3 Day Catinaccio Rosengarten Dolomites Trek

Catinaccio Rosengarten Dolomites Trek

The Rosengarten (Catinaccio) group is a massif in the Italian Dolomites in Northern Italy between Val di Fassa in Trentino and Val d’Ega/Eggental in South Tyrol. 

Rosengarten means “Rose Garden” in German. It’s a reference to the mythic tale of King Laurin and his rose garden.

At sunset, these striking mountains glow crimson and orange, inspiring the name and association with King Laurin’s legendary roses.

We created this 3-day trek across the Rosengarten so that we could see the Vajolet Towers, experience the Santner Klettersteig (optional), and revisit our favorite rifugio: Tierser Alpl.

We’d label this trek as moderately-difficult, though it certainly encompasses some very easy stretches. Each day is on the shorter side, so you have ample time to take breaks and savor the views along the way.

It’s also possible to combine Stages 1 and 2, especially if you start the trek at Kölner Hütte.

When to Hike across Catinaccio Rosengarten 

Mid-June until mid-October. You need to time your trek with the opening times of the mountain huts. All huts are open until late September.

Only Santnerpasshütte, Gartlhütte (Stage 1) and Tierser Alpl (Day 2) are open until mid-October, depending on snow conditions. 

Rosengarten Dolomites Hut to Hut Hiking Route

Stage 1: Carezza / Karersee – Paolina Hütte – Kölnerhütte – Santner Klettersteig – Santnerpasshütte  – Gartlhütte | 3:30 hours, 6.3 km

Stage 2: Gartlhütte – Rifugio Vajolet – Grasleitenpasshütte / Rifugio Passo Principe  – Molignon Pass  – Tierser Alpl / Alpe di Tires | 3:30 hours, 6.4 km

Stage 3: Tierser Alpl / Alpe di Tires – Passo Duran – Plattkofelhütte / Rifugio Sasso Piato – Passo Sella / Sellajoch | 4 hours, 12.5 km

Rosengarten Circuit Route

We planned a linear route through the Rosengarten mountains, because we were traveling without a car. Over the years, many readers have asked us how to turn this hike into a circuit.

One way to turn this into a circuit is to start atop Alpe di Siusi. There’s a free car park at the Siusi-Alpe di Siusi cable car valley station. Take the gondola up to start the trek.

Stage 1: Compaccio/Compatsch (Alpe di Siusi) – Rifugio Bolzano – Rifugio Alpe di Tires (14.2 km / 5:10 hours) – Follow this Rifugio Bolzano day hike route.

Stage 2: Rifugio Alpe di Tires – Gartlhütte (base of Vajolet Towers) – Rifugio Antermoia (12.1 km / 5:15 hours) – Hike to Gartlhütte at the base of the Vajolet Towers (no via ferrata required). Return to Principe Pass Refuge and then continue to Rifugio Antermoia. 

Stage 3: Rifugio Antermoia – Rifugio Sasso Piatto – Alpe di Siusi – Compaccio/Compatsch (17.8 km / 6 hours) – Hike back to Alpe di Siusi, passing Rifugio Sass Piatto along the way. Detour to Rauchhütte for unforgettable food and wine to celebrate the end of your trek.

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Catinaccio Rosengarten Dolomites 3 Day Hut to Hut Hike

Rosengarten Dolomites Trek Overview

  • Where are the Rosengarten Dolomites
  • Rosengarten Hiking Route Map
  • Tips for Hiking Hut to Hut in the Dolomites
  • Arrival Day in Carezza: Transit, Where to Stay
  • Stages 1 – 3: Explained: Stage Overview, Where to Stay
Hut to Hut Hiking
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Santner via ferrata, Dolomites

Rosengarten Dolomites Trekking Route Map

  • Rosengarten Stage 1
  • Rosengarten Stage 2
  • Rosengarten Stage 3
  • Bus Stops / Public Transit
  • Alternative Circuit Route
  • Places to Stay before/after the Trek
Vajolet Towers, Catinaccio Rosengarten Dolomites

Tips for Hiking Hut to Hut in the Rosengarten Dolomites

Make Reservation for Rifugios

Make reservations for overnight stays in advance. Depending on the mountain hut, you can either reserve a mattress in a dormitory-room (Lager), or a private room.

Buy a Trail Map

For this trek, we recommend the Tabacco Rosengarten Map 1:25:000.

Bring enough Cash and Budget for 80 – 120 EUR per person per day

Not all rifugios accept credit cards.

  • Half Board: 65 – 85 EUR per person. Half board includes board, breakfast and dinner.
  • Lunch: 15 – 20 EUR per person
  • Chairlift: 13 EUR one-way

Pack these Mountain Hut Essentials

Sleeping Bag Liner | Each hut provides sheets, blankets, and pillows, but you need to bring a sleeping bag liner.

Hut Slippers | Hiking boots are not allowed in the bedrooms/sleeping areas of the hut. It’s important to bring slippers you can wear indoors and shower in.

Pack these Hiking Gear Essentials

Trekking Backpack | The best hut to hut trekking backpack is the Women’s Osprey Packs Kyte 36 and Men’s Osprey Packs Kestrel 38

Hiking Poles | Trail Poles are extremely helpful for hiking down scree slopes and other unstable terrain. We love these Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Cat 4 Sunglasses | Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses

Grade B or Grade B/C Hiking Boots | It’s essential to wear sturdy, high-cut hiking boots in high-alpine limestone terrain.

Read our complete hut to hut hiking packing list.

Via Ferrata Kit (Optional)

A via ferrata kit is only necessary if you choose to ascend to Gartlhütte via the Santner Klettersteig. A via ferrata kit consists of three parts: (1) a climbing helmet, (2) a climbing harness, and (3) a via ferrata lanyard. In addition, climbing gloves are very useful. We love the Black Diamond half finger gloves.

Climbing Helmet

Climbing Harness


Rifugio Alpe di Tires Indoor Dining Room

Which Direction to Hike in

Because this is a point-to-point hike, you can either start the trek in Karersee (Carezza) or at Sella Pass. If you want to do the via ferrata, you need to start in Karersee (Carezza).

It’s always easier and preferred to ascend a via ferrata route. Descending is so much harder. And, honestly, it’s kind of rude – as you’ll have to pass ascending climbers, which can be potentially unsafe and irritating.

If you’re not doing the via ferrata, you can start at either point. However, the trail unfolds more beautifully if you start in Karersee.

Sporthotel Alpenrose, Latemar Group, Dolomites

Arrival Day in Karersee (Carezza)

How to Get to Karersee (Carezza)

There’s a direct bus (line 180) from Bolzano (Bozen) to Lake Carezza (Karersee). The bus is operated by Südtirol Mobil and takes 55 minutes. It costs 4.50 EUR per person.

The village of Carezza (Karersee) takes its name from the Instagram-famous Lake Carezza (Karersee).

Where to Stay in Carezza (Karersee)

Sporthotel Alpenrose, Carezza, Karersee, South Tyrol

Midrange Sporthotel Passo Carezza is located at Passo Carezza (Karerpass) mountain pass. This modern property offers 18 comfortable rooms and suites featuring bold patterns and vibrant colors. Breakfast and spa access are included in the room rate. There’s an on-site snack bar and a few restaurants located nearby.

Luxury | We stayed at Sporthotel Alpenrose before trekking across the Rosengarten Dolomites. The hotel location is unbeatable for starting this hike, since it’s located at the Paolina chairlift valley station. 

Positioned between the  Latemar and Rosengarten mountains, Hotel Alpenrose flaunts arresting mountain views. Even from the indoor-outdoor pool, you can savor the alpine landscapes whilst swimming, or swinging away on their ceiling lounge chairs.

Highlights of our stay were the outstanding 5-course dinner menu, the wellness facilities, and the bountiful breakfast. The hotel also has a lodge-style lounge and bar, which is a great place to grab a drink before dinner.

Because day 1 of the trek is on the shorter side, you can enjoy a long, luxurious breakfast here, before setting off.

The mountain village of Carezza / Karersee is very small. So, if you needed any last minute supplies or a pharmacy, you have to head to the next town: Nova Levante (Welschnofen).

Look for accommodation in Carezza.

Where to Stay in Nova Levante (Welschnofen)

If you want to stay in a more town-like setting, Nova Levante is the better choice for you.

Budget-Midrange | Haus Herta B&B is a guesthouse with sparkling clean rooms. Guests are treated to a delicious homemade breakfast. 2 nights minimum stay.

