Sometimes you don’t have to hike for hours on end to get to jaw-dropping views. Sometimes all you need to do is take a walk through Val Venegia – the beautiful gateway to the Pale Di San Martino range in the Italian Dolomites.
From start to finish of this hike you will be graced with a dramatic picture of its sheer, almost 90-degree North Face.
Val Venegia hike: the stats
- Distance roundtrip – 6.6 km / 4.1 mi
- Time required – 1.5-2 hours
- Total Ascent – 150 m / 492 ft
- Type of hike – Out and back
- When to go: year-round
- Parking: Parcheggio Val Venegia
- Map required: Tabacco 022 Pale Di San Martino
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Where is Val Venegia?
Val Venegia is located in the northern part of the Pale Di San Martino range which in turn lies in the southern part of the Italian Dolomites.
The range which lies within the boundaries of the Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale Di San Martino is known for its jagged peaks often rising over 3000 meters above Sea Level.
Pale Di San Martino is home to some of my favorite huts and via ferratas in the Dolomites including the exhilarating via ferrata Bolver Lugli.
The map of the hike
Above you can see the path I followed from the car park to Malga Venegiotta before turning back. I measured the distance, elevation gain, and route with my Garmin Fenix 6S pro watch.
How difficult is the hike through Venegia valley?
The hike through Val Venegia is so easy, that I am not even sure it classifies as a hike. I think calling it a walk through a park might be more fitting. A very beautiful park for that matter.
The total elevation gain is only 150 meters or circa 50 meters for each kilometer walked. The incline is so smooth you will hardly notice that you are walking up.
The best time of year to hike through Val Venegia
Val Venegia is a hike that can be done year-round. The official hiking season in the Dolomites lasts from June until October, but thanks to minimal avalanche risk, it’s possible to snowshoe or cross-country ski through Val Venegia even during wintertime.
I have done this hike as part of my autumn road trip across the Dolomites and I don’t think I could have picked a better time for it. It was the beginning of the last week of October and the autumn colors were in full swing.
Paired with crispy October mountain air and bluebird skies, the scenery made up for some fantastic photo opportunities!
How to get to the trailhead
Getting to the trailhead by car
Val Venegia is accessible from provincial road no. 81. It’s a narrow and bendy road, but this is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes down to the Dolomiti roads.
The nearest towns are Pie’ Falcade (25 min/15.8 km) or San Martino Di Castrozza (30 min/18 km).
There is a 7 Euro parking fee for the lower car park and 9 Euro for the upper one. At the time of writing this post, it was only possible to pay with cash.
If you are visiting during the peak season (July-August) make sure to arrive early as the spots do fill up quickly!
Getting to the trailhead by bus
It’s possible to travel to the trailhead of Val Venegia by bus from San Martino di Castrozza. The total journey time is 1 hour and 9 minutes and there is one change involved
From San Martino you have to take bus no. B122 in direction of Predazzo. Get off after 12 stops at Paneveggio Centro Forestale.
From here take bus no. B138 direction Passo Valles and get off at the second stop: Pian Casoni – Bivio Venegia.
For checking the timetables and current prices go to the Trentino transport website and type in the Pian Casoni – Bivio Venegia as your destination.
In case you were thinking about hiking Val Venegia during autumn, bear in mind that public transport is often very limited in the shoulder seasons.
Facilities along the trail
There are two backcountry restaurants in Val Venegia. The first one is slightly off the path, but clearly visible from the road. Its name is Malga Venegia.
The second one, pictured above, where the trek ends, is called Malga Venegiota Di Tonadico. The owners could not have been any more creative when naming these establishments!
Both restaurants serve typical local food and drink so no need to carry it with you! Toilet facilities are possible to use for guests of the restaurants.
They stay open during the summer season usually between June and the end of September or mid-October.
When I hiked the trail at the end of October, both restaurants were already shut but there were benches outside of Malga Venegiota where we could sit, eat our own snacks and enjoy the views.
Val Venegia – a brief trail description
From the parking lot, you have two options: the first is to follow the road, and the second is to walk the first 20 minutes through the forest, parallel to the road.
Naturally, I recommend the second option. It’s much quieter. After 20 minutes the forest path merges with the road. For the rest of the walk, you will be following a wide gravel road. The incline is very gentle and the whole hike could not be easier.
It takes around 1 hour to get to Malga Venegiotta with plenty of stops for photographs along the way. If you don’t stop at all you can be there in 30 mins!
What to bring and wear on a hike
When it comes down to hiking in the mountains, I am a big advocate of being always prepared. I dress in layers and bring warm clothing with me even in the summer. Proper footwear with a good grip is also a must.
