Dolomiti Settentrionali/Nördliche Dolomiten

This is the most extensive of the UNESCO Dolomites systems, covering an area of 53,586 hectares in the Provinces of Belluno and Bolzano/Bozen. It strechtes from Val Pusteria/Pustertal to Val Badia/Gadertal, from the valleys of Sesto/Sexten and San Cassiano/St. Kassian to the Boite and Piave ones and it consists of four main areas: the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites, Comelico and Auronzo, the Fanes – Senes – Braies/Prags chains with the Tofane, the Cristallo and the Cadore Dolomites. The Sesto/Sexten – Cadini Dolomites are in the far north-eastern part of the Dolomites, featuring spectacular peaks looming more than 2,000 meters above the huge rocky high plateaus. As well as the triple peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen, undoubtedly one of the most well-known and iconic chains, the system is also home to the mounts Croda Rossa/Hohe Gaisl (3,146m), Punta Tre Scarperi/Dreischusterspitze (3,152m), Croda dei Toni/Zwölferkofel (3,094m) and Cadini di Misurina (Cadin di San Lucano 2,839m). Val d’Ansiei separates the Sesto/Sexten – Cadini Dolomites from the Monte Cristallo chain, dominated by the peak of the same name that towers up to 3,221 meters. The Val di Landro/Höhlensteintal separates the Sesto/Sexten – Cadini Dolomites from the Fanes – Senes – Braies/Prags chain and the Tofane peaks, an area occupying the north-western and central part of the Northern Dolomites system. Among the peaks in this area there are the Lagazuoi crest (2,762m), the Tofane peaks (Tofana di Rozes 3,225m, Tofana di Mezzo 3,244m and Tofana de Inze 3,238m) and the Conturines chain. The Cadore Dolomites to the South-East are dominated by Mounts Sorapiss (3,205m), Marmarole (2,932m) and Antelao which, at 3,264m, is the second highest peak in the Dolomites after Marmolada.

Protecting the environment

The Northern Dolomites system has an extraordinarily rich heritage in terms of its landscape, natural history and geology. Because of this and the sheer size of the area, three protected areas have been created to safeguard and enhance its natural beauty.
Parco Naturale Fanes – Senes – Braies/Naturpark Fanes – Sennes - Prags, entirely located in the Province of Bolzano/Bozen, was designated a natural park in 1980 and today this is a protected area of over 25,000 hectares, including the Val Pusteria/Pustertal to the North, the Val Badia/Gadertal to the West and the Val di Landro/Höhlensteintal to the East. The southern boundary of the park is also the border with the Province of Belluno. The imposing peaks of Conturines and Croda Rossa/Hohe Gaisl form a crown whose varied landscape of high plateaus and pastureland is dotted with numerous dairies. As well as having a rich geological and botanical heritage, it is the ideal habitat for many species of mountain wildlife, such as the Alpine marmot, which is also the parkland symbol (
Il Parco Naturale Tre Cime/Naturpark Drei Zinnen was designated a protected area in 1981. Next door to the Parco Naturale Fanes – Senes – Braies/Naturpark Fanes – Sennes – Prags, its 12,000 hectares, entirely within the Province of Bolzano/Bozen, are bounded to the North by Val Pusteria/Pustertal, to the South by the Province of Belluno, to the East and West by Val di Sesto/Sextental and Val di Landro/Höhlensteintal, respectively. Among the highest mountains in the parkland are Punta Tre Scarperi/Dreischusterspitze and Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen, from which the park takes its name. In addition to its geological and botanical importance, the parkland is home to a great number of bird species, in particular the golden eagle and the wall creeper, the latter symbol of the protected area (
Il Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti d’Ampezzo, designated a protected area in 1990, covers an area of 11,200 hectares entirely within the Municipality of Cortina d’Ampezzo, once property of the local land management institution Le Regole d’Ampezzo. Bounded to the North by the Fanes – Senes – Braies/Prags parkland, the land in the Province of Belluno together with that in Alto Adige/Südtirol forms a single complex with similar environmental features. The Ampezzo Dolomites include the Cristallo, Tofane and Lagazuoi chains. This natural parkland, established to safeguard the unique, priceless geological and natural heritage of this area, has chosen as its symbol the sempervivum dolomiticum, also known as the houseleek, a plant that is endemic exclusively to the Ampezzo Dolomites (

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The Berti Refuge, located at the southern end of the Popera Valley, is dedicated to Antonio Berti, nicknamed Cantore delle Crode (the Bard of the Peaks) due to his passion for exploring and writing about the Eastern Dolomites. The refuge is surrounded by imposing walls including those of Croda Rossa, Cima Undici and Monte Popera and is a stopover along a variant of the Alta Via no. 5. It serves as starting point and as one of the points of interest in the circular “Talking Thematic Trail” Anello del Popera.

The Biella – Seekofel Refuge stands at the foot of Croda del Becco and is the starting point for the ascent of this peak which offers exceptional views from the top. The refuge is the first stage along the Alta Via no. 1, as well as standing at the crossroads of a number of routes in the Dolomiti d'Ampezzo Park and the neighbouring Sennes – Fanes – Braies Natural Park.

The Bosi Refuge is located at the extreme southeast of Monte Piana, whose unusual conformation and position have made it a favorite among climbers, as it also offers a spectacular 360 degree view. The famous open air World War I Museum on Monte Piana also attracts a large number of visitors every year.

The Carducci Refuge is overlooked on one side by Croda dei Toni and by Monte Giralba di Sopra on another. The view from here reaches for miles towards Croda di Ligonto and the Crissin, Bivera and Cridola groups, stretching as far as Monfalconi. A short trip to nearby Forcella Giralba affords views of Crode Fiscaline, Cima Undici, Popera and the head of Alta Val Fiscalina. It's a stage point along the Alta Via no. 5.

