FreeWheeling Dolomites

dolomites-italy-summer / off-the-beaten-tracks

Unconventional hike in the Dolomites

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An unconventional hike in the Dolomites: the shepherds’ high route

This high route winds in the “Agordine” and “S. Martino” in the Veneto region on the border with Trentino Alto Adige. This corner of the Dolomites is not affected by mass tourism, as it can be in the neighboring valleys, and so it preserves the authentic charm of a place to be discovered. Beware of thinking we are in the second-rate Dolomites: here we walk in the shadow of Mount Civetta and Agner, and at the foot of the immense wall of Marmolada’s south face; in short, briefly we are in the heart of the Dolomites.
We will begin the trek by exploring the mountains above the enchanted San Lucano Valley, then we will descend below the plateau of the San Martino peaks, and, having passed through the town of Falcade we will walk along the high shepherd’s path. This is an unconventional hike because 2 of 5 nights will be spent on a “casera”: a unique experience.

focus

unusual hike in the Dolomites

sort of activity

hut to hut hiking

When?

Summer and Autumn

required level

Fit: 3-4
Exp:  2-3

Info
Duration
WHERE
EQUIPMENT
All-inclusive price
YOUR MOUNTAIN GUIDE
Casera

During this dolomites hut-to-hut hiking we will spend two nights in places called “casera.” A “casera” is an ancient settlement found in high-altitude pastures, consisting of cowshed for cows, building for cheese production, refuge for people. From ancestral times until the 1950s, cows and the shepherds would move here, from mid-June to mid-September. Nowadays only a few “caseras” are still active, many are disused and in ruin, the others remain open unattended and well maintained by the local community for use by hikers (they usually have a stove and wood available, cots for sleeping and table). Active “casera” are sometimes managed, is so, they offer room and local food or more frequently just food, the real Km 0!

programme

DAY 1: Welcome to extraordinary Dolomites

Arrival in Dolomites: from Venice airport takes about 2 hours. Dinner and night at B&B a renovate ancient rural house in a tiny, alpine village. The town, the forests, and the mountains which surround the valley quickly introduce us in what will be the highlight of this week: the unique and extraordinary beauty of the Dolomites.

DAY 2: our unusual Dolomites track can start

After 30-minutes transfer and the trek will start. The beginning is from another tiny village at 1200 meters elevation: the trail climbs up to a fork at 2300. From here we have a long descent where the first “Casera” is located. This refuge is pretty big and very comfortable, outside there’s the water spring, inside there are blankets and mattresses, table, and above all, a big fireplace.
Night and self-managed dinner in the Casera.

  • 6-7 hours
  • 1300 meters up

DAY 3: hiking along a long ridge

The day begins with a challenging ascent, reaching an altitude of 2000 meters, from here we will walk along a ridge trail that offers an astonishing view above the Gares valley. At the end of the ridge, after passing another nice little “casera”, we will start a long descent till reaching a hut just at the bottom of the valley. Here we can get a sandwich or some good “Canederli” in order to be ready for the next up-hill.
In 1,30 hours we will reach our tonight “Casera”: this one is still managed, a nice family and their cows live up here from the end of June to the end of September, making their own amazing cheese. We will eat and sleep here.

  • 6-7 hours
  • 900 meters up

DAY 4: back to world for just a while

From the Casera climb to fork at 2200 and long descent to the town. From here it is necessary to cut the distance with a small car transfer. From here we will start going up again, and after a couple of hours of a beautiful hike, we will finally reach tonight’s hut. This charming wood-inlaid hut is managed and offers excellent food and drinks.
Night and dinner at the Baita.

  • 5-6 hours
  • 950 meters up

DAY 5: a long day trip on the shepherds’ high route

This day will be a long, unforgettable day. The trail winds up to the south side of the mountain, it reaches a little fork, then goes down till starting going up again: it will reach another fork and after that another one. We will walk more than 14 km today! Almost at the end of the day, we will find our food deposit. After putting some extra and delicious weight on our shoulders we will hike up for the last hour of the day, till tonight charmy Casera will be finally reached.

  • 8-9 hours
  • 800 meters up

DAY 6: finally summit and back down

During this extraordinary hike in the Dolomites, we had all sorts of unforgettable experiences: good food, wonderful sunsets, warm fire, a night sky full of stars, and some of the most beautiful mountain scenarios in the world, longs, and challenging trails etc… But we still miss something: what? We didn’t reach any summit yet. Here we go and today is the day. Let’s do it aware that this will be the last effort of the week. After touching the stones at the highest point we take the way down. Soon the rocks will leave space for the pastures and after the forest. Soon we will reach some houses which mark the civilization indeed the end of this great adventure. Tonight we will sleep again on the first night place.

  • 6-7 hours
  • 400 meters up

DAY 7: way back home

After breakfast is time to say goodbye to these places. Transfer back to the airport.