However, the easy grade of the Val Venegia hike offers the possibility of being a lot more relaxed when it comes to preparation.
A comfortable pair of sneakers will be more than enough. If you happen to visit Val Venegia during autumn definitely bring a down jacket or a vest and a warm hat with you. As soon as the sun hides behind the mountains the temperatures drop significantly.
Where to stay nearby
Pie’ Falcade, San Martino di Castrozza or Fiera di Primero are the closest towns to this hike. If you are traveling by car I recommend staying in the latter.
Below are some of the accommodation options I recommend. If you would like to support my site, please book through the affiliate links. It won’t cost you anything extra!
Both the hike through Val Venegia and Fiera Di Primero are featured on my 7-10 day autumn itinerary across the Italian Dolomites. If you want to save yourself some time planning your visit, then check out my plan.
Hotel Castel Pietra
Brunet Hotel & Spa
Possible route extensions
Val Venegia is only a gateway to the plethora of hikes that are available from here. If you are up for a more challenging day here are a few options that can turn this easy hike into a full-day excursion.
1. Val Venegia – Rifugio Mulaz – Val Venegia circuit
From Malga Venegiota follow signs for Rifugio Mulaz and path no. 710. You will need ca. 90 minutes to reach the refuge.
From here continue along path no. 751 towards Passo dei Fochet di Focobon. You will be circling around Monte Mulaz. Some scrambling is involved along this section of the hike.
After reaching Forcella di Venegia you will start your descent towards Malga Venegia along path no. R17. I recommend referring to Tabacco Map no. 022 to visualize the route.
The whole circuit will take around 5-6 hours of walking time.
2. Val Venegia – Baita Segantini – Passo Rolle
This is a great option for those who opted to use public transport.
From Malga Venegiota keep following the wide gravel road all the way to Baita Segantini, one of the iconic photo spots in the Dolomites.
The total distance for this route, starting from the car park, is 7.3 km and it takes around 2.5 – 3 hours.
Once you reach Passo Rolle you can catch a bus back to the parking lot or to San Martino di Castrozza. There are also some hotels directly on Passo Rolle, where you can book your stay.
Other hikes and via ferratas to experience nearby
- Passo Rolle to Rifugio Mulaz
- Monte Castellaz
- Pale Di San Martino Traverse
- Alta Via 2
- Via ferrata Bolver Lugli
Good Afternoon Marta
I was reading the description for the Val Venegia hike or as you say walk. You have so much information about the Dolomites is is incredible, informative and at times I find myself wondering where do I start. My wife and I will be traveling here in September and doing some of the hikes you have mentioned, My wife has somewhat of a bad back so I am always looking for the easier trails for her. Are there other easy day hikes in this area worth doing? How difficult is the hike to continue to Rifugio Mulaz or Baita Segantini? I haven’t looked yet but if Rifugio Mulaz has lodging we may spend the night there, One last thing do you have an affiliate link with Booking dot com. I can’t seem to find it. Kind Regards, Jerry
Hi Jerry. Thanks for visiting my site and for your lovely comment. I can imagine it is quite overwhelming. Please check out my post about the best hikes in the Dolomites which I recently updated and the hikes are divided into 3 categories: easy, moderate and challenging. I do have a separate post about hiking to hikinf to Passo Mulaz. I will give you a heads up though, this is a challenging hike and if you decided to hike arount Monte Mullaz in a circuit you will also have a scrambling section with chains. Sounds like it might be too much for your wife.
As for reaching Baita Segantini you can do it by hiking from Passo Rolle. Check out my post about hiking to Monte Castellaz which goes in a figure of 8, but you could just do one loop and hike just to Baita Segantini which is a very easy trail and goes mostly on a gravel road. Booking lodging directly on Passo Rolle might be a better option for you. Rifugio Mulaz does have lodging but again hiking up there with a heaby pack for some with back problems would not be recommendable.
As for affiliate links. Yes right in this post I have a section “where to stay nearby” with 3 links to hotels. Those are affiliate links to booking com. If you use them to book your lodging (It doesn’t have to be the same hotels I recommend) I receive I commission. Much appreciated. Let me know if you have more questions!
Oh and around San Martino and Fiera Di Primero you can visit Lake Welspberg or Lake Calaita there are very gentle trails over there. I do recommend getting a map of the area (Tabacco Map no. 22) for Pale Di San Martino Range.
You could also take a gondola from San Martino di Castrozza to Rifugio Rosetta and stay the night there then hike from there to Rifugio Pradidali (another night) then hike back and take the gondola back down to San Martino Di Castrozza.