Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo: The Ultimate Guide to Drei Zinnen

UPDATED:

Kate + Vin

Vin looking at the Three Peaks of Lavaredo also known as Drei Zinnen and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
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Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) is a must-see mountain trio in the Dolomites. Discover the best way to hike Tre Cime to experience all the earth-defying splendor of Italy’s Three Peaks.

Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo feels like an awakening. The sight of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo — also referred to as Drei Zinnen, 3 Zinnen and 3 Cime di Lavaredo — is so abrupt it adrenalizes the eyes — concentrating your mind as if you just stepped before a sleeping dragon. They do not appear as mountains but as an eruption fossilized in a flash of earthen anger. You realize immediately that Tre Cime is not a place to be seen, but another world to be experienced.

After visiting Tre Cime di Lavaredo on multiple occasions, in good weather and bad, we’re confident this 2024 hiking guide gives you the most soul-etching way to enjoy the Three Peaks. You’ll discover how to:

  • Hike the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop + avoid crowds
  • Find the best views of Tre Cime, Cadini di Misurina, Paternkofel & other iconic peaks
  • Visit the hidden Lakes of Piani (not to miss!)
  • Enjoy fascinating historic landmarks — including 220 million-year-old dinosaur footprints

In addition, we share details on how to get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo by car, foot and bus as well as where to stay near Drei Zinnen Nature Park. And if you want to overnight amid the Three Peaks, we share how to book a rifugio along the Tre Cime loop, as well as insights on camping at Tre Cime.

⇒ DOWNLOAD OUR STEP-BY-STEP TRE CIME HIKING GUIDE (WITH MAP)

An Overview of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

tre cime dre zinnen dolomites panorama

Hiking Time: Plan on 4-5 hours if you are hiking the full Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop (including time spent at mountain huts and exploring some of the hidden gems around the Three Peaks).

Hiking Difficulty: Avid mountain hikers will find the circuit relatively easy. Those less experienced will find some segments moderately difficult. The total elevation change you can expect is approximately 1,100 – 1,300 ft (340 – 400 m). The altitude for the hike averages 7,500 ft (2,300 m) so be sure to acclimate yourself to the high elevation prior to hiking if need be.

Trail Conditions: The majority of the Tre Cime loop is compact gravel. We recommend hiking poles if knees are an issue or if you are hiking after rainfall or on a drizzly day.

Distance: The hike around Tre Cime is 6+ miles (10 km). Plan on hiking an additional 2-3 miles if adding hikes to the Tre Cime caves or the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint.

Places to Eat: There are four mountain huts located on the trail. They are spread out nicely so you can enjoy a meal, drinks and dessert on your outing during hiking season.

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Map of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike

The following Tre Cime trail map highlights the loop hike — officially known as the “Giro delle Tre Cime di Lavaredo” (Tour of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo) — along with the major sights and destinations. We cover each in detail so you have a clear idea of what to expect during your trek around the Three Peaks.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hiking Map
Good to Know: The arrows on our Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike map indicate to trek counterclockwise around the Three Peaks. Consider hiking clockwise if visiting during peak season.

How to Get to Tre Cime di Lavaredo | Drei Zinnen

The Three Peaks tower over the border of South Tyrol and the Italian province of Belluno. They reside in the Drei Zinnen Nature Park of Val Pusteria / Pustertal in South Tyrol and belong to the mountain range known as the Sexten Dolomites. The closest major towns are Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics with Milan, and Toblach (also known as Dobbiaco).

Where is Tre Cime di Lavaredo Map

The most common starting point for hiking Drei Zinnen is the Rifugio Auronzo. You can reach this mountain hut by car or public shuttle bus via a scenic toll road called Strada Panoramica delle Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Our recommendation is to rent a car while visiting the Dolomites as it provides the greatest flexibility to explore. From our experience, we have found the best rental deals at Discover Cars.

Toll Road Opening Date 2024

The toll road to Rifugio Auronzo is scheduled to open on June 1.

Reaching Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Car / Motorbike / Campervan

Navigate to the Rifugio Auronzo via your phone or car’s GPS. Next to this mountain hut is a large parking area. Prior to driving up the mountain, you will pass through a toll booth where you will be required to pay an entrance fee. 2024 toll road prices are as follows: €30.00 per car, €20.00 per motorbike and €45.00 per campervan. This will give you access to the toll road until midnight. Plan to arrive before 8 a.m. as the Rifugio Auronzo parking area can fill up quickly. If you are visiting Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the summer, we recommend arriving even earlier.

NOTE: During hiking season, the toll road is open 24 hours unless there is a weather event that impacts travel. The toll booth begins operation at 7 a.m. If you arrive beforehand, simply take a ticket and pay it on your return.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Toll Road Parking Map

Reaching Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Bus

To help reduce the environmental impact of driving and avoid paying the entrance fee, hop on a shuttle bus from your nearest town or perhaps even from your hotel if it is offered. The round-trip cost to take the shuttle bus is €15.00 (Note: If you have a Sudtirol Holidaypass provided by your hotel there is no cost). You can check shuttle bus departure times and book a ticket on the Suedtirolmobil website.

Reaching Tre Cime di Lavaredo by Foot

Another option to avoid the entrance fee is to pay it with your feet. You can park at the Drei-Zinnen-Blick viewpoint located on the road to Tre Cime di Lavaredo and hike trail no. 102. You will reach the most popular Three Peaks mountain hut, Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler (Dreizinnenhütte), in 3+ hours.

History You Should Know Before Hiking Tre Cime

tre cime di lavaredo world war i monument
The Angel of the Fallen monument is a must-see when hiking Tre Cime.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the official symbol of the Dolomites and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. Yet, amazingly, few of the tens of thousands who hike the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop each year know they are trekking trails edged by the remnants of the First World War. Drei Zinnen, like many ranges in the Dolomites, straddled the battlefield between empires. Knowing a bit of this history before hiking here will give you a much greater appreciation for the sights you encounter.

An Alpini soldier during the Great War.
An Alpini soldier during the Great War.

On May 23, 1915, Italy declared war against Austria giving rise to the Alpine Front, which cut 300 miles through the Alps from Switzerland to the Adriatic Sea. Hundreds of thousands of Italian “Alpini” and the Austrian “Kaiserjäger” soldiers fought on the rooftops of the world. It was the first time in world history that opposing armies clashed at altitudes of nearly 10,000 feet.

The Alpini and Kaiserjäger were specialized mountain units recruited from the Alps who could fight effectively in Alpine landscapes due to their physical endurance from their experience with mountaineering. These hardened soldiers could withstand long marches up the steep mountain terrain while hauling heavy packs, weapons and ammunition.

The Austrians and Italians militarized the mountains with a labyrinth of tunnels, bunkers and trenches still visible today. But the peaks and crags took no sides. The mountains were both protector and executioner.

A cannon pointing at the heart of Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the winter of 1917.
A cannon pointing at the heart of Tre Cime in the winter of 1917.

Each winter soldiers faced a common enemy they called “white death”. Blizzards, subzero temperatures, avalanches and falling rocks ravaged brave souls on the front line as much as bullets and bombs. In fact, after a brutal snowstorm in December of 1916, avalanches buried more than 10,000 Italian and Austrian troops over a two-day period.

When the war ended in November 1918, South Tyrol, once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was ceded to Italy. Drei Zinnen, which translates to Three Merlons, then also became officially known as Tre Cime di Lavaredo. For this reason, we refer to the peaks by all of their common names in this hiking guide.

⇒ DOWNLOAD OUR STEP-BY-STEP TRE CIME HIKING GUIDE (WITH MAP)

How to Hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo | Drei Zinnen

Kate soaking in the view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Mount Paterno.
Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo bombards you with mountain scenery. The sheer number of peaks you encounter on the hike is overwhelming.

The two most famous ways to experience Drei Zinnen are by hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop or the Lavaredo Saddle. Both are jaw-dropping. Determining which one to hike depends on how much time you want to spend exploring the Three Peaks and your fitness level.

Drei Zinnen Hiking Option #1: The Tre di Cime Lavaredo Loop

Hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop will take 4-5 hours. Some guides indicate 3 hours, but breezing around the 6+ mile (10 km) trail at that speed is like climbing the Eiffel Tower and claiming you experienced Paris.

Many hiking guides also erroneously state hiking the circuit is easy. It is not. In our opinion, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop is moderately difficult unless you are accustomed to mountain hiking. The hike is not dangerous, but there are steep and long ascents in parts that may require taking an occasional break to catch your breath.

