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Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: Easy Circuit Trail in the Dolomites

The circuit trail around Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen in German) is arguably the best day hike in the Italian Dolomites. It simply upstages all others, because of its accessibility and sensational scenery.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the name given to three mammoth peaks in the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. These three peaks are the reigning symbol of the region and the reason why so many people flock to this corner of Italian Alps in summer.

The highest summit of the Three Peaks is Cima Grande (German: Große Zinne) with an elevation of 2999 meters. Cima Grande is flanked by Cima Ovest (Westliche Zinne, 2973 meters) and Cima Piccola (Kleine Zinne, 2857 meters).

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo (2320 m) in Auronzo di Cadore, which is easily accessible by car, or bus via a toll road.

It takes about 4 hours to hike the whole loop, which is 9.7 km in length.

If you’re interested in a more challenging approach to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, consider hiking the Torre dei Scarperi day hike, or this 3-day Tre Cime di Lavaredo trek.

Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Three Peaks, Dolomites

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Hiking Map

When to Hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Rifugio Locatelli mountain hut, Sexten Dolomites

We recommend hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo anytime between late June and mid-October. 

The road to Rifugio Auronzo, the trailhead, is usually open starting in late May, or early June. However, If you visit early in the season, you will likely encounter snow on the trail.

Another thing to consider is the opening times of the mountain huts (rifugios). Along the Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail, there are several huts that serve food and drink. But, these huts are only open between late June and late September.

We hiked the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop trail in August and in September. Each year, the trail gets busier and busier.

If you want to avoid the crowds, the best thing to do is get an early start. Or, come in October.

Another option is to approach Tre Cime di Lavaredo from a lesser-known destination. Experienced hikers should take a look at the Torre dei Scarperi circuit trail, starting in Val Campo di Dentro/Innerfeldtal in Alta Pusteria/Hochpustertal. This quiet hike connects Rifugio Tre Scarperi/Dreischusterhütte with Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte.

How to Get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Rifugio Auronzo, Cadini di Misurina, Sesto / Sexten Dolomites

Drive to Rifugio Auronzo via the Toll Road

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo (2320 m).

Rifugio Auronzo is a high-alpine mountain refuge, situated directly at the south-side of the Three Peaks.

You can drive directly to the Auronzo hut via the Rifugio Auronzo – Tre Cime Toll Road.

In high summer season, there are also bus connections from Dobbiaco/Toblach, Lake Misurina, and Cortina d’Ampezzo to Rifugio Auronzo.

Here are the approximate driving times from nearby towns:

  • Cortina d’Ampezzo to Rifugio Auronzo: 40 minute drive
  • Dobbiaco/Toblach to Rifugio Auronzo: 40 minute drive
  • Lake Misurina to Rifugio Auronzo: 17 minute drive

No matter where you’re coming from, head to Lago di Misurina and follow the road to Lago d’Antorno.

Shortly after Lago d’Antorno, you’ll arrive at the gated toll station.

How Much is the Tre Cime Toll Road?

Cars | 30 EUR

Motorcycles | 20 EUR

Campervans and Vehicles longer than 2.10 m | 45 EUR

Bus (30 people or less) | 60 EUR

Bus (more than 30 people) | 120 EUR

When Is the Tre Cime Toll Road Open?

The toll road to Rifugio Auronzo is usually open from the end of May/early June until the end of October/early November. It depends on the snow conditions. 

If you’re not sure whether the toll road is open (e.g. after a snow storm), you can contact the Auronzo tourist office by emailing them:

What Time Can You Drive up to Rifugio Auronzo?

The staff responsible for collecting the toll fee is present at the toll station from 6 am until 8 pm. 

If you pass the toll station before 6 am (when the toll operator isn’t present), you can pick up your ticket by pressing the clearly visible button and pay the toll upon your return. 

In Fall, it’s possible that the toll road is only open during the day for safety reasons. Lower temperatures increase the possibility of ice along the road.

Park at Rifugio Auronzo

After paying the toll fee at the toll station, you’ll continue driving 3.4 km all the way to Rifugio Auronzo. Note: there is no additional parking fee for day visits.

But, if you’re planning to spend the night in one of the mountain huts in Tre Cime, you’ll have to pay another toll fee the next day.

Because parking is limited at Rifugio Auronzo, it’s best to get here early.

If you arrive in the afternoon, you will likely have to wait in line at the toll station for up to one hour (or longer). As one car exists, another car is allowed to enter.

Which Direction to Hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen Circuit Trail Clockwise Direction, Dolomites

Starting at Rifugio Auronzo, you can either hike in the direction of Rifugio Lavaredo on Trail 101 (right), or towards Malga Langalm (also known as “Long-Olbe” in the South Tyrolian dialect) on Trail 105 (left).

Most people hike in the direction of Rifugio Lavaredo first (counter-clockwise).

We recommend hiking in the direction of Langalm first (clockwise). The trail unfolds more beautifully in this direction.

Try to start the Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit as early as possible. If you hike the trail clockwise in the middle of the day, it’ll feel like you’re going against the current like a confused sardine.

Also Read: Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail Description

Rifugio Auronzo – Forcella del Col de Mezzo – Langalm (45 minutes)

Rifugio Auronzo - Forcella del Col de Mezzo hiking trail, Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike, Dolomites

From the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo (2320 m), head left and join trail 105. You’ll see a footpath leading from the end of the parking area.

As you savor the views of Cadini di Misurina on your left, follow the level path for 1.2 km to Forcella del Col de Mezzo (2315 m).

Langalm alpine pasture hut, Tre Cime di Lavaredo hiking trail, Dolomites

At the Forcella del Col del Medo saddle, the trail gently descends to Langalm alpine hut (2283 m).

This is a great place for coffee and cake. Order your food and drinks inside, and grab a seat outside facing Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Langalm to Drei Zinnen Hütte/Rifugio Locatelli (1:10 hours)

Dreizinnenhütte, Rifugio  Locatelli mountain hut, Sexten Dolomites

From the alpine hut, continue hiking along trail 105 past a small lake. As you progress, the towering Drei Zinnen become more and more impressive.

It takes about 1 hour to reach the red-roofed Rifugio Locatelli/Drei Zinnen Hütte (2405 m), which enjoys the best vantage point of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Though initially flat, the trail will ultimately ascend. You’ll hike up approximately 200 meters in order to reach the hut.

Rifugio Locatelli/Drei Zinnen Hütte is a great place for lunch. This hut is self-service and cash only.

Laghi dei Piani Bödenseen lakes, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Sexten Dolomites

After a relaxing break, make sure to check out the nearby Laghi dei Piani (German: Bödenseen) lakes.

Drei Zinnen Hütte/Rifugio Locatelli – Forcella Lavaredo/Paternsattel – Rifugio Lavaredo (1 hour)

Walking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Drei Zinnen hiking trail, Golden Hour, Dolomites

The loop trail continues beneath Paternkofel and stretches out linearly towards Forcella Lavaredo (2454 m).

As you progress towards Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the views continue to marvel.

It’s a gentle ascent to the Forcella Lavaredo saddle. When you arrive, you won’t believe your eyes.

Cadini di Misurina mountain view along the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hiking trail, Dolomites

The jagged Cadini di Misurina mountains look like a fantasy novel come to life.

Rifugio Lavaredo stands on a plain below the saddle.

There are two trails that descend to the timber and stone hut. You can take either.

Rifugio Lavaredo to Rifugio Auronzo (30 minutes)

Rifugio Auronzo at sunset, Cadini di Misurina, Dolomites

From Rifugio Lavaredo (2344 m), the trail continues to wrap around the Three Peaks.

With the Cadini di Misurina mountain group front and center, the final stretch of this Tre Cime di Lavaredo day hike is highly pleasurable. Walk slowly and enjoy it!

Cadini Di Misurina Viewpoint (1 hour out-and-back)

Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint detour off the Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail, Dolomites

When you get back to Rifugio Auronzo, we recommend detouring 30 minutes to the famous Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint.

We explained how to get there in this Cadini di Misurina viewpoint guide.

Tre Cime Di Lavaredo Hotels

There are no hotels directly at Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

If you want to stay the night near the peaks, you can overnight in a mountain hut (Rifugio, Hütte).

The closest towns to Tre Cime di Lavaredo are Cortina d’Ampezzo in Ampezzo Valley and Dobbacio/Toblach in Alta Pusteria. You can also stay near Lake Misurina, but there are very few accommodation options.

Cortina d’Ampezzo Accommodations

Hotel de Len, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Ringed by the Ampezzo Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo boasts a central and stunning location in the Ampezzo Valley in Veneto. You can stay here for a few days or for several weeks and never run out of things to see and do. Check out our Cortina d’Ampezzo hiking guide.

You can hike to the beautiful lakes of Lago Federa and Lago di Sorapis. You can explore the Tofane group along the Tofana di Rozes Circuit Trail and the Croda da Lago chain along the Croda da Lago Circuit Trail. 

Budget | Hotel Meuble Oasi is a guesthouse set in the town center of Cortina d’Ampezzo, walking distance to the pedestrian zone and bus station. Book this 2-star hotel for the unbeatable price, location, spotless rooms, and on-site parking. 

Midrange | Baita Fraina is a charming B&B with six rooms with balconies, 3km from Cortina’s town center (5 minute drive). This guesthouse is also home to a Michelin recommended à la carte restaurant, which serves regional cuisine. Stay here for the mountain views, the affordability, and the food.

Midrange | Hotel Villa Alpina is a centrally-located 3-star-superior hotel housed in a historic villa. Rooms are comfortable and feature parquet floors and alpine furnishings. The room rate includes breakfast and outdoor parking. 

Midrange | Ambra Cortina Luxury&Fashion Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel with 24 thematic rooms and a bar in the very center of Cortina. Guests are treated to free on-site parking and an excellent breakfast. 

Top Choice – Luxury | Camina Suite & Spa is a 4-star boutique hotel, 1 km north of Cortina’ town center. This intimate hotel with 12 rooms offers alpine-style suites with comfy beds and ample closet space. Rooms are equipped with nespresso machines, air-conditioning, and soundproofing. We loved the high-quality breakfast and complimentary spa (3 saunas, relaxation zone, and showers). Read our Camina Suite & Spa hotel review

Top Choice – Luxury | HOTEL de LËN is a fresh-faced luxury hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo’s town center. Interiors blend natural and sustainable materials with fine furnishings to create a relaxing, yet refined atmosphere. The hotel restaurant showcases local Ampezzo flavors in unique and exciting ways. We loved the charming, enthusiastic staff, the rooftop spa (1 complimentary hour), and communal areas (living room, cocktail bar, and restaurant). Breakfast is included in the room rate. Parking is off-site and an extra charge. Read our Hotel de Len review.

Luxury | Grand Hotel Savoia Cortina d’Ampezzo, A Radisson Collection Hotel is a top-rated, 5-star hotel in the center of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Although housed in a historic building, the entire interior has been renovated. Rooms are delightfully modern. Stay here for the superb on-site restaurant, impeccable staff and concierge, top-notch facilities (spa, indoor pool,  bar, and lobby area).

More Luxury Hotels in Cortina d’Ampezzo: Dolomiti Lodge Alverà, Rosapetra SPA Resort, and Faloria Mountain Spa Resort

Look for accommodation in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Lago Antorno / Lago Misurina Accommodations

If you want to deeply explore the southern Sesto/Sexten Dolomites, we recommend staying near Lake Antorno or Lake Misurina. From Lago d’Antorno, it’s a mere 10 minute drive to Rifugio Auronzo. 

From Lago Antorno, you can hike to Rifugio Fonda Savio and Monte Pana. Experienced hikers can tackle the Sentiero Bonacossa North Trail.

