Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: All You Need to Know Before Visiting

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites – and for a good reason! The hike takes you around the iconic three peaks of Tre Cime and offers stunning views along the way.

Although it’s a fairly easy hike, it’s best to read up on all the necessary information about the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike before you go. No matter what time of year you attempt the hike, make sure to come prepared!

In this guide, I’ll give you all the information you need to know before hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo, including key metrics, an overview of the route, a step-by-step guide, and packing tips. Let’s get into it!

*Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*

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Key Metrics of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

Starting point: Rifugio Auronzo
Ending point: Rifugio Auronzo
Distance: 10 km (6.2 miles)
Elevation gain: 430 m (1,410 ft)
Lowest elevation: 2,171 m (7,122 ft)
Highest elevation: 2,448 m (8,031 ft)
Duration: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Easy/moderate

Overview of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

Being one of the most famous hikes in the Dolomites, visiting Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a must when hiking in the Alps. The entire loop is around 10 km (6.2 miles) long and since it’s a fairly easy hike, it can be completed by hikers of all levels.

Although many websites state that the hike is mostly flat, this is not the case. The first 1.8 km (1.1 miles) is pretty flat but the rest of the hike includes lots of ups and downs. The total elevation gain is around 430 m (1,410 ft) during the whole hike so it’s totally manageable even for beginners.

The entire loop takes 3-4 hours to complete, although this will obviously depend on your fitness level and how often you stop to take photos (hint: it will be often).

The route starts and ends at Rifugio Auronzo, a mountain hut located at the base of Tre Cime. From here, you’ll follow a well-marked trail that takes you around the base of the three peaks. The views are stunning the entire way and only get better as you make your way around the loop.

The hike can be completed in both directions but it’s better to do it counterclockwise as this way you will be facing the three peaks the entire time.

During the hike, you will come across three other mountain huts – Rifugio Lavaredo, Rifugio A. Locatelli (otherwise known as Dreizinnenhütte), and Malga Langalm – all of which offer great views and make for a nice break during the hike.

The best time to hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo is from June to September when the weather is most stable. It’s one of the busiest hikes in the Dolomites and can get pretty crowded during peak season so it’s best to start your hike early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Not only will you have the trail mostly to yourself but you’ll also get to experience the magical light that the Dolomites are so famous for.

Below I will share a step-by-step guide on how to complete the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike so you can plan your trip and come prepared.

Getting to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trailhead (Rifugio Auronzo)

The starting and ending point of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is Rifugio Auronzo. You have three options to get to Rifugio Auronzo: you can either hike up from Lake Antorno (which is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites), take a public bus, or drive up.

I will share everything you need to know about these three options below so you can choose the one that’s best for you!

Option 1: Hiking from Lake Antorno to Rifugio Auronzo

Starting point: Lake Antorno
Ending point:
 Rifugio Auronzo
Distance:
 4 km (2.5 miles)
Elevation gain:
 461 m (1,512 ft)
Lowest elevation:
1,872 m (6,142 ft)
Highest elevation:
2,333 m (7,654 ft)
Duration: 
1.5-2 hours
Difficulty: 
Moderate

Lake Antorno in the Dolomites, Italy

If you have a very strict budget, hiking up to Rifugio Auronzo from Lake Antorno is your best option as it’s completely free. Also, if you’re traveling in the off-season when the toll road is not open (more about this later), this is your only option to get to the three peaks.

There is a car park near Lake Antorno, right next to Chalet Lago Antorno, where you can leave your car for the day. To start the hike, you need to find the trailhead for trail nr. 101 which starts on the right side of the toll gate.

It takes around 1.5-2 hours to reach Rifugio Auronzo. Be prepared for a very steep hike as you need to tackle around 461 m (1,512 ft) elevation gain during the 4 km (2.5 miles) long hike.

I would only recommend this option if you are an experienced hiker, otherwise, go for the bus or the drive. Keep in mind that after this hike, you still need to complete the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop hike and then hike back down to Lake Antorno, which makes for a very long day.

Option 2: Taking a bus to Rifugio Auronzo

If you don’t have your own car and you want to skip the additional hike to Rifugio Auronzo, you can take advantage of the public bus nr. 444 that goes directly to the mountain hut.

The bus departs from Dobbiaco and it has 6 stops along the way, including Dürrensee, Lake Misurina, and Lake Antorno, before arriving at Rifugio Auronzo.

