Alta via 2: long distance hike in the Dolomites (day by day itinerary)

How to solo hike the Alta Via 2, the Dolomites' most beautiful long distance hike

This blog post will give you all the details on how to solo hike the Alta Via 2 (AV2), a spectacular long distance hike that traverses the Italian Dolomites.

Don’t have time or energy to hike the entire Alta Via 2? If you only want to hike a few days instead of the entire 11 – 14 days, skip down to read about the prettiest sections of the Alta Via 2.

Table of Contents

Day by day hiking guide of the entire Alta Via 2 (including hut info)

Day 1: Bressanone (Brixen)- Plosehütte

Duration day 1: 1h 15min – 1h 30min (when taking the gondola)

Day 1 can be used as a travel day to get to the start of the Alta Via 2. Your first day will be a short hiking day when you decide to take the gondola (Plose Seilbahn) up. It’s a long, rather steep climb with city views of Brixen below.

Green backpack in the Plose gondola
The Plose gondola up from Brixen
Hiking sign post
The sign posting when you get out of the Plose gondola. The AV2 is well marked.
The last climb of day 1 before the Plose hut.

Detour day 1

Detour duration: 5 – 10min 

On day 1 of the Alta Via 2 there is a worth while detour. It’s just an extra 10 minutes of walking, so very much worth it. When you’re at the top of the gondola station, go right past the “Plose” letters instead of immediately following the Alta Via 2 trail. You’ll find a pretty view there of the mountain range Odle di Eores.

Short detour after the Plose gondola to see the Olde di Eores mountain range.

Night 1: Plosehütte

Plosehütte (Rifugio Plose) is a smaller refuge, with a cosy timber cladded dining room. You can order a la carte dinner and there is a buffet breakfast. And the best part? At rifugio Plose a warm shower is included in the price! More information and contact details can be found on the official Plosehütte website.

Breakfast buffet in the Plose hut
Dining area in the Plose hut
The Alta Via 2's first hut is the Plosehutte and it has amazing views!
Bunk bed in a dorm room in the Plose hut.
Dorm room in the Plosehutte

Day 2: Plosehütte - Rifugio Genova

Duration day 2: 4h 30min – 5h

Hiking day 2 of the Alta Via 2 with start with beautiful views of the Odle di Eores mountain range. After hiking through a forest, you’ll be walking on a paved road for a small part. Then there will be more forest with waterfalls. Finally, there is a steep climb to the saddle Forcella di Putia. After that it’s a flat walk to Rifugio Genova.

On day 2 there are plenty of opportunities along the route to refill your water bottle. 

Person eating a sandwich along the Alta Via 2 hiking trail
Hikers hiking up a steep section of the Alta Via 2 on day 2.
The steep ascent to Forcella di Putia on day 2 of the Alta Via 2

Night 2: Rifugio Genova (also called Schlüterhütte)

Rifugio Genova is a big, busy hut. Please note this hut has two names: Rifugio Genova (Italian) and Schlüterhütte (German). There is a cosy dining area, a la carte dinner and a buffet breakfast. There is free WiFi, but showers are paid.

At Rifugio Genova it’s worth taking a private room, because it’s only a few Euros more than a dorm bed, especially if you take room without bedding and use your sleeping liner. Find out more about Rifugio Genova on their website.

Rifugio Genova (also known as Schlüterhütte)
A cosy single room in Rifugio Genova

Day 3: Rifugio Genova - Rifugio Puez

Duration day 3: 5 – 6h

Day 3 is one of my favourite days on the Alta Via 2 trail! Trail leads you past 3 very different valleys. The first pass is the steep Forcella della Roa. This pass is covered in scree and is very exposed. Don’t attempt the climb if there is bad weather is predicted. The second pass is the well maintained Forcella di Sielles pass. On the ascent you can see Seceda far in the distance. After the second pass it’s long, slightly downhill hike. Please note there are no places to fill your water bottle except on the final stretch to Puez hut. 

