Hike or Run the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites

Italy Hotel Lago di Braies

  • Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    93.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    26250 Feet

Adult Beverages
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area

The Italian Dolomites in the Alps are a UNESCO World Heritage site and simply must be experienced to truly understand. The Alta Via 1 is the original high route through the mountains and showcases some of the best scenery in all of the Alps.

The Alta Via 1 is the definite trail through the Italian Dolomites, showcasing some of the most scenic terrain in all of the Alps. It begins at Lago di Braies and ends in the town Belluno, covering 150 kilometers and over 26,000' of elevation gain.

Unlike backpacking or fastpacking in the United States, camping is forbidden along the trail and in much of the national park. Instead through-hikers (and runners) stay in rifugios, which are high-altitude, often-times family-run hotels and hostels providing both food and shelter. Some, like Rifugio Biella, are quite rustic and sparse. Others like Rifugio Lagazoi (the highest on the route at 9114') have showers, private rooms, full menus, bars and space for 70 people. Many rifugios are working farms and feature local meats, cheeses, and infused grappa typical of the Ladin people.

Regardless of how you approach the trip, be sure to call a day or two ahead of your intended arrival to book a bed, as they can occasionally fill up during the busy summer months. Technically no rifugio is allowed to refuse a guest, but calling ahead may be the difference between sleeping on a wooden bench in the dining room and having a bunk.

The standard route through the Dolomites goes from north to south, takes 12 days, and averages 7.5 miles per day if hiking. Runners take about half the time with double the distance per day. A typical day begins with breakfast, pauses for lunch at a rifugio along the way, and finishes with dinner at your destination. There are many variations one can take, with fantastic side trips that loop back into the main trail allowing for peakbagging and swimming in pristine alpine lakes.

The main trail is always marked with the red "1" in a blue triangle.

While there are none on the Alta Via 1, no trip to the Dolomites is complete without taking a Via Ferrata. There are many along the Alta Via 1 and often times you can rent gear from a rifugio and knock out a summit or loop. Else take the ferrata gear with you.

The Classic Hiking Itinerary:
  • Day 1: From Lago di Bràies to Rifugio Biella
  • Day 2: From Rifugio Biella to Rifugio Fanes
  • Day 3: From Rifugio Fànes to the Rifugio Lagazuòi
  • Day 4: From Rifugio Lagazuòi to the Rifugio Nuvolàu
  • Day 5: From Rifugio Nuvolàu to the Rifugio Città Di Fiume
  • Day 6: From Rifugio Città Di Fiume to the Rifugio Venezia
  • Day 7: From Rifugio Venezia to the Rifugio Vazzolèr
  • Day 8: From Rifugio Vazzolèr to the Rifugio Carestiato
  • Day 9: From Rifugio Carestiato to the Rifugio Sommariva Al Pramperét
  • Day 10: From Rifugio Sommariva to the Rifugio Pian De Fontana
  • Day 11: From Rifugio Pian De Fontana to the Bivacco Del Màrmol or Rifugio Bianchet
  • Day 12: From Bivacco del Màrmol to the Rifugio 7° Alpini, Case Bortòt and Belluno
The Classic Running Itinerary:
  • Day 1 : Lago di Braies – Rifigio Fodara Vedla
  • Day 2 : Fodara Vedla – Rifugio Lagazoui
  • Day 3 : Lagazuoi – Rifugio Nuvolao
  • Day 4 : Nuvolau – Rifugio Tissi
  • Day 5 : Tissi – Passo Duran

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking/running boots/shoes
  • Waterproof jacket (weather is always unpredictable in the Alps)
Maps from Casa Editrice Tabacco Maps (North to South):
  • Number 31 Prags Braies
  • Number 3 Cortina and Ampezzano
  • Number 15 Pelmo Civetta
  • Number 25 Zoldo Agordo
  • Number 24 Dolomites Belluno - Nevegal
Read More


Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

It's been amazing! I walk through the Dolomites for 8 days, almost alone. A great adventure

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Josiah RoeAdmin

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. - John Muir

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Rilke Trail, Riserva Naturale Regionale delle Falesie di Duino

Italy / Sentiero Rilke

The Rilke trail stretches for almost 1.7 km along the Karstic cliffs.

10 Saves

Hike to Orrido dello Slizza

Italy / Orrido dello Slizza

While planning a trip to Fusine Lakes, that you can find HERE, add to your journey a walk through this wonderful hidden path.

5 Saves

Paddle on Lago di Braies

Italy / Pragser Wildsee

This beautiful alpine lake is often compared to the famous Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada and is an absolute must if you are in the Dolomites region.

152 Saves