The bus ride takes around 45 minutes one way and the prices go as follows:

  • One-way ticket: €10 for adults, €5 for children (free under the age of 14 when accompanied by adults), €5 for dogs
  • Round trip ticket: €16 for adults, €9 for children (free under the age of 14 when accompanied by adults), €9 for dogs

If you’re traveling in high season, it’s strongly recommended to book your tickets online in advance. Otherwise, the unsold tickets can be bought at the bus station in Dobbiaco but there is no guarantee that there will be any available.

In case you’re staying in Cortina d’Ampezzo, you first have to take bus nr. 445 and change to bus nr. 444 at Dürrensee. This will add an additional 45 minutes to your journey.

Buses typically operate from early June to early October and they usually run every 30-60 minutes. The first one leaves around 7.30 am from Dobbiaco while the last one normally comes back around 6 pm from Rifugio Auronzo.

When planning your route, it’s best to check the schedule in advance as it can change from year to year.

Rifugio Auronzo at the foot of Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Option 3: Driving up to Rifugio Auronzo

If you have your own car, driving to Rifugio Auronzo is the best option as it’s by far the most convenient. I would strongly recommend renting a car when visiting the Dolomites anyways as it gives you a lot more flexibility and there are just so many incredible places to explore.

However, there is only one road that leads to the mountain hut and it’s a toll road. You can pay the toll with either cash or credit card, and the prices for using the road are as follows:

  • Cars: €30
  • Motorcycles: €20
  • Campervans: €45

It’s important to note that all tickets are valid until midnight so make sure you get back in time, otherwise, you’ll need to purchase another ticket. Also, hold onto your ticket until you get back down because you’ll be only able to leave with a paid ticket.

The road is usually open from early June to late October, weather permitting. The toll booth is typically open 0-24 during high season.

However, if you end up visiting in the lower season, there’s a chance that the booth will be closed early in the morning or late in the evening. Don’t worry though, the gate is automated so you can still drive through even if the booth is closed.

For example, if you arrive early in the morning when the booth is not yet open, you can get a ticket from the machine and pay when you leave. If you end up staying late and the booth is already closed, you can still leave with a paid ticket anytime.

Keep in mind that the road is very narrow and it can be quite crowded during peak season so try to arrive early as possible. If the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo is already full, the staff can close the toll road without prior notice so it’s not uncommon to get stuck in a long line of cars.

Driving time to Rifugio Auronzo goes as follows:

  • from Lake Antorno: 13 minutes, 5.5 km (3.4 miles)
  • from Lake Misurina: 17 minutes, 7.5 km (4.6 miles)
  • from Dobbiaco: 40 minutes, 27 km (16.8 miles)
  • from Cortina d’Ampezzo: 40 minutes, 22 km (13.8 miles)
Campers parking at Rifugio Auronzo (you can see Lake Antorno in the distance)

Step-by-Step Guide to Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo

1. Hiking from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Lavaredo

Distance: 1.8 km (1.1 mile), 20-30 minutes

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo, located at an altitude of 2,340 m (7,677 ft). While you can complete the loop in any direction, it’s best to do it in a counterclockwise direction.

You simply can’t miss the trailhead as there is only one road on the right (eastern) side of the hut and it’s marked as trail nr. 101.

From Rifugio Auronzo, the first part of the trail is pretty flat and easy as it follows an old military road. During the hike, you will get to enjoy the panoramic view over the valley and the surrounding mountains on your right side while you will see Tre Cime on your left side.

Shortly you will pass by a little chapel and not long after that, you will arrive at Rifugio Lavaredo.

This mountain hut is situated 2,344 m above sea level which means there is almost no elevation gain on this section of the hike. The path is roughly 1.8 km (1.1 miles) long so it can be completed in around 20-30 minutes.

In case you need a little break, you can buy drinks and snacks at Rifugio Lavaredo (they only accept cash). They are also open for an overnight stay but for that purpose, I would rather recommend Dreizinnenhütte.

If you look close enough, you can see the hiking trail on the right side of Rifugio Auronzo

2. Hiking from Rifugio Lavaredo to Forcella Lavaredo

Distance: 0.8 km (0.5 mile), 15-20 minutes

From Rifugio Lavaredo, the trail splits into two different paths. Both paths will lead you to Forcella Lavaredo, which is the highest point on the entire Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike. Located at 2,448 m (8,031 ft) above sea level, this viewpoint provides a jaw-dropping view over the valley and the mountains.

If you’re in a hurry, choose the upper path as it leads directly to the viewpoint. It’s also the shorter route of the two but in exchange, it’s steeper as well.

The lower part of the trail is a bit longer but it’s also the easier option as it’s less steep. This path continues a bit further in the valley before turning uphill to the viewpoint.

