The Dolomites (Dolomiti) are a mountain range located in northeast Italy part of the Italian Alps. The Dolomites are a volcanic range that is mostly consisting of limestone rock that is one of the worlds most dramatic and beautiful mountain range. Often considered the gem of Europe, these mountains have character. Centered around Cortina D’Ampezzo, this region is a hiking and mountain biking haven in the summer, and a popular ski destination in the winter.
The Dolomites have great history, as this region was the location of many front line battles during the First World War between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces. Rough terrain and challenging passes were explored and/or dug out during this time which created the Via Ferrata hiking routes. For more on history in the Dolomites, check out www.dolomites.org.
Hiking in the Dolomites
There is no backcountry/tent camping allowed in the Dolomites, but there are many Rifugio’s (huts). They can act just as a day stop (many sell beer and food), or book ahead. Most have dormitory style rooms which usually require you to bring a sleeping bag. There are many hikes in the Dolomites. From famous hikes (Tre Cime), to famous lakes (Lago di Sorapis), or hikes with solitude, the Dolomites has it all.
Where to Stay
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a great central location to stay. While there are other towns and regions to explore, this area has some of the best hikes, and has a wide range of accommodations. For an excellent and charming stay, check out Rifugio Ospitale outside of town.
Located all throughout the alps are the famous Via Ferrata routes. They often were dug out and created by the Italian or Austrian military front lines during WWI. These routes are protected climbing routes, often with steel cables fixed to the rock. It is recommended for advanced/expert hikers only on certain routes which require proper gear, so be sure to know the difficulty of each route before you go.
Best Hikes of the Dolomites
Head over to Lake Sorapis for an incredible day hike that is challenging, yet comes with the stunning reward of Lake Sorapis’ emerald green colors. This beauty sits high in the mountain, and requires some easy Via Ferrata route (no harnesses required) to complete.
The best known landmark in the Dolomites may be Tre Cime de Lavaredo and for good reason. These three distinct rocks protruding from the ground are best viewed from Refugio Locatelli. Get there with the easy and popular loop trail (trail 101) or head over several mountain passes with amazing views of Pian di Cengia on trail 104 for a longer loop hike.
Check out the full article on Lake Sorapis and Tre Cime for hiking details:
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Visited in September 2015.