Standing on mountain summits during sunrises and sunsets are some of my favorite life experiences. Sadly to be on the summit for sunrise means either hiking at unsociable hours or bivouacking in sub-zero temperatures. As I get older both of these options seem less appealing with each year passing.
When I found out about the Capanna Fassa refuge located right on the summit of Piz Boè – the highest peak in the Sella Group in the Italian Dolomites I knew I had to hike there and stay overnight.
Hiking Guide To The Summit Of Piz Boè in the Italian Dolomites
Piz Boé Summit: The stats
- Distance roundtrip: 5.3 km (3.3 mi)
- Elevation gain: ca. 450 meters (1500 ft)
- Time required: 2-3 hours
- Parking: 46.4881629, 11.8104728
- Type of hike: Out and back
- Trail numbers: 627A, 627, 638
Piz Boé Summit hike map overview
View where to park, the trail to the summit of Piz Boè (purple), and the alternative approach that doesn’t require the cable car (yellow) on the map above. This map is for overview only and should not be used for navigation. You can get the Tabacco Map no. 05 or no. 07.
Where is the Piz Boè Located?
At 3152 meters Piz Boè is the highest mountain in the Sella group. The Sella massif is a plateau-shaped massif surrounded by 4 Dolomiti valleys: Val Gardena, Val Di Fassa, Val Badia, and Val Fodom.
The Sella massif is mostly known amongst ski enthusiasts. During the wintertime, it’s possible to ski around it using the chain of lifts forming what’s known as Sella Ronda.
There are at least half a dozen different routes to the summit of Piz Boè and you can study them all with the help of the Tabacco Map no. 05. Today however I will cover the quickest and the easiest route to the summit which starts at the top of the Pordoi Cable Car station.
Accommodation in Val Di Fassa
The Fassa Valley is one of the most famous Dolomiti summer destinations offering access to countless trails and via ferratas in the nearby Rosengarten Nature Park, Marmolada, Sassolungo, and Sella groups.
Canazei and Campitello di Fassa are two popular towns amongst tourists visiting the area and if you would like to be close to the action, I would highly recommend booking at least a couple of nights around here.
Below you can find some of my hotel recommendations for the area. If you would like to support my site please use the links below to book your stay (even if you choose different hotels than the ones recommended by me).
Best time of the year to hike to the summit of Piz Boé
Because of the high altitude, the hiking window for the Piz Boè summit is even shorter than the regular hiking season in the Dolomites, which usually lasts from mid-June until mid-October.
If you are planning to hike to the summit of Piz Boè you will need to plan your trip between the end of June and the end of September. I hiked it in mid-September and as you can see from the pictures the top was already covered in a fresh blanket of snow, at times knee-deep.
If you go within a two-week period on either side of these months you risk running into icy and possibly dangerous conditions. If there is one thing I have learned from the many years I spent in the mountains is to never underestimate the power of nature.
Getting to the Piz Boé summit trailhead
The quickest way to reach the summit is by starting your hike at the top of the Sass Pordoi Cable car station.
The cable car leaves from Passo Pordoi, one of the most scenic driveable mountain passes in the Dolomites. There is a big parking lot near the cable car station where you can park your car free of charge. Bear in mind when traveling during peak season (July and August) to arrive early as the area does get very busy.
You can find the current opening times and prices for the Sass Pordoi cable car on the official tourism website of Val di Fassa.
TIP: If you want to avoid the cable car cost you can hike directly from Passo Pordoi to Forcella Pordoi where the route connects. I marked it in yellow on the map. Bear in mind this will add significantly to elevation gain (extra 600 meters / 2000 ft), distance and the required time to do the hike.
Piz Boé summit route description
Even though at times demanding, the route is quite straightforward. In favorable weather conditions, the summit and the Capanna Fassa refuge can be seen from the top of the cable car station.
Starting at Sass de Pordoi (2936 m.a.s.l) the route first follows path no. 627A and drops down a hundred meters in elevation to rifugio Forcella del Pordoi, built right on the saddle.
From the saddle continue on path 627 for the next 15 minutes before reaching a fork and starting the ascent on path no. 638 all the way to the summit following the standard red and white marks painted on rocks.
The are a few cable-protected sections on the steepest parts of the path, but not challenging enough to class them as via ferrata.
If you are fit you can reach the summit within 1 hour of leaving the cable car, but there is no need to rush! Make sure to allocate at least 90 minutes to two hours to be able to take loads of photos on the ascent.
The descent is either the same way as the ascent or alternatively, you can hike down on path 638 to Rifugio Boè located 300 vertical meters below the summit then take path 627 back to the cable car.
Rifugio Capanna Piz Fassa: brief info
Staying in a cozy hut, without having to drag a few kilos of gear to the top and sipping wine on the terrace with 360-degree views of the Dolomites is hard to say no to. Millions of stars above your head for a fraction of the price of any hotel in the valleys below.
The Capanna Piz Fassa hut is quite unique thanks to the location it was built on. The only higher refuge in the Dolomites is the Capanna Punta Penia on the Dolomite’s highest peak – Marmolada, but the latter lacks in facilities and charm when compared to the first one.
The construction of the Capanna Piz Fassa hut began in 1963 but it wasn’t until 1980 that it was expanded and became what it is today.
Nowadays it offers a total of 22 beds and it stays open from the third week of June until the last week of September.
How to make a reservation at the Rifugio Capanna Piz Fassa
Reservations can be made year-round by either sending an email or calling. There is usually at least one staff member who speaks English and can assist international tourists. You can find current prices and contact details on their website.
If you would like to know more about the ins and outs of staying in a hut in the Dolomites, including the meaning of half board, visit the link to my other article.
Even though you can reach the summit of Piz Boè and get back down within 2-3 hours, personally I can’t recommend enough staying overnight at the Capanna Piz Fassa hut. I captured some of my best pictures of the Dolomites during my stay there.
Other hikes and via ferratas nearby
- Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina
- Sassolungo Circuit Hike
- Vallunga Hike
- Via ferrata Oskar Schuster
- Via ferrata Mesules/Pössnecker
- Seceda Ridgeline
- Via ferrata Gran Cir
- Alta Via 2 hut-to-hut traverse
More travel and hiking resources in the Dolomites
- Photography spots in the Italian Dolomites
- Via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites
- Day hikes in the Italian Dolomites
- Hut-to-hut treks in the Italian Dolomites
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