Hiking to Lago di Sorapis in the Dolomites, Italy

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By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Dolomites, the famous mountain range in Northern Italy. From the striking views on Seceda to the crystal blue lakes, the region has got it all. Hiking to Lago di Sorapis is one of the top day hikes in the Dolomites. Lago di Sorapis is a glacial lake located at 1,900 metres above sea level. There are so many stunning views on this hike, and a trip to Lago di Sorapis is a must on any Dolomites road trip itinerary.

While slightly less well known when compared to the famous lakes of Lago di Braies and Lago di Carezza, this stunning blue lake is equally as impressive. In fact, the more challenging hiking trail to get to the  lake, makes it’s even more appealing to many. However, the lake has recently gained quite a bit of fame due to its picture-perfect colors and popularity on Instagram. Trust me when I say, the blue color of Lago di Sorapis is a see-it-to-believe blue, a sight not to be missed.

girl in yellow dress at the lago di sorapis

Hiking trail to Lago di Sorapis, Dolomites

Hiking to Lago di Sorapis (Lake Sorapis)

Just 15 minutes down the road from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Lago di Sorapis (Lake Sorapis) was easily one of my favorite hikes in the area! It is the perfect moderate hike for any trip to the Dolomites. In order to capture the full beauty of the lake, I recommend visiting in summer or spring. This is when the lake is at its fullest, a result of the melting snow. Although, if you do have the opportunity to visit in the fall, I definitely wouldn’t skip it. The autumn colors possess their own sort of beauty, even if the lake isn’t at its fullest. No matter the season, the hiking route is absolutely beautiful, offering scenic mountain views throughout.

How Long is the Hike to Lago di Sorapis?

Originating at Passo Tre Croci, the hike to Lago di Sorapis in the Italian Dolomites is 11 km round trip (6.8 miles round trip), and takes approximately 2-3 hours each way. This timing is going to depend greatly on your fitness level, hiking speed, and the amount of time spent at the lake itself. The trailhead is located about halfway between Cortina and Misurina.

The lake itself is well worth the hike though, with some of the bluest waters that I’ve ever seen! I would recommend allotting at least an hour to properly enjoy yourself with views of this epic lake. You can either pack a picnic lunch, or grab some food at the refugio at the top. However, if you’re hiking during the busy season, prepare for crowds at the top. If you’re ordering food, expect to wait!

mountain views in the dolomites

How Do You Get to Lago di Sorapis?

By Car

The Passo Tre Croci trailhead is located just a 15 minutes drive from Cortina D’Ampezzo, an ideal hiker’s base and popular town in the Dolomites. With horses and striking mountain views right off the bat, even the trailhead is picture worthy. But I promise you, it only gets better!

You’ll find plenty of street parking at the trailhead. There is no official car park, so most hikers park along the road. However, I recommend arriving to the trail early, especially in the summer months, as it is becoming a more popular trail. This will also allow you to get a headstart on the other hikers, which means more time to enjoy the lake without the crowds!

By Bus

The easiest way to get to the trailhead is definitely by car, however there are buses that run a few times a day between the former train station in Cortina and the trailhead during the high season. It is important to consult a timetable for your dates, as the buses run less frequently during the shoulder and low seasons. If you plan to take the bus, you should account for 30-45 minutes in travel time to get to the trailhead.

By Foot

It is also possible to arrive at the trailhead by foot, hiking the 15 km from Cortina D’Ampezzo. I would recommend allotting quite a few hours for this, at least 3-4 hours, leaving in the early morning to avoid the crowds on the main trail. If you plan to go this route, i’d make sure to grab a Lago di Sorapis trail map.

Once you arrive at the Passo Tre Croci trailhead, follow the PATH 215. You’ll find that the trail is clearly marked throughout. 

beautiful trailhead in the dolomites

Lago di Sorapis Trail head

Where to Stay?

I recommend basing yourself out of the popular town of Cortina. Located only 15 minutes away from the trailhead, this is a great option with plenty of hotels and guesthouses.

Cortina D’Ampezzo is an awesome area to stay in if you’re looking for easy access to a number of other hikes as well, while still having a vibrant town center with shops, restaurants and bars. Some of the best nearby day hikes, other than Lago di Sorapis, include, Tre Cime di Lavaredo,and a walk around the famous Lago di Braies. Here are the best hotels in Cortina D’Ampezzo broken down by budget:

Budget: Hotel Olimpia

Hotel Olimpia is a family-run 3-star hotel in the heart of Cortina. A delicious buffet breakfast is available, perfect for long days of hiking ahead. This is a great option if you’ll be exploring the area via public transportation.

Mid-Range: Hotel Cristallino d’Ampezzo 

Slightly more upscale option, Hotel Cristallino d’Ampezzo is a good mid-range option. They even have a wellness spa onsite to relax about long hikes. The center of town, where you’ll find the shops and restaurants, is approximately 8 minutes walk from the property.

Luxury: Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

If you’re looking to visit the Dolomites in luxury, Cristallo is definitely a good choice for you! The grounds are stunning, with the most incredible views. Plus, the spa is unreal!

Rifugio Vandelli

If you are looking to capture the lake at sunrise, I recommend booking a night at Rifugio Vandelli. While I didn’t get a chance to stay here myself, I definitely plan to on my next trip to the Dolomites. The rifugio is only open during the summer months, from June 20th to September 20th. Prices begin at €13/€26 for members/non-members. There are options available for half-board. You can learn more about it on their website.

rifugio at lago di sorapis

Lago di Sorapis camping is also an option.

How Difficult is it to hike to Lago di Sorapis?

While most websites list the hike as easy, I would rate it moderate. This is mostly due to the length of the hike, at approximately 4-5 hours round trip. Additionally, the hike includes some steep inclines narrow pathways. Luckily, there are a number of railing and ropes that you can use as support throughout. 

We chose to follow 215 from Passo Tre Croci, which is definitely the most popular route up to the lake. It is also the quickest, and easiest, path to hike Lake Sorapis.

view of the lake - lago di sorapis

Views of Lake Sorapis

What to Pack

Proper Hiking Boots – While the hike isn’t super challenging, it is quite steep at times. You’ll need to hold on to a rope during narrow passways, so sturdy boots are a must. I recommend wearing proper hiking boots, rather than sneakers, if possible. A few of my favorite hiking boot brands include Columbia and Keen.

Rain Jacket/Windbreaker – The mornings in the Dolomites region can be a bit chilly, no matter what the season. So even in the summer I recommend packing a lightweight jacket can you can throw on and off. In the colder months, you’re going to want to make sure to bundle up properly. I love the Capilene Cool Long Sleeve shirts and Nano Puff as two of my go-to travel items. The Better Sweater is another go-to travel layer.

Drip Drop

Lunch/Snacks – Rifugio Vandelli offers snacks and meal options, however with no electricity, the options are limited. I recommend packing your own food to eat down by the lake. I never hike without my reusable Vapur water bottle. 

Camera – it is so so worth having a proper camera when visiting the Italian Dolomites, especially if you are planning the hike to Lake Sorapis. An iPhone camera just can’t do justice to the lake’s beauty. All of my photos in this blog post were taken on a Nikon D7000 (an older model at this point), however I recently upgraded to the SonyA7ii. If you’re looking for an entry level camera, I also recommend the Sony A6000.

Here are some other articles that you should check out if you’re traveling in the Dolomites:

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16 Comments

  1. April 11, 2020 / 10:46 am

    These pictures are stunning! And now I’m convinced to hike Lago di Sorapis 🙂 Thanks for such a detailed post 🙂

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 11, 2020 / 10:54 am

      You need to go! It’s so so gorgeous there! 🙂

  2. Karen
    April 11, 2020 / 11:12 am

    I did a 3 night refugio hike Near there but didn’t see the lake. Next time. Love hiking in the Dolomites.

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 11, 2020 / 11:17 am

      Oh that sounds like so much fun! Always a next time 🙂

  3. April 11, 2020 / 11:25 am

    Your photos make me want to visit the Dolomites even more! I’m glad you made a note about the hike difficulty because I always find that hikes described as “easy” online end up being a lot more difficult!!!

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 11, 2020 / 11:27 am

      Oh yeah, we were definitely huffing and puffing on the way up. Maybe our Portland inspo trip become a Dolomites inspo trip haha

  4. April 11, 2020 / 11:56 am

    This looks AMAZING!!! Would love to experience this after the quarantine is over :)). We’re all gonna need travel after this!!

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 11, 2020 / 1:09 pm

      Oh yes, and I’m sure Italy will need to bump in tourism!

  5. Bisola
    April 11, 2020 / 12:04 pm

    The pictures!!!! Gorgeous! Never heard of the dolomites till now but now I want to visit! Really great detailed post for first timers

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 11, 2020 / 1:10 pm

      Oh the Dolomites are absolutely amazing! I’ve got at least 6 or 7 posts on them at this point, so plenty information if you’re trying to plan a trip!

  6. April 11, 2020 / 12:11 pm

    This is an awesome article! I visited the Dolomites in the winter as a ski trip and loved it. I totally want to go back in the summer. You sold me with your beautiful photos! 🙂

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 11, 2020 / 1:11 pm

      Oh, I would love to go back during the winter as well!

  7. April 11, 2020 / 2:44 pm

    The landscapes are stunning! Thanks for all the tips! I am dreaming to go to the Dolomites since ages!

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 12, 2020 / 1:31 pm

      I definitely recommend it! It’s such a dream hiking vacation

  8. Michelle
    April 11, 2020 / 4:33 pm

    This looks like such a gorgeous area. Thank you for giving me all of the perfect tips to help me plan my trip when I am ready to visit. I will definitely take your advice and stay in Cortina!

    • tavernatravels
      Author
      April 12, 2020 / 1:31 pm

      I definitely recommend it- at least for part of the trip! Ortisei is another great homebase!

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