Alta Via 1 Hut to Hut Hike | 6 days in the Dolomites

My First Multi-day Hike: The ALta Via 1 Hut to Hut. HIking in the beautiful dolomites in 6 days.

Early July 2021, I travelled by train to the Dolomites in Italy. Wearing my hiking boots and a 36L backpack on my back. Ready for a new adventure! My friend and I were ready to go on a multi-day hike in the Dolomites: The Alta Via 1 Hut to Hut hike, one of the most famous multi-day hut-to-hut hikes in Europe. Because of the slight complexity of booking huts and this being my first multi-day hike, we decided to book our Alta Via 1 trip with an organization. In case you would like to read more, or book the same trip, check out the exact trip we booked here.  Lastly, we did hike most of the Alta Via in 6 days, however, other durations are possible.

This blog post offers a condensed overview of what to expect when hiking the Dolomites’ Alta Via 1 while staying in huts. Next to this Alta Via 1 hike report, I’ve written more detailed hiking reports on every separate day of this hut-to-hut hike. To give you an easy overview, these posts are linked below the summarized overviews.

Besides hiking the Alta Via 1, we were able to hike one of the most beautiful hikes in the Dolomites: the Tre Cime. In fact, this place was one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen and therefore really worth the additional day in the Dolomites. Furthermore, the Dolomites can easily be combined with a short visit to Innsbruck (read in the city guide!), especially when travelling by train.

Lastly, in case you are inspired to start planning your hut-to-hut hike or the Alta Via 1 specifically, don’t forget to check out my packing list here.

|| Day 1 of the Alta Via 1 hut to hut hike

Firstly, the start of the Alta Via 1 can be found at Lago di Braies, a stunning lake and therewith a great start to this trip. As you walk around the lake and on the other side of the lake, you will find path 1.  Consequently, this is the start of your first ascend! Be prepared, this is quite a steep and continuous ascend. Even though the path is relatively easy to walk, it includes some parts that require a little more coordination. After a few hours, the climb ends when you will see Rifugio Biella. 

And wow, I was happy to finally see the Rifugio because the ascend just didn’t seem to stop. Next to that, this first day was quite challenging with a backpack that wasn’t fully adjusted yet. After a snack and an ice-cold Coca-Cola, we continued our journey to Rifugio Sennes, our rifugio for the night, while following path 6/6A.

Read the full report on Alta Via 1, Day 1 here. 

Lago di Braies Boat House, the starting point of the Alta Via 1 - Day 1, Dolomites, Italy
Views on Lago di Braies from the Alta Via 1, Day 1, Path 1
Climbing the, almost, final ridge of the Alta Via Day 1
View on Rifugio Biella, Alta Via 1, Day 1, Hut to hut Dolomites, Italy

|| The 2nd day of hiking In the dolomites

Day 2 is easy, actually a really easy hike and we managed to walk all of it in 3,5 hours. This also left us spare time in the afternoon to still visit a nearby lake, next to our rifugio for the second night. You start from Rifugio Sennes by following path 7 through lush green meadows and continue this same path and descend towards Pederu. Be prepared for many tourists here, as you can get here by car. From Pederu you start a climb, still following path 7 to Fanes, until we arrived at our destination: Rifugio Muntagnoles. This might have been our favourite Alta Via 1 huts, it was so nice and we enjoyed some sun on their terrace. From the rifugio, it was a 10-minute walk to Lake Le Vert. 

In addition, read the full. hiking report on day 2 here. 

Alta Via 1, Day 2 - Path 7 from Rifugio Sennes
Ucia de Muntagnoles, Rifugio Muntagnoles, Alta Via 1, Day 2
Lake Le Vert, Lavarella, Alta Via 1, Day 2, Dolomites

|| Day 3

Day 3 starts with hiking towards Rifugio Fanes, where you’ll start following path 11 towards Lago di Limo and Gran Fanes. Afterwards, you follow path 20B towards Forcella de Lago. Surprisingly, we still had some snow here and had to do some climbing on parts of the path that weren’t fully maintained. Next, it was time for the main part of the hike that day, which is a big switch-back descent. Even though it looked quite scary from the top, this part was relatively easy because of the switchbacks and the well-maintained path. After you arrive at Lago Lagazuoi, you continue to follow path 20B towards Rifugio Scotoni (still path 20B), our hut for the night. Bear in mind that this hut is a bit off track, and you will have to climb up this part again the next day. 

