Trekking the Dolomites – Part I – Tres Cime

The Dolomites has been on our hit list for some time. For some reason it just keeps getting pushed off. Well this year we decided, relatively last-minute, to hit it. My wife did all the booking of Rifugio’s with some help from her friend who had done this trip some time ago. I worked on laying out the hiking routes and booking airfare. Before we knew we were off.

We flew into Innsbruck, Austria via Austrian Airlines. We were fairly impressed with that airlines. We then took the airport bus to downtown Innsbruck and dropped off a bag at the Marriot AC Hotel where we would be staying the night before our departure home. We then walked a bock down the street to the train station and took a series of 3 different trains to get us to our initial base town of Dobaccio, Italy. It took about 2-3 hours in total. The train ride down was spectacular! 

When we arrived at the station at the lower end of Dobaccio, we headed up into town looking for our hotel, the Hotel Kirchenwirt. We were very tired and began aimlessly warndering the streets unable to find the hotel. Eventually we came to the street that headed out of town, uphill for about a mile to a little town sitting above on the mountainside. Apparently, our hotel was in the little hamlet of Santa Maria above Dobaccio. It was a very hot walk uphill with full backpacks and we were weary from travel.

The hotel was nice and we checked in and relaxed a bit. It appeared that English was not spoken here much and it was primarily German-speaking. Great! Glad I had brushed up on my Italian! We headed down for dinner, which was included, after our nap. The menu was all in German and we scanned it with Google Translate on our phone to figure out what it said. Fortunately, the only English-speaking waiter saw us and translated for us. The food was delicious!

We also met the lady that owned the place the next morning who spoke some English and she said she can give us a ride to and from town when we needed it. Nice! Also there is only one bus that stops in town and it is in the morning and evening. We had a really nice stay here and would be coming back again to re-tool a bit after our 3-day tour of the Tres Cime and Lavaredo Loop.

Day 1 – Antoniusstein Car Park to Dreizinnenhütte

After a stout breakfast at Hotel Kirchenwirt, we got a ride down to the bus stop in Dobaccio. We took the bus that was heading towards Sesto/Sexten and then get off at the Parkplatz Innerfeldtal then take the bus there to the Antoniusstein car park where we would start our hike. Of course, nothing goes smoothly and we missed the stop for the Parkplatz Innerfeldtal and had get off in Sesto and wait for a return bus. We lost about a half hour with that. Also the bus to Antoniusstein car park was more expensive than the regular bus. I don’t believe that bus runs all year too, so check the schedule

The 5.5 mile hike to Tres Cime took us about 3 hours(not included stops). It was a beautiful hike but very steep and was pretty much all climbing except for the very beginning and the end. We gained about 3500 feet elevation over that 5.5 miles. We would be staying at Rifugio Locatelli for the two nights in the Lavaredo Loop.

When we arrived at Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte in DE), they apparently did not get our reservation and had no record of it. Fortunately they were able to get us in a shared room for the night and then a dorm for the second night. This rifugio was very busy. There were also not many people that spoke English either, so we felt a bit out of place here. Everyone ate at the same time and we really felt odd since everyone was chatting away in what I think was German. The food was good and beer was cold, so can’t complain there.

Day 2 – Lavaredo Loop

The next morning it was socked in with fog. You could not see more than 15 feet. Our plan was to do the Lavaredo Loop circling back to Locatelli. We headed out and I made a wrong turn that took us down a bit and then we had to climb back up. Denise was not happy about that. We had lunch at Rifugio Auronzo on the other side of Tres Cime and then made our way back to Locatelli. Despite the limited views due to the fog, it was still a nice hike.

Dinner for the 2nd night at Locatelli was a little better. We managed to communicate with a couple guys at our table who spoke a little English. We mostly compared pictures and videos which worked out well. The dorm was kind of gross. We had most of the dorm room to ourselves except for another couple who stayed at the other end. There was hair that hung down from the bed springs of the top bunk which was a bit gross. Glad we had our sleep sheets!

Day 3 – Hike Out to Sesto and Back to Dobaccio

The next morning we headed out of Locatelli and past the two lakes behind Rifugio, which took us down towards Sesto. The fog lifted on our way down and it ended up being a gorgeous day. We walked by Talschlusshütt/Rifugio Fondovalle right around lunchtime which was packed from people walking up. We decided to skip that and went to Hotel Dolomitenhof further down the dried up riverbed. The food was very good and the views were spectactular as well. After lunch we headed down a little further to the parking area and waited for the bus back to Dobaccio. Tres Cime hike…check!

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