The day hike from La Crusc (Santa Croce, Heiligkreuz) pilgrimage church to the Armentara meadows is one of the most charming and romantic hikes in the Dolomites. The Armentara plateau is located in the western-edge of Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park in Alta Badia, South Tyrol. The plateau is characterized by sloping pastures covered in wildflowers and wooden huts. When we hiked here in early Fall, Armentara was carpeted in purple Herbstzeitlose (Autumn crocus) flowers.
This easy walk begins in the town Badia (Abtei) in Val Badia. Initially, you’ll ascend to the Santa Croce Sanctuary by chairlift(s), and then amble down soft pathways to idyllic Armentara and eventually back down to Badia.
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La Crusc – Armentara – Badia Trail Overview
- Trailhead: La Crusc Church (2045 m)
- Distance: 4 km
- Difficulty: Easy
- Highest Point: La Crusc Church (2045 m)
- Elevation Gain / Loss: 200 meters ascending. If the La Crusc chairlift is closed, you’ll walk up 200 meters from the Santa Croce chairlift top station to La Crusc chapel. / 721 meters descending
- Time Needed: 3 hours
- Trails: 15, 15a, 7a
Recommended Hiking Gear for Armentara Meadows Walk
You could hike this trail in sneakers. However, if you plan to do other hikes in the Dolomites, we recommend grade B/C hiking boots like the women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX Trekking Boots / Meindl Schuhe Island Lady MFS Active (what Kati and I wear) or the men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX Hiking Boot.
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 Armentara Meadows
Spring, Summer, Fall. If you want to take advantage of the Santa Croce chairlift, you should plan on hiking here between early June and late September. However, this hike isn’t difficult and not very high, so it’s likely something you can do in Spring, weather-permitting.
Read Next: Hiking in the Dolomites in September
Armentara Meadows Trailhead
The Armentara meadows walk begins at the Santa Croce (La Crusc, or Heiligkreuz) Church, at the foot of Sas dla Crusc (Kreuzkofel). You can take the Santa Croce chairlift to Lee (1840 m). From Lee, you can hop on La Crusc, another short chairlift, to the Santa Croce Sanctuary (2045 m). When we hiked here in September 2019, the second chairlift was closed. But, it should be open in 2020.
From early June until late September, the Santa Croce chairlift operates from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. Pricing for ascent only:
- Santa Croce chairlift: 8 EUR
- Santa Croce chairlift + La Crusc chairlift: 12 EUR
Getting to the Santa Croce Chairlift in Badia, Alta Badia
Badia is a small town in Val Badia very close to La Villa. We took bus line 460 from La Villa to Badia.
Armentara Meadows Day Hike
Trail 15 | Santa Croce Sanctuary to Armentara
Starting from the La Crusc chapel, trail 15 leads left beneath the Sasso Santa Croce range (Sas dla Crusc / Kreuzkofel) to the grassy Armentara plateau (Roda de Armentara). Small wooden sheds dot the green pastures of Armentara in storybook fashion. The soft alpine views unfold beautifully, beckoning you to take your time. As you descend, follow signs to Hütte da Andre (Ranch da André refuge). That’s where you’ll eat lunch.
Read Next: Alta Badia Summer Guide– your guide to the best hiking trails and hotels.
Lunch at Ranch da André refuge
Surrounded by goats and cows, Űtia Ranch da André (1855 m) makes for a perfect lunch stop on the Armentara plateau. The hut is open 9 am – 6 pm daily from June 1st until October 31st.
Trail 7a | Ranch da André refuge to Badia
From Űtia Ranch da André, it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to hike to Badia. Follow signs 7a in the direction of Badia (1324 m). From the hut, head back to the trail a few meters and then continue right. Walk past the fenced enclosure of goats and animals. After about 20 minutes (1.2 km), you’ll arrive at the tiny lake called Lech de Valacia.
The trail continues to slope down. You’ll pass several farmsteads surrounded by grazing cows. Continue all the way to San Linert, the small hamlet above Badia. We used maps.me for orientation towards the end of the hike because the signage wasn’t very clear at times.
Where to stay in Alta Badia
We recommend basing yourself in Badia or in La Villa for this hike. We stayed in Hotel Ciasa Soleil, a beautifully designed boutique hotel in La Villa. Highlights of our stay included the mountain views from the dining room and outdoor terrace, the half board dinner menu, and the wellness area.
Don’t Miss: Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
More Information for Your Trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike
- Adolf Munkel Day Hike
- Seceda Day Hike
- Rifugio Fanes Day Hike
- Rifugio Puez and Rifugio Gardenacia Day Hike
- Lake Pisciadu Day Hike
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
More Information for Your Trip to Italy: