About the Alta Via 1

125 km(78 mi)
Type of trail
Long-distance, Hut to hut

Difficulty is highly personal. Be aware of the weather conditions as bad weather turns easier trails in difficult trails especially in the mountains.


Lodging means a mix of hotels, hostels or AirBnB’s.

Mountain huts, Camping
Elevation gain
7300 m(23950 ft)
Mountains, Forest, Hills
Some of the time
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The Dolomites’ Alta Via 1, also known as ‘the glorious one’, is a majestic route, which accompanies the hiker between marvelous peaks and vertiginous walls. If you want to do this route, prepare to be breathless and fall in love with the Dolomites forever.

“A magnificent route, a walk that could not be grander. A true conquest of the Dolomites, a continuous contemplation, delight, and dreaming. Each of the 150 kilometers of the hike will thrill and deeply impress the mountain lover who does not want to tackle the gigantic rock faces.” This is how this traverse is described in the Austrian magazine that first presented the route in 1966. Since then, its fame has increased every year, as have its walkers. Of the 11 high routes in the Dolomites, this is the most famous and most popular. Not only because it was the first to be designed, but because of the variety of majestic places it crosses.

Elisa, profile picture

Elisa Cortelazzo

Born in the city, I was always annoyed by the streets crowded with cars, the buildings that hid the sky, and the rush of people. I soon realized that my place was no longer in Padova but in the white rocks of the Dolomites. So I used to spend the week at the University of Forest Sciences, and the weekend exploring the trails of the Wight Mountains because I wanted to get to know them in all their nuances.

It was my parents who took me to the mountains from an early age. They took me to Val di Zoldo, in the winter with skis on my feet and in the summer to walk, but… I hated it! I was annoyed, all I did was ask, “How much longer?” But then I grew up, and I discovered that walking is essential for me. Scouting then taught me about the outdoors and the satisfaction of long treks in tents. The Italian Alpine Club made me discover mountaineering and the world outside Val di Zoldo. But walking was never enough for me, I was hungry for trails, views, and adventures. So I accumulated experience and kilometers, and in 2021 I realized a dream I had cradled for years: in 3 months I crossed the Alps on foot, from Finale Ligure to Trieste, alone and sleeping in a tent!

On this trip, I searched for my way in these mountains, until I realized that there is nothing that gives me greater joy than bringing people up here and watching their astonished expressions in front of so much beauty. So at the end of the trip, I took the course to become an Environmental Hiking Guide, and now I bring people up here, where falling in love is easy.

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The Trail

One of the points that distinguishes this high route from the others is its ease. Apart from the last stage (the only part of the via ferrata that cannot be avoided), the rest of the trail is on simple, well-trodden paths, where signposts are plentiful and clear and the numerous refuges offer refreshment and shelter. It certainly won’t be an easy route, given the continuous ups and downs that characterize the Dolomites, but the wide range of refuges allows you to customize the trip according to your needs.

The route proposed here is the classic one, the first one described. However, over the years so many variations and options have been added that it is now difficult to establish which is the official route. The stages can be lengthened, shortened, or modified according to one’s needs. Thus one meets people who walk the Alta Via from Braies to Cortina in five days, others who go as far as Val Zoldana or as far as Muda in Agordino. Few also tackle the last two difficult stages. Some even combine the first stages of the Alta Via 1 with the first stages of Alta Via 2, creating a truly explosive mix!


As you plan your trek, you’ll find that often times you’re at the mercy of the huts’ availability. Stay flexible and you’ll be able to find a perfect itinerary!

12-stage itinerary

Stage 1:

Braies lake – Rifugio Biella, 6 km | 3.7 mi

Stage 2:

Rifugio Biella – Rifugio Fanes, 14 km | 8.7 mi

Stage 3:

Rifugio Fanes – Rifugio Lagazuoi, 11 km | 6.8 mi

Stage 4:

Rifugio Lagazuoi – Rifugio Nuvolau, 15 km | 9.3 mi

Stage 5:

Rifugio Nuvolau – Rifugio Città di Fiume, 11 km |  6.8 mi

Stage 6:

Rifugio Città di Fiume – Palafavera, 12 km | 7.5 mi

Stage 7:

Palafavera – Rifugio Vazzoler, 14 km | 8.7 mi

Stage 8:

Rifugio Vazzoler – Rifugio Carestiato, 8 km | 5 mi

Stage 9:

Rifugio Carestiato – Rifugio Pramperet, 13 km |  8 mi

Stage 10:

Rifugio Pramperet – Rifugio Pian de Fontana, 6 km | 3.7 mi

Stage 11:

Rifugio Pian de Fontana – Bivacco Marmol, 6 km | 3.7 mi

Stage 12:

Bivacco Marmol – Belluno, 9 km | 5.6 mi


During this hike, you will spend the night in typical Alpine ‘rifugios.’ A hut is a structure for hikers, offering rest and refreshments to those who tackle long hikes. Do not expect luxury hotels! They are spartan facilities, but the hospitality of the managers, the beautiful views, and the good food will make you love your break.

