Puez-Odle Nature Park (Naturpark Puez-Geisler) is located in the province of South Tyrol in Northern Italy. Home to some of the most recognizable peaks and ridgelines in the Dolomites, Puez-Odle Nature Park is one of the most popular destinations in the Dolomites.
Comprising 10,722 hectares, Puez-Odle Nature Park is not a huge park. However, we find ourselves returning repeatedly to revisit places we love and to uncover new trails. Because there are so many ways to access the park (many gateways), it’s easy to re-discover the Puez-Odle mountains again and again, from multiple entry points.
The park’s most well-known mountain group is Odle di Funes/Vilnösser Geisler, or simply the Odle/Geisler Group. You can easily approach these sawtooth mountains from Val di Funes/Villnösstal Valley, or from Val Gardena (via cableways).
In the north, the park is dominated by the Odle d’Eores/Aferer Geisler and Sass de Putia/Peiterkofel, which are accessible from Val di Funes, Val d’Eores/Aferer Tal, and the stunning mountain pass Passo delle Erbe.
In the south, Puez-Odle Nature Park is defined by the Puez Group, Gherdenacia/Gardenaccia plateau, Sassongher, and the Cir mountains. These mountains are best accessed from Alta Badia and the mountain pass Passo Gardena.
Note: Puez-Odle Nature Park is bordered by Ladin-speaking and German-speaking valleys. Many places in this region have 2, or 3 names (Italian, German, and Ladin).
Complete Guide to Visiting Puez-Odle Nature Park, Dolomites
Puez-Odle Nature Park Essential Information
- Italian Province: South Tyrol
- When to Visit: June – October
- Where to Stay: Val Gardena, Val di Funes, or Val Badia
- Entrance Fee: The park is free to visit
- Permits: None needed
- Top Attractions: View of the Odle/Geisler Peaks from Seceda, Geisler Alm alpine pasture hut along the Adolf Munkel Trail, and Gran Cir Peak
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Puez-Odle Nature Park Map
When to Visit Puez-Odle Nature Park
Summer and Early Fall
June – October, depending on snow conditions.
July and August are peak season. We recommend visiting Puez-Odle Nature Park in Fall. It’s less crowded, temperatures are mild, and the weather is generally stable.
How to Get to Puez-Odle Nature Park
By Public Transit
If you’re visiting the Dolomites without a car, we recommend taking a train/bus to Bolzano/Bozen, the capital of South Tyrol. From Bolzano/Bozen, you can hop on a SAD bus to Ortisei, a village in Val Gardena.
Ortisei is a perfect base in Val Gardena for travelers and hikers without a car. From the village, you can access beautiful destinations within Puez-Odle Nature Park via cableway (e.g. Resciesa Funicular and the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda Cableways). And, when you want more options, you can hop on a regional bus to other towns in Val Gardena or Alta Badia.
Related: How to Visit Ortisei, Val Gardena
Puez-Odle Nature Park can be accessed from many different valleys and mountain passes in South Tyrol. There are multiple gateways to the park. So, first decide where to stay (Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Val di Funes) and then plan your visit. We’ve written a guide about where to stay in the Dolomites.
The closest international airport to Puez-Odle Nature Park is Venice Marco Polo Airport. From the airport, it’s a 3-hour drive to the southernmost point of Puez-Odle Nature Park.
Another “nearby” airport is Verona Villafranca Airport. From Verona, it’s a 2:30 hour drive to the park.
Road Trip Inspiration: Dolomites 7-day Itinerary
Puez-Odle Nature Park Hiking Trails
Puez Odle hikes starting in Val di Funes
Puez Odle hikes starting in Val Gardena
- Seceda to Rifugio Firenze
- Resciesa Plateau to Seceda
- Col dala Pieres Summit and Rifugio Stevia
- Monte Pic and Seceda
Puez Odle hikes starting at Passo Gardena
Puez Odle hikes starting in Val Badia
Pues Odle hikes starting at Passo delle Erbe
Our Favorite Places to Visit in Puez-Odle Nature Park
Puez-Odle Nature Park is brimming with unique and varied landscapes. There are spruce and swiss pine forests, cultivated meadows, scree slopes, vertiginous cliffs, secluded valleys, and deep gorges.
Some areas of the park look like charming storybook scenes, while other areas look like godforsaken stone deserts. From alpine pastures and plateaus to peaks and ridges, here are our favorite destinations in Puez-Geisler Nature Park.
1. Val di Funes Alpine Pastures
Val di Funes is a valley that stretches from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal to the Odle/Geisler mountain group. Some would say that Val di Funes boasts the very best view of the Odle mountains. From this particular vantage point, the Odle spires look like spears ruthlessly slashing the sky.
From Val di Funes, the fastest way to enter Puez-Odle Nature Park is to drive (or take the bus) to the Zannes/Zans paid car park.
For scenic views coupled with yummy South Tyrolean food, we recommend hiking to theVal di Funes alpine pasture huts:
During the summer pasture season, these huts are also alpine farms, where cattle, horses, donkeys, and other animals graze freely. It’s important to keep a distance from these animals. Mother cows are very protective of their young. If you’re visiting with a dog, make sure your dog is leashed.
2. Roda de Pütia Trail
Roda de Pütia is a trail that loops around Sass de Putia/Sas de Pütia/Peitlerkofel, an isolated mountain in the very north of Puez-Odle Nature Park. The 4-hour circuit trail begins at the Passo delle Erbe/Würzjoch mountain pass, high above San Martino in Badia/St. Martin in Thurn. From the pass, the northern rock face of Sass de Putia rises steeply above a belt of Swiss pine forest.
We loved how this trail meanders across alpine meadows as well as forests, delivering interesting views of the Puez mountains as well as the Fanes group.
Here’s our full guide to hiking the Sass de Putia circuit trail.
Before tackling this trail, we stayed the night directly at Passo delle Erbe at Ütia de Börz.
3. Stevia Alpine Pasture
The Stevia Alpine Pasture is located atop Mount Stevia (Mont de Stevia), 2555 m. Marked by the charming Rifugio Stevia mountain hut, this magical destination in Puez-Odle Nature Park affords striking views of Sassolungo, the Cir Peaks, and the Sella Group.
In summer, sheep and goats graze here freely. Remember to keep a safe distance and abstain from disturbing the animals (approaching, touching, making loud noises).
You can hike to the Stevia Alp from the Daunei hiking car park, near Selva di Val Gardena, via Rifugio Juac (trails 3, 17).
Alternatively, you can approach the Stevia meadows from the Col Raiser Gondola mountain station. Hike to Rifugio Firenze/Regensburgerhütte and then ascend to the Furcela dla Piza/Pizascharte saddle. From the Piza saddle, it’s a short and easy descent to Rifugio Stevia. You can read about this trail here: Col dala Pieres and Rifugio Stevia hike.
4. Gardenaccia Plateau
Gherdenacia/Gardenaccia is a vast alpine plateau (1700 – 2633 m) in the eastern part of the Puez Group. With its moon-like landscapes and bizarre mountains, like Col de la Soné, Gardenaccia is unlike any other part of the park. It looks like a barren rock dessert.
Any hike across Gardenaccia should be combined with a visit to the Gardenaccia mountain hut, just below the plateau and high above Val Badia. The views of the Fanes Group are fantastic.
We hiked across the Gardenaccia plateau on this point-to-point hike to Rifugio Puez, starting in La Villa.
Experienced hikers may want to summit Sassongher from Gardenaccia.
The fastest approach to the plateau is with the Gardenaccia chairlift (La Villa, Alta Badia). From the mountain station, it’s a 40-minute ascent to the Gardenaccia Hütte.
5. Seceda Ridgeline
Seceda is a mountain in the Odle Group, which affords staggering views of the Fermeda Peaks.
Hiking to Seceda can be as easy or difficult as you choose. The easiest way to reach the Seceda summit and ridgeline is to ascend via cableway from Ortisei in Val Gardena. From the (Ortisei -) Furnes-Seceda cableway mountain station, it’s a mere 10-minute walk to the summit. If you choose to visit Seceda this way, we recommend doing this loop hike to Rifugio Firenze/Regensburger Hütte.
A more interesting, albeit difficult, approach to Seceda is from the Resciesa plateau via the Panascharte wind gap or Mittagscharte. To reach the trailhead, you’ll ascend to the Resciesa plateau from Ortisei via the Resciesa funicular. Learn More: Hiking from Resciesa to Seceda.
And, a third option is to forgo a cableway ascent altogether. Head to the Cristauta/Praplan parking lot above Santa Cristina in Val Gardena and hike up to Seceda and Monte Pic. This is a great option for people hoping to see Seceda in late October when the cableways are closed.
6. Forceles de Sieles Gorge
Forceles de Sieles (Forces de Sieles) is a gorge in Puez-Odle Nature Park. We hiked down Forceles de Sieles (trail 2), on our descent from Col dala Pieres. This remote corner of the park is rarely visited. Experienced hikers ought to consider descending along this trail, to see yet another interesting vantage of the Odle Mountains.
Puez-Odle Nature Park Mountain Huts
A highlight of visiting Puez-Odle Nature Park is eating (or even staying in) a mountain hut.
Puez-Odle Nature Park Rifugios
These huts (Rifugio, Schutzhütte, Hütte, Ütia) accommodate day visitors (for lunch) and overnight guests:
- Rifugio Genova/Schlüter Hütte
- Rifugio Firenze/Regensburger Hütte/Ütia de Ncisles
- Rifugio Resciesa/Schutzhütte Raschötz
- Rifugio Puez/Puez Hütte
- Rifugio Stevia/Ütia de Stevia
- Rifugio Gardenacia/Gardenacia Hütte
- Rifugio Juac/Juac Schutzhütte
Puez-Odle Nature Park Alpine Pasture Huts
These huts (Malga, Baita, Alm, Schwaige) function as mountain restaurants, usually open between 12 pm and 4 pm., or between 11:30 am and 3 pm. Some of these huts are situated just outside the park boundary.
- Baita Troier
- Pieralongia Alm
- Munt de Fornella Hütte
- Ütia de Göma
- Ütia Vaciara
- Ütia Ciampcios
- Malga Brogles
Best Base for Exploring Puez-Odle Nature Park
Val Gardena/Grödnertal is the valley that bounds Puez-Odle Nature Park to the south. There are three villages in Val Gardena: Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena. Each village is a great base for exploring the park. Ortisei is the best base for visitors without a car and those that also want to visit Alpe di Siusi. Santa Cristina is the most central village, located near the Col Raiser Gondola.
Situated at the base of the Sella Group, Selva di Val Gardena is the closest village to Val Badia and Val di Fassa. Selva is also the gateway to Vallunga/Langental and Val de Chedul, two alpine valleys located within Puez-Geisler Nature Park.
You can read more about these destinations in our guide to where to stay in the Dolomites.
Budget-Friendly Accommodation in Val Gardena
Midrange Hotels in Val Gardena
- Chalet Hotel Hartmann – Adults Only in Ortisei
- Garni August in Ortisei
- Smart Hotel Saslong in Santa Cristina
- Hotel Rodella in Selva di Val Gardena
Luxury Hotels in Val Gardena
- Hotel Angelo Engel in Ortisei
- Alpin Garden Luxury Maison – Adults Only in Ortisei
- Dorfhotel Beludei in Santa Cristina
Related: Best Day Hikes in Val Gardena
Val Badia/Gadertal is the valley that borders Puez-Geisler Nature Park to the east. The best villages to stay in are Colfosco, Corvara, La Villa, and Badia. Colfosco is located close to Passo Gardena, the mountain pass between Val Badia and Val Gardena. Both Colfosco and Corvara are well-positioned for hikes in the Sella Group as well (e.g. Pisciadu Peak).
La Villa and Badia are great options if you also want to explore the Fanes Group and the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park (e.g. Armentara Meadows). If you stay in Badia (with a car), you can also explore the Puez mountains from Val de Lungiarü/Campill Tal Valley, which is an exciting and not-so-well-known gateway to the park.
Budget-Friendly Accommodation in Alta Badia
Midrange Hotels in Alta Badia
Luxury Hotels in Alta Badia
Related: Best Hikes in Alta Badia
Val di Funes
Val di Funes/Villnösstal is the valley that leads to the western side of the park. Tiso/Teis, S. Pietro/St. Peter and S. Maddalena/St. Magdalena are the main villages in the valley.
Budget-Friendly Accommodation in Val di Funes
- Fallerhof in Santa Maddalena
Midrange Accommodation in Val di Funes
- Hotel Fines in Santa Maddalena
Luxury Hotels in Val di Funes
- Hotel Tyrol in Santa Maddalena
Related: How to Visit Val di Funes
Visiting Puez-Odle Nature Park Responsibly
The park was established in 1978 and became a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. Along with other sites in the Dolomites, Puez-Odle is a protected area. Please adhere to the following rules when visiting:
- No motor vehicles are allowed within the park.
- Wild camping is prohibited in the park.
- Always stay on marked trails and paths. This helps prevent damage to the meadows and alpine pastures.
- Do not pick flowers.
- Respect the habitat of animals. Do not make any unnecessary noise.
- Do not light fires.
- Do not litter. Please take your garbage with you and dispose of it responsibly.
- Do not touch, or approach grazing animals.
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Plan your trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
- 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
- Best Time to Visit the Dolomites
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Villages and Towns in the Dolomites:
Top Places to Visit in the Dolomites:
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