The loop 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 Northern Italy in summer.
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo 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, read our 3-day Tre Cime di Lavaredo trek.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Day Hike
- Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo | Google Maps
- Distance: 9.7 km circuit
- Time Needed: 4 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 430 meters
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
- Minimum Elevation: 2170 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2451 meters
- Route: Rifugio Auronzo – Forcella del Col del Medo – Langalm – Rifugio Locatelli/Drei Zinnen Hütte – Forcella Lavaredo/Paternsattel – Rifugio Lavaredo – Rifugio Auronzo
- Where to Eat: Langalm is great for coffee and cake, but save your appetite for Rifugio Locatelli. Skip eating at Rifugio Lavaredo.
- When to Hike: You can do this hike when the toll road to Rifugio Auronzo is open. The road is generally open from late May/early June until late October/early November), depending on snow conditions.
- Where to Stay in Misurina: Quinz – Locanda Al Lago (budget), Chalet Lago Antorno (midrange), or Hotel Miralago (midrange)
- Where to Stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo: Hotel Meuble Oasi (budget), Baita Fraina (midrange), Hotel Villa Alpina (midrange), Ambra Cortina Luxury&Fashion Hotel (midrange), Camina Suite & Spa (luxury), or HOTEL de LËN (luxury)
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Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Hiking Map
When to Hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo
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
Drive to Rifugio Auronzo via the Toll Road
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo circuit trail starts at Rifugio Auronzo.
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 210 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: [email protected]
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
Starting at Rifugio Auronzo, you can either hike in the direction of Rifugio Lavaredo on Trail no. 101 (right), or towards Langealm on Trail no. 105 (left).
Most people hike in the direction of Rifugio Lavaredo first (counter-clockwise).
We recommend hiking in the direction of Langealm 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 Loop Trail Description
Rifugio Auronzo – Forcella del Col del Medo – Langalm (45 minutes)
From the parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo (2326 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 del Medo (2315 m).
At the Forcella del Col del Medo saddle, the trail gently descends to Langalm alpine hut (2240 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)
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, 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.
After a relaxing break, make sure to check out the nearby Laghi dei Piani lakes.
Drei Zinnen Hütte/Rifugio Locatelli – Forcella Lavaredo/Paternsattel – Rifugio Lavaredo (1 hour)
The loop trail continues beneath Paternkofel and stretches out linearly towards Forcella Lavaredo.
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.
The jagged Cadini di Misurina mountains look like a fantasy novel come to life.
There are two trails that descend to Rifugio Lavaredo. You can take either.
Rifugio Lavaredo to Rifugio Auronzo (30 minutes)
From Rifugio Lavaredo, 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)
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
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, Grand Hotel Savoia Cortina d’Ampezzo, 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.
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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.
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 Discovercars.com 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.
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:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer: best villages and towns in South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites: best boutique and luxury hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide: farm stays, mountain huts, wellness hotels, aparthotels
- Best Val Gardena Hotels: best accommodations in Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena
We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.
- Base 1: Val Gardena
- Base 2: Val di Funes
- Base 3: Alta Badia
- Base 4: Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Base 5: Alta Pusteria
- Base 6: San Martino di Castrozza
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
- Day Pack: 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)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Reusable Water Bottle: Ion Leakproof 32 oz Water Bottle
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Tamron 17-70mm 2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
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:
- Best Hikes in Val Gardena
- Best Hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Best Hikes in Alta Badia
- Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide
- Puez-Odle Nature Park
Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites
And while you’re there, connect with us on Pinterest!
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!
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
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!
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
Thank you so much for reaching out Daniela! So happy to hear that you enjoyed the hike (against the current).