Midrange | Stern B&B & Suite Apartments is a 3-star superior hotel in Nova Levante with a wellness area and indoor pool. Breakfast is included.

Luxury | Tyrol Living & Cafe is a luxurious aparthotel with an alpine-modern aesthetic. Guests love the location, new amenities, and on-site café.

Look for accommodation in Nova Levante.

Santner via ferrata, Dolomites

Getting to the Trailhead

This Catinaccio Rosengarten trek begins with a chairlift ascent. You have two options.

Paolina Chairlift

To start the hike, take the Paolina chairlift up to Paolina Hütte (Rifugio Paolina).

The Paolina chairlift is open from 8 / 8:30 am – 5:30 / 6:00 pm (times vary based on month), from early June until mid-October. See the exact opening hours and dates here (under Rosengarten). It costs 13 EUR for a one-way ticket. 

König Laurin I + II Gondola

Alternatively, you can also take the König Laurin I + II gondolas from Nova Levante (Welschnofen) via Malga Frommeralm to Kölner Hütte (Rifugio Fronza alle Coronelle). It costs 14 EUR for a one-way ride (Laurin I + II). 

We took the Paolina chairlift because it’s a 1-minute walk from Sporthotel Alpenrose, where we stayed the night. If you take the Paolina chairlift, your hike on day 1 will be 1-hour longer (totally doable).

There’s no better, or preferred option. Simply take the chairlift/gondola that’s closer to your accommodation.

Vajolet Towers, Catinaccio Rosengarten Dolomites

Rosengarten Dolomites Trek Route Description

Rosengarten Dolomites Trek Stage 1

Day 1 (with the Via Ferrata):
Paolina Hütte (2125 m) – Kölnerhütte (2337 m) – Santner Klettersteig – Santnerpasshütte (2734 m) – Gartlhütte (2621 m)

  • Starting Point: Paolina Hütte
  • Ending Point: Gartlhütte
  • Distance: 6.3 km
  • Time Needed: 3:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 735 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 259 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
  • Min. Elevation: 2126 meters
  • Max. Elevation: 2752 meters
  • Special Equipment Needed: Via Ferrata Kit
  • Trail: 552

Alternative Day 1 (without the Via Ferrata):
Paolina Hütte (2125 m) – Kölnerhütte (2337 m) – Tschagerjoch / Passo delle Coronelle (2635 m) – Rifugio Paul Preuss (2243 m) – Rifugio Vajolet (2243 m) – Gartlhütte (2621 m)

  • Starting Point: Paolina Hütte
  • Ending Point: Gartlhütte
  • Distance: 8.7 km
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1009 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 533 meters
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Min. Elevation: 2126 meters
  • Max. Elevation: 2632 meters
  • Special Equipment Needed: None 
  • Trails: 552, 550, 541, 552

About the Santner Via Ferrata

Santner Via Ferrata, Rosengarten Catinaccio Dolomites

This was the first intentional via ferrata Kati and I did. The assisted climbing section was surprisingly short. And, it wasn’t very difficult. At all times, we felt extremely secure.

I was nervous throughout the whole route, always anticipating that the “hard stuff” was coming up. But, it never did. It just looks intimidating. So, when we finished the route, it felt surprisingly easy. 

We know our readers have different hiking backgrounds. So, let me add this. If you’ve done a via ferrata, the Santner Klettersteig will likely be easy for you.

If you’ve never done a via ferrata, but have a lot of alpine hiking experience, are conditionally fit and comfortable using your hands to climb, and don’t suffer any vertigo, this will be fun and only moderately difficult.

If you hike a lot in coastal areas or on generally flat terrain (not in the mountains), then this will be a challenge. 

If you decide to do the via ferrata, make sure to wear a full kit.

Paolina Hütte to Kölnerhütte

Santner Klettersteig, Rosengarten Catinaccio Dolomites

From the Paolina chairlift mountain station (Rifugio Paolina Hütte), take trail 552 to Kölnerhütte (Rifugio Fronza alle Coronelle).

It took us 1 hour and 10 minutes to hike the mostly level balcony trail to Kölnerhütte. The views of the Latemar mountains are marvelous. 

Kölnerhütte to Santnerpasshütte (2734 m) via Santner Klettersteig

Santner Pass to Gartlhütte, Rosengarten Dolomites hike

From Kölnerhütte, the trail ascends immediately behind the hut. After a short steep section, the trail splits. If you’re doing the Santner via ferrata, take the left trail numbered 542.

