The Italian Dolomites have some of the best trail running in Europe! We’ll run inn to inn, taking in spectacular views of the region along smooth singletrack and over high cols. At night, we’ll enjoy hearty local cuisine in villages.
September 4-11, 2021
8 days, 7 nights
Inn-to-inn with high mountain huts.
$3,695, $400 single supplement
Six nights at village hotels, one night at a remote mountain inn, all breakfasts and dinners, trail snacks, guided runs daily, all transfers to and from trailheads, and luggage transfers between villages.
The Dolomites are one of our favorite areas for trail running. Trails here are flowy and accessible, and the scenery includes impressive mountains, quiet villages and flower-filled meadows. Here, the Italian, Austrian, and ancient Ladin cultures intermingle in the small, scattered villages that dot this mountainous corner of Italy. Our inn-to-inn tour takes you through the Gardena and Funes valleys in the western Dolomites. We’ll trail run with light vests, as our bags are moved for us from village to village. One night at a high mountain lodge will require a slightly larger “fast packing” pack. Our tour begins in Selva, nestled in Val Gardena, in the heart of the UNESCO Dolomites World Heritage Area. There’s miles of great running radiating in every direction. On our first full day, we’ll warm up with a run visiting high huts and alpine trails.
A typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel, including freshly baked bread and pastries, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs, coffee and freshly squeezed juice. Soon we’ll be out on the trail, running through pastures and under the Dolomites’ iconic limestone towers.
During a recent trip to the Dolomites, Run the Alps guide Bruno Yates wrote: “I’m used to running in some pretty incredible locations in the French and Swiss Alps, and I was blown away by what we found in this part of the Dolomites – and the sheer number of world class trails. I’m looking forward to next June!” (You can read his story, here.) A few of our days will offer options, and if you want to take it easy, we’ll have two optional rest days, as well. Most days finish around 4 pm, giving time to wash up, relax, or just gaze upon the outside panorama from the balcony of your room. Later, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our fabulous hotel restaurants. These are multi-course affairs, often featuring delicious local Austrian and Italian specialties.
Today, we’ll meet in Bolzano and transfer by taxi to Selva in the afternoon. If necessary, Run the Alps can help arrange your own private taxi from Venice, Verona, Innsbruck, or Munich directly–please inquire. Before dinner, we’ll meet for an overview of the week’s route, covering daily routines, and reviewing gear for each day’s adventure.
Today, we’ll enjoy trail running through the Selva valley. Our run will head up and around the rim of the aptly named Vallunga, or “Long valley”. The trough-shaped valley is about 6 kilometers long and features 1,500-foot high cliffs on both sides. There are only a few places where paths breach these natural ramparts. We’ll exploit one of these openings to reach the scenic trail which circles the valley on the high ground above.
A steep climb will bring us to the high point of the day, Forcela de Crespeina at 2528m. Before descending, we’ll stop at Puez hut for an espresso and apple strudel on the terrace. The best part of this day is the run down, as we weave our way through the boulders and natural rock steps. The flow on this section of trail feels just great!
To start the day, we’ll climb up from Passo de Sella, through grassy meadows and spruce-larch forests.
We run through pastures to the spectacularly-placed Rifugio Vicenza in the heart of the Sassolungo massif. We enter by via a hidden and improbable rocky pass, the Forc Sassolungo, from the East and leave via the mouth of the horseshoe to the west. We’ll enjoy lunch situated in an old glacial cirque, surrounded by a horseshoe of cliffs.
For those feeling adventurous, the day could end with a run up to the 2958m high Sassolungo peak, whose dramatic, rocky precipice features 360-degree views.
With private rooms and hot showers, Plattkofel is more a comfortable inn than a rough mountain hut. It has a quiet ambience that allows us to relax and enjoy a beautiful evening high in the mountains. Due to its remote location, your bag will not be available tonight. We’ll use larger, “fast pack” gear on today’s run. (Information will be provided in your travel packet, prior to the trip.)
Along today’s stunning route, we’ll stop at mountain refuges for breaks, all with stunning views of the famed Catinaccio/ Rosengarten group of peaks.
We leave the Sassolungo mountain and Plattkofel hut, tucked at the base of jagged, imposing rock spires. We’ll traverse a high rocky plateau towards a mellow crossing of the rolling green hills of Alpe di Siusi. From Siusi, the largest mountain meadow in the Alps, we can save our legs by descending to Ortisei by gondola.
Starting in St Christina, today we climb to the Seceda meadows high above Val Gardena. This rolling expanse dotted with quiet alp farms is crossed by numerous trails, and backed by the impressive jagged Odler peaks. The first part of our route is on south facing slopes, so we’ll take advantage of the shaded lower valley as we make our ascent. We might stop at a favorite local hut for lunch before descending into the Anna valley and back to Ortisei on the historic Troi Paian (pilgrim’s trail). There are many options to lengthen or shorten the route through Seceda including an exciting ascent to the Forc di Medi at 2600m or a more mellow visit to Seceda summit at 2520m. There is also the option of a cable car down at the end of the day to save our legs.
Today we cross from Val Gardena to its quieter neighbour, Val di Funes. We’ll start by using a funicular railway from the town to gain the scenic Resciesa Ridge. Once on the broad ridge line, panoramic views unfold from the quality trails traversing the mountainside. Many of the previous day’s runs can be seen in the distance as we head along the ridge towards Passo de Brogles, marking the watershed between the two valleys. A conveniently situated hut at the pass offers tempting refreshments before a choice of several trails winding their way down into Val di Funes. Mellow trails and pleasant pine forest bring us to the valley bottom and the collections of mountain inns and farms that dot the hamlets of St Peter and St Magdalena.
Today’s our last full day in the Dolomites, and we’ll take advantage of it! We’ll tackle the Odle di Eores massif, taking in engrossing singletrack trail, mature pine woodland, abundant mountain vistas and a couple of well-placed huts for refreshments along the way.
Today’s highlight is the “Gunther Messner way”, a flowing, narrow trail that’s occasionally exposed and completely absorbing. It’s a fitting finale, set in a wild locale, with jagged peaks and steep scree slopes, and wrapping up with more great singletrack on the south side of the massif. Back in Val Funes, we’ll enjoy a celebratory final dinner at the inn.
Today we’ll say our goodbyes as we take leave of the Dolomites. We’ll have a morning group taxi available to Bolzano, where you can continue on to your final post-tour destination.
Plan to arrive in Bolzano by mid-afternoon September 4. We will take a group taxi from there to Selva. Flights from the US usually depart the day before. The closest airports are Venice, Verona, Milan and Munich, which are all about three to four hours away by train or taxi.
Plan on one night at a hotel in your departure city. We can assist with transportation and lodging recommendations, if you like. If you’d like to extend your visit with additional trail running, we can help with self-guided run descriptions for other regions of the Alps, or trail race options.
Self-guided option: Everything but the guide… custom tour design, trail runs, and all the details.
Private: Make it private! Your companions, your dates, your tour– we do the rest. Contact us for details.
Run the Alps Stories: Bruno Yates: My Recon for Run the Alps’ Dolomites Trip
All Run the Alps guests receive a copy of our Guide to Trail Running in the Alps to assist in preparing for their trip.
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