Out of all areas in the Dolomites, I have a soft spot for the Rosengarten Nature Park. It’s hard not to if you are treated to such wonders as the Vajolet Towers. There is more than one way to reach the famous viewing spot of these magnificent monoliths. If you would like to know the best way to reach the Vajolet Towers keep on reading.
About Vajolet Towers
Vajolet towers are 6 distinct peaks in the Rosengarten Mountain Group in the Western Part of the Italian Dolomites.
They are very popular among climbers, however, in recent years they have also become an iconic photography spot for landscape photographers.
Best time of the year to hike to the Vajolet Towers
Hiking in the Rosengarten group is possible between June and mid-October. I try to avoid July and August when visiting the Dolomites due to crowds and the afternoon storms that occur almost daily.
My favorite months for hiking in the Dolomites are September and October. All photos in this post were taken in the first half of October.
Where to stay nearby
The Rosengarten group is surrounded by the Fassa Valley to the South and the Gardena Valley to the North. Both areas are famous amongst outdoor enthusiasts for their excellent access to many hikes and via ferratas.
Fassa Valley is where many routes into the Rosengarten group start, including the ones mentioned in this article. If you are looking to stay in the area try booking accommodation in one of the towns in the Fassa Valley.
The top 4 ways to reach the Vajolet Towers in the Italian Dolomites
The map overview
1. Along Via Ferrata Passo Santner
- Distance: 2.7 km / 1.67 mi
- Time required: 2-3 hours
- Elevation gain: 430 m / 1410 ft
- Trail color on the map: yellow
- Path numbers: 550, 542S
Distance-wise this is the shortest way to get to Vajolet Towers. In my opinion, it is also the most exciting one as it involves scrambling between the many spires of the Rosengarten Group.
Park at the Nova Levante parking lot near the König Laurin gondola, then take the gondola up to Rifugio Rosengarten (also known as Rifugio Fronza or Kölner Hütte).
From the hut start hiking up on path no. 550. After circa 15 minutes, the path splits and you have to go left following the signs for Rifugio Santner and Via Ferrata Passo Santner.
To get back to your car you will have to follow the hiking path over Passo de Le Colonelle described below (no. 3)
TIP: If you are traveling by public transport the bus stop name near the trailhead is called Welschnofen, Frommer. Type it as your destination in the Sued Tirol Mobil site to check for the schedule.
2. Hike from Ciampede (the easiest way)
- Distance: 5.3 km / 3.29 mi
- Walking time: 2-3 hours
- Elevation gain: 837 m / 2746 ft
- Elevation loss: 31 m / 101 ft
- Trail color on the map: orange
- Path numbers: 540, 546, 542
From the town of Vigo Di Fassa (bus stop name Vigo di Fassa, Funivia Catinaccio) take the Vajolet chairlift up to Ciampede then follow the signs first for Rifugio Gardeccia, then for Rifugio Vajolet, and last but not least to Rifugio Re Alberto.
This is the most straightforward way to get to the Vajolet Towers with the least elevation gain. For the most part, it follows a wide gravel road.
Note: There is a short scrambling section between Rifugio Vajolet and Rifugio Re Alberto. Cables have been placed in the steepest sections.
3. Hike from Rifugio Rosengarten (Fronza) over Colonelle Pass
- Distance: 5.3 km / 3.3 mi
- Walking time: 2.5-3.5 h
- Elevation gain: 775 m / 2542 ft
- Elevation loss: 446 m / 1463 ft
- Trail color on the map: blue
- Path numbers: 550, 541, 542
The hike over Colonelle Pass starts in the same place as the previously mentioned via ferrata Passo Santner, namely the Rosengarten Hut.
Park your car near Albergo Frommeralm then take the gondola up to the hut. From here start your hike on path no. 550 towards Passo D. Colonelle. It takes approximately 50 minutes to reach the pass.
Once you make it to the saddle you will start your descent towards Rifugio Vajolet. From the hut, the path follows a steep gully to Rifugio Re Alberto Primero.
The gully continues steeply along path no. 542. Cables are provided to help you on the most difficult of sections. It’s a grueling ascent but not very technical.
4. As part of a multiday hut-to-hut Rosengarten Traverse
If you have a few days to spare on your visit to the Dolomites then consider following my hut-to-hut Rosengarten Traverse. Not only you will get a chance to see the sunrise and sunset over the Vajolet towers but will also tackle several fantastic via ferrata routes that can be found in this mountain group.
The whole traverse can be completed between 3-5 days and each night is spent in a unique refuge. The huts in the Rosengarten group belong to some of my favorites in the Dolomites.
4 Best locations for photographing the Vajolet Towers
1. Passo Santner
The most iconic view of the Vajolet towers can be seen from the Santner Pass. Passo Santner is only a 15-minute walk from the Re Alberto hut. It’s also the final stop on the via ferrata Passo Santner.
There is a new refuge that was built right on the pass, aptly named the Santner Pass Hut. If you want to be in the area during the most photogenic times of the day then stay overnight in one of those two huts.
2. Passo Laurin
The best vantage point of the towers is from Passo Laurin, which is a short 5-minute walk away from the Re Alberto hut.
When looking at the Vajolet Towers from this spot they resemble a palm of a hand reaching for the sky. It’s quite impressive. I took the photo above at sunset when the final light was hitting the towers.
3. Rifugio Vajolet
For a completely different perspective of the Vajolet Towers make sure to take a longer photo stop at Rifugio Vajolet, which you will be passing on the way up, when hiking from Ciampede or over Passo delle Colonelle.
4. The Summit of Monte Catinaccio
This one requires a bit more effort to get to but it will be well worth it. You can view the Vajolet towers in all their glory when scrambling along the via ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia. The route leads to the highest summit in the Rosengarten group – Monte Catinaccio.
Via ferrata Catinaccio is one of the routes included in my multiday hut-to-hut traverse through the Rosengarten group.
Mountain huts close to Vajolet Towers
Staying at least one night in a mountain refuge should be high on your bucket list when visiting the Dolomites. The Rosengarten Group has plenty of huts to choose from. Here are the best ones if your objective is to photograph the Vajolet Towers.
Rifugio Passo Santner
- Summer 2023 opening times: June 10th – 1st week of October
- CAI member: No
- Price per night for half board: from 85 Euro / per person / per night
- How to reserve: call + 39 337 143 5665 or e-mail email@example.com
Rifugio Re Alberto Primero
- Summer 2023 opening times: June 15th – October 8th
- CAI member: No
- Price per night for half board: from 70 Euro / per person / per night
- How to reserve: Check online availability directly on their website
- Summer 2023 opening times: June 7th – 1st week of October
- CAI member: Yes
- Price per night for half board: 55 Euros for members, 75 for non-members
- How to reserve: Book online through their website
Rifugio Paul Preuss
- Summer 2023 opening times: Beginning of June – beginning of October
- CAI member: No
- Price per night for half board: N/A
- How to reserve: call +39 368 7884968 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Other things to see and do nearby
- Via ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia
- Via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano
- Via ferrata Laurenzi
- Piz Boé Summit Hike
- Lake Carezza
- Via ferrata Oskar Schuster
- Sassolungo Circuit Hike
More travel and hiking resources in the Dolomites
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