Col De La Puina – A Beautiful Autumn Half-Day Hike In The Italian Dolomites

When I search for new hikes in the Dolomites one of the most important criteria for me is the views to effort ratio.

Generally speaking, the more effort you have to put into the hike, the better the views you will get at the end.

However, with the Col De La Puina hike you will be rewarded with fantastic vistas without having to strain your legs too much! Quick and painless is what I like to call these types of hikes!

Col De La Puina hike: the stats

A hike approaching Col De La Puina in the Italian Dolomites
  • Distance roundtrip – 7.2 km / 4.47 mi
  • Time required –  2.5 – 3 h
  • Total Ascent – 550 m / 1800 ft
  • When to go: June – October

Where is Col De La Puina?

Col De La Peina 111

Col De La Puina lies east of Fiorentina valley and North of Zoldo Valley. The nearest towns to the trailhead are Pescul and Mareson-Pecol. Both are ski resort towns.

Col De La Puina is a ridgeline located just north of Mount Pelmo, one of the highest peaks in the Dolomites.

Where to stay nearby

Val Fiorentina

Enjoy the quiet forest location of Hotel Ca’del Bosco in Selva Di Cadore or the mountain views and spa in Hotel Orso Grigio in Pescul

Val Di Zoldo

Feel at home in the aparthotel Residence Civetta

Alleghe – My pick!

Take a breath of fresh air from the balcony of Villa Edelweiss overlooking the turquoise lake Alleghe

The map of the hike

Below you can see the path I followed from the car park to the summit. I measured the distance, elevation gain and route with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.

If you would like to have a tangible topo map with you I recommend picking one up in the tourist stores, sports shops or information centres all over the Dolomites. Look for the Tabacco Map no.

How difficult is the hike to Col De La Puina?

Col De La Peina 101

The hike is deceptively easy until the Citta di Fiume refuge but once you step your foot off the official trail,  it gets steeper and more strenuous.

Because of the second part of the trail, I would classify it as a hike of moderate difficulty. Luckily the total elevation gain is only 550 meters.

This isn’t much for the Dolomiti standards, making it one of the easier little summits to reach.

The best month to hike Col De La Puina

The views from the Cold De la Puina day hike in the Italian Dolomites

The route to Col De La Puina is passable during the summer and autumn months, between June and October.

Being surrounded by valleys filled with larch trees – the only coniferous tree that changes colours and then loses its needles during the autumn seasons, this day hike really comes to life in the second part of October. 

Thanks to those trees, the path to Col De La Puina is one of my favourite autumn hikes in the Dolomites.

How to get to the trailhead

Col De La Peina 195

Getting to the trailhead by car

From Val Fiorentina

The trailhead to Col De La Puina is only 10 min drive by car from Selva Di Cadore or a 6-minute drive from Pescul on road number 251. Both villages are located in the Fiorentina valley.

From Val Di Zoldo

If you are coming from Mareson – Pecol in Val di Zoldo, the drive takes 13 min and goes over the Staulanza mountain pass.

Getting to the trailhead by bus

Bus no. 10 operated by the Dolomiti Bus company runs between Pescul and the villages in Val di Zoldo.

It starts running in approximately mid-June and continues to operate during the summer season.

Your exit stop will be Passo Staulanza from where you can reach rifugio Citta Di Fiume by hiking along path no. 472.

You will reach the hut in around 45 mins. It’s a slightly longer approach to the refuge than from the parking lot, but with less elevation gain.

I do recommend double-checking the bus schedules with local visitor centres. I often find it difficult to figure out the bus timetables in the Dolomites.

The highlights of the hike

The best part of the Col De La Puina hike is the views of Mount Pelmo which start very early on. The higher you climb the better the views get. Once you reach the summit you will be in awe of the towering mountain right in front of you. 

As mentioned before, the absolute highlight for me was the valleys below filled with orange and yellow Larch trees. I think my timing for this hiking couldn’t have been more perfect! 

Last but not least if you happen to be there at sunset and the visibility is good you will see the summit of Mount Antelao, the second-highest peak in the Dolomites bathing in the last rays of sunshine.

Facilities along the trail

Alta Via 1 Day 5 3
Rifugio Cita Di Fiume with Monte Pelmo in the background

Rifugio Citta Di Fiume is the only hut along the hike to Col De La Puina and it offers overnight stays. The hut is usually open between the third week of June and the third week of September.

You could also take advantage of their restaurant and try a few local dishes or have a cold beer after the hike. The refuge is dwarfed by the massive walls of Monte Pelmo. The hut was built at its foot.

I spent a night here once when traversing Alta Via 1 and remember the great atmosphere of the hut and its kind staff members. 

The hut belongs to the Italian Alpine Club and offers discounts to its members. For more information about the ins and outs of staying in mountain huts in the Dolomites head to my other article.

Col De La Puina: short trail description

Stage 1: From the parking lot to rifugio Citta Di Fiume, 30-45 mins

From the parking lot trail no. 467 follows a gravel road all the way to the Citta Di Fiume hut. You will be hiking mostly within the treeline with a few glimpses into the Fiorentina valley along the way.

A couple of hundred meters before reaching the hut, the trail opens onto a grassy slope and the incredible Monte Pelmo! If you hike with a dog like me, keep it on the leash, particularly along this section, as cows and deer roam the nearby fields.

This is the easy part of the trail with a very gentle incline. It will take anywhere between 30-45 minutes to reach the hut.

Stage 2: From rifugio Citta Di Fiume to the Col De La Puina ridgeline, 45-60 mins

Once you reach the refuge continue up along path no. 467 for 10-15 minutes until you will see a path veering off from the gravel road onto an unmarked trail. I will admit it can be quite difficult to choose the correct trail as there are quite a few cow-made trails beforehand.

The important info is, that as soon as you veer off the path you should be following a wide ridgeline. As you climb higher the ridgeline gets narrower. It will help if you study my map beforehand and zoom onto the satellite image of the trail.

The last hundred meters before the summit get quite steep. Since this is an unofficial trail, there are no red painted marks to guide you, which are always present on the official hiking paths in the Dolomites.

Stage 3: Col De La Puina to the parking lot, 60-90 mins

Since this is an out-and-back type of trail it means you will be following the exact same path to get back to your car.

What to bring and wear on a hike

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Jasper and I with Mount Antelao in the back

Trekking Poles – Black Diamond Z-poles

I never leave the parking lot without my trusted pair of Black Diamond Carbon trekking poles. They are extremely lightweight (only 300 grams a pair) yet easily handle any type of environment I find myself in.

Hiking Boots – Hanwag Alverstone

You definitely need a good and sturdy pair of hiking boots. I highly recommend the Hanwag Alverstone boots which I have been testing for the past year and am really happy with.

Down jacket

Even though the hike is very sun-exposed it still gets quite cold on the ridgeline, particularly during the autumn season. I always carry my down jacket or down vest in the backpack with me. I’ve linked above to a few of my favourite down jacket brands

Revolution Race hiking trousers

This is my go-to brand for hiking trousers. They have an excellent price-to-quality ratio and their designs are innovative without compromising comfort, durability or breaking the bank.

Hydrapak water bladder 

One of my most beloved pieces of hiking gear. Staying hydrated is very important to me when I hike. Having the mouthpiece constantly within my reach means I can drink water whenever I want without having to stop.

Other hikes and places to experience nearby

Lake Coldai Hike 2

More travel and hiking resources for the Dolomites

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Marta Kulesza

I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

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