We hiked to Rifugio Puez from the Gardenacia chairlift mountain station in La Villa in Alta Badia. Our point-to-point first leads to the Gardenacia mountain hut then crosses the Gherdenacia alpine plateau and then ultimately descends to the village of Colfosco.
There are two reasons to hike this route. First, the trail views of the Vallunga/Langental Valley are fantastic as you near Rifugio Puez. Second, the Gardenacia mountain hut is one of the most serene and picture-perfect huts in the region.
If we could do this hike again, we’d reverse it, in order to end the hike at Rifugio Gardenacia with a delicious meal and perhaps a few beers.
Gherdenacia alpine plateau to Rifugio Puez Day Hike
- Trailhead: Gardenaccia chairlift top station
- Type of Hike: point-to-point
- Distance to Colfosco: 13 km
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 931 meters ascending
- Elevation Loss: 1065 meters descending
- Time Needed: 6-7 hours
- Trails: 5, 11, 15, 10b, 2, 4
- Route: La Villa – Rifugio Gardenacia – Rifugio Puez – Colfosco
- Where to Stay: Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa
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Rifugio Puez Hiking Map
Recommended Hiking Gear for this Rifugio Puez Day Hike
We recommend wearing a sturdy pair of hiking boots, preferably grade B/C like the women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX Trekking Boots / Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (what Kati and I wear) or the men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX Hiking Boot. Hiking poles are optional (women’s hiking poles, men’s hiking poles).
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 to Rifugio Puez and Rifugio Gardenacia
Mid-June to early-October. Time your hike with the opening times of the mountain huts and the Gardenaccia chairlift.
Getting to the Rifugio Puez Trailhead
We’re going to describe the route as follows: La Villa – Gardenaccia chairlift – Gardenacia Hütte – Puez Hütte – Colfosco.
The hike to Rifugio Puez begins in the town of La Villa in Alta Badia.
To start the hike in La Villa take the Gardenaccia chairlift up (7.50 EUR ascent). The chairlift operates from mid-June until early October (8:30 am – 5:30 pm).
Which direction to hike in
Because this is a point-to-point trail, you can either start the hike in La Villa, or in Colfosco.
We started in La Villa, which is the easier direction to hike in. However, if we could do it again, we would start in Colfosco and overnight in Rifugio Gardenacia to enjoy the sunset. Honestly, Gardenacia Hütte is far lovelier than Puez Hütte, so it would have been nice to linger there at the end of the day after eating a giant Kaiserschmarrn. What can I say, food matters! And, the grub they were selling at Puez Hütte didn’t look too satisfying.
Rifugio Puez Day Hike
Gardenaccia Chairlift Top Station to Rifugio Gardenacia
After exiting the chairlift, head right and take trail 5 in the direction of Ütia de Puez (Rifugio Puez), signed 3.5 hours. You’ll ascend through larch forest for about 50 minutes to Rifugio Gardenacia (2,050 m).
Facing the Fanes massif and surrounded by a dozen Haflinger horses, Gardenacia Hütte is one of the most perfectly-situated rifugios in South Tyrol. With its inviting outdoor terrace, this hut basically begs you to forgo all your hiking plans and simply basque in the sun. Who wouldn’t want to spend the day watching chestnut-colored ponies graze whilst eating Kaiserschmarrn and drinking homemade Schnapps?
Rifugio Gardenacia to Forcella de Gherdenacia
From Gardenacia Hütte, continue on trail 5 / 11 in the direction of the barn. It’s 2.5 hours to Rifugio Puez. Leaving the pasture behind, you’ll ascend and continue on trail 11. The views of the Fanes mountains are to die for. Soon, the hike across the karst Gherdenacia alpine plateau begins.
The trail markers are painted in teal and are numbered 11 and 15. Eventually, you’ll reach an intersection, where trail 11 continues straight and trail 15 veers left. Take trail 15. Continue ascending to Forcella de Gherdenacia mountain pass (2,545 m).
Forcella de Gherdenacia to Rifugio Puez
From Forcella de Gherdenacia, it’s 40 minutes to Puez Hütte. Trail 15 continues straight across the desolate karst landscape, where each mountain is uniquely shaped. One mountain looks like a giant anthill or volcano, depending on your perspective.
After about 20 minutes (from the Forcella), you’ll come to a signed intersection. Continue on 10b for 20 minutes to Rifugio Puez. There is a fantastic view of the Vallelunga Valley and Selva at the intersection. You can even see Seiser Alm. When we arrived at the bustling Puez Hütte we were a bit underwhelmed. The views from the intersection, overlooking Vallelunga, were far more impressive.
Rifugio Puez to Forcella de Ciampëi Scharte
From Puez Hütte retrace your way back along trail 10b to the intersection overlooking Vallelunga. From here, follow trail 2 to Colfosco, signed 1 hour 40 minutes. The trail is initially flat and then descends down a narrow crevice after Forcella de Ciampëi Scharte (2,366 m). You’ll arrive at another signed intersection, indicating 1 hour and 20 minutes along trail 4 to Colfosco. Continue the descent to Colfosco.
Forcella de Ciampëi Scharte to Colfosco (Corvara)
Trail 4 splits. You can continue on 4 to Colfosco (recommended) or take 4a to Corvara. We took the 4a trail in the direction of Col Pradat and continued along a balcony trail through dwarf pine all the way to Corvara. The long twisting descent to Corvara was not fun for my knees. I don’t recommend it. If you’re staying in Corvara, hike down to Colfosco and take the bus back. Your knees will thank you.
Where to stay in Alta Badia
Hotel Col Alto in Corvara
Extensive spa and wellness area, deluxe bedding, generous breakfast buffets
Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa
Intimate atmosphere, sunrise and sunset views of Fanes, beautifully designed
Don’t Miss: Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
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