If you’re doing the hiking route, take the right trail numbered 550 in the direction of Tschagerjoch (Passo delle Coronelle).

After turning left at the trail intersection, the path is quite level initially. After 30 minutes of mostly flat walking, the trail ascends.

You don’t need any equipment initially, but it’s a good idea to put on your harness and helmet right here.

Follow the red-painted trail markers, which are either lines or “Ss.” The markers will guide you through the mountains along the route. 

It took us 2 hours to hike from the Kölnerhütte to Santnerpasshütte, the mountain hut at Santner mountain pass.

However, the via ferrata was clogged up with two large guided groups, so we spent a lot of time waiting. If you’re not following guided groups (hopefully), then it should take far less time. 

When you reach the Santner pass, the views open up and you can see the magical Vajolet Towers. As you descend to Gartlhütte, this views continue to marvel.

Where to Stay the Night

You have lots of options for Day 1:

Location-wise, we recommend staying in either Gartlhütte (Rifugio Re. Alberto) or Santnerpasshütte (Rifugio Passo Santner).

That way you can catch the sunset and sunrise at the towers. If you stay in Rifugio Vajolet or Rifugio Paul Preuss, you’re a good 40 minute-hike away from that picture-perfect scene of the towers. 

Santnerpasshütte (2734 m)

  • Showers: Currently none
  • Drinking Water: Tap water isn’t drinkable. You can purchase water bottles, or purify. 
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Readily available and free.
  • Payment: Cash only
  • Half Board or à la carte: Half board only with a 4-course dinner.
  • Rooms: Double Rooms and Dormitory. 
  • Open: June – Mid October – depending on snow conditions.
  • Cost: 85 EUR for half board.

Gartlhütte, Dolomites

Gartlhütte (2621 m)

  • Showers: Yes, Coin-operated (3 EUR)
  • Drinking Water: tap water isn’t drinkable
  • Electronic Charging Stations: In the dining room
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Half Board or à la carte: Both available. 
  • Rooms: Dormitory and private rooms available. 
  • Open: Mid June – Early October – depending on snow conditions.
  • Cost: 65 EUR for half board. 45 EUR for breakfast and board.
Sciliar-Catinaccio/Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park

Rosengarten Dolomites Trek Stage 2

Day 2:
Gartlhütte (2621 m) – Rifugio Vajolet (2243 m) – Grasleitenpasshütte / Rifugio Passo Principe (2601 m) – Molignon Pass (2598 m) – Tierser Alpl / Alpe di Tires (2440 m)

  • Starting Point: Gartlhütte
  • Ending Point: Tierser Alpl
  • Distance: 6.4 km
  • Time Needed: 3:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 595 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 753 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate / Difficult 
  • Min. Elevation: 2267 meters
  • Max. Elevation: 2613 meters
  • Special Equipment Needed: None 
  • Trails: 584, 11A, 3A

Gartlhütte to Grasleitenpasshütte (Rifugio Passo Principe)

Rifugio Passo Principe, Dolomites

The hike today isn’t very long, but it involves many ascents and descents. In fact, you’ll be making 3 separate descents and 2 ascents. 

From Gartlhütte, you’ll descend for about 40 minutes to Rifugio Vajolet. This section is steep and requires careful footing, as the terrain is unstable. It’s kinda tedious. 

From Rifugio Vajolet, follow trail 584 for 50 minutes up to Grasleitenhütte (Rifugio Passo Principe), the mountain hut at Grasleitenpass (Passo Principe) 

Grasleitenhütte is a darling rifugio wedged into the side of the mountain. It’s cozy and warm and smells like freshly baked cinnamon cake. The weather wasn’t great, so we took a long break here and enjoyed their vegetable soup and baked goods. 

Grasleitenpasshütte (Rifugio Passo Principe) to Tierser Alpl (Rifugio Alpe di Tires)

Between Grasleitenpass and Molignon Pass, Rosengarten

From Grasleitenpass, it’s 2 hours to Tierser Alpl. You’ll initially descend along trail 11A and then ascend to Molignon Pass along trail 3A. This section is characterized by hairpins that traverse scree slopes. 

