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Gherdenacia Alpine Plateau to Rifugio Puez Day Hike, Italian Dolomites

Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte, Ütia de Puez) is a mountain hut in the Puez – Odle Nature Park in the Italian Dolomites.

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. Another option is to hike to Rifugio Puez from Val de Chedul in Val Gardena.

La Villa to Colfosco Day Hike, Alta Badia, Dolomites
  • Starting Point: Gardenaccia chairlift valley station | Google Maps
  • Trailhead: Gardenaccia chairlift mountain station
  • Ending Point: Colfosco
  • Distance: 13 km point-to-point
  • Time Needed: 6 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 931 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 1065 meters
  • Minimum Elevation: 1640 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 2546 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trails: 5, 11, 15, 10b, 2, 4
  • Route: Gardenaccia chairlift mountain station (1783 m)- Rifugio Gardenacia/Schutzhütte Gardenacia (2050 m) – Rifugio Puez/Puez Hütte (2475 m) – Colfosco (1645 m)
  • Where to Stay in Colfosco: Pension Mirandola (budget-midrange), Crëp Sella (midrange), or Hotel Kolfuschgerhof (luxury)
  • Where to Stay in Corvara: Sporthotel Panorama (midrange), Hotel Marmolada (luxury), Hotel Col Alto (luxury), or Hotel La Perla (5-star luxury) 
  • Recommended Trail MapTabacco 07 Alta Badia – Arabba – Marmolada

Rifugio Puez Hiking Map

When to Hike to Rifugio Puez and Rifugio Gardenacia

Rifugio Gardenacia Day Hike, La Villa to Colfosco, Italian Dolomites
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:

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 (ascent ticket only). The chairlift operates from mid-June until early October (8:30 am – 5:30 pm).

Which Direction to Hike

 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 Mountain Station to Rifugio Gardenacia

Rifugio Gardenacia Puez-Odle Day Hike, La Villa to Colf
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 (2050 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

Gherdenacia Plateau, Puez-Odle Day Hike, Dolomites, Italy
Gherdenacia Plateau

From Gardenacia Hütte, continue on trail 5 / 11 in the direction of the barn. It’s 2:30 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. 

Fanes mountains from Puez-Odle, Dolomites Day Hike
View of Fanes

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 (2545 m).

Forcella de Gherdenacia to Rifugio Puez

Gherdenacia Plateau Day Hike, Dolomites

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.

Vallunga / Langental View, Puez-Odle Day Hike, Dolomites
Vallunga / Langental

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/Rifugio Puez we were a bit underwhelmed.

The views from the intersection, overlooking Vallelunga, were far more impressive. 

Rifugio Puez, Dolomites
Rifugio Puez

Rifugio Puez to Forcella de Ciampëi Scharte

La Villa to Colfosco Day Hike, across Puez-Odle mountains, Dolomites
Descent to Colfosco

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 (2366 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, Forcella de Ciampëi Scharte to Colfosco (Corvara)
Trail 4

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

We recommend basing yourself in Alta Badia (Corvara, La Villa, or Colfosco) for this hike.

Here are our favorite hotels in Alta Badia:


Hotel Col Alto in Corvara, Alta Badia, Dolomites
 Hotel Col Alto

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 | Sporthotel Panorama is a great value hotel with an on-site restaurant and spa, perched above the village of Corvara. Guests love the setting, outstanding food, and friendly staff. The outstanding room rate will have you overlook the slightly dated interiors. 

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.

Luxury Family Aparthotel | Movi Family Apart-Hotel offers new and stylish apartments for families. This modern property blends everything we love about a hotel (amenities and breakfast buffet) with everything we love about an apartment (self-sufficiency and space). Extra Perks: kids and family spa area with pool, adults-only spa, summer outdoor playpark, entertainment for kids (ages 3-12, 9:30 am – 9:30 pm). 

Luxury | Hotel Marmolada is a superb 4-star hotel which delivers an all-around excellent experience: facilities, parking, breakfast, and spa. Half board is available. When booking, pay attention to room categories: many rooms are newly renovated, but not all. 

5-star Luxury | Hotel La Perla is a family-run hotel set in an 18th century building with charming alpine interiors, several restaurants, and a spa. Breakfast and dinner, both included in the room rate, are served in the hotel’s Les Stües restaurant. If you’d like to dine in the hotel’s 1-star Michelin restaurant, La Stüa de Michil, it’s necessary to make a reservation in advance.

Look for accommodation in Corvara

La Villa

Hotel Ciasa Soleil, La Villa, Alta Badia, Dolomites
Hotel Ciasa Soleil

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 Apartments | Ciasa Agreiter in La Villa is a pet-friendly property with beautiful, well-equipped apartments with stunning mountain views.

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.

Luxury | Hotel La Majun exudes luxury in the shape of gourmet Ladin cuisine (half board available), modern rooms, and an elegant atmosphere.

Luxury | Hotel Cristallo – Wellness Mountain Living enjoys an idyllic setting between La Villa and Corvara. This 4-star-superior hotel pampers guests with its heavenly wellness facilities, high-quality half board offering, and stylish rooms.

Look for accommodation in La Villa.


Colfosco, Alta Badia, Dolomites
View from Lüch de Costa

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.

Budget-Midrange | Pension Mirandola is a family-run guesthouse with spotless rooms and an on-site restaurant (half board available). Stay here for the warm hospitality, affordability, and location. 

Midrange | Crëp Sella is a sparkling clean B&B with spacious and comfortable rooms. 

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. The hotel’s design 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.

Look for accommodation in Colfosco.

Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Dolomites Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip to Northern Italy.

When to Hike in the Dolomites

The best time to hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can extend until late October.

How to Get to the Dolomites

Read How to Get to the Dolomites to find out how to travel to the Dolomites from the closest airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

If you’re traveling without a car, also check out How to Visit the Dolomites Without a Car

Car Rental

The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our itineraries for trip inspiration:

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here

Best Places to Stay

Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created three guides to help you decide where to stay:

We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.

What to See & Do

During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.

Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.

In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Seceda, Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, and Lago di Sorapis.

Dolomites Packing List

Hiking Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear

Dolomites Hiking Guides

Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. For day hiking, check out Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.

For region-specific hiking trails, check out:

Recommended Hiking GuidebookShorter Walks in the Dolomites (Cicerone Guide)

More Alta Badia Hiking Guides

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati

2 thoughts on “Gherdenacia Alpine Plateau to Rifugio Puez Day Hike, Italian Dolomites”

  1. Dear Sabrine,
    Great blog! I am considering hiking from Colfosco, via rifugio Puez, staying overnight in Rifugio Gardenacia since your recommendation. However, since most people hike this hike fromout La Villa, I was wondering what would be the time to reach rifugio Gardenacia from Colfosco and whether there is a lot of altitude meters to cover?
    Would be amazing to figure that out!
    Kind regards,

    • Hi Lara,
      If you start in Colfosco (near the tourist office), it’s a 11.8 km hike to Rifugio Gardenaccia.
      Time Needed: 4:40 hours
      Elevation Gain: 960 meters
      Elevation Loss: 551 meters

      I would consider starting the hike at Passo Gardena. From the pass, you can hike to Rifugio Puez via Forcella Crespeina. Take a look at the description in our Sass da Ciampac trail guide.

      And then from Puez hut, continue across the plateau to Gardenaccia Hut.

      Passo Gardena – Rifugio Puez – Gardenaccia Hütte
      Distance: 12.9 km
      Time Needed: 4:40 hours
      Elevation Gain: 714 meters
      Elevation Loss: 780 meters

      Have fun!


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