Vallunga – An Easy Half-Day Hike Through A Beautiful Dolomiti Valley

An unassuming small valley with a rather boring name – Vallunga, which literally translates to the long valley.

Yet once you step foot onto the trail that runs across it, you will quickly realize there is nothing boring about it.

The perfect U-shape of the valley and the sheer almost 90-degree walls surrounding it will certainly leave a long-lasting impression on you.

Vallunga hike: the stats

Guide to the Vallunga Day Hike In The Italian Dolomites
  • Distance roundtrip – 9 km / 5.6 mi
  • Time required –  2-3 hours
  • Total Ascent – 230 m / 755 ft
  • Type of hike – out and back
  • When to go: year-round

Where is the Vallunga valley hike?

Vallunga 7

Vallunga is a small valley which branches off the famous Val Gardena. It lies in the southern part of the Puez Geisler Nature Park (Italian: Puez Odle), home to a very famous Dolomiti landmark – the Seceda Ridgeline.

The map of the hike

Below you can see the path I followed from the car park to the summit. I measured the distance, elevation gain and route with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.

For the map’s legend click on the icon in the top left corner of the map.

Disclaimer: This is just a visualisation of the Vallunga route and should not be used as a topography map.

How difficult is the hike through Vallunga?

Vallunga 8

Unless you plan on doing the extensions, which I write about towards the end of this article, then it’s time to leave your heavy hiking boots at home.

Vallunga is literally a walk through the park. The ascent is so gentle, that you will hardly notice it.

Walking through Langental is a great choice for a rest day. I have included this hike on my autumn hiking road trip itinerary across the Italian Dolomites.

The best month to hike through Vallunga

Vallunga 18

It’s possible to hike through Vallunga at any time of the year, even in the Winter! The busiest period is between July and September.

My favourite month for it is hands down October. That’s when the valley comes to life with larch trees turning to all shades of yellows and oranges.

All photos in this post were taken exactly on the 29th of October, during the peak of the autumn season.

Getting to the trailhead

Vallunga 6

Getting to the trailhead by car

The parking lot for Vallunga is a 7-minute (2.7 km) drive from Selva di Val Gardena, 10-minute (5.2 km) from Santa Cristina and 15 min (9.2 km) from Ortisei.

At the time of writing this article, the parking was free, however, I have noticed that parking lots which were free just a year or two ago, started charging fees, hence I always recommend bringing some cash just in case.

During the peak season, I recommend coming earlier as spaces are limited and the parking lots can fill up quickly. During October there were plenty of spaces throughout the day.

Getting to the trailhead by bus

The nearest bus stop to the trailhead is called Vallunga and it is 950 meters away. To get to the trailhead you will have to walk the extra distance, which will add a couple of kilometres to your day.

Bus no. 357 operates along this route. I recommend the Süd Tirol Mobil website for checking bus connections.

Bear in mind that buses operate seasonally (June-September) and many routes shut down during the shoulder season. Travelling by public transport in October for instance is very difficult.

The highlights of the Vallunga day hike

For the little effort that I had to put in to complete the Vallunga hike, I was rewarded tenfold with dramatic views along the way.

Immediately as you step your foot onto the trail you will notice the steep walls of Mont De Sëura straight ahead.

As you walk a little further and look to the right into the gulley that leads to Val Chedul, the sharp peaks of Pizes da Cir peak above.

The valley has the perfect U-shape, which is the outcome of glaciers doing their thing through millions of years.

In one sentence – a feast for the eyes!

Facilities along the Vallunga trail

Vallunga 5

There is a little outdoor restaurant right at the start of the trail which operates seasonally, usually between June and September.

Other than that, unless you decide on extending the hike into the higher alpine areas, there are no backcountry huts along the trail.

You also won’t find any toilets so make sure to practice the leave no trace policy and always carry out what you brought in with you, including toilet paper!

Unfortunately, toilet paper in the bushes and forests is a sight that is way too common in the Dolomites.

Vallunga trail description

There is not much to say about the trail through Vallunga. It is as straightforward as they come. From the moment you leave the parking lot until the end of the valley you will be following a wide gravel path. That’s it! It’s impossible to get lost.

The route is approximately 4.5 kilometers (2.8) miles and gains 250 meters of elevation. The incline is very gentle though and hardly noticeable.

Be mindful of bikes and many dog owners along the trail. Around 3/4 into the trail, there is a wide field where I was able to let my dog run leash-free for some time.

Where to stay nearby 

The nearest towns to Vallunga hike are Selva Di Val Gardena, Santa Cristina di Val Gardena and Ortisei. As their names suggest they all lie in the Gardena valley. Below you can find some of my hotel recommendations for your stay in the area.

Did you know that by booking through these affiliate links you support my site at no additional cost to you?

Budget

Smart hotel Saslong in Santa Cristina

Midrange

Bed & Breakfast Lavi in Ortisei

Luxury

Hotel Luna Mondschein in Ortisei

How to extend the Vallunga hike?

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The view of Vallunga from the extension hike to rifugio Puez

You have two opportunities to extend the hike through Vallunga turning it into a full-day excursion. Refer to the map at the beginning of the post to see the trails marked in different colors.

Option 1: Rifugio Puez

Once you get to the end of the valley continue on trail no. 14 and follow the signs for rifugio Puez. I marked this extension with a yellow line on the map.

Once at the refuge take trail no. 16 down to the valley turning the extension into a circuit hike. Since it is a circuit you can also hike it in a clockwise direction.

This extension will add approximately 6 kilometers and additional 540 meters of elevation. It will get steep, so it won’t be a relaxed hike anymore!

Option 2: Val Chedul

This extension (marked in a blue line on the map) is a great option for those who like more off-the-beaten-path places.

From the end of the valley continue on path no. 14 first following the signs for rifugio Puez then veer off onto path no. 14A towards Forcella (saddle) Ciampei.

Once at the saddle take path no. 2 towards Forcella Crespeina then no. 12 across Val Chedul which eventually merges with Vallunga.

When choosing this extension you need to count 8 additional kilometers and approximately 600 meters of extra elevation gain.

Other outdoor activities to experience nearby

Passo Gardena Hiker 1

More travel and hiking resources in the Dolomites

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.

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