The Cinque Torri is one of the most recognizable rock formations in the Dolomites. It is a popular hiking and rock climbing destination, but it is also an open-air war museum, with trenches and bunkers that remain from World War I.
Hiking around the Cinque Torri is one of the easiest and most beautiful hikes that we did in the Dolomites. It’s a great hike for kids, since a chairlift zips you right up to the rock towers. And with its short distance, and bunkers and tunnels to explore, this is one of the best places to take kids hiking in the Dolomites. They can also learn a little bit of history in the process.
And even if you aren’t visiting with kids, this hike is well worth the time. The views of the nearby mountains are jaw-dropping. And you have the option to add on Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau, to turn the experience into one epic day in the Dolomites.
What is the Cinque Torri?
The Cinque Torri is a rock formation in the Dolomites. At first glance, it appears that there are five main pillars, which is how this rock formation got its name (in Italian, cinque is five). But once you get closer, you see that there are many more smaller pillars and towers in this rock formation.
Each of the main towers has a name. The largest and most prominent tower is named Torre Grande. The remaining towers are named Torre Seconda, Torre Latina, Quarta Torre, and Quinta Inglese. Torre Grande and Torre Seconda each have numerous rock climbing routes.
More than 100 years ago, during World War I, this area was the site of conflict between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarians. Bunkers and trenches were built amidst the Cinque Torri towers, and after the war, once the area was abandoned, these formations remained. More recently, the trenches and bunkers were restored and the Cinque Torri is now a WWI open air museum (the Museum of the Great War).
How to Visit the Cinque Torri
To visit the Cinque Torri, you will have to do at least a little bit of hiking. Exactly how much you do depends on what kind of experience you want to have.
Based on our experience, the best way to visit the Cinque Torri is to ride the cable car to Rifugio Scoiattoli and hike the circuit loop around the rock formation. Along the way, you can read the informational signs, explore the trenches and bunkers, and of course, enjoy the 360° views of the amazing mountains that surround the Cinque Torri.
After hiking around the Cinque Torri, you have the option to add on Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau. We did this add on and it was absolutely spectacular. It’s a moderately difficult hike but I recommend it for people who want to hike higher in the mountains, have lunch at a mountain hut, and get a very unique view of the Cinque Torri. Since there is a lot involved with this hike, we cover it in a separate guide.
How Do You Get to the Cinque Torri
To get to the Cinque Torri, you will first need to ride the chairlift to Rifugio Scoiattoli.
Drive to and park at Baita Bai de Dones, which is located on SR48, about 25 minutes west of Cortina d’Ampezzo and an 8 minute drive east of the Falzarego Pass.
There is a very large parking lot here but it can fill up by late morning, especially on the weekends in the summer months.
When we did this in July 2022, we paid €20 per person for a round trip ticket on the chairlift. In the summer, the chairlift runs from 9 am to 5 pm. The chairlift operates from June through September. Get updated hours and pricing here.
OPTIONAL HIKE TO RIFUGIO SCOIATTOLI. Instead of riding the chairlift, you have the option to hike up the trail that runs underneath of the chairlift. For most of this hike, you will be in the trees without much of a view. It takes about an hour and is moderately strenuous. I recommend skipping this hike. Instead, after you visit the Cinque Torri, hike to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau…the views are outstanding and much more worthwhile than the hiking trail under the chairlift.
The trail under the chairlift.
The view of Averau from the chairlift.
And later in the day, this is the view on the chairlift ride back down to the parking area.
Cinque Torri Hiking Stats
Hiking distances will vary based on which route you choose (covered in the next section). These are our hiking stats, which includes hiking through the Cinque Torri, which is shorter than walking the perimeter around the entire cluster of towers.
Distance: 1.9 km (1.2 mile) loop
Total Ascent: 130 meters (430 feet)
Highest Elevation (Trailhead): 2,265 meters (7,430 feet)
Lowest Elevation: 2,175 meters (7,135 feet)
Length of Time: 1 hour
When: June through September
Cinque Torri Elevation Profile
Additional Information & Helpful Tips
Best Time of Day to Visit the Cinque Torri: Morning if you want fewer crowds; afternoon for better lighting and photography
Toilet: At the lower chairlift station and at Rifugio Scoiattoli
Food: At the lower chairlift station and at Rifugio Scoiattoli. We didn’t eat at Rifugio Scoiattoli but it sure did smell good!
