Julie Italy 47 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.

Puez-Odle Altopiano Hiking Stats

Distance: 9 miles/14.5 km
Elevation Gain: 500 meters ascent/1100 meters descent
Time: 6 – 9 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.


View from the Puez-Odle Altopiano trail


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 Puez-Odle Altopiano hike

Hiking Dolomites with Kids Puez-Odle Altopiano hike

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 Puez-Odle Altopiano hike

View from the Puez-Odle Altopiano trail


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 Altopiano hike

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

Another view from the Puez-Odle Altopiano trail

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 Puez-Odle Altopiano hike


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 Puez-Odle Altopiano hike

Final walk through the valley | Puez-Odle Altopiano hike

The Puez-Odle Altopiano 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.

We hiked the Puez-Odle Altopiano trail in July 2014.

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 47

  1. Avatar for Shira

    This was an epic hike – amazing! Felt like we saw every terrain the Dolomites had to offer. Thank you.
    Couple of comments- I went with my 17 year old and 9 year old. The hike took us 9 hours! We weren’t sure if it would ever end but it did and all agreed it may be the best hike we have ever done. We did not have hiking poles which we very much recommend from following hikes – perhaps this would have shaved some time off the hike especially going down.
    If you park at the cable car and use the lift- there is free parking. Just ask for validation before you start as they close at 5:30 and voucher only good until 6:30.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Thanks for writing in! We are currently in the Dolomites right now too! I’m glad you liked the hike and I hope you have a great time on the rest of your trip. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for shailesh kulkarni
    shailesh kulkarni

    Based on ur review of Old Rag – 6 hrs for u all means 8-10 hrs for ‘normal’ folks.

    Just kidding. The pics in this post are mind boggling.

    I am thinking of a base jn Cortina d’Ampezzo – to cover this hike and the Tre Cime area. Does that make work? We will be renting a car.

    and thanks for all u do.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a great place to stay for exploring the Dolomites. Lots of hotels and restaurants to choose from and a very good location. The drives to get to the hiking trails are almost as good as the hikes themselves. You are in for a treat, visiting the Dolomites! Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Arup ratan
    Arup ratan

    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. Avatar for Julie Post

      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

      1. Avatar for Arup ratan
  4. Avatar for Sylwia

    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. Avatar for Julie Post

      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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