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 16 - 23
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 stops.
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.
Run the Alps’ Senior Guide Bruno Yates will lead the way. During his reconnaissance last fall, Bruno 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.
Along for the trip for several days will be Run the Alps friend, noted trail running photographer and videographer Milo Zanecchia, based in Switzerland’s Italian-influenced Ticino region. For those of us who want to share our adventure with friends or family, Milo will skillfully document the Dolomites trail running scenery.
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.
For our first run, we’ll head up past the ancient chapel of St Jakub and up to Pic, a local mountain with great views from its 2363m summit.
We’ll continue to the Seceda meadows high above the valley, a rolling expanse dotted with quiet alp farms, crossed by numerous trails, and backed by the impressive jagged Odler peaks. We might stop at a favorite local hut for lunch before descending into the Anna valley and back to Ortisei. There are many long options through Seceda, but we’ll plan for a somewhat easier warm-up day today.
Our first big day in the Dolomites is a stunning one! We’ll save our legs by ascending by gondola to the rolling green hills of Alpe di Siusi, the largest mountain meadow in the Alps. After a mellow crossing of the Siusi, we’ll traverse a high rocky plateau to the Sassolungo mountain and Plattkofel hut, tucked at the base of jagged, imposing rock spires. Along the way, we’ll stop at mountain refuges for breaks, all with stunning views of the famed Catinaccio/ Rosengarten group of peaks. 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.)
For those feeling adventurous, the day will start with a run up to the 2958m high Sassolungo peak, whose dramatic, rocky precipice features 360-degree views. After a break back at Plattkofel for tarte and coffee, we’ll run through pastures to the spectacularly-placed Rifugio Vicenza in the heart of the Sassolungo massif. Here, we’ll enjoy lunch situated in an old glacial cirque, surrounded by a horseshoe of cliffs. We enter by the mouth of the horseshoe from the west, but we’ll sneak out via a hidden and improbable rocky pass, the Forc Sassolungo, to the East. At the close of the day, we’ll coast down through grassy meadows and spruce-larch forests to the Dolomites village of Selva.
Today, we’ll enjoy trail running through the Selva valley, with an option for a partial or full day off, if you’d prefer to sight-see or simply chill out. 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!
Today, we’ll run far into the Dolomites and cross a high pass, descending through meadows and forests to the tranquil, rustic Val Funes. 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.
Our path climbs and crosses the wildest mountain pass of the week, the Forc di Mesdi, at 2600m altitude. The climb to the pass is on steep switchbacks among scree and boulders. We’ll linger at this dramatic pass, then head steeply down into the Funes valley.
If we need an easier day or if there is too much snow still in the high passes, we’ll opt for the mellower trails and pleasant pine forest at Passo di Brogles, finishing the day by cruising on singletrack to the collections of mountain inns and farms that dot the hamlets of St Peter and St Maddalena in the remote Val Funes.
During the day, we’ll also have the option to run a circular tour of an Alm, or high alpine pasture, to a gem of a mountain lake.
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 19. We will take a group taxi from there to Ortisei. 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.
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.
Run the Alps Stories:
Bruno Yates: My Recon for Run the Alps’ Dolomites Trip