Julie Italy 43 Comments

The Puez-Odle Altopiano is a spectacular hike from start to finish. With jaw-dropping views of the Dolomites, fields of wildflowers, and endless alpine views, this is our favorite hike in the Dolomites.

The Puez-Odle hike is a 9 mile hike along some of the highest mountain peaks in the Dolomites.  The hike involves 500 meters of climbing (a chairlift shaves 700m off the first ascent) and 1150 meters of descent.  The length of the hike and the amount of climbing were just enough to make it challenging, and the views are what really kept it interesting.

We were lucky enough to have blue skies for most of the hike, allowing us to have views out to the other mountains in the surrounding area.

Facts About the Hike

Distance: 9 miles/14.5 km
Elevation Gain: 500 meters ascent/1100 meters descent
Time: 6 – 7 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Map: You can purchase a map of this hike at the tourist offices, souvenir shops, and outdoor suppliers in the Dolomites. For this hike, you need the Tabacco #7 or #5. Purchasing the map is not necessary. The hiking trails are well marked and easy to follow. You can also reference the book Shorter Walks in the Dolomites, which we reference below.
When to go: This hike is best during the summer months, when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Bring: Hiking shoes, water, snacks or lunch, a jacket (it is chilly at the higher elevations), and of course, your camera.

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, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

Hiking the Puez-Odle Altopiano

Getting to the start of the hike

The hike starts in the town of Selva di Val Gardena, in the Upper Val Gardena area of the Dolomites.  For us, this was an hour and a half drive from our hotel. Winding roads and numerous passes through the mountains made the drive incredibly scenic.

Here is a map of the Dolomites, with the location of Selva di Val Gardena, the chairlift that takes you to the start of the hike, and the location of Rifugio Puez, a restaurant/hotel located along the hike.

 

Selva Dolomites

Selva di Val Gardena

To get to the start of the Puez-Odle hike, park in Selva di Val Gardena and walk to the Dantercepies chairlift. This chairlift takes you up into the mountains, shaving off a portion of your climb. This saves a lot of time and energy and provides awesome views on your way to the top.

Danterceppies Dolomites

Tyler Rivenbark Italy

 

From the chairlift, follow the wide trail east towards Rifugio Jimmy. Enjoy those views along the way!

Tyler and Kara Dolomites

On the Trail

Once at Rifugio Jimmy, the real hiking begins. From here, take the no. 2 trail up and into the rocky mountains. As we climbed higher and higher, we had the best view of the Dolomites so far.

Dolomites

Dolomites Hiking Trail

 

It did not take long until we summited the mountain.  The views on the other side were totally different! Good-bye lush green landscape…hello rocky formations.

Dolomites Italy

Hiking Dolomites with Kids

We ate a picnic lunch, enjoying our new view over Lago di Crespeina, before setting off again.  Tyler and Kara did great hiking on these trails. The trails are very difficult in some sections, with lots of scree that made the descents very slippery.

Puez Odle Trail

Hiking Dolomites

 

Finally, we made it to the second peak. It is so beautiful here!! Once on the second peak, you can look out across the Vallunga, the gorgeous U-shaped valley shown in the photo above. Just look at this place…it’s amazing!

Puez-Odle Italy

Tim Rivenbark

Hiking Italy

Puez Odle Trail

Rifugio Puez

The hike took us to Rifugio Puez, a restaurant/hotel offering tired hikers a place to eat or even stay the night. There are Rifugios located all through the Dolomites and a lot of them can only be accessed by hiking.

Hiking in the Dolomites

We stopped for about a half hour at Rifugio Puez. They served apfelstrudel (apple pie) here, which really wasn’t very good, even as hungry as we were. But it filled us up and gave us the energy we needed to finish the hike. We still had a long ways to go.

Making the Descent back to Selva

It is a 1150 meter descent into the valley. Going down is a lot easier on the lungs but it is hard on the legs. From Rifugio Puez we took trail #14 down into the valley.

Puez Odle Hike

On the Way Down

Finally, when we entered the valley, it was nice to be walking on level ground again. It was an hour and a half walk through the valley, past herds of cattle until we reached Selva.

Hiking Dolomites

The Puez-Odle hike took us 6 hours total, including our stops for lunch and apfelstrudel.  Tyler and Kara (ages 11 and 9) were amazing, never complaining and never even seeming to get tired. It is wonderful that we can take these long hikes with them, and that they enjoy it just as much as we do.

For More Information on Hiking the Dolomites

The book Shorter Walks in the Dolomites by Gillian Price was a huge asset to us planning our time in the Dolomites. This book covers 50 one-day hikes in the Dolomites, complete with maps, directions, photographs, and wonderful descriptions of the hikes. If you are considering hiking the Dolomites, we highly recommend this book.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at Hotel Garni Ongaro, located in Selva di Cadore (note the slight difference in name of the two towns. The hike starts in Selva di Val Gardena). The small town of Selva di Cadore was our home base for three nights, from where we explored the Dolomites. We chose this spot simply because Hotel Garni Ongaro was one of the few accommodations in the area that fit into our budget but had good reviews. This was a great spot for us. This tiny town is gorgeous, with a few small restaurants and plenty of amazing views of the mountains. To get to the start of this hike, it was an hour and a half drive on curving roads.


If you have any questions about hiking the Puez-Odle Altopiano, let us know in the comment section below. 

More Information about Italy

Planning a trip to Italy? Read all of our articles in our Italy Travel Guide.

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Hiking the Puez Odle Altopiano

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Comments 43

  1. We are planning for our first Europe tour.
    We find your blog very useful.
    In Dolomite, we will stay three nights and will reach there by train from Verona to San Candido.
    In that case what will be the option from there to reach Val di Cadore and we have planned to have the journey to Venice from Cortina d’Ampezzo at 9.30 a.m.
    We want to undertake the hike Puez-Odle.
    Please guide.

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s very exciting that you are planning your first European tour. You picked a gorgeous spot! The easiest way to get around the Dolomites is by renting a car. This is what we did. There are buses and trains that connect some of towns. If you don’t plan on renting a car, you will have to research the bus and train schedules. This part of Italy is one of the few places where I think having rental car is ideal. You could rent a car in Verona, use it while in the Dolomites, and return it in Venice. Otherwise, you will need to do the research on how to get around by public transportation. In the small towns, we had no issue finding parking. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi! You think that this trail is okay to take it alone? It’s not dangerous I think if you take children?
    Thanks! Best!

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes, you can do this hike solo. There aren’t any dangerous spots and most likely you will be sharing the trail with other hikers. Cheers, Julie

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