Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte, Ütia de Puez) is a popular hiking destination in the Puez – Odle Nature Park (Naturpark Puez – Geisler) in the Italian Dolomites. There are many ways to approach this mountain hut from both Alta Badia and Val Gardena. We’re going to outline the moderate hiking route that starts in the town of La Villa in Alta Badia. This Rifugio Puez hiking trail first leads to Gardenacia mountain hut, crosses the Gherdenacia alpine plateau, and ultimately ends in Colfosco, which is another town in Alta Badia.
There are 2 reasons to hike this route in Puez-Odle. First, the views of the Vallunga (Langental) Valley are sensational as you near Rifugio Puez. Second, the Gardenacia mountain hut is one of the most serene and picture-perfect huts in the Dolomites.
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La Villa – Rifugio Gardenacia – Rifugio Puez – Colfosco Trail Overview
- Type of Hike: point-to-point
- Trailhead: Gardenaccia chairlift top station
- Distance: 13.2 km
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain / Loss: 770 meters ascending / 948 meters descending
- Time Needed: 6 hours
- Trails: 5, 11, 15, 10b, 2, 4
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 linear 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 maybe overnight in Refuge Gardenacia mountain hut 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 in Puez Odle Nature Park
Trail 5 | 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?
Trails 11 and 15 | 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).
Trails 15 and 10b | 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.
Trails 10b and 2 | 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.
Trail 4 (4a) | 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
We recommend basing yourself in Alta Badia for this hike. Look for accommodation in La Villa, Corvara, or Colfosco. We highly recommend both Hotel Col Alto in Corvara and Hotel Ciasa Soleil in La Villa.
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
- Lake Pisciadù Day Hike
- Rifugio Fanes Day Hike
- Armentara Meadows Day Hike
- Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
More Information for Your Trip to Italy: