If you are looking for a great Dolomiti hike that doesn’t take the whole day to complete but still offers a great effort-to-view ratio, then Monte Castellaz should be your choice!
Everything to know about the hike to Monte Castellaz
Monte Castellaz: hike stats
- Distance: 9 km / 5.6 miles
- Time required: 3 – 4 h
- Total Ascent: 468 meters / 1535 feet
- Type of hike: circuit
- Trail Difficulty: Easy
- Parking: Malga Juribello/Passo Rolle
- When to go: Mid-June – October
- Trail number: R01
- Map required: Tabacco 022
Monte Castellaz Trekking Maps
Above you can view the trail I have followed. I used my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch to measure the distance, and elevation gain and to register the trail.
Below I have marked the direction of travel. The green arrows follow the trail to the summit of Monte Castellaz and the blue ones from the summit to Baita Segantini and back to the start.
Where is Monte Castellaz?
Monte Castellaz is in the Pale di San Martino mountain group in the southern parts of the Dolomites. The hike starts at the Rolle mountain pass connecting two valleys: Primerio and Travignolo.
There is a famous statue of Christ (Cristo Pensante) at the summit erected for the soldiers fighting during the First World War.
How difficult is the hike to Monte Castellaz?
My personal rating of this trail would be easy. Of course, if you have never stepped onto a mountain trail before you will find it the exact opposite.
There are no technical skills required to tackle the summit of Monte Castellaz, but a good level of fitness will come in handy, even if it is only 468 meters of elevation gain.
Parking at Passo Rolle
There are plenty of parking opportunities near Passo Rolle. The closest parking to the trailhead of Monte Castellaz summit hike is near Malga Juribello.
At the time of writing this post the parking was free (2021) however I have noticed that many parking locations across the Dolomites that were free just one or two years ago, now collect charges.
It’s always best to come prepared with some cash in your pocket.
Getting to Passo Rolle by public transport
Passo Rolle can be reached by bus from either Fiera Di Primiero or San Martino di Castrozza. In the summer season, buses operate between June and September. Bus no. B122 travels in the direction of Predazzo, another mountain town in the Dolomites.
The journey takes approx. 30 minutes counting from San Martino or one hour counting from Fiera Di Primeiro.
What is the best time of the year to hike Monte Castellaz?
Mid-June to September are the optimal months for hiking in the Italian Dolomites, however, you can still meet many hikers (including myself) on the trails in October.
I found the second half of October a fantastic time to hike to the summit of Monte Castelazz.
The larch trees filling Venegia Valley below were brightly colored in yellows and oranges creating a stunning atmosphere.
What can you see from the summit of Monte Castellaz?
A beautiful panoramic view over the famous Cima Della Palla and Cima Della Vezzana in the Pale Di San Martino Range will stretch right ahead. Below is a sea of rolling hills and the Larch tree-filled Venegia valley. To the west, you can spot Lago di Paneveggio.
Monte Castellaz – Short Trail Description
Passo Rolle To Rifugio Capanna Cervino 30 minutes
The hike starts on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot and for the first 30 minutes, it follows a dirt road in the direction of Baita Segantini, with a few possibilities to cut across the fields to shorten the hike.
Rifugio Capanna Cervino to Monte Castellaz 30-40 minutes
5 minutes after you pass the Capanna Cervino refuge you have to walk off the dirt road and follow the signs for path R01 to Monte Castellaz/Cristo Pensante. The mountain is very distinguishable and rises straight ahead of you.
You will also be able to spot the descent path from the summit. You will be going down that way after you reach the summit, but the ascent path is on the eastern slopes of the mountain and you will first have to circle Monte Castelazz counterclockwise to reach it.
Just keep following the signs for Cristo Pensante and Monte Castellaz.
Monte Castellaz to Baita G. Segantini – 40-50 minutes
After reaching the summit of Monte Castellaz, you can just descend, head straight back to Passo Rolle, and call it a day. You should be back in less than 2 hours.
However, I highly recommend extending the hike by another hour, by going around Cima Costazza to Baita Segantini.
The views along this part of the path were my favorites along the whole hike, even beating the summit views, which by the way were great too!
Baita G. Segantini to Passo Rolle – 30-40 minutes
I have been to Baita Segantini 3 times already, but each time it was after it shut its doors for the season, so I am yet to try its cuisine.
If you happen to be there between June and September take advantage of their restaurant, order lunch, and admire the spires of Cima Della Vezzana and Cimon Della Palla right from their terrace.
Don’t miss the photo opportunity at the famous Laghetto Baita Segantini – one of the iconic photography spots in the Dolomites!
The descent from Baita Segantini to Passo Rolle is very straightforward, just follow the dirt road all the way back to the car park. If you want to shorten the distance follow the unofficial path cutting off a few bends in the road.
What to bring on a hike to Monte Castellaz?
Whilst hiking boots aren’t a must on this trail, I would still recommend shoes with a good grip.
You can check out my gear page if you are interested in my camera setup and what gear I use on my hiking and backpacking trips.
Where to stay in the Primeiro Valley
Alternative approach to Monte Castellaz
You can reach Monte Castellaz by starting your hike at the bottom of Venegia Valley. Head over to my other post for details on how to reach it and how to hike to the top of Monte Castellaz from Val Venegia.
More travel and hiking resources for the Italian Dolomites
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