Hiking Tre Cime Dolomites

Hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop

Julie Italy 13 Comments

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the Dolomites’ iconic hikes. Three massive rocky prominences rise up from the rolling scenery of the Dolomites, surrounded by amazing views and, during the summer months, wildflowers.

As far as hiking goes, this is a relatively easy hike. Tre Cime is great for kids, so if you are here on a family vacation and want to add a Dolomite hike to your Italian itinerary, this is a great one to consider.

Hiking Dolomites Tre Cime

Hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop

The entire loop is 6 miles long and mostly flat. The loop circumnavigates the three colossal pinnacles that gives Tre Cime its name.

We hiked Tre Cime in July on a cloudy and rainy day. Even with less than ideal weather, it was still a gorgeous hike. On sunny days, the views are even better.

The hike begins at Rifugio Auronzo. There are large car parks here but they can fill up during the busier summer months. Try to get here early so you can get a spot. Buses also connect Rifugio Auronzo with Cortina d’Ampezzo and Dobbiaco, for those who are touring Italy without a car.

A wide, relatively flat trail connects Rifugio Auronzo with Rifugio Lavaredo. During this section of the hike, the massive spikes of Tre Cime loom over you and makes Rifugio Lavaredo seem tiny and insignificant.

Rifugio Lavaredo

From Rifugio Lavaredo, a short climb takes you up and over a mild grade. Once at the top, the views change, opening up to a view of the valley in front of Tre Cime, with the mountains of the Dolomites stretching off beyond. In the not too far off distance is Rifugio Locatelli, your next destination.

Tre Cime Hiking Signs

Hiking Tre Cime

Hiking Tre Cime with Kids

Tre Cime Hike Valley

Rifugio Locatelli

From Rifugio Locatelli, you will have your best view of the Tre Cime and the valley. Hopefully, you will have better weather than we did.

Tre Cime de Lavaredo Hike

After enjoying the view, take the path downhill and cross the valley in front of the Tre Cime. If you are here during the summer months, this valley is carpeted with wildflowers.

Hiking with Kids Dolomites

Tre Cime in rain

The hike ends back at the car park at Rifugio Auronzo.

Facts About the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

Distance: 6 miles

Elevation Gain: 340 meters

Length of time: 3 to 4 hours

Difficulty: Easy

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 #10. Purchasing the map is not necessary. The hiking trail is 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.

Getting to Rifugio Auronzo

If you try to get directions to Rifugio Auronzo on Google Maps, Google will tell you either that it cannot find a route or it will give you a round-about, out of the way route.

Here are directions from Cortina d’Ampezzo, one of the larger towns in the Dolomites and a popular home base for exploring the area.

Take SR48 east for 13 km. The road looks like it comes to a T here, just before Misurina. Turn left onto SP49 for 2.6 km, and then turn right onto SS48bis until you get to the parking lot for Rifugio Auronzo. This drive takes roughly 30 minutes.

The final road (SS48bis) to Rifugio Auronzo is open during the summer months. During the winter, this road can close because of snow.

There is a fee for parking at Rifugio Auronzo. If you arrive at the parking lot between 6 am and 3 pm, the price is 25€. If you arrive between 3 pm and 6 am the price is 16€. Here is more information about the parking fee for Rifugio Auronzo.

For more information about how to get here using public transport, take a look at this link.

For More Information on Hiking in the Dolomites

Looking for more hikes in the Dolomites? We also hiked the spectular Puez-Odle Altopiano (one of our favorite hikes of all time) and The Lagazuoi Tunnels, a mostly downhill hike with awesome views and the chance to walk through old World War 1 tunnels.

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.


Post updated February 2018.

Traveling to Italy Soon? Check these out:

Italy Travel Guide

2 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary

20 Photos that will make you want to visit Venice

Hiking the Cinque Terre

Racing Ironman Italy

Tre Cime Lavaredo Dolomites Italy

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Comments 13

  1. Hi,

    Bivvy camper here. 🙂 I’m glad I came across your website. It’s neat, plain and simple, yet very informative! I’m going to Lake Braies tomorrow, stay overnight in the tent, then I go straight to Tre Cime the following day and stay for another night. I know it’s not allowed to camp in the wild here in Italy but I’ve been doing this for quite a year now, and I believe nothing is really wrong as long as you keep the place clean (I even do some cleaning when the area is littered). I’m just wondering if you get any tips with regards to safety in Tre Cime like wild animals, landslides, air temperature, wind strength etc. The book “Shorter Walks in the Dolomites, I hope I could find that book here in Italy too.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Francis. Lake Braies sounds so nice! We haven’t been there yet but it’s on our list! As for Tre Cime, there are so many people on the trail that most animals will stay away. Since you have been camping in Italy you probably are much more familiar with the wildlife than we are. If you see anything, it will most likely be chamois, ibex, or deer. The trail does not get close to the three pinnacles of rock so landslides shouldn’t be an issue, depending upon where you choose to make your camp. We were there on a cloudy, almost drizzly day in July and temperatures were in the high 60’s (Fahrenheit). Overnight it gets cooler (60F, 15C). Have a great time! – Julie

  2. Hi Earth Trekker,

    Great pictures you’ve got there and great website. You got me hooked because you have two kids with you travelling and I am in the same situation although much younger, one is still nearly three years old. I find it difficult to find information about Europe travel or maybe little information on travelling with kids especially hiking info. Your website is one really good source of information.

