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Backpack to Sternai Lakes in Stelvio National Park

Rabbi, Italy



18.6 miles

Elevation Gain

4265.1 ft

Route Type



Added by Nick Cagol

This easy but evocative hike leads to 3 amazing alpine lakes in the hearth of Stelvio National Park. The 1300 mt ascent crosses beautiful larch woods, waterfalls and wild lands. Spending the night at Dorigoni hut is a great way to get in contact with the mountain spirit. Rain and fog accompanied us creating such a misty atmosphere!

We start our excursion just below Saent waterfall at 1529 mt at around 11 am. The sky is dark and pushes us to move quickly not to get all the storm on our heads. The hut is still far and we move beside waterfalls and woods (trail 106). At around 2000 mt we cross the forest border and we find ourselves immersed into the misty wilderness. It starts raining, we put the covers on our backpacks and keep walking across learn pastures. We finally arrived at Dorigoni hut (2436 mt) at around 4 pm. The storm is now at its best, the perfect chance to sit dow and chill in front of a beer. When the rain ceases, there is still time to explore the surroundings and take some snaps. Our boots are now totally wet... The atmosphere in the hut is very pleasant during the evening, after dinner we wait outside for sunset and after some card games is time to go to sleep in the big under-roof dormitory. I wake up at sunrise, my friends are still sleeping deeply, and I take a short walk to see the beautiful color of the dew covering the alpine grassland. After a great breakfast we put our boots on and we start ascending the curvy path toward the lakes. The atmosphere is breathtaking, low clouds are moving fast creating light effects that change the view at every step. We see some marmots and hear their whistle, and also lot of frogs jumping cheerfully in the puddles. After 1 hour we reach the first out of three glacial lakes (2596 mt). It is bigger than we expected and enveloped in the fog. We cost the lake moving in the mire, paying attention to the stone piles that track the path. We meet another group of hikers on the way to the second lake, the only signal that we are not walking across beyond the Wall of Game of Thrones. If we look at the ground carefully we can distinguish so many different types of moss and flowers! At noon we are back at the hut and we decide to eat some leftovers. When we decide to climb down it starts raining again, nevertheless we follow a longer trail in order to cover a loop. The ground is now wet, we must walk carefully not to slip. The descent passes through a larch forest, the ancient trees are protecting us from the heavy rain. We take a short rest close to an old cabin and we can nearly hear the forest spirits talking each other underneath the larches. When we finally are back at the starting point at 6 pm we are completely wet. 

People often say that it is not recommended to hike when the weather is uncertain. I think that our excursion was so special thanks to the mist that created such a magic and intimate atmosphere. So I encourage everyone to give fog and rain a chance to be enchanted in the amazing alpine environment.

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