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.
June 15-22, 2023
September 7 - 14, 2023
8 days, 7 nights
Inn-to-inn with high mountain huts.
$4,090 per person
$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 Ortisei, 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 his reconnaissance for Run the Alps when we developed this trip, 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 several possible distances, 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 hotel restaurants. These are multi-course affairs, often featuring delicious local Austrian and Italian specialties.
Guiding this trip will be lead guide Bruno Yates, with assistant Cam Bevan. Read more about their guiding experience and skills here.
Today, we’ll meet in Bolzano and transfer by taxi to Ortisei 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 is a great introduction to the area. We’ll start by using a funicular railway from Ortisei to gain the scenic Resciesa Ridge above the town. Once on the broad ridge line, panoramic views unfold from the quality trails traversing the mountainside. Many of the runs to come can be seen in the distance as we head along the ridge towards Passo de Brogles and just beyond, the conveniently situated Brogles Hutte, offering tempting refreshments. The homemade cakes here are divine!
After a quick climb back to the pass, we’ll descent on a magnificent trail down through pine forest into the Anna Valley above Ortisei. The trail flows at a perfect gradient as it twists and turns down through the trees. We then join a historic pilgrim’s trail called The Troi Paian for an impressive traverse across the slopes of the valley before descending past the St. Jakob church to arrive back in Ortisei. There is also the option of a cable car down at the end of the day if you wish to save your legs.
To start the day, we’ll take a cable car to the plateau of Alpe di Siusi. It is the largest single expanse of Alpine pasture in the entire Alps and is criss-crossed by numerous tracks and trails. After a comfortable hour or so of relatively flat running through beautiful scenery, we descent to Saltner Hut before climbing steeply on a rocky trail towards Rifugio Bolzano where there is the option to stop for refreshments.
We then head out over the Altipiano dello Sciliar and one of the most dramatic sections of trail of the entire week. The route climbs gently before dropping steeply and sweeping across the upper slopes of a deep valley. The towering cliffs of the Catinaccio/Rosengarten mountains make an impressive backdrop but the trail is never too technical. We arrive at Tierser Alp Pass and a rifugio of the same name, another great spot for a cool drink or a café macchiato! The final stretch to our overnight stop at Plattkofel Hut is a pleasant contrast, an undulating and relatively smooth trail across a green and verdant ridgeline.
With private rooms and hot showers, Plattkofel Hut 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 explore the immense and iconic Langkofel/Plattkofel massif.
We leave the Sassolungo mountain and Plattkofel hut, tucked at the base of jagged, imposing rock spires. We’ll traverse the edge of the massif, crossing immense scree slopes and charming “rock gardens.” The massif is a horseshoe shape and we’ll use the open end of the horseshoe to access the magnificent and dramatic cirque within. Right in the middle is the spectacularly placed Rifugio Vincenza where a break for coffee and cake feels obligatory!
We’ll then head deeper into the massif to climb up to the narrow and improbable pass, Forc Sassolungo. Even more improbable is the small but cozy mountain hut that has been squeezed onto the pass! A steep zig-zagged descent brings us to the large Sallajoch (Sella Pass), followed by a pleasant trail through wooded rock gardens. There is a final long descent through spruce/larch forest to bring us into Selva. Alternatively a cable car can be used to go down from Ciampinoi if the legs are feeling tired!
For those feeling adventurous, the day could also start with an early-morning run to the 2958m high Plattkofel Peak, whose dramatic, rocky summit features 360-degree views.
Running straight out from Selva this morning, we’ll enjoy a circular route which takes us up into the impressive Vallunga, or “Long Valley.” Our run will head up and around the rim of this long, deep chasm which has been likened to a mini-Yosemite valley. Carved out by an immense glacier during the last ice age, the trough-shaped valley is flaked by 1,500-foot high cliffs on either side, and there are only a few places where paths breach these natural ramparts. We’ll pass through 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 highest point of the day, Forcela de Crespeina at 2528m. We’ll then enjoy long, level sections of trail before arriving at the Puez Hut to enjoy an espresso and apple strudel on the terrace with views straight down into Vallunga. The best part of this day comes next, with an excellent flat section before an exhilarating descent, weaving our way down through the boulders and natural rock steps. The flow on this section of trail feels just great!
Today we cross from Val Gardena to its quieter neighbor, Val di Funes. Starting in Selva, we’ll climb to the popular 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 will stop at the Regensburger Hut for a coffee and snack before continuing up for an exciting ascent to the Forc di Mesdi, a rocky pass at 2600m, right in the heart of the jagged peaks. A steep zig-zagged descent requires care but soon enough brings us to Rifugio Odle with an option for a light lunch from an extensive menu of local specialities.
Mellow trails and pleasant pine and spruce 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 June 12, 2022. 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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