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.
This hike is perfect for those who want to avoid the crowds, as it is much quieter than the iconic Tre Cime circuit or the loop around Lago di Braies.
The trailhead is just north of Lago Carezza at Malga Frommer Alm, where the König Laurin chairlift starts.
Note: There is a pathway under the chairlift but that makes for a very long day. It’s not covered in this description but it is an option for those on a budget or planning an overnight hut stay.
How To Reach Vajolet Towers In The Italian Dolomites
- Distance: 8 km / 5 mi
- Walking time: 5-6 h
- Elevation gain: 650 m / 2100 ft
- Hiking difficulty: challenging
- When to go: July – October
- Map: Tabacco 029 (Schlern – Rosengarten)
Support my website!
Hi Reader! If you found any of my articles about the Dolomites useful please consider using the affiliate links below (at no extra cost to you) when booking your holiday, or click on the green floating ‘support me’ button in the bottom left corner of this page.
- Reserve your hotel with Booking.com
- Book your rental car with Discover Cars
- Buy your outdoor gear with Bergfreunde (Europe)
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!
There is a decent size parking lot on the opposite side of the road from Malga Frommer Alm, but make sure to arrive early to get a spot.
I left my campervan parked there for 7 days whilst exploring the Rosengarten on foot and I am happy to say it was still there and intact when I came back. Maybe the Italian drivers aren’t so bad at parking after all.
The chairlift costs 14€ return and it is valid for 7 days, in case you plan on spending multiple days within the park and staying in the huts.
Once you’re at the top of the chairlift at Rifugio Fronza (also known as the Rosengarten hütte or Kölner hütte), hike behind the refuge and start heading uphill on path nr 550.
Not before long you will reach a fork. If you’re an experienced scrambler and brought proper equipment with you, then you can also reach the Vajolet towers via a left turn following the marked path toward via ferrata Passo Santner. Today however I will cover the easier option.
From the fork take the slight right turn onto hiking path nr 550. It requires no climbing.
Once you’ve made the right turn, the path steepens until you reach the Pas da le Colonele where you’ll get your first glimpse of the park’s highest peak, Monte Catinaccio.
It then quickly descends to path nr 541 and left at the next junction taking you into the heart of the Rosengarten National Park, eventually reaching Rifugio Vajolet.
This hut is a great place for a break before tackling the steep gully up to rifugio Alberto Primero – one of the most photogenic huts in the Dolomites!
The gully starts quickly and continues steeply along path nr 542. Cables are provided to help you on the most difficult of sections. It’s a grueling ascent but manageable and not very technical.
After around an hour from rifugio Vajolet, you’ll be at rifugio Alberto Primero (also known as Gartlhütte), directly underneath the Vajolet towers. I hope you are ready for some incredible views!
The best vantage point of the towers is from Passo Laurin, a short 5-minute walk away from the hut. My personal favorite though is the view from Passo Santner, a 20-minute slight uphill walk from the hut (see photo below).
Another little hut is scheduled to open in the summer season of 2020 right on this pass and it is already marked on the Tabacco map nr 29. I definitely plan on coming back to check it out once it opens!
If you’re not into via ferrata, it’s back the same way you came, but if you can, try and fit one into your itinerary. I also highly recommend staying overnight in any of the huts you’ve passed on your hike today.
They all have different prices and different amenities but all of them give you the chance of being in the right spot at the right time to take some incredible photos.
If you have any questions about this hike, let me know in the comments below! I answer every time.
For more hikes, via ferrata and photography articles head over to my Italian Dolomites Guide.
Shop My Hiking Gear Essentials
At only 150 grams per pole these light, yet incredibly durable and sturdy carbon hiking poles are my constant companion on trails.
Great for day hikes and big enough for overnight hut excursions. Osprey backpacks have been with me from the humble beginnings of this website.
Hydrapack 3 liter Water Bladder
Staying hydrated during hikes is very important! I always hike with the Hydrapack water bladder in my backpack for easy access to water!
An absolute must-have on a hiking holiday. They are breathable and comfy, but most importantly don’t pick up the smell even after a few days of wearing
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.
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!
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!
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. 🙂
I wouldn’t be either! No worries. I am glad I could clarify it. Let me know if I can help any further!
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 🙂