An intensive 13 days filled with some of the best vistas found in the Italian Dolomites. That’s the quickest way I can describe my experience on Alta Via 2. Do you plan on hiking it yourself?
I have written this comprehensive guide to help you tackle one of the most intense multiday traverses of the Dolomites. It will be your best online resource, I promise!
In the first part of my guide you will find:
- An overview of Alta Via 2 (distance, elevation gain, and time required to complete it),
- Information on arrival and departure details at the start and end of Alta Via 2,
- The optimal time of the year and the cost of hiking Alta Via 2,
- An interactive map including each stage,
- Summaries of days 1-6 including my GPS data on distance, elevation gain and the time it takes to complete each stage (not including the breaks)
Alta Via 2: total distance, elevation gain, and time required to complete it
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There are quite a few online and printed sources citing that Alta Via 2 is anywhere between 160-200 kilometers long.
I have hiked the whole distance with my Garmin Fenix 6s watch measuring the distances and elevation gain each day. After adding it all up here are the stats:
- The total length of Alta Via 2 is 192.5 kilometers or 120 miles*, excluding the extensions,
- The total elevation gain on the route is 10547 meters (34600 feet),
- The total elevation loss is 11450 meters (37565 feet).*
I know it sounds like a lot but if split across two weeks Alta Via 2 is manageable even for those who don’t have a lot of backpacking experience.
Alta Via 2 can be completed anywhere between 10 to 16 days. It took me 13 days to hike the whole distance with 2 shorter days weaved in between the longer ones, to allow rest, especially since I have hiked both Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 4 within just 4 weeks prior to starting AV2.
* according to the Garmin website there is a 5% margin error on the devices when calculating the distances and elevation gain.
Where does the Alta Via 2 start? Arrival details
Alta Via 2 starts at the top of the Plose gondola station near the city of Bressanone (in german Brixen), in the South Tirol region of northern Italy.
Bressanone has a train station which means ease of transport between the major airports or cities in Italy. The town is also one of the stops on the European budget bus network called Flixbus.
To get to the bottom of the Plose gondola station (Plose Cabinovia) you need to take bus no. 321 leaving from the main bus station in Bressanone. The journey takes only 23 minutes.
I recommend staying in Bressanone the night before. It’s a quaint little town with ca. 20000 inhabitants where everything is within walking distance.
Some hotels offer public transport card, which also includes the gondola ride, within the price of their stay, and below I enlist a few hotel options where you can take advantage of this deal.
Where to stay in Bressanone
Where does Alta Via 2 end? Departure details
The end of Alta Via 2 is on the Passo Croce D’Aune, where you will find a bus stop of the same name. From here you can catch bus no. 16 to Feltre.
Feltre is a town in the Belluno province in Veneto. It is similar in size to Bressanone and it also has a train station from where you can travel onward to either Treviso or Marco Polo airports near Venice or catch a train connection to any big city in Italy.
If you have time make sure to stay in Feltre for at least one day to explore its beautiful old town. Below are some of my recommendations for where to stay in Feltre. All of them are very close to the main bus and train station so you don’t have to walk any further!
Where to stay in Feltre
A Casa Di Checco(a private apartment)
Hotel Doriguzzi (airport shuttle available)
The optimal time of year for hiking Alta Via 2
If you want to take advantage of the mountain huts along Alta Via 2 then you should plan your excursion anywhere between the 3rd week of June and the 3rd week of September.
Those dates mark the official hiking season in the Italian Dolomites. It’s quite short, I know, but that’s when the mountain passes are (mostly) clear of snow and the huts are fully operational.
The summer weather in the Dolomites is quite tempestuous, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms, particularly in June and July. August tends to be quite busy, because of the Italian tradition, when everyone takes holidays.
Personally, I find September ideal to hike. The days are cooler and the weather more stable with often sunny and dry days. The huts also tend to be a lot quieter in September.
The cost of hiking Alta Via 2
The average cost of staying in mountain huts including the half board option is 55 Euros/night and if you are an Alpine Club member the price drops down to ca. 45 Euros. This however does not include lunches, drinks, or any other snacks you would like to purchase.
You should calculate spending a minimum of 60 Euros/person/day on average. This however is only possible if you don’t spend a dime more than what’s included in the half-board option when staying at the huts.
I think 70-80 Euros/person/day is more of a realistic budget if you would like to enjoy a drink after a full day of hiking, or if you are like me and like to spoil yourself with a coffee and cake after each completed stage.
The above prices don’t include the initial cost of traveling to and from the location, hotel stays at both ends of AV2 as well as the gear you will need to invest into to complete the traverse.
Make sure to jump to my article about the ins and outs of staying in mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites, where I go more into detail about the cost of a stay in a rifugio.
What to pack for Alta Via 2
The amazing thing about the huts in Italy is that they allow you to carry as little as possible when on multiday backpacking trips, without sacrificing your well-being.
You should go as light as possible. If your backpack is larger than 38 liters, you are doing it wrong. You can always wash your socks and undies as you go. There is no need to carry food, just some snacks. You also won’t need any backpacking equipment such as a tent or sleeping bag.
The only thing that’s required at the huts is the sleeping bag liner so you don’t come in direct contact with the sheets and blankets provided at the huts.
I have a complete packing list for multi-day hut-to-hut trips in the Dolomites including links to my favorite gear and a downloadable checklist.
Alta Via 2 – an interactive map
I created the map below to give you an overview of Alta Via 2. I marked all mountain huts as well as day routes and extensions. Click on the button in the top left corner of the map to see the different layers and names of the places.
Whilst pretty accurate this map should not be used when navigating through the mountains!
Throughout the article, I will be sharing with you different path numbers which you need to take on each day. The best thing you can do to visualize the whole route is to purchase the Tabacco maps required for the traverse.
For crossing Alta Via 2 you need to purchase five different TABACCO MAPS numbered:
- 30 (Bressanone) for day 1 and 2
- 5 (Val Gardena) or 7 (Alta Badia) for days 3-5
- 15 (Marmolada) for days 5-7
- 22 (Pale Di San Martino) for days 7-12
- 23 (Alpi Feltrine) for days 12 to 14
You can get them online or in any sport, souvenir, or cigarette shop in the local towns. Even some rifugios sell them.
Day 1: Bressanone to Rifugio Genova
Distance: 21.4 km / 13.3 mi
Walking time: 6h
Elevation gain: 1100 m / 3609 ft
Elevation loss: 800 m / 2625 ft
PATH NUMBERS: 3, 6, 4
After catching the Plose gondola your hike starts uphill on path no. 3 all the way to Plose hut (rifugio Bressanone).The hut can be reached within 1,5 hours of walking.
You can skip the gondola ride and start your hike directly from the bottom of the chairlift, however, you won’t be missing out on the views department, as most of the hike runs within the tree line. I have met people who went for this option and regretted it. My advice is to save your energy for later! You have an awesome extension coming your way!
If you started your hike late in the afternoon of the first day then you can stay in Plose hut for the first night. It has killer sunset views of the Odle group right from its terrace.
However, if you started early then keep on hiking to rifugio Genova. After Plose hut the route drops all the way down into the valley, then crosses a road and enters the Puez Odle Nature Park. After a tiring ascent to Forcella di Putia, you will be faced with the choice of tackling the first of many extensions on Alta Via 2: the summit of Sass di Putia.
From Forcella di Putia it’s an easy 30-minute undulating stroll to rifugio Genova.
Night 1: Rifugio Genova
I have very fond memories of my stay at rifugio Genova (German: Schluetterhuette). The hut is very well managed and despite the fact that it’s one of the busiest huts in the area, the staff was incredibly friendly, the food delicious and the rooms very clean and spacious!
Extension: Via Ferrata Sass De Putia
This 2-hour extension starting at Forcella di Putia takes you to the summit of the lone-standing mountain – Sass di Putia (Peitlerkofel). 360 degrees panoramic views await at the top including the snowcapped mountains of the Austrian Alps!
You have a choice between two summits: Picollo di Putia and the true summit of Sass di Putia at 2875 m in elevation (9430 feet). To reach the latter you will have to tackle a 100-meter section of a beginner level via ferrata, stretching just below the summit. It will be a great warm to what’s coming on subsequent days along the AV2!
I planned a couple of nights in rifugio Genova, just to be able to do this extension at my own pace. I left just after sunrise and spent the morning high above the clouds. My friend and I had the whole summit to ourselves.
Day 2: Rifugio Genova to Rifugio Puez
Distance: 12.7 km / 7.9 mi
Walking time: 4h
Elevation gain: 760 m / 2493 ft
Elevation loss: 600 m / 1968 ft
PATH NUMBERS: 3, 3A (or 3B)
Day two is a real contender in the views department! The day starts gently on path no. 3 as you cross flower-covered slopes hiking towards a col from where beautiful views of the Odle group stretch ahead.
Shortly after the path veers to the left with a towering Piz Duleda straight ahead. Today you will be crossing two saddles. First one – Forcella della Roa is reached via seemingly countless zigzags on a scree slope.
From the saddle, the path continues underneath the Piz Duleda slopes until you reach a short via ferrata section. It’s smart to gear up as loose rocks come flying down, set off by the hikers who are ahead.
After the cable section, you will reach another saddle – Forcella di Sielles. It’s a great spot for a longer break. You can leave your backpack here and head over to the summit of Piz Duleda, a short extension to AV2.
The extension only takes 45 minutes round trip so if you skipped Sass di Putia the day before, you now have no excuse to miss this one. There is a logbook hidden in a metal box at the summit! Make sure to put your name down!
From Forcella di Siellas you have a choice between path no. 3A or 3B. They run parallel before eventually merging into one ca. 20 minutes before reaching rifugio Puez.
Night 2: Rifugio Puez
Rifugio Puez didn’t really make a lasting impression on me. Maybe because we were crammed into a tiny room in the attic with 10 other people. To enter the room we had to crawl through a small door.
The overall stay was ok, the food was ok and the staff was courteous. I think they had big shoes to fill after our stay at rifugio Genova.
Day 3: Rifugio Puez to Rifugio Piscadiu
Distance: 14.9 km / 9.2 mi
Walking time: 4h 30min
Elevation gain: 790 m / 2592 ft
Elevation loss: 690 m / 2264 ft
PATH NUMBERS: 2, 666
A few minutes after leaving rifugio Puez you will get to a spectacular viewpoint of the U-shaped Vallunga. The direct translation is “The Long Valley”. This view will set the bar high for what’s to come.
Today you will be crossing Passo Gardena – one of the most photogenic mountain passes of the Dolomites. For the first half of the day, you will be following path no.2 crossing three saddles: Forcella dei Campei, Forcella Crespeina, and Forcella Cier Danter les Pizes.
Upon reaching the last saddle you will be graced with a view of the sheer walls and towers of the Sella Group – the destination for today.
After the descent from Forcella Cier make sure to stop for lunch at rifugio Jimmy, ca 15 minutes before reaching Passo Gardena. They have very comfy bean bags outside and I may or may not have spent a couple of hours snoozing away in the sun, trying to regain some energy for the next stage of the hike.
Once you cross Passo Gardena you will continue your journey on path no. 666. The majority of this section climbs through a very steep scree slope in Val Setus. 666 is a very adequate number for this part of AV2, the devil himself must have created it.
The last 30 minutes consist of cable aided section. I would highly recommend using yours via ferrata gear in this section. Beware of hikers coming down. This is the exit route for the very popular via ferrata Brigata Tridentina which also goes to rifugio Piscadiu.
Night 3: Rifugio Piscadiu
Rifugio Piscadiu is set on a high plateau right next to a small lake, which supplies the hut with water. When possible ask for a room instead of a bed in the attic.
My friend and I were very unlucky to have been put in the attic with 20 Italian men on a weekend getaway. I got very little sleep that night from the amount of snoring and drinking happening in the room.
Day 4: Rifugio Piscadiu to Rifugio Boè
Distance: 5.2 km / 3.2 mi
Walking time: 2h
Elevation gain: 480 m / 1575 ft
Elevation loss: 210 m / 689 ft
PATH NUMBERS: 666, 649, 647
With only 5.2 kilometers (3.2 miles) to hike, day 4 might seem not challenging enough to many backpackers. If you are keen to complete AV2 in less time, you can connect day 3 with 4, skipping a night at rifugio Piscadiu, or day 4 with 5, omitting to stay at rifugio Boe.
The reason I have decided to stay in rifugio Boè on day 4 is the two excellent AV2 side trips that I wanted to tackle: Cima Piscadiu and Piz Boe Summit.
The hike between rifugio Piscadiu and rifugio Boè continues along path no. 666 through the barren moon-like landscapes of the Sella group. It then turns into path 649 followed by number 647. The two huts are only two hours apart.
Night 4: Rifugio Boè
At the time of my hike (July 2019) rifugio Boè was undergoing renovations and a new and modern building was under construction right next to the old one. The new part of the hut opened in the summer of 2021 and now it became one of the most modern huts in the Dolomites.
Extension 1: Cima Piscadiu
Around 30 minutes into the hike between rifugio Piscadiu to rifugio Boè you will come across a sign pointing to the summit of Cima Piscadiu. It’s a pretty straightforward scramble to the top and it takes around 90 minutes from the fork to the summit and back.
My friend and I decided to do this extension at sunrise when staying at rifugio Piscadiu. After completing it we hiked back to the hut, ate breakfast, and continued on with our journey to rifugio Boè, repeating the first 30 minutes of the route from that morning.
Extension 2: Piz Boè Summit
Rifugio Boè takes its name from Piz Boè – the highest summit in the Sella group. The hut stands only 270 meters (885 feet) in elevation below the summit.
You can tackle Piz Boè as an extension on day 4, or as a detour on day 5.
To do it as an extension you can unload your backpack at Rifugio Boè and with a much lighter load head onto path no. 638 following signs for rifugio Capanna Fassa. It will take around 90 minutes roundtrip.
If you prefer to do it as part of a detour on day 5 then you can ascent the mountain using path no. 638 then descent on the path. 636 eventually rejoining the official Alta Via 2 route. The detour will only add an extra hour to your day, not including the time you will spend at the summit enjoying the views!
Another alternative is simply booking a night at the Capanna Fassa hut built right on the summit of Piz Boè. I had a chance to stay at this hut in September, a couple of months after completing Alta Via 2, and have captured some of my most memorable photographs from this summit.
Day 5: Rifugio Boè to Rifugio Castiglioni on Passo Fedaia
Distance: 11.8 km / 7.33 mi
Walking time: 4h 30min
Elevation gain: 380 m / 1247 ft
Elevation loss: 1170 m / 3839 ft
PATH NUMBERS: 627, 601
Today will be a tough day for your knees. It involves a lot of going down and not a lot of up. It’s also an exciting day as you will be nearing the Dolomite’s highest peak – Marmolada.
After leaving rifugio Boè path no. 627 undulates for around 45 minutes until you reach Rifugio Forcella del Pordoi. From the saddle, the route drops down sharply on a scree slope all the way to Passo Pordoi.
If scree slopes and you aren’t friends, you can hike from Forcella del Pordoi up for ca. 20 minutes on path 627A to reach the Sass Pordoi cable car upper station. By taking the cable car down to Passo Pordoi you will save yourself a painful hour on a scree slope.
Once you reach Passo Pordoi, Alta Via 2 continues on path no. 601 through scenic green alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers, a complete contrast to the barren landscapes of the Sella massif.
Night 5: Rifugio Castiglioni
The day ends at the scenic man-made Lake Fedaia at the foot of Marmolada. There is a variety of accommodations on Passo Fedaia. I stayed at the budget-friendly rifugio Castiglioni and although the beds have seen better days, the location and the friendly staff made up for it.
There is a pizza place right near the refuge, where you can eat something other than pasta and polenta served at the huts. If you still have some energy to explore you can walk across the dam and find a restaurant that serves ice cream desserts!
Day 6: Rifugio Castiglioni to Passo San Pellegrino
Distance: 24.5 km / 15.2 mi
Walking time: 6h
Elevation gain: 1080 m / 3542 ft
Elevation loss: 1200 m / 3937 ft
PATH NUMBERS: 610, 689, 694, 670, 607
Day 6 is a demanding day distance wise so I recommend leaving as early as possible. My friend and I asked for breakfast to go, settled our bill the night before, and set out shortly before 6 am.
The first stage of the day takes hikers along the paved road all the way down to Malga Ciapella. During the summer season a bus operates between Passo Fedaia and Malga Ciapella, so if you are not up for hiking along the road, take the bus.
This tiny seasonal village is known as the gateway to Marmolada’s second-highest peak – Punta Rocca, which can be reached via the two-tier gondola leaving from the center of the village.
Apart from a few hotels and a campground, there is not much else around here, but we did stop for a nice cup of cappuccino before venturing onto the next stage of the day. I have noticed that Alta Via 2 became a lot quieter after Malga Ciapella and for the rest of the day, we only met a handful of people on our hike.
For the next three hours, you will be climbing up path no. 689 to Forcella (saddle) Rossa, first through the conifer forest then across high alpine pastures. It’s a tiring approach particularly on a sunny day, once you are out of the forest with no shade in sight.
The third and last stage of the day takes hikers down from Forcella Rossa to Passo San Pellegrino across beautiful alpine meadows, where you can meet some very friendly horses.
Night 6: Passo San Pellegrino
Passo San Pellegrino was a halfway mark for us and I’ve decided to treat myself to a nice stay in a hotel with a small spa. Exactly what my tired body needed after hiking for so long. I stayed in the lovely hotel Costabella and couldn’t recommend it enough.
I particularly enjoyed the variety of food they served at dinner and breakfast. It was a lovely break from the sometimes blunt hut food.
Extension: Punta Rocca – Marmolada
Don’t miss the chance to stand on one of the summits of the highest mountain in the Dolomites – Marmolada.
From Malga Ciapella you can catch the two-tier cable car to the summit of Punta Rocca. The roundtrip cost of the gondola is 33 Euros and during the summer season, it operates between 9 AM and 4 PM.
Another good reason to leave as early as possible from Passo Fedaia! Make sure to catch the first gondola of the day and reserve at least a couple of hours to admire the views at the top and visit the War Museum located at Punta Serauta, the mid-station of the cable car.
This is the highest museum in Europe and a testimony to the atrocities of the battles held in these mountains during the first World War.
A Day By Day Hiking Guide To Alta Via 2 In The Italian Dolomites: Part 2
Hi Marta, this is by far the most detailed post I have read about Alta Via 2. Thank you so much for putting so much effort sharing your experience! My family is planning to trek the middle part of Alta Via 2 this Summer. I am trying to book a room in advance in Passo San Pellegrino. However, it looks like at this time they don’t book anyone who stays there for just a night. They ask me to contact them again when it is closer to the dates. Any suggestions on that? Thanks!
Hi Yue. Thanks for stopping by. I probably wouldn’t wait until the last minute to book something. The two night minimum stay wasn’t the case when I hiked AV2. The good news is there are a few hotels on Passo San Pellegrino so you can book an alternative. I would appreciate it if you book through my affiliate link. Let me know if that helps!
I want to hike AV1 and then directly from La Pissa (end of AV1) to Bressanone (start of AV2). Do you know the best way to from La Pissa to Bressanone? Thanks in advance.
Hey Bobby. Thanks for visiting. From La Pissa you can catch a public bus to Belluno then try and find a bus to Trento and from Trento travel up by train to Bressanone. Public transport info is hard to figure out, especially on a local level. Try Sued Tirol Mobil and my recommendation would also be to look for connections separately. So La Pisso – Belluno,
Belluno – Trento, Trento – Bressanone. I would also recommend staying the night around Trento because the travel might take up the whole day. I hope that helps!
Question for you and thank you for such a great guide. Can you recommend any alternatives to Rifugio Puez? I am doing a 4 day/3 night hike with my two teens. First two huts are Rifugio Plose, then Rifugio Genova and last night Puez. I am concerned with the very bad reviews and not able to reach them by phone. Could we hike further to a town or another hut? Any suggestions? Had considered cutting out the third night, but hate to miss anything epic. : ) Gary
Hi Gary. Thanks for visiting. Firstly what bad reviews? On google, they have 4 out of 5 stars. That’s pretty good to me:) Secondly, I am very surprised you managed to reach the other two huts by calling now. Usually, during the winter season when the huts are closed, the lines remain silent and the only way to book is via email. You sometimes have to be very patient with replies. It took me months to secure all the bookings and sometimes I waited weeks to receive a reply. It’s Italy after all 😉
Last but not least if you want you could hike from rifugio Genoova to rifugio Firenze and then down the next day down to Ortisei. Genova and Firenze are closer to one another than Genova to Puez (around 2-2.5 hours of walking time) Once at rifugio Firenze you could drop your bags and hike up to the Seceda ridgeline viewpoint. That would be an extra 2 hours total going up and down. Or go up the Sass Rigais Summit which is a begginer via ferrata. It’s the highest summit of the Seceda ridgeline.
Thank you for all this incredible information! We are planning on part of the AV2 this summer (mid-July) and are researching different rifugios and distances now. Do you have a sense of the distance from Rifugio Genova to Passo Gardena and if that is feasible in 1 day? From Passo Gardena, we’re planning to stay at Rifugio Boe, then on to Rifugio Viel del Pan before heading to Malga Ciapela (taking the bus along the road) and then ending at Passo San Pellegrino. I’m waiting for the AV2 trail book to arrive but mail has been delayed so I thought I’d see if you had any suggestions 🙂 Thank you!!
Hi Liz. Thanks for visiting. Yes it would be totally doable to hike from rifugio Genova all the way to Passo Gardena in one day. Passo Gardena is around half way between rifugio Puez and rifugio Piscadiu so that would mean it would be extra 8 kilometres (5 miles) from rifugio Puez. That would mean around 20 km (12.5 miles) between rifugio Genova and Passo Gardena. Walking estimate would be 6 hours. Make sure to leave very early from rifugio Genova to make it to Passo Gardena before the afternoon storms roll in. Maybe getting breakfast to go (huts normally do offer that option) and skipping breakfast at the hut then getting a proper early lunch at rifugio Puez before continuing to Passo Gardena. Viel dal Pan all the way to Passo San Pellegrino in a day is a very big undertaking even if you do bus. On the other hand Boe to Viel Dal Pan will be easy. I would recommend staying at Passo Fedaia instead of Viel Dal Pan, even though Viel Dal Pan is in a great location.
Thanks so much, Marta! Your expert wisdom on this area is so helpful. Yes, we have heard that Viel Dal Pan is lovely, which is why we thought to stay there. Would you recommend ending in Passo Fedaia and spending an extra day checking out Marmolada or is the hike over to Passo San Pellegrino too good to miss? Thanks again for your inputs 🙂
No worries. If you are strong hikers you can hike from Viel Dal Pan to San Pellegrino and it’s a lovely quiet day. I’d stay stick to your plan!
What’s the approximate hiking distance, Viel Dal Pan to San Pellegrino, if we take the bus between Passo Fedaia and Malga Ciapela to cut down on km for the day? I guess the trick will be to start early enough that we can catch the bus and then have time for the hike over to San Pellegrino before afternoon storms. Thanks Marta!
Hi Liz. From Viel dal Pan to Passo Fedaia it is around 4 kilometers. From Passo Fedaia to Sann Pellegrino it is 24. But since you will be cutting some of those kilometers with a bus ride then, after giving it a second thought, it will be doable. Thanks for your support on Ko-Fi!
Well I’m back from my AV2 hike and it was more incredible than I imagined. I’ve travelled around the world quite a bit and the scenery on the AV2 is spectacular, and it seemed to get better each day. The Dolomites offered up a wide variety of weather. The morning leaving Passo San Pellegrino, we woke to 3″ of snow and up high snow depths were as high as 20 to 25″, which made going from Passo Valle to R. Mulaz interesting. I took 11 days to do the hike and you may remember I considered hiking from R. Cereda to Croce d’Aune because R. Boz was closed, thinking that a 20-mile day was tough but doable. I definitely learned my AV2 lesson. The miles on many sections of the AV2 are extremely tough and challenging. I ended up splitting the distance and staying at the winter hut at Boz.
I want to thank you again for all your assistance and advice. It was a great trip and you contributed to that.
Hi Brand! So glad to hear you completed the AV2 safely. I have received lessons of humility from the mountains many times before, so don’t worry about not being able to complete Passo Cereda to Croce D’Aune in one day. If you did I would have been very impressed (and shocked 😉 I am glad you used the winter room to recover before the last stretch. The first snow arrived early this year but it’s all gone now, at least in Tirol, where I am now. I actually am thinking about heading to the Dolomites next week for a few days for the autumn colours. I hope you come back to the Dolomites for another trip! AV4 is a good one and I can’t recommend enough the Dolomiti Brenta Traverse. Thanks again for the feedback. Happy hiking.
I’m debating doing the AV1 or the AV2 next year.
Besides the view and difficulties (via Ferrata), which route would have better huts, particularly the food?
Hi Kevin, thanks for stopping by. It’s a tough one to ask because it is down to an individual hut. I had the best meals and the worse meals on AV1. The best was in Lagazuoi and Averau huts which are the most luxurious ones, the worse was rifugio Pramperet (but quite frankly they didn’t receive their food delivery on the day and had to cook whatever leftovers they had that day, so I think we were just unlucky). On AV2 I don’t remember being impressed with the food in any of the huts. The thing is, the food choices are always the same in most of the huts, so don’t expect michellin dining experience if you know what I mean 🙂
Thanks so much! Sorry for the late reply. I was off on a caribou hunt. Now time to get prepared and excited for the AV2.
No worries. Have fun planning!
A quick question please. Do you know what the water availability situation is between Rifugio Cereda and Croce D’Aune? If I can replenish my water during the day that would help lighten my load. I’ve tried to find out if R. Boz has water that is accessible, despite being closed, but have not been able to get this information.
Hi Brand. There were streams between Passo Cereda and rifugio Boz, but after rifugio Boz there wasn’t much, as far as I recall. Also bear in mind that in September the streams can be very low on water. If you are doing the whole distance in a day make sure to bring enough. Another thing, even though the huts will be closed, you might still find the staff there as after the end of the season they usually spend a few days getting the hut ready for the shutdown. I actually once stayed in a refuge that was already officially closed, but they let us stay there, because they were still working on shutting the refuge down.
I’ve mostly finalized my AV2 itinerary, but have a couple more questions before I depart in about 4 weeks and would greatly appreciate your input.
First, for my Day 3 from Rifugio Puez to Rifugio Pisciadu, I’m hoping to do the Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentata. I have reviewed your write up on the VFBT. I am trying to determine the best way to approach the VFBT from my route on the AV2. I’m wondering if there is a section (or sections) of the VFBT that are more interesting/pedestrian than others and am proposing a couple of route options.
Option A (in no particular order of preference) would be to depart from the AV2 at Passo Gardena (Grödner Joch) via Path 650 to the carpark. I could then ascend the VF toward the Exner Tower to Rifugio Pisciadu. If I choose this option then I’d either have to stop at the refuge, and omit sections of the VF, or continue with the VF down toward Val Setus recognizing that I would have to retrace some of my route.
Option B would be to take Path 666 toward Rifugio Pisciadu, then at the point where the VFBT intersects with the AV2 below the Val Setus descend to the carpark. At the carpark continue as described in Option A. With this option I’d be omitting or retracing the section between the refuge and the point where I departed the AV2.
If you have other ideas, I’m of course interested in those! My thought is I would tackle the ascent of Cima Pisciadu the next day enroute to Rifugio Castiglioni.
My second question regards what is termed the “old” or “alternative” AV2 route. This route departs from Rifugio Castiglioni and ascends towards Forchella Marmolada follows part of the Via Ferrata Punta Penia. This alternative route goes to Passo San Pellegrino too, but appears to travel through more scenic terrain compared to the route that goes through Passo Fedaia. I’ve mapped both routes (mileage & elevation gain/loss) to P. San Pellegrino and will talk with the folks at the R. Castiglioni when I arrive, but would appreciate your thoughts on the alternative route.
You’ve been extremely generous with your time. Is there anyway I can compensate you for your assistance or donate to a favorite charity?
I am not sure if you are using the map to plan your route, but there is no need to descend to the car park when you reach the fork on path 666 with Val Setus. At the fork/intersection you either have the option of going up to Val Setus, down to carpark ot straight to the start of VFBT. This is the way I took when I did the VFBT myself. I started at Passo Gardena. Here is the exerpt from my VFBT post: “If like me, you choose to start at Passo Gardena you will first need to follow the path no. 666 until you reach a fork at the bottom of Val Setus then continue onto path no. 29”
Skip Val Setus all together, the best part of VFBT is the ascent to torre Exner and the little bridge then end at rifugio Piscadiu.
Hiking from Rifugio Piscadiu to rifugio Castiglioni in one day is one heck of a day so extensions are very ambitious, but you might be super fit so I leave you to judge your abilities. However, what I recommend as extension on that day is not Cima Piscadiu but summit of Piz Boe.
as for via ferrata Punta Penia, another reader just reported to me that due to the recent and tragic glacier collapse on Marmolada this route is currently closed. VF Punta Penia also requires crampons and ice axe and I am not sure if you would be up for carrying those through the whole AV2. I haven’t done that VF myself, but It is on my list.
Now to your last question. Yes there is a way to support my work. Thank you for asking. If you go to the about me page at the very top there is a “support my work” button where you can make a contribution of your choice. I really appreciate it.
Do let me know if you have any more questions! Happy hiking! Let me know how it goes!
As always, thanks so much!
Your input on the VF Brigada Tridentina is very helpful. I don’t have the paper maps, instead using CalTopo mapping program, and the lesser trails (e.g., 29) are not marked, but I did find it. And, I’ll prioritize the summit of Piz Boe over Cima Pisciadu.
Regarding the Punta Penia route, no I won’t have crampons or ice ax and that’s good to know about the closure. I did contact the folks at Rifugio Castiglioni about the alternative AV2 route and they too confirmed its closure, but said the situation is changing and that it may reopen by September.
As for the hike from R. Pisciadu to R. Castiglioni being a “heck of a day,” that is true. However, I just learned that my schedule won’t coincide with the weekend openings of R. Boe or R. Dal Piaz, so I’m going to have to hike from R. Cereda to Croce d’Aune in one 19+mi, ~8,000 elev. gain day!
Best wishes and I’ll let you know how it goes,
Hey Brand. As long as you think you can do it then it’s ok, but yes it will be a heck of a day! FYI there is an escape route from R. Boz down into the valley should the weather turn bad. There is also an unmanned shelter called Bivacco Feltre should you want to break up the last day. It would require carrying food and a sleeping bag though. Something to consider. There is also an escape route from rifugio Boz to make the day shorter, but that would mean skipping the last day.
Hi Marta, It should be no problem, just a long day. And, if the forecast looks bad I can take a weather day at R. Cereda.
Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates! Happy hiking and thank you so much for your support!
What a very extended guide. Extremely helpful, many thanks!
I have a question regarding the Via Ferratas on this route. Can you tell me something about the difficulty level of the different via ferratas? How many are there on the route, where are they, is there an overview of that? I have also read that there are sometimes options to walk around a via ferrata section. To what extend is that true and doable?
Hi Erik. Thanks for stopping by. All via ferrata sections on AV2 are beginner level, but you still should bring via ferrata gear with you. If you wanted to skip them you would really have to do quite a few extra kilometres and most are actually not possible to skip, unless you were completely rerouting. As for the question: where are they” I do say in each day description whether there is a via ferrata or not, so I recommend diving deeper into reading the article 😉 Most sections are short, but they can be very intense. The most difficult one is on the approach to rifugio Piscadiu and the last day has some very precarious sections too.
If you are not keen on via ferratas I highly recommend AV1 which doesn’t contain any (unless you were interested in doing them as extensions). Let me know if I can help any further!
Thanks a lot! The fact that all the sections are beginner level is comforting. When you Google Via Ferrata the amount of nerves you need is quite different per route. The are quite terrifying via ferrata routes I’ve seen… 🙂
Another question. Do you know if there is a GPX file of the route, which you can include in Komoot or maps.me?
Hi Erik. Even though they are beginner level I still recommend bringing VF gear. As for the GPX files, I am afraid I can’t help you here. Good luck on AV2! let me know how it went!
Excellent website, so glad I found it!
I’m planning a trip to the Dolomites in 2023 and need help choosing between AV1/AV2 or both. Using visual beauty/interest as the main consideration, are the two routes different enough where it becomes worth doing both of them, or if not and you only had time for one which would you choose.
Thanks in advance!
Hi Rakim. Thanks for visiting. The routes are completely different yet they do run across the same mountain range. If you want two completely different routes try AV1 or AV2 plus the Dolomiti Brenta Traverse. Do bear in mind that AV2 and Brenta Traverse have via ferratas incorporated in them so you will need proper VF equipment and have the ability to use it. I hope that helps. You can find the Dolomiti Brenta traverse under the hut to hut category in my Italian Dolomites guide.
A big, big thank you for your detailled and helpful guide! Its amazing. We are planning on walking half of the AV2 and your recommendations, also for extensions, are very useful.
I’m having some trouble finding info online about bus routes and times. Up till rif. Castiglioni we’re planning on pretty much following your guide and rifugio choices. For our last two days we want to walk from rif. Castiglioni to rif. Contrin, and the last day from Contrin to San Pellegrino. That last day should be around 4,5h walking, according to another website. Do you know how easy it is to get back to Brixen from San Pellegrino by public transport and how long this approximitely takes?
Thanks a lot in advance!
Hi Mirjam. Thanks for visiting. I just checked the connection on google maps by simply typing Passo San Pellegrino and Brixen and choosing public transport. The shows 2h 40 mins an estimated travel time. first a bus to Moena then another bus to Vigo Di Fassa and the third bus to Bolzano. from Bolzano, it’s a 30-minute train ride to Bressanone. I hope that helps!
Marta, hi! First of all, thank you so much for bringing all this info together, that is so helpful, incredible!
I have a question regarding the water supply in alta via 2 (sorry if I missed it in the articles). As I understand, most of the trail goes above the treeline and there is not much supply of drinkable water (rivers/streams). I was considering taking a filter device (Sawyer), but now – unsure.
Also, if the weight and space allow, would you recommend taking 2 ceparate pair of shoes (hiking and approach), or that is unnecessary?
Thank you in advance
Hi Vitalii. Thanks for visiting. Do check out my post about everything to know about staying in mountain huts in the Dolomites for the first time. It will answer your question about the water. You are certainly right, there aren’t many possibilities to fill up the water on the trails, but huts are a great point to do that. As for the boots, it’s up to you. I prefer to go as light as possible so only had my hiking boots with me. There were times when my feet were very hot in those, but I think I still prefer a lighter backpack than carrying two pairs of shoes 🙂
First, I just want to complement you on your wonderful site and thank you for providing this service.
I will be in Europe late summer and have about 12 days for a solo hike 12-24 September. After dismissing routes such as Tour du Monte Blanc and the Haute Route because crowds and other factors, I focused on the Dolomites and the AV2. However, I then found your site and the AV4 and potentially the Dolomiti Brenta Traverse, two of your favorite hikes. What was it about these two that you liked over others? I’m considering various route options, which are in part based on comments from your site and would appreciate your input.
Option 1 – Entire AV2;
Option 2 – Southern half of AV2 and AV4 (I realize #2 and #3 would require getting transport between the routes);
Option 3 – AV4 and Dolomiti Brenta Traverse.
I should note that I try to avoid crowded trails whenever possible. Also, incorporating some Via Ferratas into the hike sounds fun; however, for a given route, I wouldn’t want to spend more than say 10-15% of my time on the Ferrata. I’m really just looking forward to great scenery, some ridge walks, bagging a few peaks, and experiencing the huts.
Hi Brand! Thanks for stopping by and your compliment! I really appreciate it. I loved AV4 and Dolomiti Brenta because of the challenge it brought (lots of via ferratas) as well as lesser crowds, especially in the Brenta Group. With that said Alta Via 2 is absolutely fantastic and I reckon it would be the best choice and also the most straightforward choice for you. In September AV2 will be very quiet already, just make sure to double-check that the huts towards the end will still be open (I reckon they should be). You have lots of VF extension options on AV2 if you would like to add some cable time. You can also do some variations of it, for example when crossing Passo Gardena you can reach rifugio Piscadiu via via ferrata Brigata Tridentina which runs parallel to the original route. On AV2 you will also get the most chance to stand on a few summits, Dolomiti Brenta Traverse doesn’t offer that. I hope that will help you make a decision! I can assure you though, that whatever you will choose you will have tons of fun! Let me know if you have more questions!
Thanks so much for your input. It is very helpful! I don’t have any additional questions at this time, but may reach out again.
Hello Again Marta,
I’m about 8 weeks away from departure for my AV2 trip and have another question. In your website about the AV2 you recommend purchasing the five Tabacco maps. I’m wondering if this is really necessary, since I’ll likely not use them again after this trip. I have been able to download GPS tracks for the entire route, spurs, and Via Ferratas. Here in Alaska, and elsewhere, when I hike and backpack I rely almost entirely on the use of my phone and downloaded GPS tracks. I’m unclear why things would be different on the AV2.
Your input is much appreciated,
Hi Brand! I am stoked to hear you are doing the AV2. As for your question, the maps are a recommendation not a must-have. If you think you will be fine with the GPX data and this is your preferred way then that’s totally ok. There is no one perfect way to do a hike. Some people prefer apples, others oranges 🙂 Fingers crossed for beautiful weather on your traverse! Have an amazing time and let me know if you have any more questions!
Wow! I’m so impressed with your thoughtful responses and your quick response time.
I am looking forward to the trip. Thanks for all the help in the planning stages!
So glad to hear that! Have lots of fun and do let me know if I can help any further!
Hi Marta, thanks for the excellent explanation in this post. I’m 72 and I’m planning to climb the first half of AV2 alone. Last September I’ve climbed the Berliner High Trail, and before have done 8-dayStubai trekking, 9-day Tour du Mont Blanc and many others by myself. Do you think it’s too crazy to challenge AV2 by myself at this stage?
Hi Jacy! Thanks for stopping by and love what you do. If you have TMB behind you and have done trekking in Austria then you are certainly fit and can tackle AV2. The only difference you might find is some sections that have cables in them and at the very least you should carry a helmet for them with you, but I would also highly recommend packing a harness and a lanyard so you can stay attached to those cables for your own safety. The first time I walked a part of AV2 I met a group of Irish friends who were all in their late 60’s and early 70’s and were hiking the whole AV2 together. The first half of AV2 is busier too so you will certainly meet people along the way. If you feel fit I’d say go for it!
Hi Marta, many thanks for your encouragement. I actually have already booked flights and accommodation in Verona ,and, as an extra prize, booked the opera in the Arena. Tomorrow I’ll book one night in Brixen and the huts. Hope they still have some place for me. All the very best and wonderful hikes on your way!
Hi Jacy! I am very happy for you. Let me know how your trip goes and if you have more questions!
Just curious….we are hoping to hike the AV2 this summer, do you think pre-booking all of the rifugios is necessary?
Hi Judy. I’d say it’s definitely a good idea to prebook the huts all the way to rifugio Rosetta. After that, the traffic slows down a lot and reservations are hardly needed. Also, weekends tend to be busier in the huts. In September you can wing it without reservations and just book on the go. I hope that helps!
Hi! Thanks so much for your post. A friend and I want to do the Alta 2 at the beginning of August but don’t have time to do the whole thing. Is there a more scenic/alpine half? We are looking to do around 100km of the trail. Thanks!
Hi Emma. Thanks for stopping by. It’s a hard question. It’s all scenic. I’d say if you are after more solitude and a bigger challenge then do the second half of AV2. If you feel a bit comfier when there are more people on the trail then go for the first half. If I was to choose my favourite parts of AV2 it would be 1. The extension to Sass Di Putia. 2. Crossing Sella Group, 3. Crossing the Pale Di San Martino Range. Maybe Try Passo Gardena to either San Martino Di Castrozza or Passo Gardena to Passo Cereda and bus to Fiera di Primero? I hope that helps!
Hi I am planning a trip to the dolomites this summer and looking for some advice on the via ferrata sections.
My group are fairly experienced hikers, but we have never hiked via ferrata before. Are the via ferrata on alta via 2 essential parts of the trek? Or, are these all optional/add ons? Is it immature of us to think we can navigate them ourselves if we bring the right gear? Or would this be erring on the dangerous side?
Thanks so much in advance for your help!
Hi Mer. Thanks for stopping by and for your question. Yes the via ferratas are a part of AV2 but they are also beginner via ferratas and there aren’t many of them, nor are they very long. A friend of mine who did AV2 with me has never done any via ferratas before and she tackled them with zero issues. As long as you have the safety equipment with you and know how to use it you will be absolutely fine. I have seen many people tackling those sections without any gear whatsoever, but It’s not something I would encourage. Too much loose rock flying around. I have a beginner’s guide to via ferrata climbing in the Italian Dolomites which I would recommend that you check out. Let me know if I can help any further!
Oh wow! Your website is awesome!
Myself and my partner are planning a 3 month trekking adventure in Europe. We are keen to do AV2 but are wondering what grade difficulty the via ferrata ranges from?
Hi Maddy. Thanks for stopping by. All via ferrata sections on AV2 are beginner ones, but I would still recommend bringing via ferrata set to tackle those. There is a lot of loose rock in the Dolomites. You can find a full packing list here for AV2 here: https://inafarawayland.com/packing-list-hut-to-hut-treks-dolomites/ Let me know if you have any more questions!
Hi Marta – we are planning to do the Alta Via 2 trek and have found your website extremely helpful! Just recently though, something seems to have happened with the site – the photos are not showing up and the interactive map does not appear to be the right one. Are you doing some work on the site? We were hoping to use the interactive map in our planning.
Thanks for taking a look! And also for putting this together!
Hi Yasmin! Thanks for stopping by. Yes I have migrated my website to wordpress and still working to get everything up to speed including the photos and the maps as they haven’t been working properly. Please give me a few days and I will set this up. In the meantime if you have any questions do let me know! I will be happy to help!
Thanks for the quick reply, Marta! That’s great to know – take your time. Thanks so much!
Actually we do have one question for you – we’d like to hike Marmolada and visit the museum on a ‘rest day’. Where is the best place to stay? Do you recommend staying in one place for 2 nights? Any advice would be great!
Thanks Yasmin. After hiking to Passo Fedaia you can catch the bus on the same day down to Malga Ciapella and stay the night there, then early the next day do the trip up Marmolada and continue hiking to Passo San Pellegrino. To be fair the stage between Passo Fedaia and Malga Ciapella is the worst of the whole trek, because one has to hike along the road, so you won’t be missing out if you skip it and take the bus. You will also cut a signifcant amount of distance between Passo Fedaia and Passo San Pellegrino. If you stay one night in a hotel in Malgda Ciapella and one night in a hotel on Passo San Pellegrino then you might feel well rested. If you do however need a proper day’s rest then I would recommend staying 2 nights on Passo San Pellegrino (better views) or on day 8 after reaching rifugio Rosetta, skip the night staying in the refuge and just take the Rosetta gondola down to San Martino Di Castrozza, where you have access to many hotels and restaurants. Then the next day you can take the gondola back up and continue as normal to either rifugio Pradidali or straight to rifugio Treviso. Let me know if that helps and if you have more questions!
Do you know of any group that has done this route this year? I heard from my friend who has a house in Agordo, that there was significant rockfall on part of this route. Just concerned about the stability of Rock walls above the paths.
Hi Aquil. No unfortunately I don’t. A lot of the passages on AV2 do involve scrambling and via ferrata sections hence in my packing guide I recommend bringing at the very least helmet with you. I was schocked how many people didn’t have helmets with them, not to mention a harness and a lanyard. I always say that once has to be really humble in the mountains.