[VAL BADIA, ITALY] — The Dolomites are aren’t just one range, but dozens. Kinda confusing, especially for me, to piece it all together. It’s all called “Dolomites” or “Alto Adige” and “Süd Tyrol” … and in a part of Italy that was once part of Austria. So the names are always in three languages. But no matter what you call it, go there.

I’ve previously posted pics from the Brenta range. These are just from Val Badia (or also called Alta Badia!), a spectacular valley that is just a fraction of the Dolomites greatness. I can’t wait to go back and figure out the rest. I recommend basing out of the cute as a button San Cassiano village, a glamorous little ski village, but in the summer is a fraction of the price. Go for a week or more. You can spend that in a single valley. Go for two or more and explore the other ranges.

This post focuses on just a single long, 7-9 hour hike through the great Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Reserve. I wanted to blow this out a little to show you how spectacular hiking is in the Dolomiti.  One long hike, hut to hut and town to town, across a broad mountain plateau and a marching line of stupendous mountains.

I was in disbelief when I was loading up my backpack with water and sandwiches when the owner of my hotel — the super-helpful Hugo Pizzinini of the world famous Rosa Alpina hotel in San Cassiano — said “you don’t need to bring water, there is water along the way. And great food. Grabbing my map, he said “You can stop here, here and here for water. Here for a beer. This is the rifugio with the best food.”  Living near the Rocky Mountains, where you have to pack everything you need, this was an incredulous thought. But just watch and see below. “You can then hike back down to this trail and call us and we’ll come pick you up and go get your car.”  Now that’s amazing service.

You park your car at a roomy parking lot at one end of the trail, then an intense hour or so hike straight up the Fanes plateau. From there there are dozens of spinoff trails to other valleys, great rifugi to stop, refresh and keep going. There are details under each picture that tell the rest of the story. CLICK ON A PICTURE TO OPEN UP THE GALLERY.

IMG_3206 from YouShouldGoHere on Vimeo.

I thought I was almost down…then saw what I still had to go through…

Here’s a little movie overview of a week in hiking in the Sud Tyrol, or Italian Dolomites:

Here’s an AWESOME article in the NY Times about hiking in the same general area. I couldn’t believe it posted two weeks after I returned!  I think the author took the exact same hike within a week or two of when I was there. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/travel/italy-dolomites-hiking-trekking-camping.html


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