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The Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites, and easily one of my favorites as well. The three iconic peaks of Tre Cime are considered the symbol of the Dolomites.
This guide will cover everything you need to know to prepare for a day hike (or overnight stay) at Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop
- Distance: 6 mile loop
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation change: 1,000+ feet, lots of up and down throughout the hike
- Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo
- Time: 3 to 4 hours hiking time only, depending on fitness level
- When to Go: This hike is best during the summer months, from mid-June to mid-September
How to get to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop Trailhead
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike trailhead starts at Rifugio Auronzo, while it is most easily accessed by car, there are also public transportation options available. I recommend overnighting in either Cortina d’Ampezzo or Dobbiaco.
- Book a hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Book a hotel in Dobbiaco
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo trailhead is located approximately a 40 minute drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo, a good base for exploring the Dolomites. You can also opt to stay in Dobbiaco. While there are less options here, it is an even closer drive if you are planning for an early morning start.
You can take the bus to the trailhead from either Cortina d’Ampezzo or Dobbiaco. From Dobbiaco there is a single shuttle bus (16 euro round trip) that takes approximately 45 minutes. From Cortina (15 euro round trip), on the other hand, you will need to transfer once, making the journey closer to 90 minutes. Note, both of these bus routes only run from June to October.
Make sure to purchase your bus tickets ahead of time here. And check out the latest bus time table here.
Where to park for the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop trail
There is a large parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo trailhead, with ample parking. In order to reach the parking lot you’ll need to drive up a paved toll road that is about 7km long. This toll road is only open from late May to late October, from 8am to 6pm. There is an option to enter earlier if you are planning to hike for sunrise, and pay the fee when leaving.
The fee to access the toll road is 30 euro for cars, 20 euro for motorcycles, and 45 euro for any campervans.
While there is ample parking, it is an extremely popular hike. Therefore, if you are hiking during the peak season I recommend arriving early. We started our hike before sunrise and the trails were practically empty.
Staying overnight at Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte)
Another option is to do half of the loop, and then spend the night at Rifugio Locatelli, or Dreizinnenhütte. This is an amazing way to have the trails to yourself in the morning, and to experience the sunrise over the three peaks without the extra early wake up call.
Note however, the hut is only open from the end of June to the end of September.
This rifugio is super popular, so it is important that When the hut is closed, reservations for the following season are accepted only via a request form on the website. During the season, there is a number to call to make a reservation.
Is there a fee to do this hike?
There is no fee to hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo, however there is a 30 Euro entrance fee per car. Those arriving by bus will not need to pay this fee.
Step-by-step guide to hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The hike at Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one big loop that can be completed in either direction. We opted to do the hike counterclockwise. Since we started before sunrise, we were able to snag coffee and breakfast at Rifugio Locatelli.
The signs on the trail are well marked throughout, but I’ve included a step-by-step trail guide below.
The trail begins at the Rifugio Auronzo parking lot. The hike starts at Rifugio Auronzo but it ends at the other end of the parking lot.Starting your hike on path 101 directly from the parking lot, heading east past the rifugio. This is the easiest portion of the hike, with sweeping views over the valley and Cadini di Misurina in the distance.
Looping this way, you’ll want to make sure the iconic three towers are always on your left. Keep following the trail past Rifugio Lavaredo. Once you reach Rifugio Lavaredo, there are actually two different options for hiking up to Forcella Lavaredo. One option is faster, but also steeper. The other is longer and easier, but does have slightly better views of Tre Cime.
Keep following path 101 and then eventually you’ll continue up the short climb to Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte). If you started your hike at sunrise, then Rifugio Locatelli is the perfect spot to stop for breakfast and a coffee. Plus, it offers incredible views of the three peaks.
Rifugio Locatelli and back
From Rifugio Locatelli, you’ll want to take path 105 towards Lange Alm. The trail starts next to the chapel and briefly heads downhill, away from the rifugio. The trail then loops back towards Rifugio Locatelli, although you’ll now be hiking below the rifugio. Follow the path further into the valley.
You’ll start a steep ascent on the other side of the valley (the hardest part of the hike) but it soon turns into more rolling hills of up and down climbing. Malga Langalm is another great option for stopping to refuel with a snack or beverage, especially if you didn’t stop at Rifugio Locatelli.
Continue on the path past the rifugio, making your way back towards the parking lot. You will pass some pools on your way, which make for an incredible photo opportunity on a clear sunny day.
What to pack for the hike
Water – make sure to pack ample water for this hike. I recommend at least 1.5L. Vapur water bottle is the absolute best travel water bottle! I purchased my first one in 2015 and have been obsessed ever since. They fold up after use, making them perfect for travel and hiking adventures.
Sun protection – there is no sun coverage on this hike and you are at elevation, so it is important that you have proper sun protection. This includes both a hat and sunscreen.
Proper hiking boots – proper hiking boots are a must on this trail! I recently purchased a new pair of boots from Columbia and absolutely love them. Plus, don’t forget a good pair of hiking socks! You also might want to consider a pair of hiking poles if you have any knee issues.
Layers – I used my Patagonia Nano Puff almost every morning and evening while the Italian Dolomites, even in the summer. Morning can be quite cold if you are starting your hike before sunrise. On extra cold mornings, I could layer my Patagonia Better Sweater underneath for extra warmth.
Workout Tops — I have a few workout tops from Patagonia that I absolutely love! They are performance tops so they dry super quickly, perfect for long hikes.
Here are some other articles to check out when you’re planning your trip to the Dolomites:
- Road Trip in the Dolomites
- 7 Spots you Can’t Miss in the Dolomites
- A Guide to Hiking Seceda, Dolomites
- How to Get to the Dolomites, Italy
- Hiking to Lago di Sorapis
- Visiting Lago di Braies