Sentiero Viel del Pan (Viel dal Pan in Ladin, Bindelweg in German) is a hiking trail which crosses the southern slopes of the Padon chain and delivers unparalleled views of Marmolada in the Italian Dolomites.
This historic path was used by flour merchants to transport their goods from one valley to another.
The Viel del Pan hike starts at Passo Pordoi (Jouf de Pordoi in Ladin, Pordoijoch in German), the mountain pass that connects Canazei in Val di Fassa with Arabba in Livinallongo. If you’re based in Canazei, you can also reach the trailhead with the Canazei-Belvedere cableways.
The complete Viel del Pan trail leads from Passo Pordoi all the way down to Lago di Fedaia. Hikers usually return to Passo Pordoi, or Canazei by bus.
Rather than do a point-to-point hike, we decided to follow the Alta Via delle Creste del Padon (also called Alta Via della Cresta) to the Col del Cuc summit and then return to Passo Pordoi via the Viel del Pan trail.
The Alta Via della Cresta is a high trail that follows the main ridgeline of the Padon Chain.
While this circuit doesn’t follow the entire Viel del Pan trail, it samples a beautiful stretch of the route with the added bonus of hiking along a panoramic ridge with sweeping views of Sassolungo, Sella, Fanes, and of course the mighty queen herself, Marmolada (3343 m).
The Alta Via delle Creste del Padon is not marked on all trail maps, though the path is well-established. We only recommend hiking this high path in dry conditions.
Viel del Pan & Alta Via Della Cresta Hiking Guide
- Trailhead: Passo Pordoi, Trentino, Italy | Google Maps
- Distance: 7 km lollipop-circuit
- Time Needed: 2:30 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 368 meters
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum Elevation: 2238 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2539 meters
- When to Hike: June – October
- Where to Stay in Canazei: Locanda degli Artisti Art Hotel
- Where to Stay at Passo Sella: Hotel Passo Sella Dolomiti Mountain Resort
- Where to Stay in Selva: Garni Sunela B&B (budget), Hotel Garni Morene (budget), Hotel Freina (midrange), or Linder Cycling Hotel (luxury)
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Viel del Pan Circuit Trail Map
Viel del Pan & Col del Cuc Ridge Trail Description
Passo Pordoi to Rifugio Baita Fredarola (30 minutes)
The Viel del Pan trailhead is located across the Pordoi Souvenirs shop, behind Hotel Savoia.
Follow trail 601 to a small chapel and then continue ascending around the solitary Sasso Beccé/Sas Becé mountain.
Rifugio Baita Fredarola – Col del Cuc – Rifugio Viel del Pan (1 hour)
From Rifugio Baita Fredarola, follow the right upper track (Trail 601).
After 120 meters, the trail splits. The Viel del Pan continues right. The Alta Via delle Creste del Padon veers left. It’s signed “Sentiero Attrezzato Delle Creste” (Trail 636).
Follow the left path to the crest of the Padon Chain.
The Padon chain is wedged between the Sella Group and the Marmolada Group. It’s a unique mountain chain because it doesn’t consist of limestone, or dolomite, but rather a black volcanic rock.
With views of the Sella Group on your left and the Marmolada on your right, the path ascends to the panoramic summit of Col de Cuc.
The trail continues west with views of Lago di Fedaia, backed by Monte Civetta and the major summits of the Fanes Group, Ampezzo Dolomites, and Sorapis Group.
Eventually, the crest trail ends abruptly, just above the Wayna Fanes sign.
Retrace your steps until you locate a path that descends on the south side (Marmolada side as opposed to the Sella side). This narrow path twists down tussock slopes and then continues west once again, just beneath the ridge.
The path returns to the crest.
After some time, the trail splits, with the left trail staying on the crest, and the right path descending towards Rifugio Viel del Pan.
We stayed on the ridge. The path progresses across the Cresta Larice towards the thumb-shaped Sas da Ciapel/Sass Capel.
Drop down to the notch between Cresta Larice and Sass da Ciapel and then make a sharp right. There’s light exposure on the descent.
With your back towards Sas da Ciapel, cross the tussock slope to Rifugio Viel del Pan (5 minutes).
Rifugio Viel del Pan – Baita Fredarola – Passo Pordoi (1 hour)
Taking in the full sweep of the Marmolada Group and Lago di Fedaia, Rifugio Viel del Pan (2432 m) is a perfect destination for lunch, refreshments, or simply a break.