If you do one section of the Alta Via 2, make sure to include this section! Day 3 is one of the prettiest sections of the Alta Via 2.

Green mountains above the clouds along the AV2
The beautiful view after leaving the Genova hut on day 3.
In the distance, between the clouds, is the famous Seceda rock formation.

Night 3: Rifugio Puez

At Rifugio Puez there is no WiFi or cell service. You’ll need to pay for a hot shower. Find the contact details of Rifugio Puez on their website.

Can you spot Rifugio Puez?
The dorm rooms in Rifugio Puez

Day 4: Rifugio Puez - Rifugio Frara

  • Duration day 4: 3h
  • Optional detour day 4: 3h

When you come down to into Passo Gardena valley, there is an awesome photo spot on the descent. Make sure to snap a photo here, especially if you don’t do the Gran Cir detour. 

The traditional AV2 itinerary continues to Rifugio Pisciadu on day 4, but then you’ll miss one of the prettiest detours of the AV2. My advice is to stay at Rifugio Frara at Passo Gardena so you can do the Gran Cir detour.

The Gran Cir detour gives you beautiful views of Passo Gardena. You can do it in the afternoon of day 4, or in the morning of day 5. Find out how to do the Gran Cir hike (coming soon).

Person overlooking the Dolomites on day 4 of the Alta Via 2 long distance hike.
Day 4 on the long distance Alta Via 2 hiking trail
Person with backpack standing overlooking Passo Gardena
Snap this cool picture when you descend into Passo Gardena

Night 4: Rifugio Frara

Stop early at Passo Gardena and stay at Rifugio Frara. Because refuge Frara is next to a road, it has one of the best, most fresh breakfasts along the AV2 trail! WiFi and a hot shower are included in the rate. Find contact details and more information on the Rifugio Frara website.

Dining area in mountain hut overlooking mountains
The views from the dining area of Rifugio Frara are breathtaking!
The big dorm room at Rifugio Frara

Day 5: Rifugio Frara - Rifugio Pisciadu (via Gran Cir)

Optional day 5 detour: sunrise hike to Gran Cir

Watching the sunrise while standing on Gran Cir is absolutely beautiful! Alternatively, you can also do the hike in the early morning.

  • Duration up Gran Cir: 1h 30min
  • Time at the peak of Gran Cir to watch the sunrise: 45min – 1h
  • Duration down Gran Cir: 1h

Find out all the details about hiking Gran Cir (coming soon).

Hiking trail Rifugio Frara - Rifugio Pisciadu

Duration day 5: 2h 20min

The hiking trail between Rifugio Frara and Rifugio Pisciadu basically consists of one big, steep trail full of switch backs. The last steep bit has an easy via ferrata that you don’t need gear for. There are cables and ladders to help you on the ascent. Climbing can be slow if hikers are descending. I would recommend doing this part of the AV2 in the morning because:

  • Mornings in the Dolomites are usually nicer weather wise. Rain or thunderstorms are not uncommon. The final cable aided section will be slippery in the rain.
  • In the morning you will walk in the shade, which is nice seeing the strenuous climb.
  • In the morning lots of day trippers go up from Passo Gardena and then head down again in the afternoon. If you go up during the afternoon, you’ll be waiting more because people are also coming down the cable aided section. 
Views of Passo Gardena
The views when leaving Passo Gardena
Steep gorge Val Setus with hikers climbing up.
The steep climb up Val Setus between Passo Gardena and Rifugio Pisciadu

Night 5: Rifugio Pisciadu

Rifugio Pisciadu is a big refuge with both indoor seating and outdoor seating with views of Pisciadu lake. You’ll have free WiFi but paid showers. Contact details and prices can be found on refuge Pisciadu’s official website.

Day 6: Rifugio Pisciadu - Rifugio Forcella Pardoi

Duration day 6: 4 hours (not including detours)

The landscape on day 6 is completely different from the previous days. You will be walking through white rocky, moonlike landscapes. 

The detours mentioned below for day 6 aren’t must sees. You can easily skip the detours and use your energy to make it to the next hut (Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada) instead of sleeping at Forcella Pardoi. This will shorten your itinerary by a day. 

Detour Piz Pisciadu

  • Duration up: 35 – 40min from the fork in the road
  • Duration down: 25 – 30min 

The detour up Pisciadu peak (Piz Pisciadu) gives rewarding views. It’s far away from gondolas, meaning you won’t see too many people here.

Hiker next to the cross on the summit of Piz Pisciadu
Detour to the top of Piz Pisciadu
Piz Boe hut can be seen in the distance from Piz Pisciadu.
In the distance you can see Piz Boe. This is the view from Piz Pisciadu.

Detour Piz Boe

Duration detour: 1h 30min

The views from the top of Piz Boe are nice, but it’s very busy at the top. I climbed to the top, but was a bit disappointed by the crowds. In my opinion you can give Piz Boe a miss. Walking around Piz Boe instead of taking the detour to the top, saves you about half an hour.

Night 6: Rifugio Forcella Pardoi

Forcella Pardoi was one of my favourite huts. It’s small and has a personal atmosphere. Staff is friendly and there is a relaxed atmosphere. A hot shower is included in the rate. Water is not potable, so bring a water filter. Check out prices and contact details on the official website of Rifugio Forcella Pardoi.

Day 7: Rifugio Forcella Pardoi - Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada

Duration day 7: 3 – 4h 

Day 7 is a relatively easy day, without much difference in elevation. From Rifugio Forcella Pardoi you can either walk down or take the gondola from Sass Pardoi down. The final stretch  of day 7 with views of Lago Di Fedaia and the stuw dam are magnificent! Also the majestic views of Marmolada mountain make this trail section worth while. 

If you would like to be efficient with your time, you can take the bus from Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada to Passo San Pelligrino on the end of day 7. That means you are sleeping in San Pelligrino instead of Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada. This will shorten your itinerary by a day and saves you the strenuous day 8 hike.

Night 7: Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada

Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada is a large refuge next to the lake. They have a cosy, wooden dining room. There is free WiFi and a hot shower included in the room rate. You can find prices and contact information on the Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolad website.

Right next to the rifugio is a restaurant called Col du Cok. They offer pizza, which is a welcome change from the pasta and polenta offered in the huts. Unfortunately the restaurant only serves food until 15:00. 

Alternative night 7: Rifugio Fedaia

If you do decide to hike the strenuous trail on day 8, consider sleeping at Rifugio Passo Fedaia instead of Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada on the seventh night. Day 7 is a relatively short day which you will extend by 1 hour of walking to reach Rifugio Passo Fedaia on the opposite side of the lake. On already long, strenuous day 8 you’ll have an hour less to walk. Prices and contact details can be found on the Rifugio Fedaia website.

Day 8: Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada - San Pellegrino

Duration day 8: 9 hours

Day 8 is a very long stage along the Alta Via 2. Be prepared for the steep, long climb up Forca Rossa.

If the walk from Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada to San Pellegrono is too long for you, it’s possible to take the bus around the Marmolada mountain to Passo San Pellegrino. You will need to take 3 busses, changing in Piena en Moena. Expect the journey to take about 1h 45min.

Taking these busses instead of walking is also a good idea when bad weather is predicted. Keep in mind the busses only start operating after 09:00.

On day 8, between Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada and Passo San Pellegrino, all accommodation is expensive (over 110 Euros per person per night)! Make sure you book accommodation for this stage well in advance so you secure accommodation. 

Night 8: Passo San Pellegrino

At Passo San Pellegrino there are different hotels to choose from. Unfortunately there are no mountain huts. I stayed at Hotel Arnika Wellness, which wasn’t cheap, but at least you could use the sauna facilities for free. On the website of Hotel Anika Welness you can find the latest prices and availability. 

Alternative night 8: Rifugio Fuciade

Alternatively you can stop hiking 2 hours earlier and stay at Rifugio Fuciade instead of continuing to Passo San Pellegrino. On the Rifugio Fuciade website you can find prices and contact details. Please note this refuge is much more expensive than the other rifugios along the way. 

Day 9: Passo San Pellegrino - Rifugio Mulaz

Duration day 9: 7h

The first half of day 9 is quite green, while the second hand is more rocky, rugged and grey. Be prepared for the steep final climb to Rifugio Mulaz. 

Night 9: Rifugio Mulaz

There is no WiFi or cell service at Rifugio Mulaz. The water is not potable, so bring a water filter. When I stayed here there was a water shortage, so it wasn’t possible to take a shower. Rifugio Mulaz does not have a website, but you can reserve a bed by sending an email to

Day 10: Rifugio Mulaz - Rifugio Rosetta

Duration day 10: 5h

Day 10 is a relatively easy day without too much change in elevation. Your day will start off with climb between the iconic jagged peaks of Passo delle Farangole. At this pass is the most challenging via ferrata of the entire AV2, but it still can easily be done without gear. There are some ladders and cables to help you. After the exciting pass, it’s mostly downhill until you reach the Rosetta mountain hut. Enjoy the peace and quiet along the trail, once you nearly reach Rifugio Rosetta (which is next to a gondola) it’s over,.

Alternatively you could grab the gondola down and finish your AV2 hike here if you’re short on time. From Rufugio Rosetta you’ll grab the cable car down to Colverde and then a chair lift down to the village of San Martino di Castrozza. Information about gondola times and prices can be found on the San Martino website.

Night 10: Rifugio Rosetta

At Rifugio Rosetta there is no cell service or WiFi. When I was there the atmosphere was stressed and the place seemed understaffed, though this might have been a one off. Like many of the previous huts, the water in not potable, so bring a water filter. You can pay for a shower, but when there is a water shortage it is not possible to shower. Overal it’s a nice enough place to stay. The classic, wooden look of the common dining are gives it a cosy atmosphere and the food is good. You’ll find contact details and opening times on the Rifugio Rosetta’s website.

Day 11: Rifugio Rosetta - Rifugio Treviso

Duration day 11: 7 hours

Day 11 has lots of ascents and decents and roughly consists of the following segments:

  • Rosetta – Rifugio Pradidali: 2h
  • Rifugio Pradidali – Passo delle Lede: 1h 30min
  • Passo delle Lede – Rifugio Treviso: 4h (or less if you’re quick on the downhill)

Day 11 starts off with white, rocky landscapes. In the distance you can see the green non-mountainous landscape, marking the end of the Dolomites. Make sure to keep an eye out for the signs between Rifugio Pradidali and Passo de Lede so you don’t loose the trail (like I did). After the pass ‘Passo delle Lede’ it’s a long, demoralising hike down into the valley, and then up again to the refuge. You can see Rifugio Treviso on the other side of the valley while descending the 1300m down. On the descent you’ll pass the bright yellow bivouac Minazio, which is a small hut without any supplies. You can use it if you do run into unexpected stormy weather.

Night 11: Rifugio Treviso

Even if you’ve run into water shortage at the previous huts, you will be able to grab a (paid) warm shower here. That is because Rifugio Treviso is amidst the forest and is close to a rivier. The common room is slightly less cosy than other huts, but staff is friendly, food is good and rooms are fine. See the Rifugio Treviso website for contact details, prices and other information.

Day 12: Rifugio Treviso - Rifugio Cereda

Duration: 5h

Day 12 has the greenest scenery yet! After a short hike though the forest, you’ll hike up the steep pass Forcella d’Oltro. From there you’ll see amazing views over green, forest landscape. Enjoy the views before walking through the forest to the last refuge. Look out for rasberries along the final descent.