The rooms are shared, as are the bathrooms. Showers are not always available, water is a precious commodity. You must bring a sheet bag for the night, and slippers. The average cost is 65 to 75 euros per night, including overnight stay, dinner, and breakfast. Don’t forget, before you leave, to take a sandwich with you for lunch!

Reservations are compulsory, and best made in advance. Since this route is very busy, it is best to start booking huts as early as January/February!

The food is simple but tasty, don’t forget to try the typical pastin and grilled cheese!

As already mentioned, this division into stages is not strict. Between one refuge and another, there are almost always 1 or 2 others (or more), which allows you to change the stages according to your needs, or the availability of the refuges.

The last night is in a bivouac. This is a small emergency structure, free and always open. A sleeping bag is obligatory, as is having all the necessary food. There is no heating or bathroom. However, you can extend the stage until you reach the next and last refuge, the Rifugio Settimo Alpini.

Camping on Alta Via 1

Camping is prohibited throughout the Dolomites. However, in recent years, the huts are not able to accommodate all the requests they receive, so it is fairly tolerated. It is common to see people camping along the Alta Via. However, a guard may come and tell you to leave.

If you choose to tent, avoid crowded areas, always leave everything clean, take ALL your rubbish away (including apple cores and toilet paper), and never light fires. If you decide to stay near the hut, always ask permission (and maybe dine in the hut).

Overnights in the mountain huts/accommodations per stage:

Stage 3:

Rifugio Lagazuoi

Stage 4:

Rifugio Nuvolau

Stage 7:

Rifugio Vazzoler

Stage 11:

Bivacco Marmol

Best time of the year

The best time of the year to hike the Alta Via is undoubtedly in summer and early September. As you’re hiking in the mountains be aware that there might be snowfields in early summer and there might be early snowfalls in late summer and early autumn. Generally, the hiking season in the European Alps is limited to the summer months when the weather is milder and the snow has melted, making the trails accessible.

Keep in mind that the weather in the high mountains can change rapidly, and it’s essential to be prepared for various conditions, including sudden rain or snow showers. Always check trail conditions, and local weather forecasts before embarking on a high-alpine hike. Additionally, consider your hiking experience and skill level, as some trails in the high Dolomites can be challenging and require proper equipment and experience.

Rifugios are usually open from mid-June to mid-September.

Safety & Gear

When planning the Alta Via 1, you’ll want to assess elements such the difficulty, length, elevation gain, and terrain. Compare this against your experience and plan your days accordingly.

Check the weather before your hike and each day with the huts. Don’t hike during severe weather conditions, including thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, or extreme heat.

Carefully assess the difficulty of the last two stages, along the Marmol via ferrata. If you are sure you can do it, remember that it is obligatory to have the necessary equipment: harness, via ferrata kit, helmet. Also, if you are sleeping at the Marmol bivouac, you will need a sleeping bag and something to cook yourself a hot meal.

Respect the principles of Leave No Trace by minimizing your impact on the environment. Stick to designated trails, pack out all trash, and show respect for wildlife and natural habitats.

Good to know

The Dolomites are a very popular destination among hikers all over the world. Make sure you book the mountain huts a few months in advance so you secure a sleeping place during the night. Most huts can be booked by sending them an email or applying on their personal website.

The first few days of the walk will be very crowded. You will pass through very famous areas of the Dolomites and meet many others who do the high route. The further south you go, the fewer people you will meet. From Passo Duran (stage 9) onwards you will only find those few daredevils who want to finish the route.

Point to point
Highest point
2752m (9028 ft)


cover guidebook AV1

Guidebook Alta Via 1

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cover guidebook AV1

Trekking the Dolomites AV1

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Terms of Use: important to all visitors on this website. We strive to publish high quality content and information on this website. However it’s always possible that we’re missing out on some crucial information. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps) were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. Therefore, hiking-trails.com and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals hiking or following this route. Should you choose to hike this trail, this is always at your own risk. Check out our guidelines for safety hiking and Leave No Trace principles at the hiking 101 page.

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