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.
Although trails in the Italian Dolomites are always very well marked I still recommend carrying a map with you. For this particular trail you will need the Tabacco map nr 29.
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
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 parks highest peak, Monte Catinaccio.
It then quickly descends to path nr 541 and a left at the next junction takes 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 gruelling 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 favourite 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.
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