[TRENTINO–ITALY] — “Theeesa eesa the one.” she said, in that lovely Italan way of needing to add a vowel onto every word. “Theesa one is da best hika in the valley. And ifa you goa heer, ita isa the besta viewa inaalla da Dolomites.” That’s Barbara, the owner of my splendid hotel in the Brenta region of the Italian Dolomites. There isn’t just one Dolomite, but many different ranges. But many say this is one of the best sections, centered around the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort, tucked into a valley with over sixty lifts going in all directions.

For those looking for some Vail symmetry and organization, this is done the Italian way. Organically, over the time, with lifts taking off in different directions, lobbing people off at the top and letting them ski down to wherever they want. This is Italy. And it’s also a great way to hike in the summer time. They call this their slow season, since most people just come for the skiing and hit the beach in the summer. But man oh man is it ripe for hiking.

Here’s where we’ll be hiking today, as seen from the BioHotel Hermitage in my other post:

Italian-Style Hiking

Hiking in Madonna di Campiglio in the Dolomites in Italy is just such a nice experience. First, as a ski resort so you can take a gondola to the top and get right in it vs. having to hike up to it. Then you hike from one mountain refuge to the other — rifugio in Italian — and explore different valleys and views all in the same day. Even have a beer or espresso or nice meal right there in the rifugio, above the tree line, in the thick of soaring peaks.

Passo Groste view
There are over sixty lifts in Madonna di Compiglio ski resort spread over an entire valley. A lot of the best hikes you can gondola up to the top of Passo del Groste and then hike to various rifugios spread all along the range. Just because you take the lift up doesn’t mean it is less challenging, you just have less waster ergs getting to the good stuff and more time to explore and cover lots of ground.

Pick your valley, pick how long you want to hike for and pick your destination rifugio and be off. Hike down to a different valley and a shuttle takes you back to your car. Hardcores stay up along the ridgeline and just sleep in different rifugi along the way and go from one range to the next, for a week(s), It’s all so sensible…

Rifugio Tuckett signpost
All the trails are well marked. You pick how long you want to hike and head off.

If you’re thinking of going, here’s the how-to one of the best hikes in the Brenta Dolomites. I only got one good six hour hike in due to weather, but the nice woman who owns my hotel told me about this one and said it’s the best hike one can do unless you’re hardcore. It is challenging, for sure. But hiking here is like nowhere else I’ve been. Very civilized and includes everything I love in life. Views. Comfort. Beer. Coffee. Bathrooms. Air. (Missing water and/or a pool here…)

Rifugio Tuckett — the best hike in the Brenta Dolomites

I’ve taken this hike twice, two years apart. The first time I went, I said “I gotta bring my friends here.” You take the ski lift up to the top of Passo del Groste, which is a great way to get all up in there. Then you cross a roller coaster trail the hugs the sides of the Brenta Range, green valleys to the right, steep cliffs to your left. Up and down you go.

trail to Rifugio Tuckett
You scoot along the mountain ridge on an up-and-downy trail. Some steep parts, but mostly easy.
mountain ridge near Rifugio Tuckett
People used for scale. Can you see them at the bottom?
Trail to Rifugio Tuckett
Refugio Tuckett from afar
And then the clouds peel away and you catch a glimpse of something manmade.
Then, just in time for lunch, you arrive at the beautiful Rifugio Tuckett.
Rifugio Tuckett location
The rifugio is actually several buildings, including a dormitory where thru-hikers take the Alta Via 1 trail can stop in the for the night.
Rifugio Tuckett deck
And then BOOM. You get this amazing view.
Rifugio Tuckett views
It’s just mind-blowing that this is the view from the deck, right where you can have a beer, some great food and then a doppio espresso before continuing on.

The Hike to Rifugio Brentei

You can take the high trail that hugs the walls all the way around to the higher Rifugio Brentei. The trail was dug by WWI troops and even goes through hand-duh tunnels that pop you out on a steep ridge overlooking a dramatic valley and wall of towering cliffs.

Rifugio Tuckett trekking path
This is the route to Tuckett. After passing the Rifugio Tuckett, you can continue around the steep face and get a whole ‘nother valley to see before heading down. You can see it here and in the video below.
Rifugio Tuckett signage
The hike to the next Rifugio Brentei is about an hour and forty. I was running out of daylight and thunderstorms rolling in, so I didn’t make it the whole way.

Click on the video below to watch how steep this is in person:

Trail in Brenta Dolomites
Trail to rifugio brentei
You poke out crouching out of a hand-dug tunnel and the ground drops dramatically. A steep valley and then a giant wall of dolomite yawing at you.
Hike to Rifugio Brentei
That’s the chapel near Rifugio Brentei. You can see the trail along the bottom.
Hike down from Rifugio Tuckett
I had to cut my hike short because of a closing storm. The hike down is steep and tough on the knees, but there are a couple of rifugios closer to the bottom that you can break for a beer and another espresso.
You a see Rifugio Tuckett from your hotel room at night.
Madonna di Campiglio map
Dolomites map
You can see how big the Dolomites actually are. These are just a section of it. The green box is the Brenta range, from earlier posts. These pics are just from the valley in the red box. The Val Badia.

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