Cima Pisciadù (2985 m) is a panoramic peak in the Sella Group in the Italian Dolomites. The hike to the Pisciadù summit is one of the most challenging and exhilarating day hikes in the Dolomites.

In this guide, we’ll be describing the hike from Val Setus to Lech dl Pisciadù, the small lake beneath Cima Pisciadù, starting at Passo Gardena in South Tyrol. From the lake, you can extend your hike to Pisciadù Peak.

The hike to Lake Pisciadù and Cima Pisciadù can be done as a circuit, starting and ending at Passo Gardena. That makes sense if you parked your car at the pass, or if you’re staying in Val Gardena. It can also be done as a point-to-point hike, whereby you start at Passo Gardena and end in Colfosoco or Corvara, two towns in Alta Badia. That’s the best option for anyone staying in Colfosco, or Covara.


Cima Pisciadù and Lake Pisciadù Hiking Guide


Lake Pisciadù Trail Options

Option 1: Lake Pisciadù Loop Trail


  • Distance: 8 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Highest Point: Pisciadù Mountain Hut (2587 m)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 910 meters ascending/descending
  • Time Needed: 4.5 – 5 hours with breaks
  • Trails: 666, 676, 651, 29B, 29, 666

Option 2: Cima Pisciadù Loop Trail 


  • Distance: 11 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Highest Point: Pisciadù Peak (2985 m)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1300 meters ascending/descending
  • Time Needed: 6 hours with breaks
  • Trails: 666, 676, 651, 29B, 29, 666

Option 3: Cima Pisciadù to Corvara Trail (what we did)


  • Distance: 12.1 km 
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Highest Point: Pisciadù Peak (2985 m)
  • Elevation Gain: 980 meters ascending
  • Elevation Loss: 1570 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 7 hours with breaks
  • Trails: 666, 676, 651, 28

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Cima Pisciadù Hiking Map


Hiking Gear for Cima Pisciadù

You will encounter several secured sections with ropes, but you don’t need any via ferrata equipment. The ascent route described in this post is a hiking trail. It’s not the Via Ferrata Tridentina. We do suggest bringing hiking poles like these women’s hiking poles, men’s hiking poles to aid your descent down Val de Mezdi.

You should also have a sturdy pair of hiking boots, preferably grade B/C like the women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX / Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (what Kati and I wear) or the men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX.

Other hiking essentials: a reusable water bottle, polarized sunglasses, rain jacket, sunhat, and camera. We love our Sony Alpha A6000 mirrorless digital camera. It’s lightweight, easy to hike with, and captures landscapes beautifully. 



When to Hike to Lake Pisciadù and Cima Pisciadù

Cima Pisciadù Peak Day Hike, Alta Badia, Sella Group, Dolomites
Trail 676

July – Mid-October. In June, there will likely still be snow on the trail. 


Lake Pisciadù / Cima Pisciadù Trailhead

Passo Gardena, Cima Pisciadù Day Hike Trailhead, Dolomites, Italy
Passo Gardena

The hike begins at Passo Gardena/Grödner Joch (2121 m), the mountain pass between Val Gardena and Alta Badia. 


How to get to Passo Gardena

From Alta Badia, take bus line 471 in the direction of Val Gardena. From Corvara (in Alta Badia), the cost was 3 EUR per person and took about 30 minutes. 

From Val Gardena, you can also take bus line 471. From Selva (Wolkenstein), or S. Cristina (St. Christina), you may have to take bus line 350 to Plan. From Plan, you can change to bus line 471. The ride takes 30 min from Selva or 45 min from St. Christina. 


Cima Pisciadù and Lake Pisciadù Trail Description


Passo Gardena to Pisciadù Mountain Hut

Passo Gardena to Pisciadù Hiking Trail, Dolomites, Italy
Trail 666

Passo Gardena is a place where you could linger all-day, watching the light dance across the various peaks and valleys below. The view of Langkofel from the pass is a memorable one. When you’re ready to start, locate trail 666. If you’re facing the direction of Val Gardena, it’s on the left side of the road, opposite the Cir Peaks. 