We stress these points because we have met many elderly hikers struggling to hike the loop. On more than one occasion, they told us they expected the hike to be much easier and not take so long. They were especially concerned as daylight was fading fast and they still had 1/3 of the route left to hike. Finding yourself unexpectedly exhausted or rushed is no way to experience the mountains.

Drei Zinnen Hiking Option #2: The Tre di Cime Lavaredo Saddle

The Tre di Cime Lavaredo Saddle hike allows you to experience most of the epic sights of the loop but is easier making it ideal for those concerned about time and energy. It begins and ends at the same starting point, however, instead of sweeping you all the way across the northern faces of the Three Peaks, the hike leads you back on much of the same trail, which is relatively flat throughout, unlike the circuit.

By embarking on the Lavaredo Saddle hike you will ultimately trek more miles, but the less demanding trail means it can be hiked in 3 hours or less.

With all of this said, our recommendation is the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit hike for anyone who is reasonably fit (including school-aged kids) and can afford to give most of their day to the Three Peaks. As long as you plan accordingly, the loop hike is one of the most rewarding adventures in all of South Tyrol.

Step-by-Step Hiking Directions

The following details how to hike both the Tre di Cime Lavaredo Circuit or the Lavaredo Saddle. These two hikes use the same route until reaching the Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler.

From Rifugio Auronzo to the Forcella Lavaredo Ridge

tre cime trail sign

Begin your adventure by departing from the Rifugio Auronzo mountain hut on trail no. 101. This trail is an old military road and carries you north across the debris cone of the southern faces of the Three Peaks.

From left to right they are known as the Cima Ovest di Lavaredo / Westliche Zinne (Western Peak), Cima Grande di Lavaredo / Große Zinne (Big Peak) and Cima Piccola di Lavaredo / Kleine Zinne (Small Peak). The tallest, Cima Grande, has a height of 9,839 ft. (2,999 m).

CROWD AVOIDING TIP: If you are planning to hike the circuit and notice large crowds departing from Rifugio Auronzo on trail no. 101, you can opt to go clockwise around the Three Peaks by taking trail no. 105.

Cadini Mountains on Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike
The alpine splendor begins with magnificent views of the Cadini Group.

Gazing eastward you will see the Cadini Group (also known as Cadini di Misurina). This frantic chain of peaks, spires and crags stab the sky with such fury they seem intent on making the heavens crash to earth. For an epic sight, you will not forget, consider adding a visit to the famous Cadini di Misurina viewpoint as a part of your Tre Cime adventure. Our Cadini post provides everything you need to see the “Mountains of Mordor” up close.

Looking to the south you will peer into the Vallon di Lavaredo, a valley that unfurls into a even deeper valley called Marzon — where you can glimpse Lago di Auronzo on a clear day.

Dinosaur footprints on a boulder at Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Walking with dinosaurs. A boulder along the Tre Cime di Lavaredo bears the imprint of a two-legged meat eater.

After 30 minutes or so you will encounter a boulder resting at the trail’s edge as if placed there by the hands of fate. On its surface are two dinosaur footprints dating back some 220 million years. In 1991, Paolo Mietto, an Italian paleontologist, identified the prints as that of a therapod dinosaur, which was a bipedal carnivore from the Triassic period. Although weathered by the eons, you can still make out three toes with sharp claws.

Beyond the boulder, you will spot the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice chapel (also known as the Cappella degli Alpini). Built in 1928, this small church was founded by the Alpini in memory of the Bersaglieri regiments (sharpshooters) that fought in the war of which 32,000 were killed and 50,000 were wounded.

Santa Maria Ausiliatrice chapel
Mount Cristallo roars above the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice chapel.

Walking around the church you will come across a monument honoring mountaineer Paul Grohmann. In 1869, he was the first person to climb the Cima Grande. Amazingly in the same year, he also became the first alpinist to conquer the equally imposing summits of Sassolungo in South Tyrol’s Val Gardena.

HIDDEN GEM: Near the church another trail branches to the right leading you downslope into a boulder-riddled pasture. If you take this, it will bring you to another beautiful sight honoring the soldiers who fought here. “The Angel of the Fallen” monument (pictured above in the history section) is the work of Ancona Vittorio Monelli, who was a sharpshooter during the war. Nearby the monument is also a somber memorial cross worth visiting. If you are lucky, you will also have a chance to admire horses grazing around the landmarks.

Hiking to the Angel of the Fallen monument on Drei Zinnen.

As you continue on trail no. 101 take a moment to look behind you. The soaring view of Mount Cristallo just beyond the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice chapel is reason enough to do the Tre Cime hike.

Shortly after the chapel, you will come to the second mountain hut of Drei Zinnen, Rifugio Lavaredo. It sits below the Forcella Lavaredo ridge, the first stunning viewpoint of the northern faces of the Three Peaks. By the way, “Forcella” means saddle or fork. If the hut is open, we suggest fueling up here with a beer or meal before venturing upslope to the Forcella Lavaredo. Not sure what to order? Discover the 10 must-try foods of South Tyrol.

⇒ DOWNLOAD OUR STEP-BY-STEP TRE CIME HIKING GUIDE (WITH MAP)

From the hut’s terrace, you can soak in sweeping views of the Cadini Group and the Marmarole Group, which soars even further to the west and is home to Mount Antelao, also known as the “King of the Dolomites”. This thundering mountain storms up 10,700+ ft (3,200+ m) and is the second tallest in the Dolomites.

Rifugio Lavaredo also offers neck-bending views of the southern faces of the Three Peaks. From this vantage point, they look like the walls of a Stone Age castle or cathedral. Particularly fascinating is the “Spigolo Giallo”, which is a spear-like peak that is popular among climbers.

Rifugio Lavaredo sits beneath the Three Peaks right before the Foreclla Lavaredo saddle.
Cathedrals in the sky: Rifugio Lavaredo sits beneath the Three Peaks right before the Foreclla Lavaredo saddle.

At Rifugio Lavaredo, you have two options to reach the Forcella Lavaredo ridge. You can head to your left and negotiate a relatively steep mountain pass beneath the Cima Piccola peak directly to the ridge or you can stay straight and meander a wider trail that winds slowly up the mountainside. We have hiked both and they offer different perspectives that are equally fascinating.

HIDDEN GEM: If you take the meandering route, it will bring you around crumbling fortifications from World War I and above a small body of water called Laghi di Lavaredo. This “lake” is a far cry from the shimmering beauty of Lago di Braies, but is still an intriguing sight to behold on such a desolate mountainscape.

Upon reaching the Forcella Lavaredo ridge (8,000+ ft / 2,450+ m) you will be rewarded with a sight that is positively enthralling in its magnitude, intensity and stark beauty. Taking in the entirety of the Three Peaks at this close range is not so much a view, but a phenomenon.

tre cime di lavaredo up close

HIDDEN GEM: From the Forcella Ridge, we recommend walking toward the base of the Cima Piccola peak. There you will find a plaque mounted on a boulder commemorating the day when Pope John Paul II hiked Tre Cime to pray and admire the setting sun at the foot of the Three Peaks. Inscribed on it is the phrase “Do not be afraid”, the wisdom he shared most often during his papacy.

You will also find the remains of military fortifications here as the Forcella Ridge made for an ideal eagled-eye post to spot enemy movement. In fact, during the war, Italian troops positioned a giant spotlight on the Cime Grande peak to pinpoint patrols approaching the Three Peaks.

Across the Lavaredo Saddle to Rifugio Locatelli-Innerkofler (Dreizinnenhütte)

dreizinnenhutte view
Rifugio Locatelli-Innerkofler sits beneath Sasso di Sesto and Torre di Toblin, each held by an opposing army during the war. Notice the series of “caves” on the lower face of Sasso di Sesto.

Moving beyond the Forcella Lavaredo ridge stay on trail no. 101 and descend to a stretch known as the Lavaredo Saddle. Above the saddle looms Monte Paterno (Paternkofel). This 9,000+ ft. giant (2,700+ m) is a beautifully shaped mountain that played a major role during the war. It is scarred with tunnels and caves that served as machine-gun nests and supply routes.

sepp innerkofler
Austrian mountain guide, Sepp Innerkofler, was killed on Mount Paterno on July 4th, 1915.

During a nighttime attack in the summer of 1915, the famous mountaineer, Sepp Innerkofler, who was also an Austrian soldier, fell to his death while leading a patrol up Mount Paterno. Italian sharpshooters spotted the men and shot Innerkofler. It is said they were distraught upon discovering who they killed as many were local alpinists who admired the well-known mountain guide. Innerkofler’s body was laid to rest on the summit of Mount Paterno and eventually moved to a cemetery in Sexten after the war.

As you hike along the saddle, behind you the northern profile of Tre Cime will continue to fully unfold. Sprawling beneath the peaks is a massive ashen-grey debris cone and then the Lange Alm — a mountain pasture that looks as if it is the graveyard of the Alps.

The saddle will gradually begin to ascend and you will soon see the Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler (Dreizinnenhütte) mountain hut perched on a plateau known as the Forcella Toblin. The original hut that once stood here was operated by Sepp Innerkofler and his wife Maria. It was destroyed by artillery on the first day of the war in the Dolomites.

The Dreizinnenhütte was rebuilt after the war and named after Antonio Locatelli, a highly-decorated aviation ace celebrated by Italians for his bravery during World War I. He was killed in the massacre of Lechemti in Ethiopia in 1936.

The Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler offers a large outdoor seating area to rest and satisfy your appetite if open. Few mountain huts in the Dolomites boast a better view.

tre cime di lavaredo italia

CROWD AVOIDING TIP: Most hikers will cluster and linger in front of Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler before continuing the journey. To enjoy the Three Peaks panorama in silence, we recommend hiking just beyond the hut, passing by a small chapel dedicated to San Bernardo di Mentone, the patron saint of mountaineers, and plopping down on a plateau stretching to the north. From here, you will enjoy an unbeatable view of the Three Peaks and Mount Paterno in all their glory.

How to Reach the Tre Cime Caves

After admiring the peaks turn around and look up at Sasso di Sesto (Sextenstein). This mountain houses a series of caves known as Grotta delle Tre Cime and Drei Zinnen Höhlenblick. These caverns were actually Alpini bunkers during World War I. A somewhat steep trail leads up to them allowing you to capture the iconic image of the Three Peaks framed by stone.

The higher summit just beyond Sasso di Sesto is the Torre di Toblin (Toblinger Knoten). On these tower-like peaks, the Kaiserjäger were hunkered down giving you a sense of how scary thin the Alpine front was.

tre cime di lavaredo caves
To capture the iconic Tre Cime cave photo, hike the trail leading to Sasso di Sesto located behind the Chisetta Alpina.

HIDDEN GEM: Once you are ready to peel your eyes away from Tre Cime, hike back to Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler. Behind the hut head downslope to view the Alpe dei Piani in the Altenstein Valley. This valley sits beneath the broad Schusterplatte mountain (Lastron dei Scarperi) and holds the mirror-still Lakes of Piani (Laghi dei Piani). Two are immediately visible, but if you trek down into the valley you will find the third lake beneath the Birkenkofel mountain (Crode dei Piani).

At this point, if you only intended to trek the Lavaredo Saddle hike, begin your journey back to Rifugio Auronzo by taking trail no. 101 again. The wonderful part about this return hike is that it allows you to see the mountains with a fresh perspective. The cloud cover at such elevations is constantly shifting. Odds are you will enjoy sights missed on the way to Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler.

Laghi dei Piani on Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike
Laghi dei Piani

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Over the Lange Alm to Malga Langalm

To continue the Tre Cime Circuit hike, follow signs for trail no. 102. This trail leads you down to a sprawling depression known as Pian Da Rin. From there, will you then trek across the northern faces of Drei Zinnen.

drei zinnen trail sign

As you descend a series of switchbacks you will encounter otherworldly terrain undulating over a vast debris field. The chasm yawning into the abyss on your right side is the Rienztal (Val Rienza). If you were to hike to the valley floor you would meet the Rienz River, which snakes through the Dolomites to Dürrensee (Lago di Landro) and Toblacher See (Lago di Dobbiaco).

Eventually, you will come to a shoulder where the trail steepens significantly. Here, you will take trail no. 105 and make the grueling trek upward onto the Lange Alm. Fortunately, at the midway point, there is a log bench inviting a seat and rest if you need it.

When the trail levels out you will be face-to-face with the Three Peaks. At this range, you can study the geological character lines carved by epochs of time impossible to fathom.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike in the Dolomites, Italy
Left: Torre dei Scarperi is a stunning mountain towering opposite the Three Peaks of Lavaredo.

Looking to the north across the Riezntal you will see another soaring peak: Torre dei Scarperi (Schwabenalpenkopf). This Dolomites’ cast member appears as if it once was an Ancient Greek ruin. To its west is a Monte Rudo (Rautkofel), a blunt saw of peaks that curls to the south like a hook.

HIDDEN GEM: After crossing a creek fed by the Rienza springs, you will be on a slope called Col de Forcellina. From here, you can spot three small ponds offering the opportunity to capture Tre Cime reflecting on their surfaces.

Langalm on Drei Zinnen

If you didn’t relax with refreshments at any of the previous rifugios, the Malga Langalm mountain hut sits off the trail just minutes ahead. Of course, you can still stop here even if you do. Nothing in the hiking world comes close to matching the charm of South Tyrol’s mountainside taverns. Don’t believe us? Check out Geisler Alm.

Make the Epic Return

tre cime di lavaredo trail marker

Beyond the Malga Langalm, trail no. 105 gradually begins to curve around the Three Peaks. Now is a good time to take note of Tre Cime’s fourth and fifth peaks. Yes, the 3 Peaks actually have 5. Sasso di Landro and Torre Lavaredo anchor the eastern flank and are the runts of the bunch.

After traversing a ridge, the Tre Cime Circuit re-enters the debris cone and you will hike the scree slope until arriving at the southern side of Drei Zinnen. The trail on this stretch is narrower so if there are hikers approaching you from the south, skip soaking in the views of Monte Piana and Monte Piano, two mountain plateaus on your right that were fiercely contested by the Italians and Austrians during the war.

drei zinnen hike
Staring into the heart of Mordor. The Cadini Peaks are a brooding force of nature.

The trail eventually leads you gradually up to the Forcella Col di Mezzo where it widens providing plenty of opportunities to let your jaw drop at the sight of the Cadini Group, Mount Cristallo and even Lago di Misurina if the clouds comply. The mountains will undoubtedly look different from when you began the hike 4-5 hours earlier.

The remainder of the hike from here is beneath the Sasso di Landro and Torre Lavaredo summits. Once you arrive back at Rifugio Auronzo we strongly advise stopping in to sip an adult beverage of your choice and at least one helping of apple strudel. You’ve earned both.

⇒ DOWNLOAD OUR STEP-BY-STEP TRE CIME HIKING GUIDE (WITH MAP)

Additional Tre Cime di Lavaredo Viewpoints Not to Miss

Tre Cime di Lavaredo rising above Lake Antorno
Lago Antorno provides a jaw-dropping vista of Tre Cime’s southern faces.

Like most peaks in the Dolomites, Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a many-faced mountain. Its appearance dramatically changes depending on your vantage point. Our favorite view of the Three Peaks is at Lago Antorno (shown above), which is a small alpine lake located on the toll road enroute to Rifugio Auronzo. There is parking available right next to the lake.

For an alternative perspective of the southern faces of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, head to Lago di Misurina, a much larger alpine lake than Lago Antorno. We recommend visiting Lago di Misurina after your hike. To get there, take a left on Strada Provinciale 49 di Misurina upon exiting the toll road and follow the road towards Grand Hotel Misurina. Within a mere two minutes, you’ll come across multiple parking lots lining the western shore of the lake.

Visiting the Vista Panoramica Tre Cime di Lavaredo in Val di Labdro.

Another wonderful viewpoint of Tre Cime di Lavaredo is in the valley of Val di Landro (Höhlensteintal). From the valley floor, you can study the famous north faces of Drei Zinnen with fresh eyes. You can easily reach the viewpoint near Lago di Landro by navigating to Vista Panoramica Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The viewpoint features a captivating “portal” that not only frames the mountains but also pays homage to the mountaineering legends who first triumphed over these peaks.

When to Hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo | Drei Zinnen

tre cime di lavaredo weather forecast
In autumn, be prepared for all types of weather…and to wait for the Three Peaks to “awaken”.

When is the best time to hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo? The short answer is whenever you have the time and means. It is a hike every mountain lover should embark on once in their life. However; if you want to experience Dre Zinnen without dodging throngs of people on the trail avoid visiting during the summer months. Peak hiking season for Tre Cime is June – September.

Instead, plan to hike the Three Peaks from mid-September through mid-October. The only downside with this timeframe is that the mountain huts may begin closing in late September and you can encounter more unpredictable weather. Snow is unlikely, but definitely not out of the question in the Dolomites as you approach the heart of autumn. Pack accordingly (see below for what to bring).

In terms of the best time of day to hike the Three Peaks, we suggest hitting the trail between 8 to 9 a.m. It will be less busy and by the time you reach Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler you should be able to enjoy the sunlight washing over the faces of Cima Ovest, Cima Grande and Cima Piccola.

How to Look Up Tre Cime di Lavaredo Weather

tre cime di lavaredo webcam

Since we recommend hiking Tre Cime in the fall, it is helpful to know how to look up the weather forecast for the region. We have found Bergfex to be a reliable source for Tre Cime di Lavaredo weather. They are one of the few weather outlets to provide a multi-day forecast and expected conditions by the hour.

Accessing the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Webcam

If you want to view weather conditions in real time, then check out the Tre Cime di Lavaredo webcam located at Rifugio Locatelli – Innerkofler (Dreizinnenhütte).

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What to Bring on Your Hike

tre cime di lavaredo hiking poles

Hiking Poles – Most of the Three Peaks hike takes place on a trail with compact gravel that can be loose and slick in parts. We suggest bringing hiking poles for those less sure on their feet or who have knee issues. If you do not own hiking poles, we recommend buying, lightweight, collapsible hiking poles that are easy to pack.

Hiking Boots (not shoes) – You can certainly hike Tre Cime in athletic shoes, but we always recommend wearing hiking boots for extra ankle support.

Hat, Gloves & Sunglasses – If visiting Tre Cime in the spring or fall, gloves and a hat are a must. You can be warm one minute and the next chilled by a breeze swooping down from the summits.

⇒ DOWNLOAD OUR STEP-BY-STEP TRE CIME HIKING GUIDE (WITH MAP)

Jacket & Layers – Make sure to have a decent jacket and toss an extra sweater into your backpack. We advise this for even hiking Tre Cime in the summer. Temps at these elevations can swing dramatically. Also, if the forecast calls for a chance of rain, it probably will. So it doesn’t hurt to have a compact rain poncho in your backpack as well.

Water & Snacks – We always fill up a couple of water bottles before hiking in South Tyrol. You will definitely want at least one water bottle hiking Drei Zinnen. Trail snacks are also wise as you may arrive at a hut not open or filled up with other hikers.

Cash – Not all huts accept cards so we always recommend having some cash on hand. If you plan to have a meal with beer or wine you can expect to spend €20-€25.00.

Patience – The Three Peaks sits among the heavens. At times the mountains will be shrouded in clouds, but if you are willing to wait they will eventually make an appearance, and hopefully a grand one at that.

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Where to Stay Near Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The Drei Zinnen Nature Park is 2+ hours east of Bolzano, the largest city in South Tyrol. You can visit Tre Cime di Lavaredo by doing a day trip from the city, but we highly recommend staying in the Dolomites.

As we highlighted earlier, the nearest mountain towns are Toblach (Dobbacio), Sexten (Sesto), Innichen (San Candido) and Cortina d’ Ampezzo. All of these are 30-40 minutes from the nature park. Any will make a great base for your Drei Zinnen hiking adventure.

During our Tre Cime hiking outings, we stayed at Nigglerhof, a lovely rustic family farm on a mountainside high above Toblach, as well as at a boutique eco-retreat in nearby Val di Casies (read about our getaway to Fontis Luxury Spa Lodge). Both destinations were ideal for exploring the Three Peaks and enjoying the perks of alpine wellness along with the historic charms of the surrounding villages.

⇒ EXPLORE MORE TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO ACCOMMODATIONS HERE

Staying at the Rifugios

If you wish to stay with Tre Cime di Lavaredo in your backyard, another option is to overnight at one of the three mountain huts offering lodging: Rifugio Auronzo, Rifugio Lavaredo and Rifugio Locatelli-Innerkofler. Keep in mind these are only open from early summer through early fall — typically opening the last week of June and closing the last week of September.

The rifugios can be crowded and tend to book up quickly so we recommend emailing them well in advance of your visit. Unfortunately, there is no online booking platform to check availability and make a reservation.

Camping at Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Camping at Tre Cime di Lavaredo at dusk

Wild camping is not officially allowed in Italy’s nature parks, which includes Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Nevertheless, many hikers still pitch a tent usually without encountering any issues as long as they are respectful and discreet and follow these tips.

Those camping with a campervan, caravan or motorhome can pay an additional fee to park overnight in a designated lot by Rifugio Auronzo. The cost ranges from  €5.00 – €60.00 depending on vehicle size.