Cost: Free (other than the chairlift)
Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.
Cinque Torri Hiking Map
Below is a photo of the map at the trailhead. As you can see, there are several ways to hike around the Cinque Torri. And there are trails that aren’t even shown on this map (we hiked through the Cinque Torri on an official trail, but it is not indicated on the trail map below).
Map of the Cinque Torri and WWI walking trails (from the sign at the Cinque Torri trailhead). Most of the WWI sites are located to the west and north of the Cinque Torri. You have the option to hike the full perimeter around the Cinque Torri or you can hike through the Cinque Torri, like we did, which is lots of fun and you get great views the entire hike. NOTE: This map does not show all of the trails that circle in and around the Cinque Torri.
Map of our hiking route (the green line). I marked a great viewpoint along trail (what I am calling the Tofana di Rozes viewpoint) and a photo spot that is great for a family photo.
Basically, a maze of trails weaves their way in and around the Cinque Torri. You will explore these based off of what looks interesting to you as you go. As long as you keep moving in a clockwise direction, eventually you will end up back at Rifugio Scoiattoli.
With all that being said, below I’ll share with you our route, just so you have some idea of what to expect.
How to Hike the Cinque Torri
Step-By-Step Trail Guide
Trailhead to Cinque Torri
This hike is a loop. You can do it in either direction, but we liked going clockwise. In this direction, you hike through the WWI exhibits first, and then circle through/around the Cinque Torri.
The trail starts next to Rifugio Scoiattoli. Look for the wide, gravel trail that heads towards the Cinque Torri.
Cinque Torri trailhead
Walk down this trail, stay to the left to go to the WWI exhibits, and it takes just a minute or two to reach the first one. As you head through the WWI exhibits, there will periodically be maps of the WWI area plus additional informational signs. It is a maze of hiking trails, trenches, bunkers, look out towers, and buildings used for storage and artillery.
As you hike through the World War I exhibits, there will be signs like this one marking important sites.
You can stop and read every sign or simply move through the area, picking the route that interests you the most. We honestly thought the maps were a little hard to follow, but we liked visiting the bunkers and walking through the narrow trenches.
The views looking out towards Tofana and Falzarego are awesome too (and one of the best reasons to do this hike).
Here are photos from the trail.
There will be some steep downhill sections, sometimes with stairs and others as a gravelly trail.
A view of the rocky outcroppings and a hiking sign along the trail.
One of our favorite parts of the hike was walking out to viewpoint (the Tofana di Rozes viewpoint on our map earlier in this guide) beyond the trenches. From here, you have a great view of Tofana di Rozes, Falzarego, and back to the Cinque Torri.
View looking back at the Cinque Torri and the WWI trenches from the Tofana di Rozes viewpoint.
Tofana di Rozes from the bunker
Hiking through the Cinque Torri
Just past the long trench and the artillery observation post (labeled AB on the main map at the trailhead), we took route #2 (the blue route) into the Cinque Torri.
Hiking the blue route into the Cinque Torri.
The trail continues into the Cinque Torri, even though it is no longer indicated on the main trail map. But there are trail signs here labeling it as “Giro delle Torre.” We followed this trail through the Cinque Torri, out the “backside,” and continued clockwise around the rock formation.
Here are photos from along this route. Note, it’s mostly downhill until you get in view of Rifugio 5 Torri.
As you hike through the Cinque Torri, you will hike through this “tunnel” in between the towers.
Exiting the opposite side of the Cinque Torri.
Looking back at the Cinque Torri. On the large tower to the left, if you look closely, you can see several rock climbers.
Once in view of Rifugio 5 Torri, we continued on Giro delle Torre towards the chairlift and Rifugio Scoiattoli. This is the most strenuous part of the hike, as it is mostly uphill here.
View of Rifugio 5 Torri from the trail.
Hiking uphill towards Rifugio Scoiattoli. This is the toughest part of the hike.
As you approach the top of the hill, Rifugio Scoiattoli comes into view again, along with Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau, two mountain huts that are well worth adding onto the Cinque Torri hike.
Once you get past the Cinque Torri, look for a path leading up to a viewpoint…a great place for a family photo.
Then, complete the hike by walking back to Rifugio Scoiattoli.
From here, you can have a snack or a meal, ride the chairlift back to your car, or continue on to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau (highly recommended!). If you are curious about what you could see if you keep going, here are a few photos.
Lounge chairs near Rifugio Scoiattoli
Rifugio Averau (from the trail to Rifugio Nuvolau)
View from Rifugio Nuvolau
Another view from Rifugio Nuvolau (of the Cinque Torri and Tofana di Rozes)
What to Bring on the Cinque Torri Hike
Walking shoes or hiking shoes. A good pair of walking shoes is sufficient for this hike. However, if you plan to add on Rifugio Averau or Rifugio Nuvolau, then you should wear hiking shoes, since it is a much longer hike over uneven terrain.
Water. I recommend bringing a liter of water per person. It’s not a long hike, but it can be warm in the summer, and it might be nice to have some cool water to drink during the hike.
Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses. Most of the trail is fully exposed to the sun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Cinque Torri hike worth it?
If you are looking for a short, easy hike with breathtaking views, then yes, the Cinque Torri hike is worth it. We loved this hike from start to finish, with the quick, scenic ride on the chairlift (it’s even better going back down at the end of the hike), exploring the trenches, and hiking through the Cinque Torri.
When is the best time to hike the Cinque Torri?
We started the Cinque Torri hike just after 9 am. We caught one of the first chairlifts of the day, so we were one of the first people hiking here. In the morning, the west side of the Cinque Torri (the side you see from the chairlift and trailhead) is shaded in the morning, so it’s not a great time for photographing it from this side. But crowds were low at 9 am, which made exploring the WWI sites more enjoyable. If you want the best conditions for photography, plan on visiting the Cinque Torri in the afternoon (but you’ll have a lot of people in your photos).
What should I do after hiking the Cinque Torri?
Continue up to Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau for even better views of the Dolomites. You could have lunch at one of these mountain huts as well. Less than 10 minutes away from the bottom station of the chairlift is the Lagazuoi cable car. From the top station, more BIG views of the Dolomites awaits and you can hike the short, easy trail from Lagazuoi to the Falzarego Pass back to your car. Or go for a scenic drive, driving over Falzarego Pass and/or Giau Pass.
If you have any questions about the Cinque Torri hike, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
DOLOMITES: We cover important things to know before you go and travel tips in our article How to Plan a Trip to the Dolomites. And for ideas on what to do and how to plan your time, read our articles Best Things to Do in the Dolomites and The Perfect Dolomites Itinerary.
HIKES IN THE DOLOMITES: For more great hikes in the Dolomites, check out our hiking guides for Lago di Braies, Seceda, Tofana di Mezzo, the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint, and the Adolf Munkel Weg to Geisler Alm. In our article Best Hikes in the Dolomites, we cover 15 epic trails in the Dolomites.
MILAN & LAKE COMO: Learn how to visit Milan on a day trip or while traveling between the Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice. Lake Como and Bellagio are two more beautiful places in Italy that are great day trip destinations.
LAKE GARDA: Plan your visit with our article Best Things to Do in Lake Garda. We also have information about things to do in Sirmione and Riva del Garda.
VENICE: Learn more about what to do in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. To help you plan your time, we have a detailed one day Venice itinerary and a 2 day Venice itinerary.
CINQUE TERRE: One of the best experiences in the Cinque Terre is to hike between all five towns. If you are traveling on a budget, get our money saving tips for the Cinque Terre.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.