You can also take a little detour in the valley where you can find a beautiful little lake right before the trail starts to climb uphill.

The entire hike from Rifugio Lavaredo to Forcella Lavaredo is only 0.8 km (0.5 miles) long with around 100 meters (328 feet) of elevation gain so it should only take you around 15-20 minutes.

You can see the path splitting into two different trails from Rifugio Lavaredo
The little lake near Rifugio Lavaredo
View from Forcella Lavaredo with Dreizinnenhütte in the distance on the right side

3. Hiking from Forcella Lavaredo to Dreizinnenhütte

Distance: 2 km (1.2 miles), 30-45 minutes

After soaking in the views at Forcella Lavaredo, it’s time to head to one of the most famous mountain huts in the Dolomites.

Located at 2,438 m (8,000 ft) above sea level, Dreizinnenhütte, otherwise known as Rifugio A. Locatelli, offers one of the most incredible views over the iconic three peaks.

From Forcella Lavaredo, you can already see Dreizinnenhütte in the distance so you simply can’t miss the road.

There are actually two paths leading up to the mountain hut, running parallel to each other. The lower path is wider and more comfortable so it’s a better choice for beginner hikers. The upper path on the other hand is a little bit more challenging but it’s considerably quieter than the lower one.

The trail starts with a little descent before it continues on a flat path through the valley. Then you will start to climb uphill until you reach Dreizinnenhütte. This last section is a bit steep but it’s not too difficult.

This section is roughly 2 km (1.2 miles) and depending on your fitness level, it can be completed in 30-45 minutes.

If you’re in a hurry and just want to complete the loop hike, you can actually skip the short climb up to the mountain hut and just continue on trail nr. 102 that leads down to the valley. However, this is hands down the best part of the hike so I would strongly advise against skipping it!

You can see the lower path on the left side coming from Forcella Lavaredo
Dreizinnenhütte (if you watch closely, you can spot the little caves on the upper left side of the hut)

Dreizinnenhütte makes an amazing lunch stop during the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike. They have a large sun terrace where you can enjoy the incredible views over the three peaks while savoring some delicious traditional dishes from the Dolomites.

Just make sure to have cash with you as they don’t accept credit cards.

If you have a little extra time, it’s worth exploring the nearby area as well. You can find a few WW1 bunkers and tunnels, amazing caves, and even two lakes (Laghi dei Piani) within a short distance from Dreizinnenhütte.

There are two via ferrata routes starting here as well so if you’re keen on adding more adventure to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike, you can opt for one of the routes too.

The most famous caves are located right above the mountain hut and you can easily reach them with a 5-10 minute steep uphill hike. The caves provide a perfect frame for the peaks so make sure to take some photos here!

The two lakes (Laghi dei Piani) near Dreizinnenhütte

You can also stay at Dreizinnenhütte overnight if you want to spend more time in the area or if you would like to see the golden hour at sunset or sunrise in the mountains.

They offer dormitory-style rooms or beds in smaller rooms and you can also opt for breakfast or half board. It’s important to note that they usually receive tens of thousands of inquiries each season and the hut is fully booked months in advance, especially during the peak summer season.

So if you’re planning to stay here overnight, make sure to book your spot well in advance!

4. Hiking from Dreizinnenhütte to Malga Langalm

Distance: 3.3 km (2.1 miles), 1.5 hours

To continue the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop hike, you need to follow path nr. 102 from Dreizinnenhütte which leads you down to the valley.

First, you need to descend almost 250 m (820 ft) from Dreizinnenhütte so this section can be a bit challenging for your knees. The path is quite steep and rocky in places but it’s still manageable.

Trails descending down to the valley from Dreizinnenhütte
You can see the uphill trail from the valley on the left side

The hardest part of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike starts after arriving at the bottom of the valley as you will need to hike up on a very steep and long road.

Although the elevation gain is only around 100 m (328 ft), this part feels like an eternity (at least it did for me). Once you arrive at the top you will already see Malga Langalm in the distance.

You need to continue on trail nr. 105 and after crisscrossing on the creek you will soon reach the guesthouse.

Although they don’t offer accommodation, they do have a great restaurant so if you haven’t eaten at Dreizinnenhütte, it’s a great place to have a quick meal. Similar to the other mountain huts, they accept cash only.

Views along the trail
Malga Langalm

5. Hiking from Malga Langalm to Rifugio Auronzo

Distance: 2.1 km (1.3 miles), 30-45 minutes

The last part of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is quite easy, there is only a small incline towards Forcella Col di Mezzo. After you tackle that, it’s a relatively flat hike that takes you back to the parking lot.

It takes around 30-45 minutes to get back to the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo from Malga Langalm and you can enjoy a stunning view of the Cadini di Misurina peaks in the distance.

View of Cadini di Misurina from the end of the trail

Map for the Tre Cime Loop Hike

Below you can find a customized map that includes the most important checkpoints during the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike, as well as some important locations such as parking spots and mountain huts.

If you open up this post on your phone and you click on the bracket in the upper right corner of the map, it will open up in your Google Maps app so you can always have it with you.

Where to Stay near Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Mountain huts

If you want to stay as close as possible to the three peaks, obviously the most convenient option is to stay at one of the mountain huts along the way.

As for now, you can choose from these three:

  • Rifugio Auronzo
  • Rifugio Lavaredo
  • Rifugio A. Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte

Since the Tre Cime hike is one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites, the mountain huts are usually fully booked months in advance. So if you want to stay here, I recommend booking your spot well in advance!

Unless you don’t want to bring your own food, it’s best to opt for the half board option as you won’t find any other restaurants in the area.

Dobbiaco

If you would rather stay in a town, one of the most convenient options would be Dobbiaco. It’s a 40-minute drive from Tre Cime and it’s also connected to the three peaks via a direct bus route.

Dobbiaco is a great base to explore the area and it has a lot of nice hotels, restaurants, and cafes. It’s also close to Lago di Braies, one of the most famous lakes in the Dolomites.

Best places to stay in Dobbiaco

Skyview Chalets am Camping Toblacher See
Photo credit: Skyview Chalets am Camping Toblacher See via Booking.com

LUXURY – Skyview Chalets am Camping Toblacher See

If you’re looking for the most unique accommodation in Dobbiaco, look no further than Skyview Chalets. This beautiful property is located right next to Toblacher See and provides an insane view of the lake and the mountains, as well as a restaurant, a bar, and a garden.

Hotel Rosengarten
Photo credit: Hotel Rosengarten via Booking.com

MID-RANGE – Hotel Rosengarten

Just 700 m from the center of Dobbiaco, Hotel Rosengarten features a traditional restaurant and views of the Dolomites. All rooms at the Rosengarten have wooden furnishings and a private bathroom. Some rooms feature a four-poster bed and a balcony with mountain views.

Guesthouse Rosengarten
Photo credit: Guesthouse Rosengarten via Booking.com

BUDGET – Guesthouse Rosengarten

Guesthouse Rosengarten is a great budget option in Dobbiaco. The property features mountain views, free WiFi, and free private parking, and guests can choose between a double or a family room. Ski and bicycle rental is also available.

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is another great option as it’s also just a 40-minute drive from Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most popular mountain towns in Italy. It’s one of the best places to stay in the Dolomites if you want to explore the area and it has a lot of nice hotels, restaurants, cafes, and high-end shops.

If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, Cortina is definitely the place to be!

Best places to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Photo credit: Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa via Booking.com

LUXURY – Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is hands down the best luxury option in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The hotel has beautifully furnished rooms and suites, a large wellness center with dreamy views, and 3 on-site restaurants.

HOTEL de LEN
Photo credit: HOTEL de LEN via Booking.com

MID-RANGE – HOTEL de LEN

Located in the heart of Cortina d’Ampezzo, this 4-star hotel offers tastefully decorated guest rooms with TV and free WiFi access. HOTEL de LEN also has a sauna, a hot tub, and a solarium on-site, and breakfast is also included in the room rate.

Hotel Meuble Oasi
Photo credit: Hotel Meuble Oasi via Booking.com

BUDGET – Hotel Meuble Oasi

If you’re looking for a great budget option to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, look no further than Hotel Meuble Oasi. The accommodation features a garden and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking.

What to Pack for the Tre Cime Hike

Although the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is doable without any special equipment, I would still recommend bringing along a few things to make your life easier.

