How To See The Famous Vajolet Towers In The Italian Dolomites

Out of all the areas in the Dolomites, the Rosengarten Nature Park has a special place in my heart. 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

Rifugio Re Alberto Rosengarten Travers 3

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
Vajolet towers from Ciampede 1

From the town of Vigo Di Fassa (bus stop name Vigo di Fassa, Funivia Catinaccio) take the Vajolet gondola 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
Vajolet towers from Passo Delle Colonelle 1

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.

Read more: 25 Best Day Hikes in the Italian Dolomites Rated from Easy to Difficult

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

Vajolet Towers 1

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

Passo Laurin Vajolet Towers 1

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

Rosengarten Traverse 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

Via Ferrata Catinaccio 23

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.

Read More: The Ins and Outs of Staying in Mountain Huts in the Italian Dolomites

Rifugio Passo Santner

Santner Pass Hut 1
  • 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 info@santnerpass.com

Rifugio Re Alberto Primero

Rifugio Re Alberto 1
  • 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

Rifugio Vajolet

Vajolet Hut 1
  • 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

Rifugio Preuss 1
  • 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 info@rifugiopaulpreuss.com

Other things to see and do nearby

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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.

20 Comments

  1. Dzien dobry Marta,
    If you had to compare the easiest hike that you mention here (orange one) with the hike from Rifugio Micheluzzi to the Antermoia lake (if you have done this one, which I assume) what hike would be tougher?
    It’s hard to compare hikes when everyone’s hiking abilities are different so this way, I hope to better understand and judge the hike.
    We love to hike but we don’t have any special equipment (helmets, ropes)…and we definitely would like to see the Vajolet towers.
    Dziekuje!

    • Hi Guy. Hiking from Rifugio Micheluzzi to Lake Antermoia is easier, but you won’t see the Vajolet towers from Lake Antermoia. You would have to keep hiking up over the Antermoia pass then down to Rifugio Vajolet and up to Alberto Primero. All together it would make the hike a lot more difficult than the option starting in Ciampede. I hope that helps!

  2. Hi Marta,

    I really enjoy your adventures and the information I found on your blog. Just wanted to ask if the Vajolet towers day hike is safe for my dog or should I skip it? I am planning a Dolomites itinerary with my dog and I am currently researching hikes where I can bring him along with me.

    • Hi Diana. It really depends on your dog. I didn’t do Vajolet Towers with my dog (I got him later), but a hike that we did together that was of similar difficuly was the durrenstein summit, where there were some chains. M dog did well on this section. With that said you need to feel comfortable and know your own limits. You can view the pics of the chain section on my post about Durrenstein. Other hikes I did with him was Col De La Puina, Sassolungo Circuit, Croda Fiscalina Circuit and Lake Coldai.

  3. Your website has been my go-to guide to planning out my now 2nd trip to the Dolomites! I had a question about the gondolas that go from Albergo Frommeralm up to the hut. I’m assuming they stop running by 5pm or so, and if you’re late coming down from the refuge, you’ll need to hike down to the car?

    • Hi Galina. I am so glad to hear it. Yes that’s correct. If you don’t make it back in time you will have to hike down. Consider staying the night in one of the huts near the Vajolet towers. I hope that helps

  4. Hi Marta,

    We did one of your multi-day routes in Pale di San Martino last fall and loved it. Thanks for all the great advice.

    I’m looking to return to the Dolomites the weekend of June 17th/18th and am wondering if you think this route to the Vajolet towers (or an alternative approach) will be snow free?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Greg. Thanks for visiting. Most hut in the Rosengarten group open at the start of June. Alberto Primero opens on June 15th which means the trails will already be passable. I hope that helps!

  5. Hi Marta. Thank you so much for the great information about Dolomites! Your site is so well organized and helpful. I am planning my first trip to the Dolomites for June 4 – 11 (in about two weeks) and I Vajolet Towers is near the top of my list of day hikes. I have a couple of questions.

    1) I know the whole hike you’ve outlined is about 8km, but how far is it, and about how long would it take at a slow but steady pace, to get as far as rifugio Alberto Primero?
    2) What time does the lift at Malga Frommer Alm open, and what time would you recommend getting there in the morning?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi Lee. Thanks for visiting. I don’t exactly understand your question? You say i know it is 8km but how far is it? Well it is 8km 😉
      There is an easier way to approach rifugio Alberto Primero. You can take the gondola from Vigo di Fassa to rifugio Ciampedie then hike to rifugio Gardeccia, then Vajolet then Alberto Primero. It will take around 2.5 – 3 hours depending on your speed (for some it takes even longer)
      The lifts usually open between 8:30 and 9. You can check the lift opening times on the Val Di Fassa website.

  6. Marta,
    Love your photos and trail descriptions. We, a group of 3 strong hikers, plan to hike Western Dolomites from Aug 29 to Sept 11, 2023, after our 18-day trekking in Norway. We will hike the epic trails around Val Gardena. In the Rosengarten group area, only hike to Vajolet Towers. There are so many trails to the towers. I’d like to have 2 Day/1 Night trekking with overnight in either Rif Vajolet or Alberto. It is a minor concern to hike between Rif Vajolet an Alberto because one of the members may not feel comfortable with the exposure. But your description indicates that no technical skill or equipment is required. Which refuge do you recommend? Also, is any technical equipment (helmets, rope, etc.) required for via Ferrata in your route? I’d like to include Passo Principe, can be a out and back from Rif Vajolet. Another option is a 2D/1N loop from Vigo di Fassa — Day 1: Rif Ciampedie, Rif Gardecia, Passo Antermoia , Passo Principe, Vajolet, Rif Alberto(overnight) ; Day2: hike to Passo Santna, then down through Passo Zigolade, Rif Roda di Vael, Rif Ciampedie . What do you think the route via Antermoia? Is it worth? Than you very much.

    • Hi Ning-Chia! What an amazing adventure you are planning. I just spent the last two ‘summer’ seasons in Norway hiking and am currently releasing lots of new content including guides for 30 different day hikes for the Fjords (currently in the making) Hiking in Norway is another level though with lots of steep trails involving scrambling so you will get a good training before the Dolomites.
      As for the trials leading to rifugio Vajolet. I personally think rifugio Re ALberto is better and going up to Re Alberto from Primero does have some short cabled sections but as I wrote, it’s not a via ferrata. However if you stayed in Re Alberto you would have to go back down the same way, because the route from Passo Santner to Kölner huette is via ferrata route. You should not descend that way because you will be going ‘against the current’ and creating danger for other hikers.
      Here is what I recommend for 2 days 1 night trip.
      Day 1 chairlift to Ciampede then hike to rifugio Gardeccia (no. 540) then towards rifugio Antermoia (path 583) before reaching Antermoia turn towards Passo Antermoia (583B) and rifugio Passo Principe then down to Rifugio Vajolet. You can either stay the night at Vajolet and go up to Re Alberto and Passo Santner to check the view of the Vajolet towers the next day. Or do another 1 hour up and stay the night at Alberto.

      Day 2. Hike from Alberto down to Vajolet then to Roda De Vael over Passo Zigolade and then from Roda De Vael descent on path 547 down to Vigo Di Fassa.
      Buy Tabacco map no. 029 of the Rosengarten group and it will help you with planning the route. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions and I would appreciate the support of my site.

  7. Hi Marta – really love your blog. It was a great inspiration back when we traveled the Canadian Rockies. Now we are exploring Dolomiti and I wanted to ask whether any sections of the above hike are very exposed (meaning there is a steep wall down below the path with a risk of falling) because this is something I try to avoid 🙂

    • Hi Agnieszka.Thanks for stopping by and your awesome feedback. I hope I am not too late with my reply. I was off-grid for the past few days. Yes, the section between Rifugio Vajolet and Rifugio Alberto Primero is quite steep with some cables to hold on to and a scree slope. If you are not comfortable with that then maybe you should look for other hikes! 🙂 I hope that helps!

  8. Hi Marta, I’m planning to do the 4-day Rosengarten traverse you designed. Can I fit in a hike to the Vajolet towers on one of the days since I’ll be very close. Thanks!

    • Hi Katie,

      Thanks for stopping by. Something tells me you haven’t studied the traverse yet, as it does take you through the Vajolet towers 🙂 Let me know if I can help any further!

      • Haha you are right, your article definitely covered it. For some reason I got in my head that the hike would include ascending the actual towers, which is something I’m definitely not equipped to do. 🙂

          • You mentioned here that another rifugio opened in summer 2020, which one is it? So far I’m counting Rif. Passo Santner, Re Alberto, Vajolet and Paul Preuss. Am I missing anything?

          • Hi Katie. It’s rifugio Passo Santner to which I was referring. When I did the hike for the first time it still wasn’t open. Now it already runs during the summer season. This post is up for an update 🙂

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