From Molignonpass, it’s about 30 minutes to Tierser Alpl. As you hike across the rocky plateau, keep your eyes out for the Geisler (Odle) peaks off to the right and Tierser Alpl.

The view of the red-roofed mountain hut beneath the Rosszähne (Denti di Terrarossa) is one of my favorite views in the Dolomites.

The final descent is secured (no equipment needed). When you reach level ground, it’s a short flat walk to the hut. 

Stay in Tierser Alpl (2440 m)

View of Tierser Alpl

  • Showers: Yes, Coin-operated (4 EUR for a 3 min shower)
  • Drinking Water: tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Throughout hut, free. 
  • Half Board or à la carte: Both available. You can decide when you sit down for dinner. We highly recommend half board.
  • Rooms: Dormitory and private rooms available. 
  • Open: Late May – Mid-End October
  • Cost: from 78 EUR for half board / from 52 EUR for b&b
Trail between Tierser Alpl and Plattkofelhütte

Rosengarten Dolomites Trek Stage 3

Day 3:
Tierser Alpl / Alpe di Tires (2440 m) – Passo Duran (2204 m) – Plattkofelhütte / Rifugio Sasso Piato (2300 m) – Passo Sella / Sellajoch  (2100 m)

  • Starting Point: Tierser Alpl
  • Ending Point: Passo Sella
  • Distance: 12.5 km
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 361 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 627 meters
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate 
  • Min. Elevation: 2175 meters
  • Max. Elevation: 2447 meters
  • Special Equipment Needed: None 
  • Trails: 4, 594, 557

Tierser Alpl to Plattkofelhütte

Lunch at Plattkofelhütte / Rifugio Sasso Piato, Dolomites

Day 3 is longer in distance than the first two days, but it’s quite level most of the time. There are no long, dramatic elevation gains. 

Initially, you’ll follow a gravel road down to Passo Duran for about 50 minutes. The beautiful Val Duron valley is off to your right. It’s a 2-hour walk from Tierser Alpl to Plattkofelhütte. You’ll pass pastures full of grazing cattle and horses, before reaching Plattkofelhütte.

Plattkofelhütte (Rifugio Sasso Piato) is the perfect place for a relaxed and indulgent lunch. This hut is situated on the well-known Sassolungo (Langkofel) circuit trail.

Plattkofelhütte to Sella Pass

To reach Sella Pass, you have two options. The easier and faster option is to hike right onto trail 557 via Rifugio Friedrich – August.

The more difficult and longer route is to hike left onto trail 527 and then 525 via Langkofelhütte.

Where to Stay after the Trek: Passo Sella (Sellajoch)

Luxury | Passo Sella Dolomiti Mountain Resort is located directly at the end of the trail at Sella Pass.

Where to Stay after the Trek: Val Gardena – Selva (Wolkenstein)

If you want to continue your journey in the Dolomites, we recommend heading to Val Gardena next. There are busses that connect Sella Pass to Val Gardena.

Take Bus 471 from Passo Sella (Schutzhaus Sellajoch) to Plan. Then take Bus 350 from Plan to Selva (Wolkenstein), Santa Cristina, or Ortisei.

Between mid-June and mid-September, the bus departs every 30 minutes. For more info and timetables, use the journey planner on

Selva is the closest town in Val Gardena to Sella Pass (30-minute bus ride). It lies between the Sassolungo and the Puez-Odle groups at the foot of the flat-topped Sella Massif, one of the most awe-inspiring mountains in the Dolomites.

Budget | Family-run Hotel Garni Morene is a clean and comfortable guesthouse, set in an idyllic location outside the town center of Selva. Stay here for the unbeatable price, mountain views, and hospitality. Breakfast included.

Luxury | Linder Cycling Hotel stands out with its bold architecture, stylish urban accents, and laid-back atmosphere. Beyond the captivating design, Linder Cycling Hotel boasts excellent facilities, including a rooftop terrace, indoor pool, bar and the à la carte Luis Eatery restaurant.

5-star Luxury | Hotel Granbaita Dolomites is an ode to alpine elegance. This stately hotel pampers guests with its lavish rooms, extensive spa area (7 saunas, indoor-outdoor pool, fitness room, spa), and decadent tasting menus. Book half board.

Look for accommodation in Selva (Wolkenstein).

Read Next: Best Hikes in Val Gardena and Best Hotels in Val Gardena

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