If you are interested in exploring official campground options near Tre Cime, see our post detailing the best places for camping in the Dolomites. We highlight a campground on Lago di Dobbiaco and in Sexten that are popular choices for those wanting to save money on accommodations or simply sleep under the stars.

Visiting Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Winter

The toll road to Rifugio Auronzo is closed during the winter months, but that does not mean enjoying the wonder of Tre Cime di Lavaredo is off-limits. The best and safest way to experience the Three Peaks in the winter is on snowshoes and with a guide. Guides will know how to spot and avoid dangerous conditions that may not be obvious to you.

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EMBARK ON A SNOWSHOE HIKE TO TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO

A fairytale hike where silence reigns supreme.

What Else to See & Do Near Tre Cime

Visit Lago di Braies: Braies is perhaps the most beautiful mountain lake in the world and it is only a 50-minute drive from Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Do not miss the chance to walk its shores.

Visit Prato Piazza: This high-mountain plateau is like a balcony to the Dolomites. Prato Piazza is one of the most gorgeous alpine meadowlands in South Tyrol. The plateau offers an easy hike for all ages.

Visit Lago di Dobbiaco: Lake Dobbiaco is just minutes away from Tre Cime di Lavredo and offers a relaxing loop trail with stunning vistas and an abundance of wildlife. We like to end our day here after every Tre Cime visit. Another relaxing hike nearby is in Val Fiscalina.

Visit Brunico: If you want to visit one of South Tyrol’s picturesque mountain towns, as well as discover more about the impact of World War I on the region, add a side trip to Brunico. There is a heart-stirring war cemetery in a forest above the town that is unlike any other in the world.

Visit Val di Funes: Val di Funes is a soulful South Tyrolean valley with astounding views of the Dolomites. Consider adding a visit here after hiking around Lago di Braies.


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12 thoughts on “Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo: The Ultimate Guide to Drei Zinnen”

  1. HI KATE + VIN,
    YOUR WRITE UP ON THE TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO TRAIL IS GREAT! IT IS VERY INFORMATIVE!
    MY HUSBAND AND I WILL BE IN CORTINA FROM 19 TO 22 MAY 2023 AND ARE PLANNING TO HIKE THE TRAIL. DO YOU KNOW IF THE TRAIL IS OPENED?
    WE ARE ALSO THINKING OF VISITING THE WW1 OPEN AIR MUSEUM. ARE THERE ANY HIKING TRAILS LEADING TO THE MUSEUM?
    THANKS AND BEST REGARDS,
    LYN

  2. Hello there! thank you for all the information! me and my friends are going to stay in cortina d’ampezzo for a week on 13th march. which others hikes do you reccomend? do we need a guide for these hikes? we have experience on long hikes, but it will be the first time in snowhikes. we have the equipment though.

    • You’re welcome Danilo! Great to hear you are planning to visit Tre Cime di Lavaredo! The Dolomites will be covered in snow in March and the weather conditions can change quickly. Because of that we definitely recommend going with a guide. If you want help planning your adventure along with other hikes, please connect with us via our trip planning services.

  3. Great write up. Glad to have stumbled on your page as me and my wife plan our first trip to italy and the dolomites. Though we are going in winter, your recommendations on timing and location to enjoy these peaks will come in very handy. any advise on a winter hike to some of these peaks?

    • Thank you Julian! Great to hear you are planning on visiting the Three Peaks. You can hike Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the winter by trekking up the mountain from the parking lot at the toll road entrance to Rifugio Auronzo. We have not made this hike, but expect it would add a couple of hours to your adventure. We strongly recommend making sure you are hyper aware of the weather conditions as well as the snowpack conditions before embarking on the hike. A winter hike poses greater risks, but would undoubtedly be stunning.

      • Thanks for the heads up. Will take note of the conditions and make it a top priority to check. the link you shared on the weather will be handy. will read up and familiarize that bit of info. have there been threat of avalanches at tre cime or cinque torri?

  4. Great article and appreciate your effort in putting in all the detail information. we plan to visit here in next 2 weeks. all excited.

    • Thank you! Appreciate you taking the time to comment. Hope you have a wonderful time hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo and elsewhere in the Dolomites!

  5. We’ll be in Lienz The first week of september and are planning a day trip to Drei Zinnen. Good info here. Thanks.

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