Saturday, May 28, 2022

An iconic hike in the Italian Dolomites

Driving from Corvara to Tre Cime hike

Tre Cime di Lavarado was our final hike in the Sexten Dolomites of northeastern Italy, one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps. Although there are many trails throughout the mountains, Tre Cime is one of the must-do hikes for capable explorers.

After warming up with shorter hikes around Lake Braies and Cinque Torri (both very scenic), we finished our time in this beautiful mountain range on a trail that circumnavigates the Three Peaks that symbolize L’Alta Pusteria Valley. Known as Cima Grande, Cima Occidentale, and Cime Piccola, these colossal mountains provide ample panoramic views on the iconic 6.2-mile loop.

Breathtaking beauty!

Our driver met us very early in the morning at Hotel La Perla, where we spent five nights. Located in Corvara in the Alta Badia region this cute town lies in the shadow of the Dolomites.

Colorful flowers contrasted with the stark winding roads as we drove through the foothills of the mountains, paths punctuated with tiny villages along the way. White clouds and blue sky provided amazing background for the jagged limestone mountains.

Jagged peaks in the mountain range

After an hour and a half drive we arrived at Refuge Auronzo, the starting point for our hike. A wide, relatively flat trail connects Rifugio Auronzo with Rifugio Lavaredo. Within an hour of walking, the valley in front of Tre Cime opened up, and the north side of the Three Peaks came into view. What a sight to see all three majestic mountains side by side, an imposing UNESCO World Heritage Site. With their sharp-cornered ridges and dramatic peaks, the Dolomites are unlike any other mountain range we have seen.

A perfect place for lunch

We stopped to eat our packed lunch at a hut that was dwarfed beneath the imposing peaks. A short walk from there took us to a spot that proved perfect for capturing the scenery. 

First look at Tre Cime
At this point, Larry decided to hike back to the starting point with Gerhard, our driver and guide. Beverly and our friend Deb continued on the hike around Tre Cime with our other guide.

The three of us walked down into the valley and followed a narrow trail that provided excellent views of the three peaks and more. 

Some hiking challenges

Our trekking poles came in handy as we navigated rocks and other challenges on the trail. As is often the case, it’s hard to really describe the immensity and ruggedness of the terrain.

A surprising sight at Tre Cime
Pink, purple, and blue flowers dotted the late summer landscape and softened the bare peaks that stretched towards the clouds. We even saw cows grazing on green grass that magnified the beauty of the land. We felt truly blessed for the opportunity be outside soaking in the God-made beauty of this route.
Limestone skirts the peaks

As if that wasn’t enough awesomeness, our guide led us off the path to a stunning lake, a hidden gem that he knew about from years of hiking this popular path. The day was absolutely perfect for photos with the sun in an excellent position to provide clear reflections in the water. We stopped for a brief snack and short rest while admiring the view.

A perfect day for our hike!

But there was more, our guide led us to a second lake, and again the sunshine gave us beautiful reflections. We walked further in the meadow to a third lake before heading back to the trail and and uphill trek to finish the hike in the parking area near where we started.

The second lake also had great reflections.

It was an unforgettable adventure that we’ll always remember when we think of the Italian Dolomites.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

No comments: