Hiking in the Dolomites during the winter is possible.
When we think about hiking in the mountains, we immediately picture the summer, sunny days, green fields, cool and dry weather, clean air, long walks or bike rides under the clear blue sky of the hotter months which would be unbearable on the seaside. From June until August, many people choose the Dolomites to go hiking at high altitudes, to invigorate their minds and spirits after the stress of everyday urban life. You won’t have to deal with beach umbrellas crammed next to each other. Nor with sleepless nights due to heat or mosquitoes.
However, it is important to remind you that hiking in the mountains is not a summer-only activity. On the contrary, winter in the Dolomites is the perfect season to put your snowshoes and trekking shoes on and enjoy the magic of frozen lakes and the snowy peaks of Passo Rolle, the forests and valleys muffled atmosphere, to admire the elegant deer and the beauty of all wildlife inhabiting those places for centuries.
5 rules to go hiking in the mountains during the wintertime
- Choose the right trail based on the weather and your physical condition. Do not go overboard and always remind yourself to be careful, because in the mountains and on the Dolomites, the landscape changes drastically from summer to winter. A trail can be safe in July and become dangerous in January.
- Always check the weather forecast beforehand and, most importantly, learn how to read an avalanche forecast. If the weather seems to be unfavorable, it is better to give up and wait for another day. Respect the mountain and yourself first.
- The wise man once said “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”. Therefore, always remember to dress appropriately for the climate and the type of activity you are planning to do. An advice for everyone: dress in layers because in the mountains temperature can change quickly, you will be cold at the beginning of your walk and then, as soon as you start going up, you will want to remove gloves, hat, scarf only to be freezing again once you reach the top. Guides and experts of winter hiking recommend to wear a sweat-absorbent undershirt with long sleeves, an insulating jumper, a good windbreaker jacket and zipped winter trousers.
- Trekking generally requires lots of energies and during the winter we burn more calories, that is why you should fill your backpack with a thermos with hot coffee or tea, sandwiches and chocolate bars, they are perfect to restore energy and defeat the cold.
- Equip yourself properly, with snowshoes or crampons, a compass or telescopic poles, start your excursion having prepared and knowing how to use those tools. For example, did you know that if you only have one trekking pole you should always keep it on the side of the mountain while you climb up?
If you follow these simple rules you will have a much safer and more enjoyable winter trekking experience, without having to give up the thrill and adventure of climbing up a glacier.
5 snow excursions on the Dolomites
On the official website on San Martino di Castrozza you can find many tips and recommendations on excursions to do on the Dolomites during the wintertime. We have selected 5 of the most interesting:
- Forest gardens– Looking for Mazarol, the forest elf. An easy, half-day trail, suitable for children and people who have never worn snowshoes before. From San Martino it will lead you into the forest, where professional guides will show you the amazing wildlife and natural richness of the area.
- Colbricon lakes. They are nestled within a breathtaking scenery between the Cavallazza group and the two Colbricon peaks. From the two lakes you can enjoy a unique panorama of the Marmolada and the famous Pale di San Martino group. It is a full-day excursion requiring snowshoes.
- Cima Scarpe. Another full-day excursion with snowshoes. If you choose this trail on the Pale plateau, between 2500 and 2800 metres of altitude, be prepared to see a “desert of white dunes and total silence”.
- The Fradusta glacier. Once again we are on the plateau of the Pale di San Martino which takes on a unique conformation during the winter, with huge snowdrifts and wind-carved entrails. It is one of the most suggestive Alpine excursions and it takes place between 2500 and 2700 metres of altitude.
- Tour of the Malghe. The Malghi or alpine pastures are one of the favorites destinations for hikers, both in summer and winter. Starting from Passo Rolle you will then encounter the snowy pasture of Malga Rolle, touched by the Costoncella river. Once you cross the river you will reach another pasture, Malga Costoncella, a 1.5 km trail created exclusively for snowshoeing. The tour continues after a 900 metres incline to Malga Juribello and Malga Venegia.
So, are you ready to put your snowshoes, rackets or crampons on and start your walk in the snow? Now the only thing left to do is book your hotel on the Dolomites. We will be waiting for you!