The hut stands on the Viel del Pan trail. Simply follow the wide track back to Baita Fredarola, signed 40 min and Passo Pordoi, signed 1 hour.
This easy walking path crosses the tussock slopes of the Col del Cuc.
When you reach Baita Fredarola, follow the familiar path down to Passo Pordoi.
As you walk towards Sasso Beccé/Sas Becé mountain, notice the compact Sassolungo (Langkofel) group.
Where to Stay near Passo Pordoi
Canazei, Val di Fassa
Midrange-Luxury | Locanda Degli Artisti Art Hotel is a zero-emissions, boutique hotel in the village of Canazei (Cianacei in Ladin) in Val di Fassa. This unique hotel is a living art gallery, featuring original paintings, drawings, and sculptures in each room. We relished the hotel’s eclectic interiors, innovative Ladin cuisine, and professional yet approachable staff.
Rooms are immaculate, featuring hardwood floors, comfy beds with billowy bedding and stylish bathrooms with vertical tiling and oval-shaped showers. Some rooms are furnished with standing whirlpool bathtubs, infrared saunas, steam baths, and/or steam fireplaces.
Selva, Val Gardena
Budget | Hotel Garni Morene is a clean and comfortable family-run guesthouse, set in an idyllic location outside the town center of Selva. Stay here for the unbeatable price, mountain views, and hospitality. Breakfast included.
Budget | Garni Sunela B&B is an immaculate bed and breakfast with spacious rooms, a spa, bar, parking garage, and a phenomenal breakfast, including fresh eggs from the resident chickens. Check-in is only until 7 pm.
Midrange | Garni Hotel Bel Vert is a B&B in Selva, located on the Biancavieve Slope, outside the town center. Rooms are beautiful and spacious. There’s even a small spa. 3 nights minimum stay.
Midrange-Luxury | Hotel Freina is a welcoming family-run hotel in Selva with an excellent on-site restaurant (serving vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options), wonderful spa, and free garage parking.
Luxury | Hotel Rodella stands on a hill between Santa Cristina and Selva di Val Gardena, walking distance to the Col Raiser gondola. Commanding the most epic views of the Sella Group and Sassolungo, staying here is absolute bliss, especially at sunset. You can book breakfast-only or half board. Stay here for the views, newly renovated wellness area, and cozy atmosphere. 3 night minimum stay.
Luxury | Hotel Tyrol is a traditional alpine hotel centrally located in Selva. The hotel’s restaurant offers creative interpretations of Ladin tradition with a Tuscan twist. Stay here for the cozy ambience, the wellness area (saunas, indoor and outdoor heated pool, indoor and outdoor whirlpool, salt cave with chromotherapy), and comfortable rooms. Outdoor parking is free and garage parking is an extra charge.
Luxury | Hotel Sun Valley is a 4-star hotel with a feel-good atmosphere, nice rooms, friendly management and staff, and a great restaurant (half board available). The spa comprises an indoor pool, whirlpool, Tyrolean parlor sauna, Brechel bath with fresh pine branches, and a steam bath, and relaxation areas.
Luxury | Linder Cycling Hotel stands out with its bold architecture, stylish urban accents, and laid-back atmosphere. Beyond the captivating design, Linder Cycling Hotel boasts excellent facilities, including a rooftop terrace, indoor pool, bar, and the à la carte Luis Eatery restaurant
Boutique Luxury | Boutique Hotel Nives – Luxury & Design is a small 4-star-superior hotel in Selva with two restaurants, a spa (saunas and outdoor whirlpool), and an indoor pool. The 13 rooms of family-run Hotel Nives are equipped with Nespresso coffee machines, tea kettles, bathrobes and slippers. Extra perks: free garage parking, free winter ski shuttle, and bike storage. The à la carte Restaurant Nives is open all-year-long, while the Hotel Restaurant Stevia is only open in winter.
5-star Luxury | Hotel Granbaita Dolomites is an ode to alpine elegance. This 5-star luxury hotel pampers guests with its lavish rooms, extensive spa area (7 saunas, indoor-outdoor pool, fitness room, spa), and decadent tasting menus. Book half board.
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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
- Base 7: Val di Fassa
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, and Lago di Sorapis.
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
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