Day Hikes In The Italian Dolomites

Exploring Pale Di San Martino Group In the Italian Dolomites Along The Day Hike To Passo Mulaz

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The route up to Passo Mulaz is the quietest hike on the list of my favorite day hikes in the Italian Dolomites. It’s a tough day hike that requires a lot of elevation gain, but what you’ll get in return are exceptional views of the spires of Passo Farangole in the Pale di San Martino group.

Guide to Hiking to Passo Mulaz In The Italian Dolomites

Passo Mulaz hike: the stats

Passo Mulaz Hike 1
  • Distance: 17.4 km / 10.8 mi
  • Walking Time: 7-8 h
  • Hike difficulty: challenging
  • Type of hike: Out and back
  • Elevation gain: 1220 m / 4002 ft
  • When to go: Mid-June – October
  • Map Required: Tabacco 022 (Pale di San Martino)

How difficult is the hike to Passo Mulaz?

Passo Mulaz Hike 10

Initially, the hike seems deceptively easy. The first half of the hike follows a wide gravel road. The challenge comes in the second half of the trail, once you start the ascent to the pass.

Lots of switchbacks, sharp elevation gain, and scree sections make it quite hard. With that said if you have hiking experience you shouldn’t have any trouble tackling this hike.

Even though trails are always very well marked in the Dolomites, there are very few occasions when a map comes in handy. It is always better to come prepared. For this hike, you will need the Tabacco map no. 022

The best time of year to hike to Passo Mulaz

Baita Segantini 1

The hike is doable from around mid-June until the end of October. If you want to connect it with an overnight stay in the Mulaz hut, or you rely on public transport to get to the trailhead then plan your trip between the third week of June and the last week of September.

I hiked this trail in the second half of September. The conditions were perfect. The summer heat was already gone, the skies were blue and there was very little wind. I also haven’t met anyone else on the trail, which to me was a bonus.

Getting to the trailhead of the Passo Mulaz hike

By car

The route starts at Passo Rolle. It is a popular spot in winter for skiers and a busy roadside spot in the summer en route to the nearest town – San Martino Di Castrozza. If coming by car you can park it at Malga Juribello parking lot

At the time of writing this post, the parking was free of charge, however, I noticed in recent years that parking fees were introduced in many places. This might also be the case in the future with the Malga Juribello parking lot.

By bus

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 when leaving from Fiera Di Primiero.

Hike to Passo Mulaz – map & trail description

The first small stage of the hike to Passo Mulaz begins with the well-trodden path to the scenic Baita Segantini, one of the iconic photography spots in the Dolomites.

It’s more of a road than a hiking path, to be honest, but you won’t care much, the views are so phenomenal you could be walking on a bed of nails and you would still be smiling.

The route then drops into the Campignol Della Vezzana Valley annoyingly losing all 200m of elevation you’ve just gained by hiking up to Baita Segantini. 

Luckily it’s a well-maintained windy trail. You’ll also notice that there are considerably fewer people after you leave Baita Segantini behind you.    

The views of the tiny Travignolo Glacier on your right become better as you wind northwestward along the road into the valley. After around 30/45 minutes from Baita G. Segantini, the real grind begins.

Passo Mulaz Hike 6

Turning right onto path no. 710 passing underneath large cliffs the route quickly steepens and several switchbacks take you into the heart of the Pale di San Martino.  It’s an uphill struggle for over an hour before the trail somewhat plateaus.

Unfortunately, the plateau doesn’t last long and once again the trail continues uphill until the last push to the Mulaz pass, the objective of this hike. This is the first stage of the much longer Pale Di San Martino Traverse, which if you have a few days to spend, I recommend.

Passo Mulaz Hike 12

If you’re keen on hiking, don’t fancy staying anywhere overnight, and still have loads of energy left, once you make it to Passo Mulaz, you can continue uphill to the summit of Monte Mulaz. It adds an extra 2 hours to your day and another 300 meters of elevation.

The views from Passo Mulaz however are already fantastic, so you might as well save yourself the extra hassle. The cute monoliths on Passo Farangole in the distance are a personal favorite of mine.

Going back to the trailhead

The route down is the same as the one up. It’s a knee buster on a combination of hard rock and loose scree. If you struggle going downhill like a lot of avid hikers do, then it can be tough.

Make sure you allocate plenty of time for the descent, take plenty of water because there’s no shade, and try your best to avoid creating small rock avalanches as there may be hikers below you.

Huts & facilities along the hike to Passo Mulaz

Baita Segantini 2 1

If you’re like me and love staying overnight in mountain refuges, you have an option to reserve a bed in Rifugio Volpi Al Mulaz, one of my favorite Dolomiti huts. It lies only 15 minutes downhill from the Mulaz pass.

The hut lies along the Alta Via 2 – a 200-kilometre traverse across the Dolomites, which I backpacked a few years back.

If you are looking for a fantastic scenic spot for lunch or dinner then visit the Baita Segantini restaurant either when hiking up to Passo Mulaz or on your way back to the car. The views from the restaurant (pictured above) are hard to beat, particularly at sunset.

Read more: Everything you need to know about staying in mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites

Can the hike to Passo Mulaz be extended?

Rifugio Rosetta

There is a possibility of turning this day hike into a multiday traverse of the Pale di San Martino group. I highly recommend it if you’ve got more time and would like to experience the great mountain hut culture in the Dolomites! 

Other hikes, via ferratas, and places to visit nearby

Where to stay nearby

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8 thoughts on “Exploring Pale Di San Martino Group In the Italian Dolomites Along The Day Hike To Passo Mulaz”

  1. These reviews are great. Are there any hikes in the Dolomites that have some good shade , but are also moderate to hard? up and backs are preferred 🙂 thank you

    Reply
    • Hi J. There is always a mix of sun and shade. Generally those that start within the tree line will give you a lot of shade. Valley walks too (like Vallunga or Val Venegia). It is also up to you and your planning. The earlier in the morning you go the better. North/West facing hikes stay in shade a lot longer than South/East facing hikes. You can view on the maps in which direction the hikes face.

      Reply
  2. Hi!

    I am looking for a nice 2 day hike around this area and we were planning to stay overnight in Mulaz hut! The hike to get there (as you describe in this post) sounds amazing!

    For now we are looking for a hike to get back, would it be possible to take another route back? Or do we have to walk the same path? Would you maybe have some recommendations?

    Anyway, very nice blog and amazing pictures!!! 🙂

    Cheers, Bente

    Reply
    • Hi Bente. Thanks for visiting. Yes you can do the Pale Di San Martino Traverse (or at least a part of it). from Rifugio Mulaz you can hike to Rifugio Rosetta then on the same day from rosetta hike to the top of the Col Verde gondola and take it down to San Martino Di Castrozza. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  3. Hi Marta
    Thank you for the great description or the hike to the rifugio mulaz. Would like to ask two questions:
    Does it take 6-7 hours up and down (in and out) or just one way?
    Are there any technical difficult spots or is it just “difficult’ in terms of strenuous
    Thank you very much
    Matthias

    Reply
    • Hi Matthias. No worries. It would be up and down, but not including breaks so you definitely have to plan a whole day. You can also walk it from Val Venegia. I recommend that you check out my post about it. It might be a slightly easier alternative. Same amount of time. If you follow it the same way in and out from Passo Rolle, then there are no difficult spots. If you decide to follow it from Val Venegia and in a circuit around Monte Mulaz then there is a chain-protected section that is around 100 meters long. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. Hi Marta,

    I want to thank you for such a well written and informative blog, not to mention the wonderful photos. I fell in love with the Dolomites, like you, about 4 years ago, and now exploring them as much as I can. Your blog is inspiring with lots of practical help.

    Many thanks, and wish you all the very best with your adventures, and writing.

    Jim

    Reply

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