Midrange Albergo Chalet Lago Antorno is situated along the Tre Cime di Lavaredo panoramic road, directly across from Lake Antorno. With its unbeatable location, you can embark on a variety of hikes directly from the hotel’s doorstep: Rifugio Fonda Savio, Rifugio Auronzo, Monte Piana. As a guest, you’ll love the views of the Cadini di Misurina peaks, the cozy rooms, and the on-site à la carte restaurant. Breakfast is included. 

Look for accommodation near Lake Misurina.

Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials

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

When to Hike in the Dolomites

Winter Season. For skiing and winter activities, the best time to visit is between mid/late December and March.

Summer and Fall Seasons. The best time to road trip and hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can easily continue until late October.

Spring Season. We don’t recommend visiting the Dolomites in early spring. Read: May in the Dolomites.

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 Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, Prato Piazza, and Seceda.

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 

Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail in the Dolomites

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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

7 thoughts on “Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: Easy Circuit Trail in the Dolomites”

  1. We have done a few of the hikes you recommend and I agree that this one is tops in terms of ease of access and views. Literally 360 views the entire time. It was crowded even early am…we stayed in misurina to get an early start…but you can understand why. Really incredible. Thanks again for your wonderful blog. you amazing ladies have been our travel companions this summer!

  2. Love your detailed blogs on these wonderful hiking trails..we are leaving next month and will be based in Cortina for 2 nights (2.5 days) …the first day we will be leaving Venice and driving towards Cortina…can you recommend how we should spend our days there to make the best use of our time? We have never been before and are from the US so I’m unfamiliar with the area. I thought about doing the Cinque Torri loop on day 1 and then heading to Ortisei to hike to Pieralongia…the next day do Lago di Blaise and Tre Cime and not sure about the next day which would only be maybe 5 hours and then leaving..any recommendations? Thanks, Teresa

    • Hi Teresa,
      Thank you for reading!!

      Day 1: Venice – Cortina

      -Short Hike: Cinque Torri. Also head up to Rifugio Nuvolau (if you have time)
      -Stay in Cortina

      Day 2: Sexten/Sesto and Prags/Braies Highlights

      I would concentrate your time today in the Sexten/Sesto and Prags/Braies Dolomites.

      – Hike the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop in the morning and then detour to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint.
      – Visit Lago di Braies
      – If you have more time, head up to Prato Piazza and walk to Strudelkopf.

      – Stay in Cortina

      Day 3: Lago di Sorapis

      You can potentially fit in Lago di Sorapis if you start early enough. With limited time, I would do an out-and-back hike (not the full circuit).

      More ideas in our Cortina d’Ampezzo guidee.

      Have a great trip!

  3. THANK YOU (in capital letters) for taking the time to write all of this. Did the loop today and doing it on the other direction was such a great idea. We managed to be alone for almost half the hike and it made it so much more enjoyable. Did not want to end the day without leaving a short appreciation note. You really made this experience so much better

  4. Hi!!
    First time visiting Italy and I would really like to do at least one hike in the dolomites! However, I did not know about these amazing hiking spots before planning and buying plane ticket. Our trip would be at the end of October and will be in Tyrol from 27th-29th. I would really like to do the Tre Cime loop hike but I’m a bit worried that there would be snow etc. We would not be packing any hiking poles or spikes bc we are doing carry-on only. Researching more online, I’m just a bit worried that there would be heavy snow in that region. Would like your opinion whether it is doable? Or should I find other hike that would be relative easier and do you have any recommendations of other hikes? Looking forward to your answer! Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Nyssa,
      It’s impossible to know what the weather/snow conditions will be like in late October. It’s different every year. We’ve experienced both perfect conditions (better than summer) and wintery conditions. I would plan on doing the Tre Cime circuit. You can contact the Auronzo tourist office 2-3 days before to ask about the current conditions and the road. If there’s snow, or ice, they close the road leading up to the Auronzo hut. If you can’t do Tre Cime di Lavaredo due to the conditions, you could visit Lago di Braies, walk through Val Fiscalina valley, and maybe visit Prato Piazza. Have a great trip to the Dolomites.


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