The Sexten Dolomites (Dolomiti di Sesto in Italian, Sextener Dolomiten in German) is a mountain range in South Tyrol and Belluno in northeastern Italy.
This Dolomites range is bounded by Val Pusteria/Pustertal in the north, Val di Sesto/Sexten Valley in the northeast/east, Val d’Ansiei in the south, and by Val di Landro/Höhlensteintal in the west.
The main focal point of the range is Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen, which are three obelisk-shaped peaks – long-regarded as the symbol of the Dolomites. Ringed by the beautiful Cadini di Misurina and Monte Paterno/Paternkofel, these three solitary peaks stand amidst the most striking pinnacles and ridge-lines of the Dolomites.
Full of history and wonder, the Sexten Dolomites are one of the most beloved hiking and via ferrata climbing destinations in Italy. Whether you hike here for a day, or several weeks, this gorgeous region will leave a lasting impression.
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Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide
- When to Visit: June – October
- When to Hike Hut-to-Hut: July – Late September
- Permits: None Needed
- Trail Map: Tobacco 010: Sextener Dolomiten/Dolomiti di Sesto 1.25.000
- Where to Stay: Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort or Hotel Dolomitenhof in Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal Valley, Sesto/Sexten
- Hiking Gear: Cat 4 Polarized Sunglasses like these Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses; Trekking Poles like these Unisex Black Diamond Hiking Poles; and Grade B/C Hiking Boots.
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Where to Stay in the Sexten Dolomites
The best base for exploring the Sexten Dolomites is Sesto/Sexten Valley and its side valley Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal in South Tyrol.
Other options include the villages of San Candido/Innichen and Dobbiaco/Toblach in Puster Valley, South Tyrol. On the Belluno side, you can stay near Lake Misurina or even in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort
Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort is located at the entrance of Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal in the Sesto/Sexten hamlet of Moso/Moos. The hotel’s location is perfect for exploring both the Sexten Dolomites and the Carnic Alps.
Boasting a 2500 m2 wellness area and its own sulphur source, this Sexten wellness hotel offers guests the greatest gift of all: relaxation. The extensive sauna complex lures you in with its cavernous, candlelit sulphur grotto, cold sulphur plunge pool (6.1°C), Kneipp trail, and multiple saunas.
The outdoor-indoor pool is filled with mineral-rich water containing sulphur, fluoride, magnesium, and calcium, which support your digestive system, musculoskeletal system, and integumentary system.
Beyond the wellness area, we were delighted by:
- The rich and decadent breakfast buffet
- The welcoming and energetic staff
- The complimentary afternoon snack
- The relaxed dining atmosphere
- And, our very comfortable bedroom
The historic Hotel Dolomitenhof is located in the middle of Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal at the Fischleinbodenhütte trailhead. The hotel’s enviable location is perfect for anyone traveling without a car, as you can start many hikes directly from the hotel’s doorstep.
With unobstructed mountain views, Hotel Dolomitenhof is without a question one of the most perfectly situated hotels in the Dolomites. The outdoor pool and encircling lawn, peppered with lounge chairs, overlook the northern face of the Sexten Sundial.
Retreat indoors, and you’ll be treated to a modern sauna area (“Badehaus Bergsteiger”) comprising 4 beautiful saunas, a cold plunge pool, showers, and a relaxation room.
During your stay, you can also look forward to gourmet multi-course dinners, which highlight the rich flavors of the region. Dinner menus notate which dishes feature local ingredients sourced from partner farms. The dining staff is attentive and precise, making the whole dining experience seamless.
Sexten Dolomites Hiking Map
Sexten Dolomites Hiking Trails
Easy Walks in the Sexten Dolomites
- Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal: Bad Moos to Rifugio Fondovalle/Talschlusshütte
Easy-Moderate Hikes in the Sexten Dolomites
- Pratti di Croda Rossa/Rotwandwiesen to Passo Monte Croce/Kreuzbergpass
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen Loop Trail
Moderately Difficult Hikes in the Sexten Dolomites
- Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal to Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen
Multi-Day Hikes in the Sexten Dolomites
- 3-Day Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen Hut-to-Hut Hike
Pratti di Croda Rossa (Rotwandwiesen) Meadows to Passo Monte Croce (Kreuzbergpass) mountain pass
- Trailhead: Rifugio Piano Fiscalina/Fischleinbodenhütte Parking Lot, Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal, South Tyrol
- Distance: 9.1 km point-to-point
- Total ascent: 613 m
- Total descent: 431 m
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
- Time Needed: 4 hours
- When to Hike: mid-June – late-October, depending on snow conditions.
The Prati di Croda Rossa (Rotwandwiesen in German) meadows lie at the foot of the Croda Rossa di Sesto/Sextener Rotwand mountain in the northern Sesto/Sexten Dolomites.
This scenic, family-friendly destination is accessible by cableway from Sesto Moso/Sexten Moos, adjacent to the Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort. The Croda Rossa cable car operates between mid-June and mid-October. You can view the summer schedule and operating times on the dreizinnen website. Parking is free at the cabelway valley station. Address: Via Val Fiscalina, 23, 39030 Sesto BZ, Italy
However, you can forgo the cableway and start the hike further up Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal valley, close to Hotel Dolomitenhof. There’s a paid parking lot at the Fischleinboden hut:
- 2 EUR for the first hour
- 1 EUR for any additional hour
- 8 EUR per day
The parking machine only accepts cash in the form of coins and 5 EUR or 10 EUR bills.
Just across from the Fischleinboden parking lot, there’s a trail that leads into the forest. Follow trail 124 and then trail 153 up to Prati di Croda Rossa/Rotwandwiesen. The ascent takes 1:10 hrs.
From the Croda Rossa/Rotwand meadows, we recommend hiking along trail 15/15a, at the base of the Sesto/Sexten mountains, all the way to Passo Monte Croce/Kreuzbergpass mountain pass.
This point-to-point hike offers a lot of variation in a short period of time. You’ll hike through forests as well as across meadows and mountain slopes.
From Passo Monte Croce/Kreuzbergpass, you can hop on bus line 446 back to Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal.
Though this trail is generally straightforward, it’s easy to end up following trails 19 and 18 to the pass, as opposed to trail 15, from the Pratti di Croda Rossa meadows. We don’t recommend trail 18, because it’s a forest road, popular among e-bikers. Trail 15 is a hiking path and far more scenic and enjoyable.
That being said, when you arrive at Pratti di Croda Rossa, the best views of the meadows are along trail 19. So, you may want to walk along trail 19 for 10 minutes, before backtracking and locating trail 15.
Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal Valley Trail
- Trailhead: Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort
- Destination: Rifugio Fondo Valle/Talschlusshütte
- Distance: 4.2 km one-way, 8.4 km out-and-back
- Total ascent: 174 m
- Total descent: 174 m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time Needed: 1 hour one-way
- When to Hike: May – October, depending on snow conditions
Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal is a gorgeous side valley of Valle di Sesto/Sextental, famous for its view of the Sesto/Sexten Sundial.
Many excursions into the Sexten mountains begin in Val Fiscalina, however the valley itself is a wonderful destination for leisurely walking.
We highly recommend starting at the Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort, next to the Croda Rossa/Rotwand cable car valley station. If you drive further up the valley to Rifugio Piano Fiscalino/Fischleinbodenhütte (1454 m), you’ll miss out on the most delightful larch forest path.
Starting at the Croda Rossa/Rotwand cable car parking lot, cross the street and locate the bridge over the Rio Fiscalino/Fischleinbach stream.
Turn left and follow this path (Trail 102) to Rifugio Piano Fiscalino/Fischleinbodenhütte (30 minutes).
Walk through the parking lot towards Hotel Dolomitenhof and then continue up the valley along the vibrant meadow.
Straight ahead, the giant Cima Uno/Einserkofel (2698 m), Crode Fiscaline/Oberbachernspitzen (2677 m), Croda dei Toni/Zwölferkofel (3094 m), and Cima Undici/Elferkofel (3092 m) tower above the meadow. Directly east, you’ll see Punta Tre Scarperi/Dreischusterspitze (3145 m) – the highest peak in the Sexten Dolomites – Forcella dei Sassi/Steinalpenscharte (2678 m), and Monte Casella/Gsellknoten (2870 m).
After 10 minutes, the trail divides. Take the left trail and follow the river bed to Rifugio Fondo Valle/Talschlusshütte (1548 m), a mountain hut at the head of the valley (20 minutes).
The valley trail terminates here.
In the next section, we’ll explain how you can extend this hike all the way to Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen.
Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal to Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte
- Trailhead: Rifugio Piano Fiscalina/Fischleinbodenhütte car park
- Distance: 13.4 km out-and-back
- Total ascent: 958 m
- Total descent: 948 m
- Difficulty: Moderate. This trail is not technically difficult, but you need to be acclimated and fit.
- Time Needed: 3:10 hours one-way / 6-7 hours total
- When to Hike: Late June – Late September/Mid-October, depending on snow conditions
One of the most scenic approaches to the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen is from Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal.
Starting at the Rifugio Piano Fiscalina/Fischleinbodenhütte car park, follow the flat valley path for about 30 minutes to Rifugio Fondo Valle/Talschlusshütte (1548 m).
From the hut, continue on trail 102 in the direction of Rifugio A. Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte, signed 2:40 hours.
The path ascends very gently to another intersection with a painted billboard, identifying all the significant peaks and side valleys of the immediate surroundings. Head right.
For the next 2 hours, you’ll steadily ascend Valle Sasso Vecchio/Altensteintal valley between the Einserkofel/Cima Uno (2698 m) and Crode Fiscaline/Oberbachernspitzen (2677 m) peaks (on your left) and the Punte Sasso Vecchio/Altensteinspitzen and Crodon di San Candido/Innichriedlknoten (2891 m) peaks (on your right).
There’s very little shade along this trail and the stone path reflects the sun like snow. Bring sun protection (hat, sun lotion, and Cat 4 sunglasses like these Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses).
After an hour, the trail levels out next to the Altensteinerbach stream. The flat walking is a nice respite, but it doesn’t last long.
As you gain elevation, the Monte Paterno/Paternkofel (2476 m) and Croda dei Piani/Bödenknoten (2712 m) dominate your view.
The high-alpine landscape is defined by rugged, sculpturesque peaks, dwarf pine, and solitary larch.
The final stretch to the Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte mountain hut is remarkably easy. You’ll walk across meadows, passing above the Laghi dei Piani/Bödenseen lakes, towards the impressive Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen peaks.
Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte directly faces the northern sides of the Three Peaks, making it the ultimate finale to this wonderful day hike. Grab lunch here and savor one of the most cherished vistas in the Dolomites. The hut is open from late June until late September. For exact dates, consult the hut’s website.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen Loop Trail
- Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo
- Distance: 9.8 km circuit
- Total ascent: 410 m
- Total descent: 410 m
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
- Time Needed: 4 hours
- When to Hike: June – October, when the toll road is open.
The Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal ascent route to Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen may be the most scenic route, but it’s not the fastest.
A far easier way to approach these peaks is by driving the toll road all the way up to Rifugio Auronzo on the Belluno-side.
Rifugio Auronzo is situated on the southern side of Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen with heart-achingly-beautiful views of the Cadini di Misurina.
From the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo, you can follow the circuit trail clockwise or counterclockwise around the Three Peaks. We recommend hiking clockwise, heading to Langalm first.
You can read our full description of this day hike here: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Hike.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen 3 Day Hut-to-Hut Hike
- Trailhead: Rifugio Piano Fiscalina/Fischleinbodenhütte car park
- Type of Trail: Figure-Eight Circuit
- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
- Time Needed: 3 Days, or 2 Days
- When to Hike: July – mid/late September, when the mountain huts are open.
If you want to combine the Val Fiscalina ascent route with the circuit trail around Tre Cime di Lavaredo, you can link the trails with an overnight in a mountain hut(s). You’ll also get to stay in the highest and one of the loveliest refuges in the Sexten Dolomites: Rifugio Pian di Cengia/Büllelejochhütte.
This was the very first hut-to-hut hike we ever did and it’s a perfect introduction to multi-day hiking in the Alps. Here’s our 3-day Tre Cime trekking guide.
- Day 1: Rifugio Piano Fiscalina/Fischleinbodenhütte car park – Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte (6.8 km, 3:10 hrs)
- Day 2: Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte – Rifugio Lavaredo – Rifugio Auronzo – Langalm – Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte – Rifugio Pian di Cengia/Büllelejochhütte (12.6 km, 6 hours)
- Day 3: Rifugio Pian di Cengia/Büllelejochhütte – Rifugio Zsigmondy Comici/Zsigmondy Hütte – Rifugio Piano Fiscalina/Fischleinbodenhütte car park (7.9 km, 3 hours)
Fit and experienced hikers can condense this into 2 days, by completing the loop trail around the three peaks on Day 1.
Here’s how we integrated this route into a 7-day Dolomites road trip itinerary.
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Plan Your Trip to the Dolomites:
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
Our Favorite Destinations in the Dolomites:
- Alta Badia
- Val Gardena
- Val di Funes
- San Martino di Castrozza
- Ortisei, Val Gardena
- Alpe di Siusi
- Puez-Odle Nature Park
- Lago di Braies
Learn more about the Alps: