Dolomites, Italy - A room with a view! Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano in Badia is a picture perfect start to our Dolomites trek.

Dolomites, Italy

A room with a view! Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano in Badia is a picture perfect start to our Dolomites trek.

Dolomites, Italy: 1 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - We’re spoilt for choice at the Rosa Alpina. Breakfast was divine!

Dolomites, Italy

We’re spoilt for choice at the Rosa Alpina. Breakfast was divine!

Dolomites, Italy: 2 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - The cutest rifugio for a mid-hike espresso. Italy’s network of rifigios make mountain treks easy to stretch over several days. We only stopped at Rifugio Santa Croce for a coffee and cake, but many rifugios offer lodging (some very luxurious!) and gourmet meals.

Dolomites, Italy

The cutest rifugio for a mid-hike espresso. Italy’s network of rifigios make mountain treks easy to stretch over several days. We only stopped at Rifugio Santa Croce for a coffee and cake, but many rifugios offer lodging (some very luxurious!) and gourmet meals.

Dolomites, Italy: 3 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - The Val Badia region in South Tyrol, Italy is one picturesque village after another.

Dolomites, Italy

The Val Badia region in South Tyrol, Italy is one picturesque village after another.

Dolomites, Italy: 4 / 59
Dolomites, Italy -

Dolomites, Italy

Dolomites, Italy: 5 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Lunch break finished, we assessed our next challenge: to cross this scree field.

Dolomites, Italy

Lunch break finished, we assessed our next challenge: to cross this scree field.

Dolomites, Italy: 6 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - A first taste of a via ferrata. Italian for “iron path,” a via ferrata can be iron steps, ladders, suspension bridges or a steel cable fixed into a rock wall. First created during World War I to help troops carry supplies to remote areas in the Italian Alps, vie ferrata are now enjoyed by recreational hikers and mountain enthusiasts.

Dolomites, Italy

A first taste of a via ferrata. Italian for “iron path,” a via ferrata can be iron steps, ladders, suspension bridges or a steel cable fixed into a rock wall. First created during World War I to help troops carry supplies to remote areas in the Italian Alps, vie ferrata are now enjoyed by recreational hikers and mountain enthusiasts.

Dolomites, Italy: 7 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - It was a bad time for a storm. We were miles from any type of shelter.

Dolomites, Italy

It was a bad time for a storm. We were miles from any type of shelter.

Dolomites, Italy: 8 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Right of the scree field and beyond is where we started our day.

Dolomites, Italy

Right of the scree field and beyond is where we started our day.

Dolomites, Italy: 9 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Thankfully, the weather had cleared overnight and we were on the trail by 7:30 am. Our path hugged the mountains to the left and then turned left between them, to Corvara in Badia.

Dolomites, Italy

Thankfully, the weather had cleared overnight and we were on the trail by 7:30 am. Our path hugged the mountains to the left and then turned left between them, to Corvara in Badia.

Dolomites, Italy: 10 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - After a coffee break, we met up with our ferrata guide, Marco. He brought our harnesses and helmets for the Via Ferrata Tridentina.

Dolomites, Italy

After a coffee break, we met up with our ferrata guide, Marco. He brought our harnesses and helmets for the Via Ferrata Tridentina.

Dolomites, Italy: 11 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - This was to be the beginning of my love for vie ferrata, motivation to train in Chicago at a climbing gym, and future trips based on climbing.

Dolomites, Italy

This was to be the beginning of my love for vie ferrata, motivation to train in Chicago at a climbing gym, and future trips based on climbing.

Dolomites, Italy: 12 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Our big clunky hiking boots added to the challenge.

Dolomites, Italy

Our big clunky hiking boots added to the challenge.

Dolomites, Italy: 13 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Via ferrata are popular! These are the climbers after us, who became part of our story, and a view of Corvara below.

Dolomites, Italy

Via ferrata are popular! These are the climbers after us, who became part of our story, and a view of Corvara below.

Dolomites, Italy: 14 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - She likes it! We are hooked.

Dolomites, Italy

She likes it! We are hooked.

Dolomites, Italy: 15 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - At the end of the ferrata is the bridge of no return…

Dolomites, Italy

At the end of the ferrata is the bridge of no return…

Dolomites, Italy: 16 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - We’ve come this far…it’s cross the bridge or climb all the way down.

Dolomites, Italy

We’ve come this far…it’s cross the bridge or climb all the way down.

Dolomites, Italy: 17 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Ferrata accompli ✅

Dolomites, Italy

Ferrata accompli ✅

Dolomites, Italy: 18 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - At some point on the ferrata I noticed the bite valve of my hydration pack had gone missing, a bummer this early on in the trek. Little did I know that it had bounced its way down the mountain and…remember the group climbing after us? He had the presence of mind to grab it. When he got to the top he returned it to me…karma.

Dolomites, Italy

At some point on the ferrata I noticed the bite valve of my hydration pack had gone missing, a bummer this early on in the trek. Little did I know that it had bounced its way down the mountain and…remember the group climbing after us? He had the presence of mind to grab it. When he got to the top he returned it to me…karma.

Dolomites, Italy: 19 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Our refuge for the night was just above the ferrata end point, Rifugio Cavazza al Pisciadù. It looks awfully close but that last eighth of a mile can be hard.

Dolomites, Italy

Our refuge for the night was just above the ferrata end point, Rifugio Cavazza al Pisciadù. It looks awfully close but that last eighth of a mile can be hard.

Dolomites, Italy: 20 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Trail 666 and it felt…unforgiving.

Dolomites, Italy

Trail 666 and it felt…unforgiving.

Dolomites, Italy: 21 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Dawn surveys our next leg, scanning the landscape for the Rifugio Boè, once managed by our guide Marika’s parents.

Dolomites, Italy

Dawn surveys our next leg, scanning the landscape for the Rifugio Boè, once managed by our guide Marika’s parents.

Dolomites, Italy: 22 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - After we had hiked the first section we could look back and see Corvara again, far below.

Dolomites, Italy

After we had hiked the first section we could look back and see Corvara again, far below.

Dolomites, Italy: 23 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Marika knows this section of the Dolomites well. She grew up here.

Dolomites, Italy

Marika knows this section of the Dolomites well. She grew up here.

Dolomites, Italy: 24 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - The Piz Boè summit was for us a two and a half day hike, and the highest elevation on this trek. From the other side there is a lift from town that takes you nearly to the top, so it is sometimes busy.

Dolomites, Italy

The Piz Boè summit was for us a two and a half day hike, and the highest elevation on this trek. From the other side there is a lift from town that takes you nearly to the top, so it is sometimes busy.

Dolomites, Italy: 25 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Our route had been carefully chosen by Patty and Marika, and it was time for a special diversion. We left the Piz Boè summit not in the direction of the lift, but to the northeast, toward a very special rifugio.

Dolomites, Italy

Our route had been carefully chosen by Patty and Marika, and it was time for a special diversion. We left the Piz Boè summit not in the direction of the lift, but to the northeast, toward a very special rifugio.

Dolomites, Italy: 26 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Piz Boè was our highest elevation for this trip. As we left the summit visibility was good, and we could see some of the future towns we would visit.

Dolomites, Italy

Piz Boè was our highest elevation for this trip. As we left the summit visibility was good, and we could see some of the future towns we would visit.

Dolomites, Italy: 27 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Going down isn’t always easier than going up.

Dolomites, Italy

Going down isn’t always easier than going up.

Dolomites, Italy: 28 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Marmolada

Dolomites, Italy

Marmolada

Dolomites, Italy: 29 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Our first glimpse of our favorite stop: Rifugio Franz Kostner

Dolomites, Italy

Our first glimpse of our favorite stop: Rifugio Franz Kostner

Dolomites, Italy: 30 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Weird hiking fact: It’s actually harder to motivate yourself to keep walking when you see your destination and it’s still out of reach.

Dolomites, Italy

Weird hiking fact: It’s actually harder to motivate yourself to keep walking when you see your destination and it’s still out of reach.

Dolomites, Italy: 31 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Rifugio Franz Kostner.

Dolomites, Italy

Rifugio Franz Kostner.

Dolomites, Italy: 32 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Finally! a rifugio where they speak our language: a bowl of coffee.

Dolomites, Italy

Finally! a rifugio where they speak our language: a bowl of coffee.

Dolomites, Italy: 33 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Making our way on Via Ferrata Piz da Lech. This was not as long as Via Ferrata Tridentina but had 2 very steep sections with iron ladders bolted to the mountain.

Dolomites, Italy

Making our way on Via Ferrata Piz da Lech. This was not as long as Via Ferrata Tridentina but had 2 very steep sections with iron ladders bolted to the mountain.

Dolomites, Italy: 34 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - We both reached for our cameras at the same time. 

Dolomites, Italy

We both reached for our cameras at the same time. 

Dolomites, Italy: 35 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Vie ferrata are scattered throughout the Dolomites. This one is close enough to the Rifugio Franz Kostner to allow for a fun morning diversion. You can see how far we’ve come! The rifugio is just out of the shot to the right.

Dolomites, Italy

Vie ferrata are scattered throughout the Dolomites. This one is close enough to the Rifugio Franz Kostner to allow for a fun morning diversion. You can see how far we’ve come! The rifugio is just out of the shot to the right.

Dolomites, Italy: 36 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - It’s vertical!

Dolomites, Italy

It’s vertical!

Dolomites, Italy: 37 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Two iron ladders help climbers scale the steepest sections of Via Ferrata Piz da Lech.

Dolomites, Italy

Two iron ladders help climbers scale the steepest sections of Via Ferrata Piz da Lech.

Dolomites, Italy: 38 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - The panoramic view at the top of Via Ferrata Piz da Lech. From here, you are rewarded with views of the Sella group, as well as Mount Pelmo, Civetta and the Marmolada.

Dolomites, Italy

The panoramic view at the top of Via Ferrata Piz da Lech. From here, you are rewarded with views of the Sella group, as well as Mount Pelmo, Civetta and the Marmolada.

Dolomites, Italy: 39 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - From the top of the Ferrata Piz da Lech we could see Rifugio Cavazza al Pisciadù, our lodgings from two days prior. 

Dolomites, Italy

From the top of the Ferrata Piz da Lech we could see Rifugio Cavazza al Pisciadù, our lodgings from two days prior. 

Dolomites, Italy: 40 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - This is a view back towards Piz Boè from the top of Ferrata Piz da Lech.

Dolomites, Italy

This is a view back towards Piz Boè from the top of Ferrata Piz da Lech.

Dolomites, Italy: 41 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Piz da Lech summit for the adventure duo. 9,550 feet.

Dolomites, Italy

Piz da Lech summit for the adventure duo. 9,550 feet.

Dolomites, Italy: 42 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - A view of the Marmolada in the distance and of the Rifugio Franz Kostner below. The trail we took to the ferrata and the rock face we climbed…from the top of the Ferrata Piz da Lech.

Dolomites, Italy

A view of the Marmolada in the distance and of the Rifugio Franz Kostner below. The trail we took to the ferrata and the rock face we climbed…from the top of the Ferrata Piz da Lech.

Dolomites, Italy: 43 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Top Set Trekkers Dolomites group

Dolomites, Italy

Top Set Trekkers Dolomites group

Dolomites, Italy: 44 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - As we approached Col di Lana, our rest stop for the night, we paused to visit the Sacrario Germanico del Passo Pordoi, a WWI memorial.

Dolomites, Italy

As we approached Col di Lana, our rest stop for the night, we paused to visit the Sacrario Germanico del Passo Pordoi, a WWI memorial.

Dolomites, Italy: 45 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Marika! She is the perfect guide: knowledgeable, confident, friendly, and proud of her home and region.

Dolomites, Italy

Marika! She is the perfect guide: knowledgeable, confident, friendly, and proud of her home and region.

Dolomites, Italy: 46 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Rifugio Val de Pan: a beautiful building nestled in the mountains of Italy, accessible mainly by foot, where you can enjoy some of the best espresso drinks on the planet.

Dolomites, Italy

Rifugio Val de Pan: a beautiful building nestled in the mountains of Italy, accessible mainly by foot, where you can enjoy some of the best espresso drinks on the planet.

Dolomites, Italy: 47 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Our lunch destination: Col de Cuk at the edge of the reservoir ahead in Canazei. They’re known for their amazing pizza!

Dolomites, Italy

Our lunch destination: Col de Cuk at the edge of the reservoir ahead in Canazei. They’re known for their amazing pizza!

Dolomites, Italy: 48 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - The spongy terrain was a welcome change from rocks and scree.

Dolomites, Italy

The spongy terrain was a welcome change from rocks and scree.

Dolomites, Italy: 49 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Closer to town we encountered a few other groups; one French, one British.

Dolomites, Italy

Closer to town we encountered a few other groups; one French, one British.

Dolomites, Italy: 50 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Col de Cuk is a popular stop for hikers and cyclists. A very welcoming restaurant with excellent pizza, an amazing terrace with deckchairs and views of the Marmolada.

Dolomites, Italy

Col de Cuk is a popular stop for hikers and cyclists. A very welcoming restaurant with excellent pizza, an amazing terrace with deckchairs and views of the Marmolada.

Dolomites, Italy: 51 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - We took full advantage of the loungers on the Col de Cuk deck while we waited for our pizza in Canazei.

Dolomites, Italy

We took full advantage of the loungers on the Col de Cuk deck while we waited for our pizza in Canazei.

Dolomites, Italy: 52 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Either I wasn’t tired enough or the pull of a new challenge was too strong…I had to try the slack line.

Dolomites, Italy

Either I wasn’t tired enough or the pull of a new challenge was too strong…I had to try the slack line.

Dolomites, Italy: 53 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - The next two sections we hiked are connected by popular towns, so we encountered more day hikers.

Dolomites, Italy

The next two sections we hiked are connected by popular towns, so we encountered more day hikers.

Dolomites, Italy: 54 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - This is one of my favorite pictures from the Dolomites. We had been passing a flu bug back and forth and no one was feeling particularly well, but we were just so happy to be there and with one another we didn’t really notice.

Dolomites, Italy

This is one of my favorite pictures from the Dolomites. We had been passing a flu bug back and forth and no one was feeling particularly well, but we were just so happy to be there and with one another we didn’t really notice.

Dolomites, Italy: 55 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Patty kept telling us about the “sexy cows” and here they were. This breed has especially long eyelashes!

Dolomites, Italy

Patty kept telling us about the “sexy cows” and here they were. This breed has especially long eyelashes!

Dolomites, Italy: 56 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Soaking in everything we have done and seen thus far…and there are still surprises ahead!

Dolomites, Italy

Soaking in everything we have done and seen thus far…and there are still surprises ahead!

Dolomites, Italy: 57 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Ah yes…the scree field! This time we are headed down, so we will skate our way to the bottom.

Dolomites, Italy

Ah yes…the scree field! This time we are headed down, so we will skate our way to the bottom.

Dolomites, Italy: 58 / 59
Dolomites, Italy - Jenny and Marika scree-skating together.

Dolomites, Italy

Jenny and Marika scree-skating together.

Dolomites, Italy: 59 / 59

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Photos: 203
Tags: adventure, explore, ferrata, fitness adventure, mountains, peaks, try something new,

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Tags: challenge yourself, fitness adventure, friendship, persevere, reflections, together in adventure, transformative travel, try something new, women who hike,

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Dolomites, Italy

Location:

Dolomites, Italy

Trip Length:

9 days

Distance Hiked:

54 miles

Season:

July

We started our trek in the Tirol close to Austria and made our way north to south, rifugio to rifugio to the Marmolada, and Pellegrino. We climbed Via Ferrata Tridentina, (our first ferrata!) 1,312’ of nearly vertical rock. The views were stunning and overcoming our fears together makes the bonds formed on this trip even more precious. We closed out the trip with a thrilling skate down a steep scree slope, ending at the most delightful alpine restaurant. We enjoyed espresso shops with unbelievable views and sampled pounds and pounds of apple strudel.

Hikes

San Cassiano to Ranch da André

Dolomites, Italy

San Cassiano to Ranch da André
Hike Duration:

6.5 hours

Distance:

10.8 miles

Elevation Change:

1,935 ft

Difficulty:

6

Passo delle Erbe, Alta Badia

Dolomites, Italy

Passo delle Erbe, Alta Badia
Hike Duration:

7 hours

Distance:

10 miles

Elevation Change:

+2,750 ft/-2,200 ft

Difficulty:

6

Passo Gardena, Corvara

Dolomites, Italy

Passo Gardena, Corvara
Hike Duration:

5 hours

Distance:

9.3 miles

Elevation Change:

1,312 ft

Difficulty:

7

Piz Boè, Gruppo del Sella, Alta Badia

Dolomites, Italy

Piz Boè, Gruppo del Sella, Alta Badia
Hike Duration:

7 hours

Distance:

5.5 miles

Elevation Change:

+3,149 ft/-3,280 ft

Difficulty:

6

Via Ferrata Piz da Lech and Passo Pordoi

Dolomites, Italy

Via Ferrata Piz da Lech and Passo Pordoi
Hike Duration:

7 hours

Distance:

8.2 miles

Elevation Change:

1378 feet

Difficulty:

6

Vièl dal Pan and Ruf de Contrin, Alta Badia

Dolomites, Italy

Vièl dal Pan and Ruf de Contrin, Alta Badia
Hike Duration:

8 hours

Distance:

6.2 miles

Elevation Change:

+4,265 ft/-2,296 ft

Difficulty:

6

Canazei to San Pellegrino

Dolomites, Italy

Canazei to San Pellegrino
Hike Duration:

4 hours

Distance:

4 miles

Elevation Change:

+2,460 ft/-2,624 ft

Difficulty:

6