Hike to Stunning Lake Sorapis

Lake Sorapis is a stunning turquoise lake in Northern Italy in the Dolomite Mountains. Getting here is no easy task and involves sections of via ferrata, which include some cables and ladders.  This intermediate hike is worth the effort and offers incredible views of mountain peaks and the dreamy blue waters of Lake Sorapis. While there are many hikes in the Dolomites, this hike was less crowded and is our favorite in Northern Italy.

Lago di Sorapis, Lake Sorapis, Dolomites, Cortina, Italy

Lake Sorapis


When to Go

Summer and fall are the best time to visit the Dolomites for hiking. The trail is inaccessible during the winter due to snow.


How to Get There

The hike begins from Passo Tre Croci. There is a parking area at the top of the pass. From the parking area, there is a mountain access road (service road) that connects to trail 213 to begin the hike.


Where to Stay

Stay in the mountain village of Cortina d’Ampezzo for excellent access to the Dolomites. Budget hotels start around €50. For an adorable bed and breakfast just outside of town with incredible mountain views, we highly recommend Rifugio Ospitale. It is one of the oldest restaurants in Europe and adorable rooms for €100.


Hike Details

Our Hike: 9.5 miles / 15.3 kilometers return

Elevation Gain: 2,664 feet / 812 meters gain

Time: 5 hours 34 minutes

Difficulty: Difficult

Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Trailhead 213


Lake Sorapis Hike

The hike starts in the forest where a walking path leads to trail 213. Continue on the trail until shortly after above the tree line where trail 213 intersects with trail 216. Turn left on trail 216 to continue towards Sorapis. After this point the trail ascends above the tree line, opening views to the surroundings.



Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Trailhead 213 Intersects with Trail 216 – Turn Left


Following a short section where the trail is flat, the trail ascends up a very steep gulch. The ground is loose rock, causing feet to often slip out. This is the steepest section of the hike. Zigzag to the top of the gulch, at which point you are at the highest elevation of the hike.


Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Rock and viewpoint looking to the valley right before the steep section


Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Steep Section on trail 216


Continue on trail 216 towards Lago di Sorapis (or Rifugio Vandelli) at the top of the gulch.


Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Trailhead Intersection


The trail is mostly flat or downhill from this point. It leads to the first via ferrata section of the hike. The via ferrata is daunting with a narrow path and enormous vertical drops. In some sections, there are cables along the cliff. While this hike is challenging, it is not a technical hike, and no equipment is necessary. Several sections of cable continue as the trail leads around the side of the mountain.


Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Trail 216 Via Ferrata


Following the via ferrata section, Lake Sorapis comes into view. The trail descends first to Refugio Vandelli, and just beyond that, Lake Sorapis. Make sure to walk around the lake.


Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

View from Above Lake Sorapis

Lago di Sorapiss hike, Cortina, Dolomites, italy

Lake Sorapiss


Take trail 215 to return to Passo Tre Croci. The trail is mostly downhill. There is a small section of via ferrata with ladders and cables, however, most of the hike is easy.  The trail will lead you to the main road. From here, walk uphill for a few minutes to return to the parking area.


What to Bring on the Hike

  • Daypack

  • Lightweight jacket

  • Water

  • Snacks (food/beer is available for purchase at Refugio Vandelli)

  • Sunblock

  • Hat



Interested in another excellent hike? Try the Tre Cime de Lavaredo hike:

Tre Cime Hike, Dolomites, Italy

Tre Cime Hike, Dolomites, Italy



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Visited in September 2015.


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