    We are going to Italy in December and will pass the dolomites on the way to Slovenia. What is your experience in doing hiking in december there or whether we should skip it altogether due to cold weather. We travelled to Western Europe in December and had a great time.

    1. Post
      Author

      We have not been to Italy or the Dolomites in December. I would imagine that it would by very cold and snow could be on the trails. The area around Cortina d’Ampezzo is popular for skiing, and this is not far from Tre Cime. Skiing may be a better option in December than hiking. Here is a link to weather conditions in the Dolomites year round. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi. Thanks for the information in this page. 🙂
    We are planning to do that hike in October, maybe staying somewhere in Misurina for an early hike the next day.
    Is the trail flat enough for a light child stroller (with a few occasional or frequent folding of the stroller/pram)? Do you think we can do the hike (Auronzo – Lavaredo-Locatelli-Auronzo) if it’s me, my wife, our 5 year old son and a 2 year old daughter? We never hiked with our daughter before. If not, we saw that we can hire a baby carrier in Val Gardena as another option.

    Appreciate your advice.

    1. Post
      Author

      The trail out to Locatelli (if you go counterclockwise) is mostly a graded gravel trail. If I recall, there might have been one short, rocky climb where you would have to carry the stroller. Continuing on counterclockwise, from Locatelli back the car park, the trail gets narrower, very similar to a typical hiking trail. This part would be difficult with a stroller. You could just go out and back to Locatelli on the wider trail. You would still get to see Tre Cime from the best viewpoint (at Locatelli in my opinion). This would be very doable with young kids. Cheers, Julie

      1. Hi Julie,

        I’ve read that the toll cost going up to Rifugio Auronzo is about 25Euros. Is this toll one way or return?

        I’ve also read somewhere you can skip the toll if we go earlier than 8AM, are you aware of this? Because some people like to catch the sunrise.

        Thanks.

        1. Post
          Author

          There is a fee for parking at Rifugio Auronzo. SS48 is the access road to Rifugio Auronzo. It is open in the summer but can be closed in the winter due to snow. If I remember correctly, we paid this fee in the parking lot for Rifugio Auronzo. Between 6 am and 3 pm the price is 25 Euros (total). Between 3 pm and 6 am the price is 16 Euros (total). So, if you arrive just before 6 am or just after 3 pm, you will pay less money. Here is more information about the fee and the toll road. Sorry, I forgot about this fee when I wrote this post. I will have to update it now. Thanks for asking! – Julie

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for this informative post, we are travelling from india. Have seen this pics and videos about this beautiful hike and since then have plans to hike on trek. Now that we are going , i was not able to get any proper information on how to reach the starting point. Your blogpost saved me and our hope to complete this trek on our own.
    I will be travelling with my husband. Please can you give information regarding , how can we reach the starting point via bus, local travel as we don’t have private vehicle. What is the time frame you suggest to do complete trek.
    Can you suggest any nearby place where we can keep our luggage and go by car/bus to starting point , complete the trek and come back to hotel . This will be great help .

    1. Post
      Author

      The best time to do this hike is during the summer months, June, July, and August. For more information about how to get here using public transport, take a look at this link. Buses do run between Cortina d’Ampezzo and the start of the hike. I am not sure how you can store your luggage, although you may be able to do so in the train station in Cortina d’Ampezzo. You could also drop your luggage off at your hotel before going to Tre Cime. Cheers, Julie

  5. Hey there Earth Trekkers!

    First off- love your posts and beautiful pictures! My fiancé and I are planning our honeymoon this September and are hoping to do a day trip from Venice to the Dolomites, particularly doing the tre cime di lavardo hike. I am planning on us renting a car to drive from Venice but was hoping you wouldn’t mind offering a route to get us there. Everything I have been looking up is recommending a train and bus and google maps has not been helpful in showing an easy route. I appreciate your time. Keep up the awesome travels 🙂

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello. Yes, it seems like Google does not like to make a route on that last unnamed road to get to Rifugio Auronzo. From Venice, take SS51 north to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Then take SR48 east for 13 km. It looks like the road comes to a T here. Turn left onto SP49 for 2.6 km, where you will turn right onto the unnamed road (this is what Google maps calls it) until you get to the parking lot for Rifugio Auronzo. It should take about 2.5 hours one way to get from Venice to the hike. Have a great time and a wonderful honeymoon!! Cheers, Julie

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