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We are doing the AV1 multiple day hike and will be hiking down from Rifugio Lagazuio via Rifugio Dibona to Rifugio Averau and wanted to add this small war museum hike onto our 5-6 hour day hike that day. Coming from Rifugio Dibona we will hit Rifugio Cinque Torri first (not Scoiattoli ) so, we wanted to know if we can do this same loop starting from Rif. Cinque Torri. Is there any actual path from Rifugio Cinque Torri up to the trail hike you called “through Cinque Torri”, we would not do that whole loop as we would walk up from Rif. C. Torri, turn right at some point, walk through the cinque torre and then get to your Tofana di Rozes viewpoint, then do the rest of the museum and then exit at Rifugio Scoiattoli to continue on the trail to Rifugio Averau (we would miss the bottom part of this circuit so miss the part of the trail in green where it says “photo spot” on your map. How long do you think that would take us?
Hello Justine. This is going to be a great day in the Dolomites! Lagazuoi, the Cinque Torri, and Rifugio Averau are all beautiful spots. You will walk about 3/4 of the loop, plus a little extra to hike from Rifugio 5 Torri to get onto the trail. It’s probably going to come in somewhere around 1.3 km (0.8 miles) and will take around 30 minutes. You don’t miss much by skipping the southern part of the loop…walking through the Cinque Torri is a cool experience and we loved exploring the war museum. If you look at the photo with the caption “View of Rifugio 5 Torri from the trail,” you can see a switchback trail connecting the rifugio to the trail we were on. It could be difficult to follow our route in reverse, but a lot of the landmarks will be familiar to you at that point so I think you’ll be able to find your way. Have a great time on the AV1! Cheers, Julie
Is there a bus we could take to get to the trailhead? We’re going to be there in mid May so the cable cars won’t be open yet for the season
There are buses that run through that region of the Dolomites, but this will get you to the chairlift station. If the chairlift isn’t running, you will have to hike up to the trailhead (there is no road that goes directly to this trailhead). We have the link to the bus company on our article How to Plan a Trip to the Dolomites (in the How to Get Around section), which also has lots of other practical info for planning your trip. Depending on conditions in the Dolomites, some hiking trails could still be closed in May, so keep that in mind (that might be why the chair lift isn’t yet running). Cheers, Julie
We are driving from Cortina d’ Ampezzo to Bolzano, then plan to drive the Stelvio Pass. Where would you suggest that we spend the night before driving Stelvio? Bolzano? Merano? Prato Allo Stelvio? We do want to get an early start from Prato Allo.
Any other information you think would be helpful would be appreciated. Thank you!
That’s going to be a beautiful drive! Bolzano is about an hour and 45 minute drive from the Stelvio Pass. Bolzano is a big town and there will be lots of options for places to stay. An hour and a half drive is not unreasonable, but if you want to be closer to the drive, then Prato Allo is a better option. On a really quick search, Residence Ortlerhof Apartment B&B is a 3-star property in Prato Allo that gets very good reviews and staying here would allow you to get an earlier start on the drive. Cheers, Julie
It is a chairlift, like one you would see at a ski resort, so it is not enclosed. I don’t know if dogs are allowed on the chairlift, but since it is not enclosed, it might not be safe to take a dog on the chairlift. Cheers, Julie
Hello! We are going to be hiking this soon. It looks like the only cable car/lift open after October 2nd is Falzarego -Lagazuoi. Does it make sense to take this cable car or to walk the full CInque torre trail? Thank you!
Hello Marissa. No, the Lagazuoi Cable car goes to a completely different spot. It’s well worth it, because it takes you high into the mountains and then you can hike down from here (depending on trail conditions during your visit). You can still do this hike, but you will have to park at Baita Bai de Dones and hike up the hill, under the chairlift, to get to the trailhead and Rifugio Scoiattoli. Cheers, Julie
Looks incredibly beautiful! As always, thanks for the super detailed and very helpful information! I rely on y’all’s website for tons of information when traveling. Any chance y’all will be putting out a Dolomites itinerary/information page with best places to stay, transportation, etc?
Hello Sarah. Thanks for writing in. Yes, we have plans to publish all of that at some point. I’m hoping to have it out there by the end of this year. Tim and I have another big Italy trip coming up this fall, so that will delay how much I’ll be able to get out in the upcoming weeks, but I’ll do my best! Cheers, Julie