The Dolomites day hike from Alpe di Siusi to Rifugio Bolzano/Schlernhaus and Rifugio Alpe di Tires/Tierser Alpl is one of the best full-day hiking excursions in the region. It’s an especially great choice for anyone staying on Alpe di Siusi (near Compatsch/Compaccio) for several days. 

Starting at Compaccio/Compatsch, you’ll hike across the Alpe di Siusi meadows to Saltner Hütte, before ascending to Sciliar/Schlern Plateau. You can visit Rifugio Bolzano and detour (20 minutes one-way) to the highest point of Sciliar/Schlern, Monte Pez/Petz (2563 m), before traversing the Sciliar Altopiano to Rifugio Alpe di Tires. From this outstanding red-roofed hut, you’ll hike over the Denti di Terra Rossa/Rosszahne and descend back to Alpe di Siusi. 

This hike is moderately difficult, due to its length (21.6 km).

One part that may be difficult is the switchback descent from the Forcella Denti di Terrarossa/Rosszahn Scharte. It’s quite steep and the rocks underfoot are loose. We hiked after it rained, so the trail was “matted down,” making it easier. As always, hiking poles are very helpful for stabilizing your descent on loose terrain. 

Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano Circuit Hike

Trail 2, Alpe di Siusi Rifugio Bolzano Circuit, Dolomites
  • Trailhead: Compaccio/Compatch, Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, South Tyrol
  • Distance: 21.6 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderately-difficult because of length
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1115 meters ascending/descending
  • Minimum Elevation: 1822 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 2551 m
  • Route: Compaccio – Saltnerhütte – Rifugio Bolzano – Rifugio Alpe di Tires – Forcella Denti di Terrarossa – Compaccio
  • When to Hike: June – October
  • Where to Eat: Rifugio Bolzano or Rifugio Alpe di Tires
  • Where we stayed: Hotel Steger-Dellai on Alpe di Siusi

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Alpe di Siusi – Rif. Bolzano – Rif. Alpe di Tires Hiking Map

How to Get to Compaccio/Compatsch

Take the Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway at 8 am

Take the Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway (Seiser Alm Bahn – Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi) from Siusi/Seis. If you decide to take the gondola, get there at 8 am sharp. 

  • Late May until Mid-June: 8 am – 6 pm
  • Mid-June until Mid-September: 8 am – 7 pm
  • Mid-September – Early November: 8 am – 6 pm 

While the cableway is an option, you won’t be able to take very many breaks. We suggest skipping Monte Pez (optional detour) so that you’re not pressed for time. 

Drive to Compaccio before 9 am

The road leading to Compaccio is closed during the day (between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.). You must drive to Alpe di Siusi before 9 am. Park at the P2 Car Park at Compaccio (19 EUR per vehicle).

Stay the Night on Alpe di Siusi in/near Compaccio

This is by far the most enjoyable and relaxed approach.

Given the length of this trail, it’s best to stay the night atop Alpe di Siusi. We were very happy to start and end this hike, directly at our hotel: Hotel Steger-Dellai.

Hotel Steger Dellai is a 4-star hotel, located near Compaccio/Compatsch (15-minute walk) along the Hans and Paula Steger Trail (one of the most popular walks on the plateau), and close to Gostner Schwaige (one of the best alpine pasture huts in South Tyrol). 

We decided to stay here because of the location. In addition to hiking this Rifugio Bolzano loop trail, we also wanted to hike the Hans and Paula Steger path and experience sunrise atop Alpe di Siusi. 

What impressed us the most about our stay was the quality of the food and the dining staff. The breakfast buffet is outstanding. We loved the croissants, the hand-operated fresh-squeezed orange juice machine (no disturbing noise), the honeycomb honey, the egg menu, and everything else. Equally enjoyable is the multi-course gourmet dinner, prepared with ingredients sourced from local farms. Head Chef Francesco Cozza fuses Mediterranean and South Tyrolean cuisines, creating highly satiating, delectable dishes.  

Service in Europe is always a toss-up – even at the finest establishments. I’m very happy to report that the dining staff here is attentive, polished, and coordinated. 

Tip: Hotel Steger-Dellai has a wonderful dining room with views of Sciliar/Schlern. Unfortunately, not every dining table has a view. If you stay here, we recommend reaching out to the hotel in advance to request a window seat. We were seated by the buffet area and were envious of other guests’ views. 

Hotel Steger-Dellai is a historic hotel, built by two legendary alpinists – Paula Wiesinger and Hans Steger – after WWII. Paula and Hans were pioneers of sustainable tourism and their legacy is ever-present in their hotel. The hotel was last renovated in 2000. 20 years later, it feels like the hotel would need a facelift. All the essentials are there, but the aesthetics are dated.

Book your stay at Hotel Steger-Dellai.

Find a place to stay on Alpe di Siusi.

Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano (Schlernhaus) Circuit Trail Description

Compaccio to Saltnerhütte (1 hour)

Sciliar/Schlern from Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites

When you arrive on Alpe di Siusi, you’ll be automatically drawn to two mountain groups: Sassolungo/Langkofel and Sciliar/Schlern. The latter group, an ancient coral reef, reminds me of a giant Iguana with a long, sloping back. That’s where we’re headed today. 

From Compaccio/Compatsch, follow trail 7 (paved road) to the Panorama Restaurant

Because we stayed at Hotel Steger-Dellai, we hiked to Panorama via Trails 30B and 6. 

From the Panorama Restaurant, continue on trail 6 in the direction of Saltner Hütte, signed 40 minutes. You’re now steadily walking towards Sciliar/Schlern. 

After about 10 minutes, you’ll turn right (to stay on trail 6) and pass Laurinhütte, which is located at a chairlift mountain station. 

The trail narrows and you’ll hike across some boggy meadows over boardwalks. The trail continues to traverse meadows and then steadily descends along a stone path (slippery after rain) towards Saltner Hütte. 

Saltner Hütte to Rifugio Bolzano (1:45 – 2 hours)

Ascent to Schlern Plateau, Dolomites
Sentiero del Turisti/Touristensteig

From the Saltner hut, the trail continues to head downhill until you cross a stream. 

After crossing the stream, the ascent to Sciliar/Schlern now finally commences. Follow trail 5 (and later trail 1), also called the Sentiero del Turisti/Touristensteig, all the way up to the Sciliar Alpine Plateau (Altopiano dello Sciliar/Schlern Hochflache). 

Initially, you’ll hike through some forest: mostly spruce and larch trees. With increased elevation, the dwarf-pine-lined trail zigzags up an increasingly rocky path. 

When you crest the plateau, follow the flat trail to Rifugio Bolzano (20 minutes). You’ll see the Catinaccio/Rosengarten range as well as the distinct Latemar massif straight ahead. Grazing cows roam about freely atop the plateau. Make sure to keep a safe distance and do not attempt to touch, or in any way disturb the animals. 

Sciliar/Schlern Plateau, Dolomites
Sciliar Plateau

The prominent Rifugio Bolzano (Schlernhaus), backed by the Catinaccio, occupies an impressive position on the plateau. From the hut, you can easily hike up to Monte Pez/Petz, the highest point of the Altopiano, in 20 minutes. 

Rifugio Bolzano/Schlernhaus, Dolomites

Archeological finds suggest that Monte Pez was the site of animal sacrifice from prehistoric times all the way up until the Middle Ages. And, local legend links Monte Pez to witches’ sabbaths. 

We didn’t see any witches atop Pez, but we did enjoy the view.

Rifugio Bolzano to Rifugio Alpe di Tires (2 hours)

Catinaccio/Rosengarten Trail 4, Dolomites
Trail 4

Backtrack along trail 1 for about 10 minutes, until reaching a trail intersection. Continue on trail 4. 

Trail 4 follows the spine of the Schlern massif, initially descending and then eventually ascending.

After about an hour, you’ll come to an intersection. Head right on trail 4 to Alpe di Tires/Tierser Alpl, signed 50 minutes. The descent begins. 

After the pasture gate, you’ll be met with wondrous views of Catinaccio/Rosengarten. The trail continuously descends, heading east, between the Sciliar massif and Catinaccio mountains. 

Trail 4 to Rifugio Alpe di Tires, Dolomites
Trail 4, Rifugio Alpe di Tires is located on the saddle.

Though very narrow at times, the trail is well-kept. 

Eventually, trail 3 joins our trail 4. Soon after, you’ll hike up to Tierser Alpl (easy ascent).  Tierser Alpl is located at the foot of the jagged Denti di Terrarossa.

If time allows, we highly recommend eating in Tierser Alpl. This is one of our favorite huts in the Dolomites. More hikes to Tierser Alpl:

Rifugio Alpe di Tires to Compaccio/Compatsch (2:30 – 3 hours)

Tierer Alpl to Forcella Denti di Terrarossa/Rosszahn Scharte, Dolomites
Trail 2, Catinaccio/Rosengarten Mountains

After lunch, follow trail 2 for 10 minutes to the Forcella Denti di Terrarossa/Rosszahn Scharte gap. Along the way, you’ll see Marmolada, Antelao, Pelmo, and the Sella Group. 

Hike over the gap and descend to Alpe di Siusi. This switchback descent can be slippery. You’ll descend for about 30 minutes, before the trail levels out. 

Once it does, it’s easy walking from here on out. Though, the hike is by no means over. Trail 2 cuts across green slopes and alpine pastures. You’ll hike across a sea of wildflowers along boardwalks. It’s a romantic ending to a very epic hike. 

Trail 2 brings you all the way back to the Panorama Restaurant. From here, follow the road (trail 7) to Compaccio. 

Trail 2 across Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites
Trail 2

Related: Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites

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