The Dolomites day hike from Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm 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 and then ascend to the Sciliar/Schlern Plateau.
Once you’ve ascended to the plateau, you can visit Rifugio Bolzano and detour to Monte Pez/Petz (2563 m), the highest point of Sciliar/Schlern. The hike continues across the vast 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 like these Unisex Black Diamond Hiking Poles are very helpful for stabilizing your descent on loose terrain.
Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano Circuit Hike
- 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 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2551 meters
- 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 (luxury) on Alpe di Siusi
- Where to Stay in Castelrotto: Schgaguler Hotel (luxury) or Hotel Lamm (luxury)
- Where to Stay in Siusi: Ratzeshof (budget), La Paula Apartments & Suites (midrange), or Sensoria Dolomites (luxury)
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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 to Compacco/Comaptsch.
If you decide to take the gondola, get there at 8 am sharp. While the cableway is an option, you won’t be able to take very many breaks during the hike. We suggest skipping Monte Pez (optional detour) so that you’re not pressed for time.
Address | Schlernstreet, 39 39040 Seis am Schlern. Exact Location: Google Maps.
Parking | There is a large free parking lot at the cableway valley station.
Summer Season | May 25 – November 2, 2022
Operating Times |
- 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
- Adults: 13.50 EUR (one-way ticket), 20 EUR (roundtrip ticket)
- Family Tickets: 30 EUR (one-way ticket), 43 EUR (roundtrip ticket)
- Juniors: 8.50 EUR (one-way ticket), 12 EUR (roundtrip ticket)
- Seniors and Disabled Persons (with ID): 12 EUR (one-way ticket), 17 EUR (roundtrip ticket)
- Dogs: 1.50 EUR (one-way ticket), 3 EUR (roundtrip ticket) – dogs must wear muzzles on the cableway.
- Bicycle Transport: 5 EUR (one-way ticket), 10 EUR (roundtrip ticket)
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.
Parking Lot | Compatsch Parcheggio (aka P2 Car Park). Exact Location: Google Maps.
Parking Fee | 20 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.
Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano (Schlernhaus) Circuit Trail Description
Compaccio to Saltnerhütte (1 hour)
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)
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.
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 (2564 m), the highest point of the Altopiano, in 20 minutes.
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)
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.
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)
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.
Where to Stay near Alpe di Siusi
Siusi allo Scilliar
Siusi allo Sciliar (Seis am Schlern in German) is a village beneath Alpe di Siusi in South Tyrol. The Seiser Alm Aerial Cableway valley station is located in this village.
Budget | Ratzeshof is a hillside farm stay with apartments, located between Siusi and Compaccio. Stay here for the idyllic setting, mountain views, and price point.
Midrange | La Paula Apartments & Suites is a fresh-faced aparthotel in Siusi with lovely rooms, a wellness area (Finnish sauna, steam bath infrared cabin, Salounge, and relaxation rooms), and free parking. Guests love the healthy breakfast featuring locally sourced ingredients as well as made-to-order egg dishes.
Luxury | Sensoria Dolomites (formerly Ritterhof Hotel) is a newly renovated, all-inclusive hotel in Siusi, close to the Alpe di Siusi cableway. With its divinely-crafted interiors and harmonious architecture, Sensoria aims to create a place that nourishes the soul.
The village of Castelrotto (Kastelruth in German, Ciastel in Ladin) is situated at an elevation of 1095 meters, on a plateau above Valle Isarco/Eisacktal valley and beneath Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm.
Castelrotto is only 3.4 km from Siusi allo Sciliar/Seis am Schlern and 11.4 km from Ortisei/St. Ulrich. Notable attractions include the St. Peter and Paul Parish Church, the nearby Chiesa di San Valentino, Monte Bullaccia and the Marinzen meadows.
Luxury | Located in the historic center of Castelrotto, the aesthetically-pleasing Schgaguler Hotel stands out with its high glass windows (designed by Peter Pichler), alpine minimalist design, wellness and spa facilities (2 indoor pools, a whirlpool, a sundeck, and 3 saunas), and knowledgeable staff. Rooms feature tasteful furnishings, a neutral color palette, plush bedding, and an abundance of light.
We highly recommend booking half board, as the hotel kitchen prepares excellent varied and seasonal 4-course meals. Welcome extras include a free bus pass (which includes the bus to Alpe di Siusi) and nearby underground parking garage.
Luxury | The 4-star Hotel Lamm is a modern, design-forward hotel featuring striking interiors, a luxurious rooftop Sky Spa, and an outstanding on-site restaurant (Zum Lampl). Rooms are thoughtfully designed with elegant oak floors and stylish furnishings.
Guests enjoy free underground parking, a complimentary Seiser Alm Live Card (transit card), and a wonderful wellness area (3 saunas, experience showers, relaxation room, rooftop terrace, and sky pool).
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Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials
Use our Dolomites Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip to northeastern Italy.
When to Hike in the Dolomites
The best time to hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. Unlike other regions in the Dolomites, Alpe di Siusi and Val Gardena enjoy a longer summer season. It can start as early as end of May and end as late as early November.
The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary for trip inspiration.
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your can rental as early as possible.
Best Places to Stay
Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created three guides to help you decide where to stay:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer: best villages and towns in South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites: best boutique and luxury hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide: farm stays, mountain huts, wellness hotels, aparthotels
We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.
- Base 1: Val Gardena – Ortisei, Santa Cristina or Selva di Val Gardena
- Base 2: Val di Funes
- Base 3: Alta Badia
- Base 4: Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Base 5: Alta Pusteria – Dobbiaco, San Candido, Sesto, Braies, Val Fiscalina
- Base 6: San Martino di Castrozza
What to See & Do
During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.
Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.
In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites guide, we’ve listed the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Lago di Braies, Prato Piazza, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Lago di Sorapis, Lago Federa, Cadini di Misurina, Seceda, Baita Segantini, and the Adolf Munkel Trail to Geiserlalm
Dolomites Packing List
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Reusable Water Bottle: Ion Leakproof 32 oz Water Bottle
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS ZEISS
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
Dolomites Hiking Guides
Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. For day hiking, check out 25+ Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.
For region-specific hiking trails, check out:
- Best Hikes in Val Gardena
- Best Hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Best Hikes in Alta Badia
- Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide
Here are our favorite day hikes in the Dolomites:
- Tofana di Rozes Circuit near Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Sentiero Bonacossa Trail across the Cadini di Misurina range near Lago Misurina and Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Sass de Putia Circuit Trail starting at Passo delle Erbe, between Alta Badia and Val di Funes
- Col dala Pieres Summit starting at the Col Raiser gondola mountain station above Val Gardena
- Pala di San Martino Circuit Trail starting on the Altopiano delle Pale di San Martino Plateau above San Martino di Castrozza
Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites
Learn More about the European Alps: