the lake of Molveno.

Hiking around the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomites are well-known for the via ferrata routes, a combination of mountaineering and hiking. Via ferrata is derived from Italian, meaning “iron road”. These protected climbing routes are secured with steel cables and ladders attached to the rocks. A specific via ferrata kit is required to preventfalling.

Dolomita di Brenta Trek

The Dolomiti di Brenta Trek is a circular hiking route over the Brenta mountain massif that enables you to visit the wild, evocative Adamello Brenta Nature Park.It is a multi-day trek designed to give hikers the opportunity to stay overnight in mountain refuges and taste the delicious and traditional Trentino cuisine. The Dolomita di Brenta trek is without doubt one of the top walks in the Italian Dolomites and should be on every hiker’s to do list!

Nature trail

This 4-hour nature trail celebrates the forces of nature such as water, which has the ability to shape and heal. Starting at the Comano Spa and leading towards the deep gorge of Canyon del Limaro, along the river Sarca to Adamello, this trail is not to be missed when visiting the Dolomita di Brenta region.

Lago di Tovel

Lago di Tovel
Lago di Tovel Photo by Giulio Giuffa

An easy hike, but one well worth doing is the circular trail around the lago di Tovel. It takes about 1h 20 minutes to complete, and it not only offers great scenery of the lake, but of the neighbouring peaks of the Brenta Dolomites as well.

Valesinella waterfalls

Valesinella waterfalls
Valesinella waterfalls Photo by Janet

Not too difficult with little altitude difference (400m) makes this a trail doable for families with children. The distance of 10 kilometer makes this a semi-day trip from your base and affords the opportunity to take your time and have a picnic along the way. The hike starts in Valesinella, easily reachable with public transportation from Madonna di Campiglio.

The Lagorai Trek

This trail is part of the Dolomiti Panorama Trek which connects the Dolomiti Trekking and Dolomiti Pala Ronda Trek. It is a five-day walk which explores the wild and off-the-beaten path region of mountain lakes, pastures and forests. Rare wildlife can be spotted if you are lucky. The area is populated with red deer, golden eagles, and chamois.


Village of Tenna
Village Tenna Photo by Manveer Jarosz

Village Tenna is in a privileged position when it comes to idyllic settings. Located on a hill, it offers view ofnearby Lake Levico and Caldonazzo. Also, the quaint town Pinzolo has drawn active travelers for decades since the options here are endless–skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding.The cable car in town makes it possible to reach high altitudes in minutes. From this point, you will be granted great views over the Brenta Dolomites. On the eastern side of the Dolomita di Brenta, you will find the town of Andalo, another great option if you love panoramic views reachable by cable car. This charming village is nestled in a beautiful valley and has a distinctive German flair in its streets. Another beautiful town is Molveno, sitting at the northern end of Lake Molveno with the Dolomita di Brenta soaring behind. With several hiking trails in the region, this is a hotspot for travelers who love the outdoors. The resort town Madonna di Campiglio, on the other hand, is the main place to stay when visiting.

Rifugio Brentei

Mountain Hut - Rifugio Brentei

Rifugio Brentei is a mountain hut constructed in 1932. It is often reached from Madonna di Campiglio via a hike that takes about 4 hours. A lot of climbers use it as an overnight for climbs to Crozzon di Brenta (3135m) and Cima Tossa (3173m). From the hut, one can see the famous northern ice gorge of Cima Tossa. The refuge has 90 places to accommodate visitors and is open from June to September.

Rifugio Angelo Alimonta

Mountain hut - Rifugio Angelo Alimonta

Located at an altitude of 2850 meters, this privately-owned mountain hut offers views of the glacier Vedretta dei Sfulmini in the heart of the Brenta Dolomites. The hut can be reached via different routes from Madonna di Campiglio, but the most common passes by the Rifugio Brentei. It is often used by hikers and mountaineers as a resting place for climbs over the via ferrata Via delle Bocchette.

Rifugio Silvio Agostini

Mountain hut - Rifugio Silvio Agostini

This mountain hut was named after the Italian mountain guide, Silvio Agostini,who died in the mountains in 1936. It was built in 1937, expanded in 1975, and restored in 1995. It is a good starting point for climbs to Cima d’Ambiez and Cima Tossa, both peaks in the Brenta Dolomites.

Rifugio XII Apostoli

Located at an altitude of 2487 meters in the province of Trentino, this refuge is owned by the Società Alpinisti Tridentini. It is a special place to visit as there is a small church nearby which holds a ceremony every Sunday to commemorate all the mountaineers who have lost their lives in the mountains. The name derives from a group of 12 rocks nearby that sit close to each other like the twelve apostles.

Madonna di Campiglio: Grostè Sessellift − Talstation, Rifugio Graffer

To Rifugio Brentei from Madonna di Compaglio

Starting at the lively mountain resort of Madonna di Campiglio, the hike to the Rifugio Brentei, high up in the Brenta massif,has impressive views. It is positioned at the center of the rocky amphitheater of the high Val Brenta, right in front of the imposing north wall of the Crozzon di Brenta, in the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park.

Things to do around the Dolomita di Brenta

dolomita di brenta

The Italian Dolomites are famous for their via ferrata routes. These trails have protected sections that secure hikers and climbers with steel cables and ladders. The origin of this activity lies in WW I, when soldiers crossed these rugged peaks. For those who feel a little less adventurous, there is an option to visit some beautiful lakes. Lake Molveno, Lago di Tovel and Lago di Toblino are only a few worth visiting. Lake Molveno is situated in the Adamello – Brenta nature park, one of the largest protected areas in the Alps. Exploring it gives you a chance to see some typical alpine wildlife. Plus, there are about twelve brown bears still wandering around the park, but the chance of actually seeing one is close to nil.

Hiking with kids

While via ferrata is typically known as a more challenging activity, it can be a great one to do for a family holiday. Via ferrata routes have several levels of difficulty, and the Via Ferrata Col Rodella and Via Ferrata Roda de Vael both are great options for a guided experience with children. The trails are well suited for brave youth and a great way of building up experience. The only question that remains is: what to do with the terrified mom?

Dolomita di Brenta

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Dolomita di Brenta 46.179300, 10.899300

Dent d’Herens – 4000 meter with iconic neighbour

Dent d’Herens

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Dent d’Herens 45.970000, 7.605100

Figuratively and literally, the Dent d’Herens is overshadowed by the Matterhorn. With an altitude of 4171 meters, it’s only slightly lower than the iconic pyramid-shaped peak, but the challenge to climb it is just as great. Located in the Mattertal near Zermatt, it is the setting of a well-travelled part of the Swiss Alps.

About the Dent d’Herens

The Dent d’Herens is a mountain peak on the border of Italy and Switzerland, with an altitude of 4171meters. It is located in the west of the Matterhorn (4478m) and south of the Dent Blanche (4357m). Most people start their climb at the Italian mountain hut Rifugio Aosta (2781m). On the Swiss side, the Schönbielhutte (2694m) offers great views of the icy north face of the mountain. The summit of Dent d’Herens was first succesfully climbed in 1863 by Florence Crawford Grove, William Edward Hall, Reginald Somerled Macdonald, Montagu Woodmass, Melchior Anderegg, Jean-Pierre Cachat and Peter Perren. The summit offers a panoramic view of the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa massif.

It is possible that the Dent d’Herens was once mixed up with the nearby Dent Blanche. The latter is located at the end of the Val d’Herens and isn’t white, while the Dent d’Herens can’t even be seen from the Val d’Herens, but looks quite white because of the numerous glaciers on the north face.

Accommodations near the Dent d’Herens

Zermatt is the base for those who wish to see or climb the Matterhorn, the iconic neighbor of Dent d’Herens. It is a perfect holiday destination for travelers who wish to hike in the region of Dent d’Herens.  Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breaths history as you will see traces of the past. Not the least is the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Millefiori, is a small botique hotel located in the Italian Alps with a total of 15 rooms with a true Alpine feel. The hotel has a personal atmosphere and suits everything from families with children, friends to colleagues on a conference trip.

Hotel Europa, is just 150 meters from the Breuil-Plan Maison cable car. Most rooms offer views of the Matterhorn Mountain and the Grandes Murailles mountain range.

Hotel Plateau-Rosa, Enjoy a wonderful stay with authentic Valais hospitality. Look forward to renovated and comfortable rooms with a fantastic view. Just the thing for everyone who is looking for peace and relaxation in the midst of an imposing mountain landscape.

Hotels/ Campsites in Zermatt

Zermatt is flocked with day tourists taking the Glacier Express train to the village, since no cars are allowed in the center. Most of them spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village. However, for those on a budget, or spending a night in Zermatt before commencing their hike, there is a campsite available, the closest being camping Matterhorn at the entry of the village about two minutes from the train station. This is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day.

Aosta valley

Aosta valley
Aosta valley Photo by Guiliano Da Zanche

The best side for visiting the Dent d’Herens region is the Italian side, where the Aosta valley accommodates travelers. Valtournenche is one of the closest places to the mountain base. Camping Glair is a budget option for those who don’t want to spend their night in a hotel.


The Schönbielhütte is surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent BlancheMountain Hut - Schönbielhütte and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories, hosting 80 people maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the hostwith fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.

Gandegg Hutte

Mountain Hut - Gandegg HutteThe Gandegg Hutte is a cosy little mountain hut accommodating climbers and hikers. It is located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station. Not only is it a great base for climbing Breithorn, but it provides a comfortable night’s sleep for those who wish to hike the Tour de Monte Rosa or hike to Theodulpass. From the hut, you get splendid  views of Breithorn, Dent D’Herens and the Matterhorn.


