South Tyrol / Dolomites Hiking: South Tyrol in Italy is a very popular travel destination because the mountains and valleys with their fantastic panorama are an excellent alternative place to enjoy the nature. In addition to fantastic hiking trails, South Tyrol also has a lot of other activities to offer: rafting, paragliding, mountain biking, climbing, adrenaline junkies are guaranteed to get their money’s worth in South Tyrol. In this guide to hiking in Trentino and the Dolomites, I’ll tell you everything about the most beautiful hiking routes and some insider tips as well.
About the author: Since I was born and grew up in South Tyrol, I know the region very well. In this article I would like to give you the best tips for your hiking holiday in South Tyrol. A number of the hikes and mountains presented here are in Ahrntal. The hiking region is still rather unknown among foreign tourists, but in my opinion South Tyrol shows its most beautiful side here…
Where to stay in South Tyrol
South Tyrol is a large region and there are accommodations in every price category. If you decide to go hiking in Ahrntal, I can recommend two excellent hotels.
The Hotel Adler is located in St. Johann and is run by a friend of mine. The rooms were recently renovated and impress with a mix of modern and traditional. The Hotel Adler is a good starting point for hiking in Ahrntal.
The Alpin Luxury Spa Schwarzenstein in Luttach is one of the most renowned hotels in South Tyrol and is particularly impressive due to the large wellness area and the quiet location in a dreamlike environment. In terms of pricing, however, the hotel is in a slightly higher category, but it is definitely one of the best in the region.
Dolomites Hiking: safety tips
One of the most important issues when hiking and especially in the mountains is safety. Of course, everyone wants to experience the breathtaking moments on the mountains, but many underestimate the dangers that lurk up there. Please inform yourself very thoroughly about hiking before you go. I’ll tell you some of the most important points when it comes to safety in the mountains of Trentino and the Dolomites.
Good footwear and appropriate clothing are a must have
It happens again and again that tourists go hiking with normal shoes and then injure themselves. When you are out and about in the mountains, good mountain boots are a must and indispensable. When buying, note that the mountain boots go over the ankle, this prevents buckling. You can get a strain or even worse injury very quickly on unpaved terrain. In the worst case, you have to be rescued by the mountain rescue service. It is better to invest in a good mountain boot and benefit from its quality for several years. The brand Salewa is particularly recommended for outdoor activities and hiking.
Also pack a change of clothes. After a strenuous hike you are sweaty and should therefore change your clothes immediately as soon as you take a longer break. At an altitude of over 2,000 meters, a cool wind can blow, even if it is 30 degrees in the valley. If you don’t change your clothes, you’ll catch a cold very quickly.
Also, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket. The weather can change quickly in the mountains and without a rain jacket you will get wet to the bones. I recommend the brands Jack Wolfskin or The North Face, these are among the best products for outdoor adventures in terms of quality.
When it comes to backpacks, you should also give some thought to the purchase. If you haven’t bought one yet, opt for a hiking backpack with good ventilation on the back so that you don’t sweat. My preferred hiking backpacks, with which I have always had good experiences and which I also use for travel, are those from Deuter. The backpacks are a bit higher in price, but convince with a good quality.
Check the weather!
Even if the weather is good in the morning and there are no clouds in the sky, check the weather forecast for the day. The weather in the Alps can change very quickly and the possible summer thunderstorms should not be underestimated. In addition, there are often lightning strikes in the mountains, which has caused many hikers to lose their lives. Thoroughly checking the weather forecast for your hiking route is therefore essential!
Inform yourself about your hiking route
The hiking trails in South Tyrol are generally very well signposted, so that beginners can always find the right path. However, from time to time the paths can split and this can lead to confusion. In this case, keep an eye out for other hikers and ask them for directions. In general, you should never set off without a hiking map unless you know the destination and the region very well.
If you are not sure where exactly the path leads, just turn around! It has often happened that even experienced hikers who grew up in the area got lost and couldn’t find their way back. If you get lost, call for help immediately.
Here you will find the most important emergency numbers for South Tyrol:
- 118 – General Emergency/Rescue (Europe)
- 115 – Fire Department
- 112 – Carabinieri
Hiking Dolomites & Trentino: Beginner routes
For the beginning I recommend you to try the easy hikes for the first time. Don’t overestimate yourself and don’t take any risks. Practice makes perfect, this principle also applies to hiking!
Ahrntal hiking: Klaussee – Steinhaus
Not a summit, but a beautiful mountain lake with a fantastic view of the mountain landscape in Ahrntal. The ascent to Klaussee is very easy, because you can take a shortcut with the “Clauberg” cable car and start from 1,600m above sea level. From the mountain station it takes about 90 minutes to Klaussee, where you can then take a break and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere.
The Klaussee at 2,162 m is not only one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the region, from here you also have an excellent view of the Zillertal peaks.
You can also reach the Klaussee by mountain bike. Just rent an eBike and cycle through the forest all the way to the top. The descent that follows is truly just the thing for adrenaline junkies. It’s best to cycle up via the valley run, this is the easiest way to get to the top. Alternatively, there is another forest path from St. Johann, which is hard to find. If you want to go this way, ask locals for the right direction.
Hiking Bruneck: Kronplatz – Furkelpass
Kronplatz is a ski area in Pustertal, in Brunico. While you can ski down the slopes in winter, the entire area around Kronplatz is ideal for hiking in summer. A very popular route, which is also particularly suitable for beginners, is the hike from Kronzplatz to the Furkelpass. The route is 3.7 km long and takes about 90 minutes at a slow pace. Since the difference in altitude is only 500m, children can easily manage this hiking route as well.
If hiking is too boring for you, there is also plenty of action, especially for adrenaline junkies. In addition to a downhill track, there is also the so-called Skyscraper on the Kronplatz, a huge swing that provides pure adrenaline.
Hiking South Tyrol: routes for experienced hikers
If you already have some experience and are in good shape, then I’ll show you my favorite peaks for advanced climbers. I myself am not a well-trained hiker with just below average fitness, but even I have no problems with the following hikes.
Hiking in Luttach: Wolfskofel
The 2,050m high Wolfskofel shines every morning in the full splendor of the rising sun. Luttach’s local mountain is “only” at 2,050m, but the ascent is a bit strenuous. As a complete beginner, you should avoid the Wolfskofel on the first day of hiking, as sore muscles are guaranteed. If you want to enjoy the wonderful view without to much effort, then I’ll give you a good tip: Drive by car to the “Großstahlhof”, from there a path leads to the Wolfskofel and you’ll save a lot of time. From here you should be able to climb the summit in about 60 minutes. If, on the other hand, you hike from Luttach or St. Johann, you should calculate about 3-4 hours for the ascent.
Hiking Göden: Grand Cir Peak
The ascent starts from the Passo Gardena in Val Gardena. The summit at 2,520m can already be seen from the starting point and the ascent is relatively short at around 50 minutes.
It’s a steep climb, but you don’t need to be very fit to get to the summit. Good shoes and, if necessary, a climbing helmet is an advantage. The Cir Peak is particularly popular and recommended at sunrise, as soon as everything is bathed in the golden light of the rising sun.
In order to be up in time for sunrise, you should start at 4 a.m. at the Passo Gardena. Around 5:15 a.m. the first rays of sun shine over Val Gardena, a view which you won’t forget for your lifetime.
South Tyrol high tours: Climb 3,000m mountains in Trentino and the Dolomites
South Tyrol has a number of mountains which are 3,000 meters above sea level. The ascent is sometimes very strenuous and only recommended for really good hikers. Since I personally haven’t climbed very many 3,000m peaks, I’ll just present my favorites, which even an experienced hiker with a little less fitness can manage.
Ahrntal hiking: Schwarzensteinhütte St. Johann
In total I made it to the Schwarzensteinhütte 5 times, twice to the Schwarzenstein Spitz and once to the Floit Spitz (same ascent), but the ascent is difficult and only suitable for very experienced hikers.
At 2,922m, the Schwarzensteinhütte is just below the 3,000m mark. However, if you want to climb the Spitz, then you are at 3,369 meters above sea level and you get a superlative panoramic view.
The ascent to the Schwarzenstein Spitz takes up to 9 hours, depending on how fit you are. It is not without risk and you should definitely have good equipment and a change of clothes with you. In any case, I also advise you to take a break at the Schwarzensteinhütte and recharge your batteries before you climb the summit. Also consider that you will need another 5-6 hours for the return, and that you should therefore leave by 4 a.m. at the latest. You also need a headlamp for the ascent, as it is still pitch black at this time.
Sleeping in the mountains of South Tyrol
You want to stay overnight on the amazing mountains and enjoy the sunrise directly at the peak? Then simply spend the night in one of the mountain huts, because there are a large number of them in all regions of South Tyrol. Many of the huts offer sleeping accommodation at over 2,000 m, e.g. B. the Sass Rigais Hütte in Gröden (2,300 m), or the Telemarkhütte in Val Gardena, from which you have a unique view of the surrounding mountains.
If that’s still not enough, the only option is the Schwarzensteinhütte in Ahrntal, which is 2,922 meters above sea level. A total of 30 beds are available here. Or do it like me and just grab a tent and a sleeping bag and spend the night in the wild under the starry sky of South Tyrol and look at the Milky Way over the 3 Peaks.
My summer in South Tyrol’s mountains
If you like this article so far, I would like to show you my video of my summer in South Tyrol and the most beautiful hikes. I hope you like some of the lesser-known “insider tips” among the hiking routes in South Tyrol and wish you lots of fun in the mountains and in nature of the Dolomites and Trentino.
Have you already been hiking the Dolomites? Leave us a comment with your favorite route below.