Val di Fassa – one of the most beautiful valleys in the Dolomites – is a place where everyone will find something for themselves. Excellent infrastructure, stunning mountain panoramas and well-prepared trails of varying difficulty are the perfect ideas for a summer holiday. I would like to show you today an easy trekking in Passo Fedaia pass with an amazing view of the Queen of the Dolomites – Marmolada (3,343 m above sea level) and the glacier of the same name. The new cable car commissioned for use in the summer of 2018 brings people to the altitude of 2,382 m above sea level, where the most beautiful mountain trail begins, after which I have ever walked.
Val di Fassa – in the heart of the Dolomites
© VisitValdiFassa, edit Italia by Natalia
Val di Fassa is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the Dolomites. The valley is located at an altitude of approx. 1300 – 2950 m a.s.l. winter offers excellent conditions for skiers, while in the summer a lot of picturesque and well-prepared trekking routes, both those requiring experience and high form, as well as easy paths ideal for families with children. Passo Fedaia passes and Passo San Pellegrino impresses with views, charming towns encourage typical alpine buildings, restaurants tempt with excellent local cuisine. Here, the discerning ones will find attractions such as a restaurant with a Michelin star or luxury SPA centers, where you can take a dip in the thermal waters.
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Passo Fedaia Pass
Passo Fedaia is one of the most beautiful passes in the Dolomites. Located between the majestic Marmolada massif with the glacier of the same name and the massif of Porta Vescovo, it offers magnificent views, a network of cable cars and well-prepared hiking trails. Passo Fedaia begins in the town of Canazei in the Province of Trento (Trentino) at an altitude of about 1450 m above sea level and ends at the village of Malga Ciapella in the Province of Belluno (Veneto) at the same altitude. There is an asphalt road between the villages, which in the middle of the pass rises to 2057 m. a.s.l to fall down again. This road leads, among others route of the famous Giro d’Italia race. One of the most characteristic elements of the Passo Fedaia landscape is Lago di Fedaia, a huge artificial lake built – like most artificial reservoirs – for the production of electricity. Lago di Fedaia or Lech de Fedda, Passo Fedaia or Pass de Fedda. On the Val di Fassa map, you will find mostly bilingual names. Why?
Ladin language and Ladyns
Ladin – one of the Romans languages – is the official language recognized by the local authorities, which is used by a group of about 30,000 people living in the Dolomites. The Valleys and Val Badia Valleys in the Province of Bolzano (South Tyrol), Val di Fassa in the Province of Trento and the Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Province of Belluno (Veneto) are the largest areas of the Ladin population and the occurrence of language. The Ladin people have their own television, newspaper, local traditions and children learn the language in primary school.
Summer season in the Dolomites
After my lecture at the World Travel Show 2018 and after the publication of posts about the summer attractions of Trentino, many of you have decided to go into the Dolomites not for skiing, and for mountain trekking in the summer. I receive many signals that you are planning such a trip – including a picnic – and I’m very happy about it. However, I must mention here when the summer season is in the Dolomites. In the valleys and on trails located low at the beginning of May, it can – but does not have to – cover snow. On high altitudes (over 2 thousand m a.s.l.) snow is very likely in this period. It is assumed that the Trentino summer season runs from the beginning of June to the end of September when usually all routes should be free of snow. This is also not the rule, because in 2017, for example, snow fell in Val di Fassa in high parts of the mountains in August. Driving in the Dolomites – even in summer – you have to take appropriate, waterproof boots and jackets to protect against the cold wind. Even if the weather forecast announces heat, in the mountains the weather situation can change very quickly and you should always be prepared for such an eventuality. A picnic may, however, be more like winter than summer and you have to be reckoned with.
Access to Passo Fedaia by public transport
The bus line number B101 runs four times a day to the small town of Penia, from which the cable car starts, in the summertime from Cavalese, Predazzo, Moena and Canazei. You can find more information at the Canazei tourist information office.
Route 601 – with a view of the Marmolada glacier
The trail that I would like to show you in this post starts on the border between Trentino and Veneto, on the northern side of Passo Fedaia and is numbered 601. It can be divided into several parts and planned to adapt to the participants’ possibilities. In my opinion, the trail has two levels of difficulty. Where it runs horizontally you can talk about the easy route, while the last part, going down to the Fedaia lake, is in my opinion, a medium difficulty route. For those who feel strong, I recommend the whole trail. It is planned so that even if you go down a dozen kilometers from the starting point, you can catch a bus that brings you back to the parking lot at the bottom station of the cable car. So we’re starting!
Cable car Penia – Col di Rosc (Col dei Rossi) 2382 m a.s.l.
The gondola lift at Col dei Rossi, where the route begins, is a new construction put into use in the summer of 2018. For this reason, you will not see the station of the queue – nor the route of its entry – on the Google map, at least in the near future. You can see only the Ciampac railway that goes in the opposite direction. The lower stations of both railways are located next to each other and with them a large parking lot and a bus stop. From the windows of the carriage, there are beautiful views. You can bring your dog with you. Let’s go!
Opening time: 15.06. – 22/09.
Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:20 (last course)
Price of travel:
- uphill entry 12 euro
- downhill 9 euro
- return 19.50 euros
No information about discounts for children.
Stage I – Belvedere – Rifugio Belvedere di Canazei
A piece behind the upper station of the cable car
The first stage is very easy, short, leading a wide road partially covered with fine pebbles. I would venture a statement that even a pram will pass there, although in two places two people would probably need help because the path is narrowed. Below I put some photos from this episode and Rifugio Belvedere di Canazei. Pay attention to how good the weather was at the beginning of the trek and how it changed during it.
Stage II – Rifugio Belvedere di Canazei – Rifugio Fredarola
Above you can see in the distance the upper station of the cable car and the Rifugio Belvedere di Canazei. A few hundred meters of a good wide road. I took this photo from the road to the next Rifugio Fredarola, where we took a long break. Not because we were tired, but because of the terrace of the restaurant, which is impossible to pass by indifferently.
Beautiful, right? Pay attention to the road. It looks like this to this place, hence, in my opinion, you can get here by pushing a pram, though it is rather a terrain, not urban. Returning to the hostel. What can you eat and drink here? In the morning, not necessarily, but the lunch time is available hot dishes, while in the morning you can drink a beer or eat even tiramisu or other sweets. This section, more or less a kilometer in length, is a proposal for people who cannot allow a person to trek a dozen or so kilometers, whether due to the possibility or limited time. You can always turn back and take the queue down.
Stage III – Rifugio Fredarola – Rifugio Viel Dal Pan
We continue our walk along the path. Here the path – still easy – is narrow, and from time to time requires a piece of protruding rock to be avoided. It was the second decade of September, in the Dolomites, a low season, the last days before the closing of the cable cars, but on the trail – at least in this place – we met quite a few people. What about the dog? Trentino is a region very friendly to quadrupeds. Gucia easily ran the cable car, where a couple with labrador was riding in the same gondola. On the first part of the path and on this part of the route Gucia mostly walked on a leash, but time to time we let her go freely when nobody was on the horizon. After we pass the shelter of Viel Dal Pan she walked almost all the time without a leash, because there was almost no one there. A hostel is a place where those of you who don’t want to take the effort to go down and then wait for the bus should go back. Alternatively, you can still go to the place where the descent begins to better see the lake and the rest of Passo Fedaia from above.
Stage IV – Rifugio Viel Dal Pan – Lago di Fedaia
Viel Dal Pan – the beginning of the descent
We came from there. The trail is visible from the terrace of the hostel Viel Dal Pan
Zejście w dół nad Lago di Fedaia
The section of descent is the one that I rated as a medium degree of difficulty. It isn’t steep, but the small stones lying on the path cause you to be very careful, you can easily slip. Further, closer to the bottom, there is a place where you have to get off the rock, so you need to help your hands. Even further, at some point, the path is narrow so much that the railing is fixed in the rock to hold onto it. The descent isn’t very complicated and everyone who has even the average form and minimal experience in the mountains can handle it without any problems. I do not recommend going down with several years old children, be a bit older but not always listening to their parents. Watch out for going down when it starts to rain. We had it just the end of the trail. Just when we started to descend from the sky the rain fell, first small but then quite heavy. In such situations a rain jacket is very useful. After all, an umbrella, when you need to help yourself with your hands, is not a good solution.
Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada
A tired and hungry man, who in addition got a little tired, would like to eat something warm, right? What a disappointment to us when only the sandwiches offered us in this hostel. Yes, I know, it was the end of the season, but a bit weak. We thanked and went to next one.
For pizza and hot food – Col de Cuk
Cool, a pleasant eatery with a fireplace, tasty – for northern Italy – pizza and a very good chocolate cake. If you are looking for a bus while waiting for a bus, I recommend Col de Cuk.
By bus via Passo Fedaia. Return from the trail
As I mentioned above, this route is designed so that after leaving the car in the parking lot at the bottom station of the queue and going through the whole route, you can return the bus back to the parking lot. There is only one condition – you have to make it on this bus. The bus drives only twice a day. Before noon at 10:55, in Penia it is at 11:15 and in the afternoon at 16:55, in Penia it is at 17:15. This is the current distribution in September 2018, it is worth checking current before going on the trail. It should also hang at the bus stop at the valley station of the cable car. And what about the transition time? We drove a train to the mountain around 9:30 am, we made about 40 minutes break in the Rifugio Fredarola hostel, then about 30 minutes for assembly, flight, and disassembly of the drone, as well as three longer breaks for photos with Gucia, which are not easy and fast. What’s more, we went down in the rain, or in more difficult conditions. Nevertheless, we arrived down at about 3:30 PM and we managed to sit down and eat at the bar before the bus arrived. The stop is located exactly where the trail ends.
The Dolomites in the summer – responsible for walking in the mountains
The right outfit in the mountains
I’ve already written about it, but I will repeat it once again. Going into high mountains – and these are the Dolomites – you must be properly dress up. First of all, the right shoes. Italians are starting to punish fines for entering the trails in inappropriate footwear. The plague is Monte Baldo at Lake Garda, where people climbing directly from the beach in flip-flops, high heels and shorts ignoring the fact that they are already in the mountains, and the temperature at the top is a dozen or so degrees lower than in the foot of the mountain on the shores of the lake, I wrote about it in the post about Monte Baldo. When you plan leaving and upgoing the mountains, take warm clothes. If you wear short pants, because it is hot, take long trousers to the backpack, and certainly a long sleeve, best protection against rain and cold wind. I wrote above that when we finished the trekking in Passo Fedaia the weather broke down. From the beautiful sky and a few clouds on the cross, which greeted us on the trail, there was nothing left, but it started to rain and visibility fell. Now, look at the picture below. Under these conditions, we reached the bottom, over Lago di Fedaia.
There, high up – in this fog – is Marmolada, which we admired the trail two hours earlier. When we got to the bottom, a rescue helicopter was flying and carrying people from the route to Marmolada in special transport baskets. The weather has gone so bad that people could not come down. Now the issue of travel insurance, especially in the mountains. The work time of the rescue helicopter in the Dolomites is about EUR 6,000. Less than life is worth, much less, but would you like to get such an invoice? I write about it because I still read comments about travel insurance in the style of additional insurance? Bah! insurance paid in Poland, does not provide much for medical matters, and even more, does not cover the costs of rescue operations in the mountains or transport of the injured person to the country. Think about it. I know that these few hundred bucks or euro would be nice to spend in an Italian pub, but is it responsible for traveling? No, definitely not!
Passo Fedaia from a bird’s eye view. Italia by drone
In the video below you can see Val di Fassa from a bird’s eye view. Passo Fedaia starts from minute 01:44, a route is shown earlier, which I will describe in one of the next posts about Val di Fassa.
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All the best to you
The post was created in cooperation with the Trentino region.
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