The Città di Carpi Refuge was officially opened in 1970 and lies on Forcella Maraia in the Cadini di Misurina Group. The refuge offers stunning scenery over the Marmarole, Sorapiss, Croda dei Toni, Cristallo and Tofane mountains. The refuge is an excellent starting point for via ferrata and crossings and is a stopping over place on Alta Via no. 4.

The Comici – Zsigmondy Refuge lies in the heart of the Sesto Dolomites, facing Croda dei Toni and Cima Undici. Rebuilt by CAI of Padua after World War I, it is named after two famous climbers, Emilio Comici and Emil Zsigmondy. It is among the stops of the of the Alta Via No. 5.

The Fanes Refuge, dating back to 1928, stands on the Alpe di Fanes which overlooks San Vigilio di Marebbe. The refuge is an excellent starting point for excursions in both summer and winter and also offers breathtaking scenery. It's a stage point along the Alta Via no. 1.

The Fodara Vedla Refuge lies on the Sennes plateau immersed in green pastures in the heart of the Fanes – Senes – Braies Natural Park. It was originally built by a baker from San Vigilio di Marebbe who converted the officers’ hut of an Austro-Hungarian encampment.

The Fonda Savio Refuge stands on the ridge of the Toci Pass in the heart of the Cadini Group. It is the perfect destination for a one-day hike or for numerous climbs with excellent rock faces and starting points just a short distance away. The refuge is along Alta Via no. 4.

The Galassi Refuge lies on the eastern side of Forcella Piccola, between the cliffs of Monte Antelao and the high walls of Scotter. It has been run by volunteers of the Mestre Section of CAI who alternate with weekly shifts since 1970. The refuge is a stopover on the Alta Via no. 4 and no. 5 and often hosts conferences and nature courses.

The Giussani Refuge is situated near Forcella Fontananegra between Tofana de Ròzes and Tofana de Mèzo. It is named after the climber Camillo Giussani and is a great base for hikers on the Alta Via no. 1 and climbers venturing out on the various via ferrata and climbs in the area.

The Lavaredo Refuge, built in 1954 by the Alpine guide Francesco Corte Colò "Mazzetta", provides an excellent starting point for most of the routes on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo which have attracted climbers from all over the world since the mid 1800s. 

The Lavarella Refuge lies above San Vigilio di Marebbe in the heart of the Fanes – Sennes – Braies Natural Park. The refuge is located near the beautiful Lé Vërt (Green Lake), a magical place which features in many Ladin legends, and is the starting point, stopover and arrival point of numerous excursions in both summer and winter.

The Locatelli Innerkofler – Dreizinnen Refuge, built in 1882 and then rebuilt in 1923 after World War I, lies in an extraordinarily panoramic position facing Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Monte Paterno. The refuge was named after the pilot Antonio Locatelli and recently the name of the guide Sepp Innerkofler, who ran the first Dreizinnenhütte, was added to it. The refuge is along Alta Via no. 4.

Note: the Lorenzi Refuge is currently closed.

The Guido Lorenzi Refuge is perched on the rock near Forcella Stounies, a pass on the ridge between the northwestern summit of Cristallo and Cristallino d'Ampezzo, in the vicinity of the Valgrande – Stounies cable car station. Its position is strategic for hikers setting out on the famous Ivano Dibona, Marino Bianchi and René De Pol via ferrata, some stretches of which retrace World War I routes.

The Munt de Sennes Refuge is situated in the Fanes – Sennes – Braies Natural Park and is the perfect location for numerous excursions on foot or on mountain bike. Croda del Becco with its breathtaking view over Braies Lake, Muntejela de Sennes, Croda Rossa and Fojedöra are just a couple of the places within easy reach of the refuge.  

The Pederü Refuge lies in the heart of the Fanes – Senes – Braies Natural Park, a large Alpine plateau with green meadows, jagged rocks, mountain lakes, footpaths, flowers, animals and home to many legends about princesses, elves and magicians. The refuge is along Alta Via no.1.

The Pian di Cengia – Büllelejoch Refuge is the highest refuge in the Sesto Dolomites and lies on the route between Cima Dodici (Croda dei Toni) and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and between the Fiscalino Pass and Forcella Pian di Cengia. The refuge is an excellent starting point for excursions, via ferrata and climbs.

The Scotoni Refuge stands on a beautiful glassy plain, Plan de Lagaciò, at the foot of Cima Scotoni and the Fanis Group, opposite the awe-inspiring Piz Dle Cunturines. Two hundred meters higher is Lagazuoi Lake or Lech de Lagaciò with its blue waters.

The Sennes Refuge is located in the Fanes – Senes – Braies Natural Park and has a far-reaching view over some of the most beautiful peaks in the Dolomites: Croda Rossa (3146m), Cristallo (3221m), Sorapis (3205m) and Tofana (3243m). The refuge is a popular destination for day trips and also a favorite with climbers and mountain bike lovers on longer itineraries with stopovers. The refuge is along Alta Via no. 1.

The Tre Scarperi – Drei Schuster Refuge, nestled in the fir woods of the Campo di Dentro Valley, was built by the Alpenverein Südtirol in the '70s just above where the original crumbling building stood. The refuge is the ideal starting point for hikers and more fearless climbers embarking on the challenging peaks in the Rondoi Baranci and Tre Scarperi Group. The refuge is along Alta Via no. 4.

The Vandelli Refuge is just a couple of minutes from Lake Sorapiss, famous for its clear turquoise waters. The water of this lovely lake, hewn out of the rock, comes from the northern glacial circle and flows underground to the large rocky threshold of the glacial plain, surfacing in the high, noisy "il Piss" waterfall. The mountain, "Sora el Piss", takes its name from this waterfall.