Night 12: Rifugio Cereda

Rifugio Cereda doesn’t feel like a mountain hut, partly because it’s next to a road in the valley. It’s more of a hotel with an affordable dorm option. The upside is you’ll be able to order food other than the pasta and polenta, which is a welcome’s change. There is also a hot shower included in the rate! Check out the prices and availability on the Rifugio Cereda website.

Optional day 13, 14 & 15

Officially the Alta Via 2 continues, though the iconic rocky Dolomites’ scenery is over. If you’d like to hike the entire official route, continue as following:

  • Day 13: Rifugio Cereda – Rifugio Boz (9 hours)
  • Day 14: Rifugio Box – Rifugio Dal Piaz (8 hours)
  • Day 15: Rifugio Dal Piaz – Passo Crice D’Aune (2 hours)

Hiking a part of the Alta Via 2: pretties sections

Many people won’t want to do the entire Alta Via 2 which takes between 11 – 14 days. So which sections of the Alta Via 2 are the prettiest if you are limited on time? Below are the prettiest sections of the Alta Via 2 to do if you don’t want to do the whole route. In my opinion the following sections of the Alta Via 2 are the prettiest and worth doing as a multi-day hike.

AV2 prettiest section #1: Rifugio Plose - Passo Gardena (3 - 4 days)

If you like: iconic mountains, jaw dropping vista’s, green pastures with grazing cows and sheep and quickly changing landscape

Below are different options on how to hike 3 – 4 days on the Alta Via 2. The options below are slight variations of the same route, depending on how many hours a day you’d like to walk. 

If you are limited on time, do this section of the Alta Via 2 between Plose and Passo Gardena. It has the prettiest mountain vista’s and it’s relatively quiet without too many other hikers!

Option 1:

  • Day 1: Brixen – Rifugio Plose (1h 30min)
  • Day 2: Rifugio Plose – Rifugio Genova (5h)
  • Day 3: Rifugio Genova – Rifugio Puez (5 – 6 h)
  • Day 4: Rifugio Puez – Passo Gardena (3h)

Option 2: 

  • Day 1: Brixen – Rifugio Genova (6h 30min)
  • Day 2: Rifugio Genova – Rifugio Puez (5 – 6 h)
  • Day 3: Rifugio Puez – Passo Gardena (3h)

Option 3:

  • Day 1: Passo Rodella – Rifugio Genova (3h)
  • Day 2: Rifugio Genova – Rifugio Puez (5 – 6 h)
  • Day 3: Rifugio Puez – Passo Gardena (3h)

Skip up for more detailed information on these first few days of the Alta Via 2.

AV2 prettiest section #2: Passo Gardena - Passo Pardoi (2 days)

If you like: moonlike landscape, and white rocky landscape

Option 1:

  • Day 1: Passo Gardena – via Gran Cir detour – Rifugio Pisciadu
  • Day 2: Rifugio Pisciadu – Passo Pardoi 

Option 2:

  • Day 1: Passo Garden – Rifugio Boe
  • Day 2: Rifugio Boe – Passo Pardoi 

The only downside of this section of the Alta Via 2 is that the trails are quite crowded. The upside is that the starting and ending points are rather well accessible. You can find prices and contact details of Rifugio Boe on the Rifugio Boe website. Rifugio Boe is a very big refuge. If you’d like something smaller and more personal you can consider staying at the small Rifugio Piz Boe. You’ll find information on the Rifugio Piz Boe website. 

Skip up for more information on this fifth and sixth stage of the Alta Via 2.

AV2 prettiest section #3: Passo Gardena - Passo Pardoi (2 days)

If you like: iconic rocky landscape alternated with greenery and quiet trails

  • Day 1: San Pellegrino – Rifugio Mulaz
  • Day 2: Rifugio Mulaz – Rifugio Rosetta

Skip up for more information on this ninth and tenth stage of the Alta Via 2.