The Adolf Munkel Trail (Via delle Odle) is a hiking path at the foot of the Geisler/Odle Group in Val di Funes (Villnösstal), South Tyrol, Italy. Dramatic, varied, and unforgettable, the Adolf Munkel Trail weaves its way through forest and alpine meadows, reaching a zenith at Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm and Rifugio Odle/Geisler Alm. 

From these fairytale-like alpine pastures, the sawtooth Odle/Geisler peaks rise up like daggers slashing the sky. The Dolomites are full of dramatic places that look like they’ve been torn from pages of a fantasy epic, and this is one of them. 

While this hike is an ode to the Geisler Group, it’s also an opportunity to savor the alpine pasture culture of the Dolomites. There are three opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry along the route and we hope you indulge.

Adolf Munkel Trail: Must-Do Hike in Val di Funes

Adolf Munkel Trail, Dolomites, Italy Travel Guide
  • Trailhead: Zannes/Zans in Val di Funes, South Tyrol
  • Distance: 9.2 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 3 – 3:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 378 meters ascending/descending 
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Trails: 36, 35, 6
  • Route: Zannes/Zans (1680 m) – Dusler Alm (1782 m) – Rifugio Odle/Geisler Alm (1996 m) – Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm (2006 m) – Zannes/Zans (1680 m)
  • Where to Eat: Dusler Alm, Geisler Alm, or Gschnagenhardt Alm
  • Where to Stay: Fallerhof (budget), Hotel Fines (midrange) or Hotel Tyrol (luxury) in Santa Maddalena, Val di Funes

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Adolf Munkel Trail Map

When Can You Hike the Adolf Munkel Trail

Odle Group, Dolomites

Early June until mid-October, weather depending. Given the popularity of this trail, we recommend hiking early, or late in the season. October is an ideal month to hike the Adolf Munkel Trail.

Related: Hiking in the Dolomites in October

Best Time of Day to Hike the Adolf Munkel Trail 

We recommend starting this hike in the late afternoon when the peaks are illuminated by the sun.

Which Direction to Hike the Adolf Munkel Trail

Adolf Munkel Trail, Geisler Group, Val di Funes, Dolomites, Italy
Hiking towards the Geisler Group

There are a few variations of the Adolf Munkel Trail, with the most common route starting in Zannes/Zans. 

When we first hiked the Adolf Munkel Trail a few years ago, we walked clockwise (the popular direction) from Zannes/Zans, starting on trail 6 and ending on traiI 36. I remember promising myself that if I ever hiked it again, I’d do it in reverse.

The reason is that if you hike clockwise, you won’t be facing the Odle/Geisler Peaks along the most memorable part of the Adolf Munkel Trail. So, when we hiked the trail again in October, we hiked counter-clockwise. It does feel like you’re going against the current, but I think it’s worth it. 

Other variations of the Adolf Munkel Trail begin in Ranui in Val di Funes. From Ranui, follow trail 28 to Rifugio Brogles/Brogles Hütte. Next, continue along the Adolf Munkel Trail (#35) to Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm and then complete the circuit to Ranui via Trail 34.

Adolf Munkel Trail Description

Trail 36, Val di Funes, Italian Dolomites
Trail 36 splitting from the forest road

Zans to Dusler Alm (40 minutes)

Dusler Alm, Val di Funes, South Tyrol
Dusler Alm

Read How to Visit Val di Funes for driving and transit directions to the valley. Continue driving to the head of the valley until you arrive at Zannes/Zans. There are three parking lots at Zannes. Pay the parking fee at the booth and park in the middle, or right parking lots. Parking Fees:

  • 8 EUR, when arriving between 7 am and 1 pm, all year round
  • 3 EUR, when arriving after 1 pm, all year round
  • 2 EUR, if you’re a valley guest. Present your DolomitiMobil Card to receive the discount. Both Hotel Fines and Hotel Tyrol give DolomitiMobil Cards to their guests, at no extra charge.

If you arrive by foot, or by bus, look for several stacked wooden trail signs near the bus stop and Treffpunkt (“meeting point”) Zans. Following the sign to Dusler Alm (Trail 36, 40 minutes), turn right and walk over the bridge. Trail 36 begins at the green gate, the entrance to the forest road, at the end of the parking lot. 

Walk along the forest road for a few minutes, until the trail splits, bearing left towards Dusler Alm. 

Follow this forest path. After about 15 minutes, the trail divides. Continue left to Dusler Alm (signed 20 minutes). You’ll gain elevation quickly via a series of steps. 

When you emerge from the forest, the Odle/Geisler peaks will greet you. Continue along the grassy footpath to Dusler Alm.

Dusler Alm to Geisler Alm (40 minutes)

Geisler Alm, Val di Funes, Hiking the Adolf Munkel Trail, Dolomites
Geisler Alm

From Dusler Alm, continue straight along the gravel track. After a few meters, you’ll make a left, followed by a quick right to stay on 36. Geisler Alm is signed 35 minutes. 

The trail continues to ascend through the forest for another 30 minutes. Shortly before arriving at the alpine pasture, the trail splits. Take the right path. When you reach the gravel road, turn left and walk to Geisler Alm. 

Geisler Alm is one of the most popular photography spots in the Italian Dolomites. From here, and the nearby Gschnagenhardt Alm, the Geisler/Odle Group is at its most magnificent.

From left to right, you’ll see a dynamic ensemble of peaks: Campiller Turm (2599 m), Wasserstuhl (2610 m), Wasserkofel (2924 m), Odla di Valdussa (2942 m), Furchetta (3025 m), Sass Rigais (3025 m), Nordwandtürme (2920 m), Mainzer Nade (2770 m), Mittagscharte (2597 m), Cumedél-Sass de Mesdi (2762 m), Villnösser Odla-Gran Odla (2832 m), Cisleser Odla (2780 m), Villnösser Turm (2834 m), Grosse Fermeda (2873 m), Kleine Fermeda (2814 m), Fermeda Turm (2660 m), Vilnösser Rotwand (2580 m), Brogles Rotwand (2590 m), and Seceda (2519 m).

Geisler Alm to Gschnagenhardt Alm (5 minutes)

Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm, Adolf Munkel Trail, Dolomites
Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm

Proceed along the gravel track to Malga Casanago/Gschnagenhardt Alm, following signs to “Adolf Munkel Weg.” Soon you’ll arrive at Gschnagenhardt Alm, an alpine pasture hut surrounded by swiss pine, grazing cows, horses, and donkeys. Their outdoor lounge chairs beg you to pause, have a drink, soak in the sun, and enjoy the impressive Giesler Group. 

Gschnagenhardt Alm to Zans (1:30 hours)

Two paths lead across the alpine pasture towards the Geisler Peaks. Take the left fenced path towards Zans. Soon the trail descends through forest and intersects with trail 35 (the Adolf Munkel Trail). Turn left onto trail 35 towards Zans and Gampen Alm. 

The Adolf Munkel Trail (trail 35) runs along the foot of the Geisler/Odle peaks in Puez-Odle Nature Park. Though the majority of the trail traverses stone pine and spruce forest, there are a few openings that provide wonderful views of the peaks. As you follow the Adolf Munkel Trail, you’ll come across several intersections, where you can exit the path early, by turning left towards Zans. 

Geisler Group, Adolf Munkel Trail, Val di Funes, Dolomites
Odle/Geisler Group from the Adolf Munkel Trail

We recommend staying on the undulating Adolf Munkel Trail (direction: Gampen Alm) until you reach trail 6 (1 hour). Though, if you have less time, you can certainly head to Zans early.

When you cross the Rio San Zenon/Sankt Zenon Bach stream over the bridge, don’t follow the first sign to Zans (trail 35A). Continue on trail 35 (direction: Kaserill Alm) and then head left on trail 6. Here, Zans is signed 30 minutes. 

Trail 6 slowly descends through the forest along the Sankt Zenon stream to the Zanser Schwaige hut and the Sass Rigais Pension. Walk across the parking lot and make your way to your starting point.

Where to Stay in Val di Funes

We recommend staying in the village of Santa Maddalena in Val di Funes. From this village, you can reach the Zannes/Zans car park (trailhead) by car in 10 minutes, or by bus. Directly from the village, you can also walk to the Santa Maddalena Church in 10-minutes and walk the Panoramaweg trail.

Budget Fallerhof is an active farm and a great-value apartment-style accommodation with stunning views of the Geisler Group. It’s a short walk to the Santa Maddalena Church (5 minutes) and the famous Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui (15 minutes). Breakfast is available upon request.

Midrange | Hotel Fines is a welcoming, 3-star hotel in Santa Maddalena, owned by a young and enthusiastic team. Guests love the rich breakfast buffet, central location, and hotel restaurant. Definitely book half board (breakfast and dinner) here. The DolomitiMobil Card is free for all guests.

Luxury | Hotel Tyrol Dolomites is a family-run hotel in Santa Maddalena. This is the best place to stay when you want to combine outdoor exploration with wellness and relaxation. Their wellness area encompasses a Finnish sauna, steam bath, outdoor pool, whirlpool, and a garden with sun loungers and parasols. However, the main reason to stay here is their South Tyrolean cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients. The DolomitiMobil Card is provided. Tip: book half board and book a room with a Dolomites view (“Geisler Blick”).

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