Piz Boè – A Hike To The Most Accessible 3000 Meter Summit In The Italian Dolomites

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. 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 stay there overnight and here is how you can do it too.

Hiking Guide To The Summit Of Piz Boè in the Italian Dolomites

Piz Boé Summit: The stats

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  • Distance roundtrip: 6.4 km (4 mi)
  • Elevation gain: 422 meters (1384 ft)
  • Time required: 2-3 hours
  • Parking: 46.4881629, 11.8104728
  • Type of hike: Circuit
  • 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.

Read more: 25 Best Day Hikes In the Italian Dolomites Rated From Easy To Difficult

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

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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 two weeks 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

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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

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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 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 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 unique thanks to the location where it was built. 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

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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, I highly recommend 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

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If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

Marta
Marta

Hi! I am 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.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Marta,

    Thanks a lot for your reviews, they indeed helped me a lot to plan my Alta Via 1 and 2 trips. I am fascinated by the lunar landscape of the Sella massif, therefore I plan to take an additional day on AV2 staying in rif. Boe, and I would very appreciate you suggestion.

    I plan to start the day in rif. Pisciadu, stay in rif. Boe, and hike extensions around it – Piz Pisciadu (on a way to Boe) and Piz Boe. It seems quite doable, and I thought to do also a loop, starting from rif. Boe, going on Piz Boe, then to Forcella Pordoi and then I have a question: do you know if is there a path down from Forcella Pordoi, that could bring me back to rif. Boe through what I see on the map as Val Lasties? Komoot app allows to build a route, but you never know if it is really passable and how difficult it might be. Do you know if this route exist, is it well marked, and how difficult it is? Any suggestions on alternative paths around rif. Boe, just to explore this plateau in the best way possible?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Leonardo. Thanks for stopping by. No, the lift is already closed and it will reopen for the winter season in December. At the moment the hike to Piz Boe is not possible because there is already snow up there. The refuge is already closed too. I hope that helps!

  2. Hi Marta

    It sounds like there is not a lot of elevation gain on this hike since the cable car gets you a good portion of the distance even though you initially drop 100 m. If I am figuring it correct it sounds like about 170 m of gain. Am I understanding that correctly? In your article you said, “a few cable protected sections on the steepest parts of the path,” Are those fairly exposed and not very wide paths where someone with a fear of heights would struggle? Thanks so much and I love your articles they are so helpful. Best Regards, Jerry

    • Hi Jerry. Thanks for visiting. Once you take the cable car to Sass Pordoi and start hiking you first drop the elevation (around 100 meters) to rifugio Forcella Pordoi which lies at ca. 2850 meters a.s.l. Piz Boe reaches 3150 which means you will need to gain 300 meters of elevation. As for your other question, the exposure on the cabled sections can be intimidating to those with a fear of heights. What you can do is to bring via ferrata gear with you to secure youself to the cables. It can’t hurt. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.

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