The Tremedous Tre Cime di Laveredo Loop, Dolomites, Italy

The Tre Cime (3 Peaks ) of Laveredo hike is a peak Dolomite experience. A spellbinding journey in the Alps from start to finish. There’s so much beauty packed into this short loop—much more than the 3 peaks themselves. There are the jagged limestone crests crowning the expansive panoramic mountain views, the turquoise alpine lakes, and of course, there are the rifugios (3 to go with 3 peaks). It’s easy to see why this hike is among the most popular in the Dolomites.

Distance: 6.75-mile loop, begins at Rifugio Auronzo, Path 101

Rifugio Auronzo

Difficulty: Moderate, depending on fitness level and acclimation to the altitude of 9,839 ft. A mix of up, down, and flats with some solid incline in relatively short mileage. The terrain on the main, wide path is easy—running shoes will do.

Elevation gain: ~2,247 ft

Starting elevation: ~9,839 ft

Sublime, except for the crowds, which are hard to avoid even if you arrive when the parking entrance opens at 8 AM. (There’s a line of cars by 8:15 AM.) However, you can try to outpace the crowds or take one of the more challenging, less-traveled single-track trails that run high above and parallel to the main trail.)

We stopped at the halfway point, Rifugio Locatelli / Drei Zinnen hut, to take in the views of the 3 peaks. I made the best of the puddle reflection photo ops before sauntering down to lakes to soak it all in.

The panoramic views by the lake were dazzling. (Apologies for the dizzy spin.)

At one point, I thought I was having high-altitude auditory hallucinations, the melody of Amazing Grace playing in my head and wafting through the alpine air. It turns out I wasn’t hallucinating. A couple of fellows had brought their bagpipes with them on their hike. Their pro bono concert was short and sweet, with the added excitement of a near fist-to-fist altercation between 2 octogenarian photographers (one Italian, one German?) – one blocking the view and photos of the other and all of us for no apparent reason other than to be objectionable. (Perhaps an Italian vs German thing – apparently there’s still friction between the nationalities that dates back to WW1, continued through WW2, and still exists today—especially in this area of the South Tyrol.) Here’s an interesting article on the long journey to reconciliation.

After the “concert”, we dropped down into the valley and climbed across the ridge underneath the 3 peaks.

We stopped at the Malga Langalm hut to enjoy a hearty lunch in the splendid Alpine wildflower-sprinkled meadow. The Rifugio Locatelli visible in the far distance made it seem like we’d hiked much further than we had.

Sadly, our time in the Dolomites had come to an end. We’d been lucky to do 2 of what many call the top hikes in the area. Both Seceda and Tre Cime rank #1 in my lifetime hikes. The Alps have my heart. It’s not Arrivederci, it’s Ci Vediamo Presto! We’ll See Each Other Soon!

Happy Trails!

Directions: 40 minutes from Cortina d’Ampezzo. Trail begins at Rifugio Auronzo, Path 101.

Notes: €30 entrance fee for parking. Open late May through late October 8 AM-6 PM. Rifugios are open from late June through September. No camping is allowed in the park. For the best views, take the trail counter-clockwise. (Keep the 3 peaks on your left side.)

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