It takes 2 hours and 10 minutes to hike from Passo Gardena to the Pisciadù refuge and lake.

Initially, you’ll hike along a soft balcony path for about 1.5 kilometers. With views of the serpentine road below and the Cir peaks across the valley, it’s tempting to take a thousand photos.

Trail 666 ultimately intersects a scree slope and shortly thereafter, you’ll join the main trail to Pisciadù mountain hut. This is the Val Setus ascent route.

Trail 666 Pisciadù Hiking Trail, Dolomites, Italy
Trail 666

The ascent is relatively quick as you hike along switchbacks and ultimately along a lengthy secured section (no equipment needed).

The terrain is characterized by crumbling rocks and scree.

When you reach the plateau, it’s a 5-minute walk to the Pisciadù mountain hut (Franco Cavazza al Pisciadù, Pisciadù Hütte, Rifugio Pisciadù), which is located just above the lake.

Located at a lofty elevation of 2,587 m, Rifugio Pisciadù serves as a buoyant gathering place for hikers and climbers. The hut is open from late June until late September.


Pisciadù Mountain Hut to Cima Pisciadù

Hiking up to Cima Pisciadù, Sella Group, Italian Dolomites
Ascent to Cima Pisciadù

You can make the mountain hut your final destination, or continue another 1 hour 10 min to Pisciadù Peak. The ascent to the peak requires the use of both hands and surefootedness. Your ascent is aided with several secured ropes. 

The views along this route are some of the best we’ve ever encountered in the Dolomites. At the top, you’ll see Piz Boè, the highest mountain of the Sella Group. You’ll also see Fanes, Sassongher, more peaks than I can name, and a string of Alta Badia villages. However, what impressed me the most was the vertebrae-like peaks of Sella. It’s like walking through the mountain’s spine.

Hiking to Piz Pisciadù, Sella Group, Dolomites, Italy
Descent from Cima Pisciadù

Lake Pisciadù to Val de Mezdi (Direction: Colfosco)

From the peak, head down the same way you came up. When you reach the lake, follow trail 676 to Colfosco (2 hours). This route is spectacular. The barren rocky landscape looks like a mighty sculpture park.

It’s also difficult. I’d say it’s harder than the ascent. There are some demanding steep passages that require agility and a head for heights. 

Trail 676, Cima Pisciadù, Sella Group, Italian Dolomites

Val de Mezdi to Colfosco 

Trail 676 evens out and you’ll ultimately reach an intersection, where you’ll turn left and continue downhill onto trail 651 in Val de Misdé (Val de Mezdi). The trail marker says 1 hour 10 minutes to Colfosco. 

Trai 651, Descending Val de Misdé (Val de Mezdi), Alta Badia, Dolomites
Trail 651

Val de Mezdi to Passo Gardena 

For those heading back to Passo Gardena:

Continue along trail 651 for 560 meters. Look for a trail on your left signed 29B. You’ll take that path and ultimately 666 back to Passo Gardena. 


Val de Mezdi to Colfosco and Corvara

For those heading to Colfosco, or Corvara:

Continue on Trail 651 all the way to the valley floor. As you descend, a river gushes downhill on your left. The walls of Val de Misdé frame the mountains across the valley, creating a picture-perfect view in the late afternoon. From the valley floor, follow relevant signs. We took trail 28 in the direction of Corvara (signed 40 minutes). The walk to Corvara is flat, easy, and altogether very enjoyable. 

Pisciadu to Corvara Day Hike, Alta Badia, Dolomites
Corvara

Where to stay in Alta Badia

We recommend staying in either Colfosco or in Corvara for this hike.

We stayed in Hotel Col Alto, a 4-star hotel facing Sassongher peak in Corvara. We loved the hotel’s extensive wellness and spa area, the half-board experience, and the accommodating staff.

Book Your Stay in Hotel Col Alto.

Look for accommodation in Corvara.

Look for accommodation in Colfosco.

Read Next: Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer


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