We hiked to Rifugio Puez from the Gardenacia chairlift mountain station in La Villa in Alta Badia. Our point-to-point hike first leads to the Gardenacia mountain hut, 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.
This is a lesser-known ascent route to Rifugio Puez. Most people approach the Puez hut from Passo Gardena, like in this Sass da Ciampac hike.
Gherdenacia Alpine Plateau to Rifugio Puez Day Hike
- Starting Point: Gardenaccia chairlift mountain station
- Ending Point: Colfosco
- Distance: 13 km point-to-point
- Time Needed: 6-7 hours
- Elevation Gain: 931 meters ascending
- Elevation Loss: 1065 meters descending
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trails: 5, 11, 15, 10b, 2, 4
- Route: La Villa – Rifugio Gardenacia – Rifugio Puez – Colfosco
- Where to Stay: Hotel Jägerhof (midrange) in Colfosco, Ciasa De Munt Lifestyle Living (midrange) or Hotel Col Alto (luxury) in Corvara
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Rifugio Puez Hiking Map
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.
Learn more about when to visit the Dolomites:
- Best Time to Visit the Dolomites
- Hiking in the Dolomites in September
- Hiking in the Dolomites in October
Rifugio Puez Trailhead: La Villa or Colfosco
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.
Gherdenacia Plateu to Rifugio Puez Trail Description
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
The town of Corvara is centrally located in Val Badia at the base of Sassongher mountain, between Colfosco and La Villa. It’s the tourist center of Alta Badia and offers the most in terms of shops, restaurants, and accommodations. Several cableways connect Corvara with the surrounding plateaus like Col Alt Pralongià and mountains like Sella easily accessible.
Midrange | Ciasa De Munt Lifestyle Living strikes just the right balance between urban and the outdoors, with its clean aesthetic, modern elegant lines and location. Guests have access to top-notch wellness facilities, storage lockers, and a washing machine. A fresh breakfast buffet featuring homemade cakes, cold cuts, and eggs is laid out each morning. Take advantage of the mountainside breakfast offering in their Piz Boé Alpine Lounge (2200 meters).
Luxury | Hotel Col Alto is a 4-star hotel in the heart of Corvara. We were impressed by the staff, the design, the extensive wellness facilities, deluxe bedding, and generous breakfast buffet.
La Villa (Stern) is a small village in Alta Badia between Badia and Corvara. Advantageously situated between the Fanes Group and Puez Group, La Villa is one of the dreamiest places to stay in the Dolomites. Set further away from Passo Gardena, La Villa enjoys a quieter location than neighboring Corvara and Colfosco. Sunset views here are unforgettable. When we stayed in La Villa, we hiked to Gherdenacia Plateau, Rifugio Fanes, and the Armentara Meadows.
Budget | Pensione Camoscio is a well-run charming hotel with cozy, Tyrolean-style rooms, excellent breakfasts and dinners, and a peaceful setting. Great value for money.
Luxury | Hotel Ciasa Soleil is a beautifully-designed boutique hotel in La Villa. We loved the atmosphere, Dolomites views, outdoor whirlpool and indoor pool. The hotel restaurant concocts creative dishes inspired by Ladin, Tyrolean and Italian cuisine.
Colfosco (Calfosch in Ladin) is the highest village in Alta Badia, situated at an elevation of 1645 meters, between Corvara and Passo Gardena. It lies at the foot of the Sella Group and Sassongher on the edge of Puez-Odle Nature Park. With mesmerizing views of the Sella Group, Colfosco is an excellent base for actively exploring Alta Badia. Its close proximity to Passo Gardena and Passo Sella, makes it easy to explore Val Gardena and Val di Fassa as well. Hikes that start near Colfosco: Gran Cir, Sass da Ciampac, Cima Pisciadu.
Midrange | Hotel Jägerhof is a fantastic alpine hotel and restaurant in Colfosco. With its attractive price point, modern alpine interiors with light wood furnishings, and high-quality cuisine, we recommend booking this gem as soon as possible. The hotel’s spa area comprises a Finnish sauna, steam bath, plunge pool, foot whirlpool, Acquamoon sensory shower, and relaxation room.
Luxury Apartments | Lüch de Costa is a stylish aparthotel in Colfosco. In 2017, this historic farmstead was transformed into several high-end apartments. This is a great place to stay if you want the independence of an apartment but the convenience and finer features of a hotel (spa area, indoor pool, outdoor whirlpool, breakfast, daily room cleaning).
Luxury | Hotel Kolfuschgerhof excels on every level, from its excellent wellness facilities and superb Dolomites views to its fine dining, featuring local and Italian cuisine. Design-wise, the hotel is a winning combination of Tyrolean chalet-style and alpine-modern. Expect extraordinary service and the best spa views of your life.
Luxury | Romantik Hotel Cappella is a newly-renovated 5-star luxury hotel in Colfosco sporting the finest contemporary interiors and furnishings in the region. Guests relish the two on-site restaurants, modern lounge bar, and life-affirming spa overlooking the Sella Group. The wellness area features a brine sauna, a steam sauna, Finnish sauna, child/family-friendly sauna, indoor-outdoor pool, and fitness room. The hotel’s energetic and polished staff ensure that all your needs are met.
Don’t Miss: Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
Rifugio Puez Hiking Essentials
- Day Hiking Backpack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- Polarized, CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Reusable Water Bottle: Ion Leakproof 32 oz Water Bottle
- Climbing Gloves: Black Diamond Half Finger Gloves
- Headlamp: Black Diamond Equipment Spot 350 Headlamp
- Crampons: CAMP USA Inc Chainsen Pro
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS ZEISS
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
- Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites
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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
Where to Stay in the Dolomites:
Villages and Towns in the Dolomites:
Top Places to Visit in the Dolomites: