Updated: Oct 30, 2021
Intro & Summary
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo, also called the Drei Zinnen, are three distinctive battlement-like peaks, in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy. They are probably one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps.
Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is an excellent day in the Dolomites with stunning views of jagged limestone peaks, top quality rifugios and awesome photo opportunities. Here’s everything you need to know.
Time: 2h45m moving time
Elevation gain: 475m
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Best time: Late July or Early September
Type: Single Day, Loop
Best time of the year to hike
The hike is not very challenging, so you could probably do it any time between May to October.
I did it in mid-September 2018 and the weather was pretty good, so I hiked in light gear. September and October is the best time to hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo. September and October is the best time to hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
The Dolomites, being on the "sunny side of the Alps" are usually blessed with lasting high-pressure systems in September. However, there is also a chance to see some snow, if a storm hits. Hence, daytime temperatures can range from -5C (23F) to 25C (77F).
This is a single day hike but you can probably choose to extend this route over multiple days and enjoy the peaks nearby if you prefer.
It is a relatively short hike that required me 2h45m moving time. I didn't stop in any hut and the overall elapsed time was 3h22m. I stopped to take some pics and enjoy the scenery.
Starting Location and how to get there
Tre Cime di Lavaredo is located in the Dolomites, northern Italy, and borders the provinces of South Tyrol and Verona. Below is an overview of how to get to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen hike starting point, at Rifugio Auronzo:
By Car: To get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen via car, you’ll need to follow the SS49 road that heads through South Tyrol towards the town of Misurina. From here, take the toll road towards Rifugio Auronzo. About halfway, you’ll reach the toll where you’ll be required to pay the toll/entrance fee of €30 (opening hours | 7am - 7pm).
By Bus: To avoid the costly toll fee, catch the shuttle bus from Cortina, Dobbiaco, or Misurina to Rifugio Auronzo to commence the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike.
By Train: If you’re travelling via train from Germany, Switzerland or Austria in the north, or Italy in the south, get off at Fortezza station and transfer to the local South Tyrol railway to San Candido or Dobbiaco. From here it’s possible to catch a local bus to Tri Cime/Drei Zinnen (see above).
By Air: Although it’s not possible to fly directly to the Dolomites, three airports exist within a three-hour drive to the main attractions - refer to the map below.
I arrived at the place driving from Selva Val Gardena where I had another hike. I would strongly recommend renting or using a car as it is the most practical means of transportation if you want to explore the Dolomites.
Day to day Itinerary
From the Rifugio Auronzo car park, the trail can be completed in either direction; it is recommended we recommend walking anti-clockwise keeping Tre Cime di Lavaredo on your left - the views are supposed to be better.
Having said that, I didn't quite follow the normal path and I had a slightly different route to enjoy the lakes in front of the peaks.
From the car park, follow path 105 as it bends around Tre Cime and ascends gently.
Upon reaching a junction of trails where you can see the Forcella del Col di Mezzo, keep on following path 105 as it drops down the other side.
At one point you will reach another junction where I took the right and followed the Sorgenti del Rienza trail. Here there are three beautiful lakes I strongly recommend exploring. The path is a bit rough but it is definitely worth it.
The trail will reconnect you to the classic anti-clockwise trail (path 101) that starts from the Rifugio Auronzo car park and heads east past the rifugio. Keep following the wide track (101) as it drops down, passing under the peaks of Croda Passaporto and Monte Paterno. Then continue on the short climb up to Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte).
Leaving Rifugio Locatelli – via the church tucked behind it – take path 102 which makes a small clockwise loop before zigzagging down the rocky valley. This is the steepest and hardest part of the walk but it’s not too difficult.
Upon reaching a junction of trails, take again path 105 heading south-west rising up the other side of the valley, past Malga Langalm and up to Forcella col di Mezzo ridge. Follow path 105 as it bends around Tre Cime and drops gently back to the car park.
Cost and trip type
There is no cost associated with this trip apart from the toll/entrance fee of €30 and the cost of the travel to the place, which is not included.
Hiking is one of the best ways to discover the beauty of the natural world around you.
The simple trick to stay warm during any season is to layer your clothes.
Below I listed the range of hiking clothing designed specifically to make sure I'm comfortable and protected against the elements when exploring the outdoors.
Pants (Jeans) / Shorts + Over-trousers: What pants to wear hiking depends on the climate as well as what fabric best fits your needs. I usually hike with JEANS or SHORTS depending on the season and temperature. the jeans are always a safe option; since they are not waterproof, for multiday hikes I usually take with me the WATERPROOF OVER-TROUSERS.
Merino wool t-shirt and/or Flannel shirt: Always bring a long/short-sleeved MERINO WOOL T-SHIRT or a FLANNEL SHIRT shirt to keep you comfortably warm. These are always my first layers depending on how hot/cold it is.
Fleece and/or Insulated jacket (down): Over the Merino wool t-shirt / Flannel shirt I would always wear either a FLEECE, a long-sleeved LIGHT DOWN, or both depending on the weather. Ideally, the insulating jacket should be lightweight and fit in your pockets.
Waterproof & Windproof layer: Insulation won’t work if your jackets get wet, especially if it’s down material. I always bring with me a light, packable, highly versatile GORE-TEX PRO shell jacket. I use this jacket for multiple activities such as skiing, hiking, walking, mountaineering, etc. It is very important to have a helmet-compatible hood.
Hiking shoes and Socks: Good HIKING SHOES and MERINO WOOL SOCKS are key for a comfortable hike.
Hat / Cap, Neck warmer and Gloves: Depending on the season I usually take with me either a CHASMERE HAT or a CAP to protect myself from the cold or sun respectively. Go for moisture-wicking GLOVES in wet or cold weather. When it comes to neck protection, a WINDPROOF NECK WARMER can be lifesaving.
Camera, Travel and Backpacking gear
I'm a keen photographer and I love taking pictures of nature and landscapes. Below I listed what I usually carry with me on holiday. If you are interested to check my full camera gear, including all my accessories, this is my Kit: https://kit.com/pieroromoli/camera-gear
Nikon D700 (https://www.nikon.com/)
GoPro Hero 6 and 9 Black (https://gopro.com/)
DJI Mavic Air (https://www.dji.com/pt)
Nikkor 16-34mm f4 and 50mm f1.8 (http://www.nikkor.com/)
Tamron 70-300mm f4-5.6 (https://www.tamron.eu/)
iPhone 8 and iPhone SE (https://www.apple.com/)
Benro Carbon Fibre Tripod (http://www.benro.com/)
Manfrotto PIXI Evo 2 (https://www.manfrotto.co.uk/)
Joby Gorillapod 3k stand + Gorillapod Ballhead X BHX (https://joby.com/)
Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II (https://www.lowepro.com/global/)
Hoya Filters (https://hoyafilter.com/)
I hope you enjoyed this blog.