An important tip to start with: don’t drink too much when you have a tough day ahead. We started this day with a little headache from the great night we’d before with people we met in the hut. However, the clear mountain air did its job and quickly we were all good to go. The Alta Via 1, Day 4 would mark the toughest day of the trip and we were prepared for a long day that would include over 1100 meters ascending. Even though the hike would be tough, we were also ready that Day 4 would be one of the most stunning days, which was also true. However, what no one told us is that parts of the track were still covered in snow and not all tracks were as easy to find as during the first 3 days. We managed to arrive at our rifugio, however, with this article I would like to give you a better view of what the day looks like, what you can expect and of course to inspire you as the trail is beyond beautiful. Let’s have a look and go on the adventure called the Alta Via 1, Day 4.
1 || Climb back up to Lago Lagazuoi from Rifugio Scotoni
2 || Follow path 401 up to Rifugio Lagazuoi
3 || Take the funicular down and follow path 441 towards Rifugio Averau and Nuvolau
4 || From Rifugio Averau, follow path 439 towards the Cinque Torri
5 || From Cinque Torri, follow path 443 and start a route that feels like it’s never-ending and head left when there is a junction towards path 444 (not on the most recent maps) towards Malga Giau (or continue towards Passo Giau if you have a Rifugio there)
As we spend the night at Rifugio Scotoni, which was slightly off route, we unfortunately had to start the day by climbing some additional meters than the Alta Via 1 itself. We rushed as we wanted to have that first climb done as soon as possible and managed to climb up the first 200 meters of the day in about 25 minutes. We were rewarded with views of the lake and the sun catching up with us. The good thing about this first leg is the fact that you see the end goal of part 1 (Rifugio Lagazuoi) from the start. However, don’t let the distance fool you. We had the feeling this would be possible in about 45 minutes, but in the end, we’ve been climbing close to 2 hours.
As some parts were still covered in snow, we haven’t always been able to walk all the exact trails. We even had to climb up next to the official trail and cross a huge amount of snow afterwards. The hike up to Lagazuoi might have been the most challenging part of all Alta Via 1 for us. In the end, we achieved the top, which can be found at an altitude of 2755 meters, where the views are stunning and we felt so rewarded.
As taking breaks during such a trip and a hike is very important, we decided to enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola at the Rifugio and enjoy the views before continuing our day. The funicular goes down every 15 minutes and costs 13 euros per person. The ride is very short and will take approximately 5 minutes.
I have to say, it felt a bit weird to take a funicular down after struggling and climbing so much to get to the top. Especially because we knew a new ascent was waiting for us at the bottom. When you’re not hiking the Alta Via 1, you can of course also take the funicular up to the top of Lagazuoi and admire the views or take a short hike from the top.
The next part of the day would be to follow path 441 towards Rifugio Averau and Nuvolau and therewith Cinque Torri. We were warned this would be one of the toughest days, but also one of the prettiest with the highlights being Lagazuoi and the Cinque Torri. Looking forward to continuing the hike through a completely new landscape and following the route towards Cinque Torri. As you can see, the surroundings were far more lush than before. Don’t be fooled. Not the whole route is easy, as there is quite some climbing involved and you have to hike along the ridge of the mountain (which I personally always think is quite scary).
It’s almost time for one of the other highlights of the day: Cinque Torri. When you arrive at Rifugio Averau (right around the corner of the scary image below), you have to turn left to follow path 439 and within 5 minutes you’ll arrive at Cinque Torri. Take some time to discover these massive mountains. Did you know some people are climbing them?!
After admiring Cinque Torri, it is time to continue the route towards Passo Giau (and for us Malga Giau) following path 443. In the beginning, it is quite well marked, but there comes a moment where you need to head into the fields using a tinier path that doesn’t seem most logical at first. So pay close attention and follow the path into the green open space. Soon you will find a path that is surrounded by trees and goes up and down the whole time. Continue on this route until you find a junction where you can turn left towards Malga Giau (in case you are staying there) and try to find the red / white marks in the woods, as there are no clear marks. There you are! Enjoy the great atmosphere of this Rifugio, the great food and the amazing host and make sure you get some rest after this intense day. To be honest, this was the only day we were hoping we would be at our final destination soon. The hike towards Laguzuoi is very tiring and there is a lot of ascending to do. When we were tired, the 443 paths towards Passo Giau just didn’t seem to end. But, we made it!!