Read the full hiking report on day 3 here. 

Hiking path 11 during the Alta Via 1, Day 3
Almost reached the Forcella del Lago, Alta Via 1, Day 3
View from the Forcella del Lago on Lago Lagazuoi, Alta Via 1, Day 3 - Dolomites, Italy
Lake Lagazuoi, Alta Via 1, Day 3 - Dolomites

|| Day 4 of hiking the Alta Via 1

Unquestionably, day 4 was the most challenging day of the Alta Via 1. During the day, there will be a lot of climbing, however, the route is incredibly beautiful. Moreover, day 4 also marks the highest variety in landscapes we have seen on a single day during this trip. Unfortunately, you will start the day by climbing back up to Lago Lagazuoi to then start the ascend towards Rifugio Lagazuoi, while following path 401. 

Upon our arrival back at Lago Lagazuoi, we saw quite some snow on the path. which meant a more challenging climb due to the inaccessibility of some parts of the path. After enjoying the views from the top, you can take the funicular down and start following path 441 towards Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nicolai. When you arrive at Rifugio Averau, you start following path 439 towards Cinque Torri. At this point, you continue on path 443 (this path felt never-ending) and head left on the junction to follow path 444 (this path is not visualized on the latest maps yet) towards Malga Giau, our hut for the night. 

Read the full hiking report on day 4 here, including many pictures. 

Views on Rifugio Lagazuoi, Alta Via 1, Day 4
Views from Lagazuoi, Alta Via 1, Day 4, Hiking the Dolomites
From Lagazuoi to Passo Giau - Towards Cinque Torri, Hiking the Alta Via 1, Day 4
Path 439 to Cinque Torri from Averau, Alta Via 1, Day 4

|| Day 5 of the Alta Via 1

On the fifth day, you start following path 436 from the hut towards Passo Giau and Forcella Giau. Definitely be careful finding the path, as it’s not easy to find and we took a wrong turn here. Still, we managed to arrive at the same path, however a bit more time was spent. On the other hand, we were able to see Passo Giau from nearby, so not much was lost there! Afterwards, you continue to follow path 436 towards Forcella Ambrizzola. Prepare yourself for some amazing views. 

Surprisingly, we found this way was completely different from the other days, as the landscape was more lush and green. Subsequently, you follow paths 458 and 467 towards Rifugio Citta di Fiume, which is a great place to get a sandwich for lunch! From there, you take path 472 towards Rifugio Staulanza. To be honest, this was our least favourite Rifugio, as it is located next to a main road, which doesn’t give you an off-the-beaten-track hiking experience and there are many people there visiting for a day.

Read the full article on hiking the Alta Via 1, day 5 here.

View on Mount Mondeval, Dolomites, Italy, Alta Via 1, Day 5
View on Mount Mondeval, Dolomites, Italy, Alta Via 1, Day 5
Having a drink at Rifugio Citta di Fiume, Alta Via 1

|| Day 6: The final day of our hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites

Finally, day 6! The final day of our Alta Via 1 hut to hut experiences mainly focused on descending. Firstly, you start to follow path 472 from Rifugio Staulanza through the forest, until you end up with very rewarding views of layered mountains. Gosh, I loved that view! By the time you reach Passo du Rutorto, you should change to path 475, which will take you all the way down to Villanova. Even though part of the descent is paved, this route is still quite heavy on the knees. To conclude our hike through the Dolomites, we took the bus back to Dobbiaco from Villanova, where we stayed in the same hotel as where our trip started. 

Summing up this whole experience, I have to say I’m so glad that I made the decision to hike the Alta Via 1 on a hut to hut hike and I’m definitely ready for more!

Read everything about the final day of the Alta Via 1 here. 

Alta Via 1, Day 6 - Views
Descending through the forrst to arrive at Villa Nova

Read all alta via 1 articles

Read all alta via 1 articles here


Hiking the Alta Via 1, A hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites, Italy


Hiking the Alta Via 1, A hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites, Italy