  • Hiking shoes: Although you can technically do the hike in sneakers, I would recommend wearing proper hiking shoes as they provide more support and stability, especially on rocky sections. I currently use the Columbia Newton Ridge Hiking Boots and love them so far!
  • Hiking poles: If you have bad knees or if you simply want to make your life a bit easier, hiking poles can be a great help, especially when descending down to the valley.
  • Reusable water bottle: Although there are a few mountain huts along the way where you can buy drinks, I would still recommend bringing at least 1.5 liters of water per person as it can get quite hot during summer.
  • Snacks: Since the hike is quite long, it’s always a good idea to bring some snacks to keep your energy levels up.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses: The trail is fully exposed to the sun, so make sure to put on sunscreen and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Hat: A baseball cap or a wide-brimmed hat can also be a great idea to protect your face from the sun.
  • Layers: Even if it’s summer, the temperature can drop quite a bit once you get up into the mountains, so make sure to bring along a few layers that you can put on if needed.
  • Rain jacket: Weather can change pretty quickly in the mountains, so it’s always a good idea to pack a rain jacket, just in case.
  • Backpack: Unless you’re staying overnight you don’t need a huge backpack for this hike but you will need something to carry your water, snacks, and layers. Read about the best camera backpacks here!
  • Camera: The views from the three peaks are absolutely stunning, so make sure to bring your camera along to capture the moment! If you’re interested to know what’s in our camera bag, you can read about our photography gear here.
Girl in a cave overlooking Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Other Things to Do Near Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Although the Tre Cime hike is definitely the highlight of the area, there are a few other things to do near Tre Cime di Lavaredo that are definitely worth checking out.

Cadini di Misurina

The famous Cadini di Misurina viewpoint provides one of the most insane views in the whole of the Dolomites. Since the trail also starts from Rifugio Auronzo, it makes sense to do both hikes on the same day.

It’s a short but steep hike that takes around 30-45 minutes to complete in one way. The trail is pretty exposed though so if you have fear of heights, it might not be the best option for you.

If you want to know how to get to the viewpoint pictured below, read my step-by-step guide about the Cadini di Misurina hike!

Lago Antorno

Bordered by a larch forest, Lago Antorno provides an unforgettable view of the Tre Cime and Cadini di Misurina.

As the toll road starts from here, it’s the perfect place to catch your breath before starting the hike. There is a short walk around the lake which takes 20 minutes if you want to do some warm-up!

Cortina d’Ampezzo

In case you’re staying elsewhere, it’s worth stopping by Cortina d’Ampezzo at least for a few hours. The town is surrounded by mountains on all sides so it provides amazing views from every angle.

The center of the town is really compact and it can be easily explored on foot. There are lots of amazing restaurants and cafes to grab a bite and you’ll also find lots of boutiques and luxury shops in case you want to do some shopping.

You can also take a cable car ride up to Rifugio Faloria for some more stunning views of the Dolomites!

Lago di Misurina

Another great option near Tre Cime is to visit Lago di Misurina, which is only a 15-minute drive from the three peaks. The lake is absolutely beautiful and it’s the perfect place to relax after a day of hiking.

There are also a few restaurants and cafes dotted around the lake, so it’s a great place to grab a bite or have a coffee with a view.

Lago di Sorapis

This beautiful turquoise lake is one of the most popular hikes in the area and it’s just a short drive from Tre Cime. The hike to the lake is quite challenging but it’s definitely worth it for the views.

It’s a 12 km long out-and-back hike that takes around 3.5-5 hours to complete. The first part of the hike is relatively easy but it gets pretty steep and technical towards the end. However, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the lake once you reach the top!

Lago di Landro

Otherwise known as Dürrensee, Lago di Landro is one of the largest lakes in the Dolomites. From the shore, you can take in views of both the Cristallo Group and the Ampezzo Dolomites.

It’s a great choice for a quick stop to stretch your legs when driving from Dobbiaco to Tre Cime (or vice versa). There is also a lovely restaurant with a view of the lake if you want to grab lunch/dinner.

Final Thoughts

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites and for good reason. The views from the top are simply breathtaking and it’s a relatively easy hike that can be completed by most people.

Whether you’re looking for an easy day hike or you want to add a bit more adventure with one of the via ferrata routes, Tre Cime di Lavaredo has something for everyone!

I hope this post has given you all the information you need to know about the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help!

xoxo, Kriszti


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2 thoughts on “Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: All You Need to Know Before Visiting”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience on hiking Tre Chime di Lavaredo. This is on our bucket list, we will be in Cortina on the 28th of May this year, but it seems that the toll both only opens on the 1st of June, so we were thinking of renting some ebikes at Tre Cime Service (Lake Autorno) and riding up to Rifugio Auronzo. Did you consider this option instead of walking the road up to the Rifugio Auronzo?

    Reply
    • Yes, I think riding up with e-bikes is a lot easier than hiking up, so I would definitely look into this if it’s an option for you! Also, I think it’s worth asking around the locals when you get to your accommodation about the road openings, who knows, maybe they open up a few days earlier than scheduled 🙂

      Reply

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