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’ve described the hike up Val Setus to Lago Pisciadù, the small mountain lake beneath Cima Pisciadù, starting at Passo Gardena in South Tyrol. From the lake, you can extend your hike to Pisciadù Peak.

There are several secured sections along the ascent. Though via ferrata equipment is not necessary (this is not the Via Ferrata Tridentina), we recommend climbing gloves for comfort like these black diamond half finger gloves.

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

Pisciadu Peak Hike, Sella Group, Dolomites

Option 1: Lake Pisciadù Loop Trail

  • Starting Point: Passo Gardena
  • Distance: 8 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 4:30 – 5 hours with breaks
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 910 meters ascending/descending
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Highest Point: Pisciadù Mountain Hut (2587 m)
  • Trails: 666, 676, 651, 29B, 29, 666

Option 2: Cima Pisciadù Loop Trail 

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

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

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

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Cima Pisciadù Hiking Map

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 calls for some scrambling 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)

Trail 676, Cima Pisciadù, Sella Group, Italian Dolomites

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. 

Val de Mezdi to Colfosco 

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

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. 

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

Pisciadu to Corvara Day Hike, Alta Badia, Dolomites

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 Cir 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. 

Where to stay in Alta Badia

Passo Gardena

Passo Gardena  (Grödnerjoch in German, Jëuf de Frea in Ladin) is the high mountain pass between the Sella Group and the Cir Group in South Tyrol. The pass connects Val Gardena with Val Badia. Many fantastic hikes start directly at the pass including: Cima Pisciadù, Gran Cir, Sass da Ciampac and Crespëina High Plateau, and Rifugio Puez.

Midrange | Hotel Cir is situated directly at Passo Gardena. If you’re eager to hike early (before the crowds descend), or photograph sunrise and sunset, this is the best place to stay. Rooms are simple, but clean. The hotel offers a range of rooms including single, dormitory, and double rooms. Breakfast and dinner are available.


Colfosco (Calfosch in Ladin) is the highest village in Alta Badia, situated at an elevation of 1645 meters, between Corvara and Passo Gardena. It lies at the foot of the Sella Group and Sassongher on the edge of Puez-Odle Nature Park. With mesmerizing views of the Sella Group, Colfosco is an excellent base for actively exploring Alta Badia. Its close proximity to Passo Gardena and Passo Sella, makes it easy to explore Val Gardena and Val di Fassa as well.

Midrange | Hotel Jägerhof is a fantastic alpine hotel and restaurant in Colfosco. With its attractive price point, modern alpine interiors with light wood furnishings, and high-quality cuisine, we recommend booking this gem as soon as possible. The hotel’s spa area comprises a Finnish sauna, steam bath, plunge pool, foot whirlpool, Acquamoon sensory shower, and relaxation room. 

Luxury Apartments | Lüch de Costa is a stylish aparthotel in Colfosco. In 2017, this historic farmstead was transformed into several high-end apartments. This is a great place to stay if you want the independence of an apartment but the convenience and finer features of a hotel (spa area, indoor pool, outdoor whirlpool, breakfast, daily room cleaning). 

Luxury | Hotel Kolfuschgerhof excels on every level, from its excellent wellness facilities and superb Dolomites views to its fine dining, featuring local and Italian cuisine. Design-wise, the hotel is a winning combination of Tyrolean chalet-style and alpine-modern. Expect extraordinary service and the best spa views of your life. 

Look for accommodation in Colfosco.


The town of Corvara is centrally located in Val Badia at the base of Sassongher mountain, between Colfosco and La Villa. It’s the tourist center of Alta Badia and offers the most in terms of shops, restaurants, and accommodations. Several cableways connect Corvara with the surrounding plateaus like Col Alt Pralongià and mountains like Sella easily accessible. 

Midrange | Ciasa De Munt Lifestyle Living strikes just the right balance between urban and the outdoors, with its clean aesthetic, modern elegant lines and location. Guests have access to top-notch wellness facilities, storage lockers, and a  washing machine. A fresh breakfast buffet featuring homemade cakes, cold cuts, and eggs is laid out each morning. Take advantage of the mountainside breakfast offering in their Piz Boé Alpine Lounge (2200 meters). 

Luxury | 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.

Look for accommodation in Corvara.

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