Mountain hut - TheodulhutteAnother great trip is to Theodulhutte, close the Theodulpass, the highest mountain pass in the Alps. From Zermatt, this requires a lengthy ascent to Trockener Steg (or a short ride on the cable car) before crossing the Theodul glacier leading to the pass. Near the pass, you will find the Theodul hut often used by hikers of the Tour de Monte Rosa.

Rifugio Aosta

Rifugio Aosta
Rifugio Aosta Photo by Massimo

Rifugio Aosta is best reached from Prarayer or Zermatt. It takes about 5.5 hours to reach from Zermatt via a trail leading to Schönbielhutte and Col de Valpelline. It is situated at an elevation of 2781 meters, making it a popular starting base for Dent d’Herens ascents. There are about 30 beds available, so reservationsare recommended.

Hiking in the region of Dent d’Herens

While visiting the Dent d’Herens region, hiking is one of the top activities here. With several 4,000-meter peaks, the views are just awesome. Alhough the Matterhorn is one mountain that will always stand out,  there are plenty of trails that will lead you to splendid viewpoints of the Dent d’Herens as well.

Tour the Matterhorn

The Tour de Matterhorn probably is the best known multi-day hike in the region. It is the ultimate hike around the world’s most beautiful mountain. In 8 days, this route circumnavigates the Matterhorn along some great cable-secured passages, boulder fields and even glaciers. Along the way, you can spend the night in mountain cabins such as Rifugio del Teodulo, Rifugia Prarayer and Europaweghütte. Suffering from vertigo is no option as there are a lot of altitude meters to be conquered. One of the hardest sections is a 2,100-meter descent, so stamina is required.


The Abenteurweg or Adventure trail is a steep trail (900 meters in little over 4 kilometers) leading from the Rothorn to Tufteren. You will be descending all the way and be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding 4,000-meter peaks, including the Breithorn. The trail takes about 1h40 minutes to complete–without the many stops  for taking pictures, that is.


Hiking in Aussichtsweg
Aussichtsweg Photo by Zermatt tourism

This short hike is suitable for a levels. Along the way, you will be enchanted by panoramic views of 29 mountains above 4,000 meters. You could say that the trail lives up to its reputation. Few trails this short provide such scenic panoramas of the Alps–a real must if you are short on time.

Zermatt to Chalbermatten and return via Zmutt and Zumsee

This hike brings you under the north face of the Matterhorn, meaning you will catch great views of the Monte Rosa massif and the Breithorn. It is one of the classic hikes that takes you through the beautiful hamlet of Zmutt. The ideal walk would be to make a loop starting via Eldelweiss and take the high contour via Hubel. A detour via Zumsee is recommended if you are getting hungry after the walk. Max und Greti’s offers the best cinnamon ice cream you will eat during your visit to Switzerland. They also have a full menu available.

Hike to Trockener Steg / Gandagg Hutte

A popular option for a hike is towards Trockener Steg and Gandagg Hutte. The route passes Schwarzsee, which offers great views of the Matterhorn and surrounding 4,000-meter peaks. The ascent to Trockener Steg from Zermatt ratchets up the altitude meters. If you’re not sure about your physical capabilities, there is the option of using the cable car before descending back to the village. Gandagg hutte, located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station, offers great accommodations for an overnight stay. In the area are great walks towards the Theodulglacier or even Klein Matterhorn.

Things to do in the Dent d’Herens region

There is no doubt that hiking is one of the best things to do while spending your time in the Mattertal as this will provide you the best views of some iconic 4,000-meter peaks. The cable car up to Klein Matterhorn makes it easier for those with less time. Also, with over 100 kilometers of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.

Day tourists will have no problem filling their day in Zermattvisiting the Matterhorn Museum, wandering the streets, and enjoying some delicious Valais specialties in one of the many restaurants. Chances are high that you will need to take the train to leave the Mattertal (or at least Zermatt). However, the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Brig is known for its scenic mountain views and is considered as one of the best train journeys in the world.

Hiking with kids

Spending your holiday in Zermatt with small children? Even if your kids can’t yet walk, there are some great options for hiking. The Aussichtsweg is a great round-trip hike suitable for those who wish to get some great views. The little altitude difference makes it ideal for families with children.

Gran Paradiso hikes – Highest mountain of Italy, that is completely in Italy

Most mountaineers get to know Gran Paradiso hikes as an acclimatization climb for the nearby Mont Blanc. However, this 4061-meter high-rising peak located between the Aosta Valley and the Piedmont regions deserves more than that. The Gran Paradiso National Park, named after the peak, is a great environment for hiking, whether you are looking for a short day trip or a multi-day trek from hut to hut.

About the Gran Paradiso

Mountain Peak Gran Paradiso

The Mont Blanc massif and the Monte Rosa massif both lie on the border between France and Italy. The Gran Paradiso, on the other hand, is the only peak whose summit reaches over 4000 meters and is entirely within Italian territory. This makes it the highest peak in Italy, with an altitude of 4061m. The summit of the mountain was first ascended on September 4, 1860 by Cowell, Dundas, Payot and Tairraz. Up to this day, by high alpine mountaineering standards, the Gran Paradiso is regarded as an easy 4000’er, even though climbers must ascend 1300 meter of altitude. Most of the climb requires basic alpine skills as it goes over glaciated snow slopes. Only the final section covers rocky terrain that is a bit more technical. With the huge crowds of mountaineers climbing this peak in high season, this section may become a bottleneck. On the summit, there is a Madonna statue. Most climbs start at the Refuge Chabod or the Refuge Victor Emmanuel II.

gran paradiso hikes

Within the boundaries of the park there are about 5,000 ibexes in total (Capra Ibex). Chamois also occur in large numbers. In addition, many mountain marmots, vultures and water starlings.

Best time to visit Gran Paradiso National Park

Mid-June to mid-September, with the greatest crowds from mid-July to the end of August. The most beautiful period is autumn, just before the first winter snow will fall.

Here are different ways to get to the park.

Accommodations around the Gran Paradiso

Due to its location in a national park, Gran Paradiso is only surrounded by small villages that are self-sufficient. Offcourse there is Courmayeur to the north, but it serves more as a base for those who wish to explore the Mont Blanc massif from the Italian side. In the Gran Paradiso area, you can find any type of accommodations: from bivouacs to mountain huts and camping. Even hotels, bed & breakfasts and rest areas for camper vans are available, If you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Petit Hotel,  The Petit Hotel has been in Cogne since 1968. It was founded by our grandparents Lucia and Innocenzo who still very actively help in looking after the garden and flowers. It is a charming place where children and  their parents feel at home.

Mountain Hotel Gran Paradiso, 2000 meters of emotions. It is one of the few hotels that is located directly inside the delicate natural ecosystem of the Park National of the Gran Paradis

Hostellerie du Paradis The tranquility reigns. Nicely located guarding the quite for the peace-loving guest. The characteristics and tranquility of the surroundings give the hotel a friendly atmosphere.

Camper van rest areas

Camper van rest areas offer places where you can load fresh water and unload your dirty water. On some occassions, there is electricity as well and bathrooms with showers. Sometimes there are facilities such as a hotel, bar, restaurant or a minimarket nearby. In the Gran Paradiso area, these types of rest areas can be found in the Cogne Valley, the Rhemes and Savarenche valleys, the Orco valley and the Soana Valley.


Pitching your tent is possible at designated campsites in the area. These offer all the facilities you need such as toilets, showers, restaurants, etc. Some of the best campsites include Campeggio Piccolo Paradiso, Campeggio Casa Bianca and Camping Gran Paradiso in Valsavarenche.

Gran Paradiso hikes

The Gran Paradiso national park offers splendid scenic beauty for active travelers. Not only do you get views of the Gran Paradiso, the highest mountain of Italy, but the panoramas over the surrounding valleys are well worth the effort.

Traverse Chabod Hut to Refuge Vittorio Emanuele II

Two of the main mountain huts on the Gran Paradiso are linked by a scenic traverse. During this journey, it is possible to admire the whole of Valsavarenche in this section. Views on the northwestern wall of the Gran Paradiso are also seen along the way. This traverse can be done in one full day although some people tend to do it in three, with the ascent up the Gran Paradiso on day two.

Montesuc Ring-route

This hike starts at the Montesuc cable car station at 2100m and takes about an hour to walk. There are about 15 stops and observation points while descending through the woods in this ring-route. Along the way, you will enjoy splendid views over the Valnontey and the glaciers of the Gran Paradiso massif.

Dres Lake

Dres Lake is situated at an altitude of 2087m and takes about 2 hours 30 minutes to reach. The trail starts at Villa Poma in the Orco Valley and is well-marked.

Colle Bora

The hike to Colle Bora is a little more strenuous as it gains 1027m of altitude. The trail starts at Piamprato Soana, a little town at the end of the Soana valley that leads through a grassy basin surrounded by woods—a charming setting for a good hike. The duration of the hike is about three hours, allowing plenty of time to rest.

Vaudaletta – Col Leynir

Gran Paradiso T-shirt
Gran Paradiso T-shirt Check out my Gran Paradiso T-shirt!

This trail is for experienced hikers as it takes about 7 hours to reach Col Leynir. With an altitude difference of 1205m, you will be ascending most of the way.  The trail departs from the small town of Thumel in the Rhemes Valley before crossing a small wood and leads to the recovered huts of Vaudaletta, where you can spend the night before returning or continuing your journey.

Sylvenoire – Gontier

Located in the Cogne Valley, this hike starts in the charming village Sylvenoire, following a dirt trail to Plan Pessey. A mule track continues your hike and afterabout 4 hours, you will reach Gontier. Gaining about 985m, it’s a hike for those withdecent stamina.

If you are planning a long hike, be sure to bring some giuraje, which are sugared almonds, or hazelnuts, for energy. They are made by several bakeries in the park. Mecoulin, a typical regional raisin bread is another option. Pont ham and potato salami are other local delicacies to be enjoyed during or after your walk.

Refuge Chabod

The Chabod Hut is one of the two most-used mountain huts for climbing the Gran Paradiso. It is located at the footof the northwestface of the mountain in the heart of the national park. Situated at an elevation of 2750 meters, a hike of several hours (2.5h) is needed to reach it. The footpath leading up to itdates from the hunting days of king Vittorio Emanuele II and winds through the woods. The refuge offers services with 85 beds during the summer season and in springtime (for skiing). In the summer, it is a meeting point for hikers and climbers who wish to explore the area.

Refuge Victor Emmanuel II
Mountain hut

This mountain hut is the second refuge often used for Gran Paradiso climbs. It is named after king Vittorio Emanuele II who hunted in the area in the past and gave the national park its status. It takes about two hours to reach from the village of Valsavarenche. With an altitude of 2735m, it is similar in height to the Chabod Hut. It is capable of hosting 120 people, but is only open during the summer season. Prices to stay range from  €3 (sleeping bag) – €65 (all-inclusive).

Tetras Lyre mountain hut

This cabin is located about fifteen minutes from the Vasavarenche bridge on the path to Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II. It is possible to spend the night here, but you can enjoy some great dishes as well. So, it makes a good stop during your hike.

Rifugio Bezzi

Further from Gran Paradiso, this refuge in Valgrisenche makes a good hike. It is best reached from Surier. The walk takes about 2 hours during which you climb 500 altitude meters.

Bivouac Huts

Unlike mountain huts, these are shelters where no caretaker is present. You can spend the night when out trekking. Most of them are open for use, but in some cases you may need to obtain the key beforehand.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso is located between the Piedmont and Aosta Valley regions, in the Graian Alps, Italy. It is positioned south of the Mont Blanc massif.

With an elevation 4,061m and a prominence of 1,879m, it is ranked the 7th highest peak in the Graian Alps.

Its first ascent was in September, 1860.

Best Time to Climb Gran Paradiso

The months of June through to September are considered ideal for summiting. One can attempt ski-alpinism during spring season and get to just a few meters below the peak.

Climbing Routes

The Gran Paradiso is a relatively straightforward peak to summit, however, unlike other 4000m peaks in the Alps, there are no mechanical lifts to assist you summit the mountain partly.

It has two main climbing routes; the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele and the Rifugio Chabod. Both routes end with a 20-minute technical climb.

The Rifugio Chabod

This route is slightly longer than the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele, but it offers a scenic and wonderful hike approach.

From the Chabod Hut, climb up the glaciers that are on the north-western side of the peak. Cross the mound while heading right to an altitude of 3,300m. Here, you will reach the north-west ridge. Proceed to the glacier valley till its end. Then climb upwards till you get to the “schiena d’asino”. The trail here intersects with the Vittorio Emanuele refuge at 3,700m.

Head left towards the Montcorve pass. After a steep climb and crossing the final crevasse, you will get to the “Madonnina” summit of Gran Paradiso.

The North East Ridge

On the north-west face before reaching the base, head left to start climbing the glacier through a rocky area while aiming for the Piccolo Paradiso pass. Press on towards the ridge using the easiest path along this steep slope.

Once you reach 3,975m, head downwards towards the Cogne valley and follow the rocky passages. Climb up the ridge on the north western face until you find another ridge that will lead you straight to the summit.

You can either use the Figurio Chabod or the Vittorio Emannuel for descent.

The Rifugio Vitttorio Emmanuel

Head north-east from the refuge along the well-marked path to a couloir on the Laveciau glacier. Climb up the glacier till you reach schiena d’asino which will roughly take 2 hours. Make a left turn to traverse along a glacier that will bring you to a terminal crevasse. You will be a few meters shy of the summit.

Descent can be along the same route.

A few Tips for you

Acclimatize beforehand. You need to be in top physical condition to manage the large elevation gains and high altitude.

You will also need to be competent at alpine scrambling and glacial travel.

The absence of cable cars may have put your knees under so much pressure during ascent, and you may find it a tad bit difficult while descending. It is therefore recommended that you cover the 2,000m descent to the valley floor in two phases. You can opt to space it out by covering about 800m then camp overnight. Proceed the next morning after your muscles and joints have recovered.

