October in the Dolomites can be an extension of September, delivering clear skies and comfortable daytime temperatures, perfect for day hiking and photography. As the month progresses, the foliage turns increasingly orange and golden, reaching a colorful apex in late October. Generally, you can expect fewer people, peaceful hiking trails, virtually no thunderstorms, and lower hotel rates. An added bonus of hiking in the Dolomites in October is the late sunrise (~7:30 am).
However, it can also be the beginning of winter, with heavy snowstorms and freezing temperatures (rare, but possible in our experience). October is firmly off-season, which means most rifugios (mountain huts) and cableways are closed for the season. Additionally, many accommodations and restaurants are also closed, especially in Trentino and Belluno, Italy.
Hiking in the Dolomites in October: Everything You Need to Know
Tips for Visiting the Dolomites in October
- Hike in the Dolomites in early October if you want to visit mountain huts and alpine pasture huts. Some huts in Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park stay open until mid-October.
- Hike in the Dolomites in late October if you want to see golden larches and fall foliage.
- Stay in a hotel with an on-site restaurant, or an apartment/aparthotel with a kitchen. Dining is very limited in October, so we recommend staying in a hotel that offers half board, or in an apartment where you can cook for yourself.
- Stay in a hotel with spa and wellness facilities for bad weather days.
- Rent a car with winter tires (or chains). If it snows, it will be very difficult to drive over mountain passes.
- Bring extra gear for wintery conditions (crampons, winter coat, gloves, beanie, etc…).
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Weather in the Dolomites in October
The average temperature in October is 6.8°C (44.4°F), with an average high temperature of 11.8°C (53.4°F) and an average low temperature of 1.8°C (35.4°F).
If it snows and temperatures stay low, the snow may linger, specially on north-facing slopes.
During our October trip, we experienced heavy snowstorms, which is rare for October, according to locals. So, while I don’t think our experience is emblematic of Dolomites October weather, it certainly reminded us that the mountains are unpredictable and you need to be prepared.
For that reason, we recommend:
- Renting a car with winter tires (or chains). If we didn’t have winter tires, we wouldn’t have been able to safely drive across mountain passes to our next destination.
- Staying in a hotel with wellness and sauna facilities. Bad weather days don’t have to be tragic if you have access to a nice wellness area. We’ve written about our favorite hotels with wellness areas in Best Hotels in the Dolomites.
- Bringing crampons and hiking poles. We saw so many people struggling on slippery and icy hiking trails because they didn’t have the proper equipment.
Early October versus Late October in the Dolomites
Hiking in the Dolomites in Early October
Several mountain huts (Rifugio/Hütte) and alpine pasture huts (Baita/Malga/Alm/Ütia) stay open until mid-October (listed in the next section). That means you can enjoy the atmosphere, culture, and food of the huts without the summer crowds.
Also, some cableways still operate until mid-month, which makes popular hiking destinations more accessible.
- Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda Cableways
- Valley Station: Ortisei, Val Gardena
- Day Hike: Seceda to Regensburger Hütte Loop Hike
- Ortisei-Resciesa Funicular
- Valley Station: Ortisei, Val Gardena
- Day Hike: Resciesa to Seceda
- Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Gondola
- Col Raiser Gondola
- Valley Station: Selva di Val Gardena, Val Gardena
- Day Hike: Col dala Pieres Summit
- Seiser Alm Cable Car
- Valley Station: Siusi allo Sciliar/Seis am Schlern near Castelrotto/Kastelruth
- Day Hike: Rifugio Bolzano and Rifugio Alpe di Tires
Use the websites below to find out which Dolomites cableways are open in October:
Hiking in the Dolomites in Late October
If your main objective is to see Fall colors and golden larches, it’s best to visit the Dolomites in late October.
Cableways are closed across the region. That means longer hiking ascents and descents. That also means that some hikes are not possible because there’s simply not enough time in the day.
Here are some hikes you can do in late October (weather depending) that don’t require any cableways. Note: most mountain huts and alpine pasture huts along these routes will be closed.
Val Gardena Hikes
Val di Funes Hikes
Alta Badia Hikes
Sexten Dolomites Hikes
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit
- Val Fiscalina Valley Trail & Val Fiscalina to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Read about this trail in our Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide.
Prags Dolomites Hikes
Pale di San Martino Hikes
Dolomites Mountain Huts Open in October
There’s a vast network of mountain huts across the Dolomites. These huts are generally open from late June until late September. However, there are a few rifugios that stay open until mid-October.
Below, we’ve listed out all the mountain huts (Rifugio/Hütte) and alpine pasture huts (Baita/Malga/Alm) that stay open until mid-month, weather depending. All of these huts serve food and drinks during the day. Typically, only Rifugios/Hütten accommodate overnight guests.
Generally, most of these huts are located in Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. So, the best place to stay in early-mid October is in Val Gardena and/or Alta Badia in South Tyrol.
Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites in October
The hut to hut hiking season is essentially over by late September. However, the mountain huts along the first 3 stages of the Alta Via 1 are open until mid-month. So, if you’re craving an easy hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites in October, you could do this route:
- Alta Via 1 Stage 1: Lago di Braies – Rifugio Sennes
- Alta Via 1 Stage 2: Rifugio Sennes – Rifugio Lavarella, or Rifugio Fanes
- Alta Via 1 Stage 3: Rifugio Lavarella, or Rifugio Fanes – Rifugio Lagazuoi (If Rifugio Lagazuoi is fully booked, you can stay in the guesthouse at Camping Sass Dlacia).
- Alta Via 1 Stage 4: Rifugio Lagazuoi – Cortina d’Ampezzo
Learn More: Alta Via 1 Trekking Guide
Dolomites Rifugios You Can Visit in Early-Mid October
You can stay the night in these mountain huts, or simply drop in for lunch.
Rifugio Croda da Lago
Location: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Belluno, Veneto
Recommended Hike: Croda da Lago Circuit
Trailhead: Pian del Pantan on SP638
Opening Times: Rifugio Croda da Lago Website
Dolomites Alpine Pasture Huts You Can Visit in Early-Mid October
You can eat lunch, or have a drink in all of these alpine pasture huts.
Our Dolomites Fall Road Trip Itinerary
- Day 1: Passo delle Erbe, Alta Badia | Sass de Putia Circuit Trail
- Day 2: Val di Funes | Adolf Munkel Trail
- Day 3: Val di Funes | Rifugio Genova Circuit Trail
- Day 4: Val Gardena | Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana
- Day 5: Val Gardena | Seceda Ridgeline
- Day 6: Val Gardena | Sassolungo Circuit or Col dala Pieres
- Day 7: San Cassiano, Alta Badia | Path of the Larches and/or Armentara Meadows
- Day 8: San Cassiano, Alta Badia | Rifugio Fannes Day Hike
- Day 9: Cortina d’Ampezzo | Rifugio Lagazuoi or Croda da Lago Circuit
- Day 10: Cortina d’Ampezzo | Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit or Lago di Sorapiss
Dolomites Autumn Road Trip Map
Day 1: Passo delle Erbe, Alta Badia
This Dolomites Autumn road trip begins with a drive to Passo delle Erbe, a stunning mountain pass, high above Alta Badia. At the pass, you’ll see the two-headed Sass de Putia (Peitlerkofel in German, Sas de Pütia in Ladin) mountain as well as the Odle di Eores (Aferer Geisler) mountain group.
Passo delle Erbe is the trailhead to the circuit trail around Sass de Putia (Peitlerkofel in German, Sas de Pütia in Ladin) in Puez-Odle Nature Park. The 12.8 km loop trail takes 4-5 hours to complete. This is a great hike to do in October because it doesn’t require any cableways and you can eat lunch at Ütia de Göma (open until mid-October) along the way.
Trail Guide: Sass de Putia Circuit Trail
Where to Stay at Passo delle Erbe
Ütia de Börz is an upscale mountain refuge located directly at Passo delle Erbe. After hiking around Sass de Putia, this is the best place to stay. The views are sensational, the food is delicious, and the sunrises and sunsets are unforgettable.
Days 2 – 3: Val di Funes
Val di Funes is one of the best destinations to visit in the Dolomites in October. Many alpine pasture huts stay open until mid, or even late October. So, you get the full alpine experience, without the crowds. Base yourself in Santa Maddalena for at least two nights, so that you can explore the trails in the valley and in Puez-Odle Nature Park.
Learn More: How to Visit Val di Funes
Where to Hike in Val di Funes in October
Where to Stay in Val di Funes
Days 4 – 6: Ortisei, Val Gardena
Ortisei is the largest village in Val Gardena and a fantastic base for hiking in October. Most of the Ortisei cableways operate until mid-October, or even until the end of October. By staying in Ortisei, you’ll have easy access to Alpe di Siusi, the Seceda Ridgeline, and the Resciesa Plateau. Here are some recommended hikes you can do in Ortisei in October.
Where to Hike in Val Gardena in Early-Mid October (cableways needed)
- Seceda Ridgeline to Regensburger Hütte Loop
- Cableway ascent/descent: Seceda-Furnes-Ortisei cableways, operating until mid-October.
- Resciesa to Malga Brogles and the Seceda Ridgeline
- Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana
- Cableway ascent: Ortisei – Alpe di Siusi Gondola, operating until late October.
- Col dala Pieres Summit
- Cableway ascent/descent: Col Raiser Gondola, operating until mid-October.
Where to Hike in Val Gardena in Late October (no cableways needed)
- Monte Pic and Seceda Summit Hike
- Sassolungo Circuit, starting at Sella Pass
- Lake Pisciadù, starting at Passo Gardena
- Gran Cir, starting at Passo Gardena
Where to Stay in Ortisei
Hotel Angelo Engel is situated directly in the town center of Ortisei (St. Ulrich/Urtijëi), walking distance to the Resciesa funicular, Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cableway, and the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi gondola (Mont Sëuc Ropeway). We loved the central location, the courteous staff, the wellness and sauna area, and our spacious room.
Days 7 – 8: San Cassiano, Alta Badia
From Ortisei, drive through Val Gardena and over the Gardena Pass (2136 m) into Alta Badia. Note: the Passo Gardena/Grödnerjoch, is a popular trailhead. You can hike to Lake Pisciadù, the Cir Peaks, and other hiking destinations, directly from the mountain pass.
San Cassiano is a great place to stay in Alta Badia in October, because many day hikes don’t require any cableways.
Where to Hike in San Cassiano in October
If you’re staying directly in the town center of San Cassiano, you can walk up to the Rü Farmstead and follow the Path of the Larches trail to Rudiferia. You can extend your walk all the way to the La Crusc chapel. From the chapel, either return back to San Cassiano or hike down to Badia via the Armentara Meadows. From Badia, you can take a regional bus back to San Cassiano.
San Cassiano is also a gateway to the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. From the Capanna Alpine trailhead, you can hike to Rifugio Fanes and Rifugio Lavarella, two mountain huts that stay open until mid-October.
You can also hike to Mont de Valparola, the Pralongiá meadows, and the Piz de Lavarella summit.
Where to Stay in San Cassiano
Camping Sass Dlacia is a campground and guesthouse encircled by forest and close to the Capanna Alpina trailhead. In fact, it’s the highest campground in the Dolomites. With its fabulous pizzeria, relaxing Natura Wellness area, and helpful staff, you’ll feel quite at home here. And, of course, the views are pure magic.
Days 9 – 10: Cortina d’Ampezzo
From San Cassiano, drive up to Passo Valparola (2168 m) and continue to Passo Falzarego (2105 m). You’re now in Belluno in the Italian region of Veneto.
Where to Hike in Cortina d’Ampezzo in October
At Passo Falzarego, there’s a cablecar, which operates until late October, to Rifugio Lagazuoi, one of the most impressive Rifugios in the Dolomites. You can take the cableway up and down, or just ascend and hike back down to the pass.
On your way to Cortina d’Ampezzo, you can also detour to the Pian del Pantan trailhead on SP638 and hike to Lago di Federa and the Croda da Lago Rifugio (which usually stays open until late October, depending on snow conditions). This is one of the most photographed destinations in the Dolomites in Autumn because the lake is ringed with larch trees. When we hiked here in mid-October, we needed crampons because of the frozen snow.
During your time in Cortina d’Ampezzo, we highly recommend hiking the circuit trail around Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks). The hike begins at Rifugio Auronzo, which is accessible by a toll road. The road stays open until late October, or even early November, depending on snow conditions. The huts along the route will be closed, but we recommend this trail nonetheless. If you’re not sure whether the road is open (e.g. after a snowstorm), contact the Misurina-Auronzo Tourist Office: email@example.com
Where to Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo
We stayed in Fiori Dolomites Experience Hotel, a three-star hotel/aparthotel in the mountain village San Vito di Cadore in the Belluno Dolomites. Located a mere 11-km from Cortina d’Ampezzo, this village is an alternative base for exploring the many popular destinations around Cortina: Lago Federa, Lago di Sorapiss, Lagazuoi, Cinque Torri, and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Fiori Dolomites Experience hotel is also a pastry shop. During breakfast, you’ll be able to savor their delicious homemade croissants, cakes, and Krapfen with various fillings. And in the afternoons, guests are given a complimentary snack featuring more of the hotel pâtisserie’s cakes and pastries.
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Plan Your Trip to the Dolomites:
Find out where to stay in the Dolomites:
Hiking in the Dolomites:
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
- Alta Badia Summer Guide
- Best Hikes in Val Gardena