Gran Paradiso hikes

Things to do in the Gran Paradiso region

Gran Paradiso National Park is a destinition well worth putting on your list of desireable adventures. Winter tends to be the time for skiing and snowboarding, but summer has plenty of activities to choose from as well. A typical activity in summer for visitors is to go on a hike to the many alpine lakes, mountainhuts or viewpoints to soak in the views of the surrounding nature. If you are looking for something more challenging, alpine guides can take you to one of the peaks, with the Gran Paradiso being the most popular, as it is the highest in Italy and reaches above 4000 meters. However, the normal route isn’t too demanding and is within the capabilities of anyone used to a long day of hiking.

Other sports such as mountainbiking, rock climbing, rafting, canyoning and via ferrata are possible here as well. During your stay, you have the chance to see an ibex, chamois, deer, marmot or wild boar.

Hiking with kids near Gran Paradiso

Waterfalls Gran Paradiso hikes
Lillaz Waterfalls photo: Antonio Monaco

Despite plenty of options for people with mountaineering ambitions, there is something for families traveling with children as well. The Valley of Cogne has two great walks aiming at youngsters. From Capoluogo, you can hike to the Lillaz Waterfalls, a 4km hike taking about 1h20min. This path leads to the village of Lillaz where you can continue the trail that runs alongside the stream until you reach the falls.

A different option is the easy hike from Capoluogo that leads to Valnontey. This takes about an hour.

Gran Paradiso Map

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Gran Paradiso Map 45.518400, 7.266600



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Ortler 46.510600, 10.544500

Planning A Hiking Trip To the Ortler

The Ortler, photo by John Mason

The Ortler mountain, or ‘King Ortles’ as it’s known by mountaineers and folklorists, is one of the most impressive mountains in the eastern Alps. With its peak being 3905 m above sea level, it’s the highest mountain in the Italian province of Tyrol. The Ortler towers above the other mountains in the Ortler Range, and offers some of the most impressive views. So it’s definitely one you want to conquer.

As any keen mountaineer will know though, with such an impressive mountain comes the opportunity not just for breath-taking views, but for extreme adventure. Whether that be killer hikes, summer climbing, or winter skiing, the Ortler is a great destination for any passionate mountaineer.

Villages on and around the Ortler

There are a couple of different villages and towns around the mountain that make good starting points for hikes. These towns and villages are also where you can expect to find some of the best accommodation whilst visiting the mountain. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Stelvio Residence is located there, where nature has still preserved its authenticity: in the village of Trafoi, within the Stelvio Natural Park, with a breathtaking view of an amphitheater of the most beautiful and impressive mountains in South Tyrol / Südtirol: the Ortles group which geologically belongs to the “Engadine Dolomites”.

Hotel Meublè Sertorelli Reit , a few steps from the center , from the ski facilities and the Bormio thermal baths , is the solution for those who want a B & B in Bormio welcoming and private. A pleasant and refined atmosphere, thanks also to the modern interior design , to the use of woods, stone, lights and soft colors, will help to make your stay unforgettable.

Hotel Nives  is located directly in the village center of  Sulden am Ortler  at  1,900 meters above sea level , at the foot of the highest mountain in South Tyrol, making it your ideal starting point for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. In  winter  , the free ski shuttle stops in front of our hotel and takes you to the ski lift, 500 meters away, and in summer you can start your hikes directly from Hotel Nives


Trafoi Village
Trafoi Photo by iLMeteo

The village of Trafoi is a truly idyllic location, situated at the foot of the Ortler. With a population of only 90 people, it’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and remote, where you can relax after a day of adventure.

It’s a great base for those looking to fit in as many hikes or winter sports as possible during their stay. It’s the starting point for many of the most popular hikes around the Ortler, and it even has its own ski area, making it the perfect place to visit if you’re into winter sports.

During the summer, people also enjoy cycling around the area, especially on the Stelvio Pass Road which can be easily reached from Trafoi.

So whilst the village may be small, its ideal location and quaint atmosphere makes it a popular stop for those visiting the Ortler.

Sulden, or Solda

Sulden near Ortler
Sulden photo by Armin Kübelbeck

Solda is a great town if you’re hoping to see not just the Ortler, but other impressive summits like Gran Zebru and Monte Cevedale.

The town is located in the middle of a National Park, so its definitely one of the most scenic towns around the Ortler. The town is nestled deep in the Ortler Range, so you can enjoy green open space and peaceful lakes, with an incredible mountain backdrop. There’s also 14 glaciers in the Ortler Range, some of which can be reached from Solda.

With a population of 400, it’s a bigger location than Trafoi, and much more geared towards exploration of the Ortler Range and of course the Ortler itself. There are clearly signposted hiking trails that start in Solda, and trail up through the mountains, many of which pass by mountain huts and cabins.

So if you’re hoping for a hiking holiday, it’s the place to be. You can easily navigate self guided walks, or if you wanted to join a tour this is the meeting point for many walking tours.

As if that wasn’t reason enough that this town is the place to be, in winter there are also 44km of ski slopes. And in summer, climbing is all the rage in Solda.

Reaching the summit of the Ortler

Those that want to go all the way and make it to the very top of King Ortler should expect a challenging climb. That being said though, there are different routes of different difficulties, some of which are some of the most popular routes in the eastern Alps.

The normal route

First off, there’s the ‘normal route’, which is one of the easiest routes, but is still fairly challenging. It takes around two or three days to complete, and is a mixed climb, graded PD+ (slightly difficult).

The first leg of the journey is from Solda to the Payer Hut on the North Ridge, following Trail 4. This takes about 3-5 hours, depending on the conditions, and brings you to just above 3000 m. This part of the journey isn’t difficult at all if you’re used to mountain hikes. It’s graded T3-, and there’s a good footpath for most of the way. However, if you fancy shortening this part of the hike, and saving your energy for day two, the summit day, you can always get the Langenstein chairlift which will bring you part of the way up.

Mountain hut - tabaretta hut
Tabaretta hut

Following Trail 4, or Trail 4A if you got the lift up, you’ll pass Tabaretta Hut, which is a great pit stop if you need a break or refreshment. You can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat on their balcony, overlooking the mountains and distant lakes. It’s also possible to stay at the Tabaretta Hut, but this isn’t usually done by those following the normal route. The preferred Payer Hut can be reached from the Tabaretta Hut by Via Ferrata if you have the proper gear.

The second part of the journey is where things get a little trickier. This day will be the ‘summit day’, trekking from the Payer Hut to the summit and back in around 8-11 hours. Be prepared for rock climbing, as this part of the route involves third grade rock climbing if you want to reach the top. There’s going to be a lot of rock and ice, which makes for an interesting climb, but one that requires caution.

One thing to note with this route is that it’s the most popular route up the Ortler, so it can get fairly busy, especially during the summer months.

The East Ridge route (Hintergrat)

This route is perhaps the most impressive route up the Ortler, offering stunning views and difficult climbs. It’s an AD graded climb with snow and ice slopes up to 65 degrees. There’ll also be rock climbing in the fourth grade.

Mountain hut - Hintergrat Hut
Hintergrat Hut

Before you can start this climb, you’ll need to reach the Hintergrathuette (Hintergrat Hut), a cosy little mountain refuge above Sulden. You can hike the hut from Solda and spend the night in surprisingly comfortable beds (for a mountain hut).

From the hut, it’s a mixed route up to the summit, some stretches being fairly easy, others involving rock climbing in the fourth grade.

The descent can be just as challenging as the climb up, so leave the hut early in the morning (around 4:30am latest), so that you’ll have plenty of time to take the climb at your own pace, enjoy the views, and get down before dark. You can descend via the normal route, rather than going back the way you came.

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Facts About Ortler.

Ortler is a mountain found at the Italian Alps right at South Tyrol, Italy. Standing at 3905m above sea level. The mountain stood out among other mountains in the Eastern Alps outside the Bernina Range. This peak also stood out among other mountains found in the range of the same name. One of the prominent peaks worth climbing at the Southern Limestone Alps. South Tyrol’s unofficial hymn, the Bozner Bergsteigerlied, immortalized this summit by calling it “König Ortler”. Its closest noted peak discussed in this site is Piz Bernina.

How to get to the peak of Ortler?

First off, brace yourself for a mixed climb in terms of difficulty. This happens after reaching the last stopover before the peak, Payer Hut. You can drive from Solden, South Tyrol. Drive northwest using Via Forestale. Go forward to SS622. Drive for 1.4km to reach Haupstrasse at Via Principale. Turn left to reach the Payer Hut.

What to expect at Ortler?

The mixed climb part is relatively advanced. Having companions familiar with the glacial terrain is highly advisable. The upper part of the route could go as steep as 40 degrees. Have the right equipment from crampons to ice axes to get the climbing part right. Get some additional pointers from the Payer Hut reservations desk itself by calling them at +39 0473 613 010.


Check out the Ortler T-Shirts!

Aiguille de Triolet

Aiguille de Triolet

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Aiguille de Triolet 45.916900, 7.024600

Facts About Aiguille de Triolet.

Aiguille de Triolet stands at 3870m above sea level at the Mont Blanc massif. This stood between the boundary of Aosta Valley in Italy and Haute Savoie in France. A rather complex peak to climb. It split the basins of Argentiere in the north and the Talefre in the west through its big glaciers at the French side of the mountain. The peak started a massif that included Aiguille Verte, Les Droits and Les Courtes.

How to reach the peak of Aiguille de Triolet?

Drive from Train du Montenvers-Mer de Glace in Chamonix. Follow the path from Place de la Mer towards Avenue Cachat le Geant, about 120m. Turn right to the D1506 part of Avenue Cachat le Geant. Continue driving by 29m. Drive straight ahead by 6.2 km. You will reach Refuge du Couvercle shortly. This is your last stop over before traversing the path towards the peak.

If you would rather start from Refuge d’Argentière, simply follow the same directions as the ones written in the Aiguille d’Argentière article. There is also a summit station. Hop into a cable car on the summit station at Aiguille des Grands Montets. You will reach Col des Grandes Montets. Walk by a bergschrund. Make sure to hand on to the rope by the Glacier Rognons. You reach P.300 to P.2754m then by the Glacier d’Argentière just above the ice break. Walk 2 more hours to reach the Refuge.

What to expect at Aiguille de Triolet?

Apart from the previously mentioned huts, you can choose other stop overs. When taking the Italian side, Bivouac Fiorio and Refugio Dalmazzi are the stop overs. Specific directions based on chosen hut are found here.

Aiguilles de Trélatéte

Aiguilles de Trélatéte

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Aiguilles de Trélatéte 45.794700, 6.815000

Facts About Aiguilles de Trélatéte.

Aiguilles de Trélatéte is a mountain right between the boundary of the Italian Alps and the French Alps. Standing at 3920m above sea level. Its Italian address is at Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), Italy. And its French address is at Haute Savoie, France. It is more often climbed from the Italian side despite being on the west side of the Mont Blanc massif.

How to get to the peak of Aiguilles de Trélatéte?

Before reaching the peak, you must reach one of the huts to stop over first. Recommended hut is the Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini. Start by driving from the La Visaille. Cross the bridge to the closed car road. That route takes about 3 km. You will reach the Combal plain from here. (You can stop at a bar restaurant here before moving on with the drive.) From here you see and get to the glacial Lac Miage.

Cross the bridge on the left side where you may park the car. Cross the dirt road on the plain. The road is almost horizontal. Once you reach the end of the plain, follow the trail towards a couple of steep turns. You then reach the hut just below the Pyramides spur. This is your stopover before the peak itself.

What to expect at Aiguilles de Trélatéte?

Regardless of the route taken to the top, you need to be in complete mountain gear. Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini is one of the stopovers. Other notable stopovers are the Giovane Montagna and Hotellerie de Trélatête. Only the latter is found on the French side of the mountain though.

La Grivola

La Grivola

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La Grivola 45.596700, 7.264400

Facts About La Grivola.

La Grivola is the “almost perfect” white pyramid at the Italian Alps. Standing at 3969m above sea level. This peak is found at Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), Italy. This is one of the most prominent views seen from the peak of Gran Paradiso. It stood out in the middle of two valleys, Vallon di Cogne and Val Savarenche. It got its name from its impeccable beauty. La Grivola is literally translated as “young lady” in the local dialect.

How to get to the peak of La Grivola?

If driving from the Milan Airport, enter SP14 via Piotello. Enter A4/E64 in Valle d’Aosta. Exit at Aosta Ovest (West Aosta) via E25. Drive towards Cogne via SR47. You will reach the Vittorio Sella Refuge as stopover before the trek.

With Cogne as starting point, climb to Val Lauson. Get to the junction upon reaching 2844m above sea level. Turn right to reach Col de la Rousse. Keep climbing westward to find the Col de la Noire. Walk further from Col de la Noire.

Walk past the Trajoz glacier just by the bottom of the southeast flank. Tread in the middle of this wall. Halfway through this wall, turn right upwards. Turn right again to set foot on the northeast ridge. Finally, set foot on the white pyramid’s peak.

What to expect at La Grivola?

Vittorio Sella Refuge is one of the few stopovers before the path towards the peak. The rest of the stopovers are bivouacs. Not recommended to climb in bad weather. The southwest wall has a fragile rock, making it unsafe at certain times. For any reservations, contact them at their landline number +39 0165 74310 or their Skype username: rifugiosella.

Piz Zupo

Piz Zupo

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Piz Zupo 46.368300, 9.931100

Facts About Piz Zupo.

Piz Zupo is a mountain standing at 3996m above sea level at the Bernina Group. The word “Zupo” is based on the local term “Zuper”. It is literally translated as “hidden”. This is because you can hardly see the peak when climbing from the north side. You have to traverse the routes towards the peak to see it. And eventually, see the rest of the mountains from this summit.

How to get to the peak of Piz Zupo?

Getting to the peak? Get to Rifugio Marinelli in the province of Sondrio, Milan, Italy first. Rifugio Marinelli Bombardeli Al Bernina in particular. There is another Rifugio Marinelli in the Bernina Group’s area. That one is far away from the peak. If you get to the right refuge, you reach the peak in at least 7 minutes by foot. Ride a bus or drive by Valmalenco to this refuge for starters.

What to expect at Piz Zupo?

Expect to spend more time on the bus ride or in the car than on foot. Encountering a travel agent that suggests a starting point at the Marco Rosa refuge might be suggesting a 2-in-1 expedition. This hut is the alternative to Rifugio Marinelli Bombardeli Al Bernina. But most hikers stay here on their way to the peak of Piz Bernina.