Ferda and I ended up spending about three and a half weeks in the Dolomites. The last five days were in Colfosco in Alta Badia on the other side of Passo Gardena from Ortisei. My parents took a taxi to get there. We took advantage and loaded them up with most of our luggage. Wow, what easy riding when your bicycle is so light!
Here’s where we stayed in Colfosco:
and here’s the view from the patio of the hotel:
It was just about the same view from the hot tub! I am not joking. By this time we kind of had the Dolomite routine figured out. On our first morning in Colfosco my parents and I walked up a steep trail to Rifugio Col Pradat.
Ferda decided to take a rest day that day, but that was a mistake because Rifugio Col Pradat had some of the best food and best views of any that we visited. I ordered the venison with polenta and mushrooms.
During lunch my Dad just started laughing. My Mom and I looked at him. He explained, “I still can’t believe this is real — the food, the views, a hike to a beautiful mountain hut.” And it’s one place after another like this in the Dolomites.
Our most ambitious day from Colfosco started with a short bicycle ride down to Corvara and then two lifts — Boè and Vallon — so Ferda and I could start a via ferrata loop at about 2500m. “ambitious” should be taken very lightly here — we were sitting at another rifugio drinking beer less than five hours after we started walking.
The route we did was called Ferrata Vallon and took us to the top of Piz Boè (3152m).
This route was mostly trail walking. The via ferrata section lasted only 23 minutes — short and fun, steep in places.
Then it was a casual trail to the summit.
What we didn’t know at the start of this day is that Piz Boè is one of the easiest to access 3000m peaks in the Dolomites, making it extremely popular. The normal access is from Canazei, and neither our up-route or down-route was part of the normal route so we weren’t bothered by the crowds except for a 200m (horizontal) stretch near the summit where the paths came together. What a surprise, however, to find a rifugio on the summit!
We ate a couple sandwiches but didn’t stop long because we had plans to meet my parents down at the Rifugio Kostner.
Wrapping up the Dolomites: the scenery is stunning (decide for yourself from my many photos if you like it or not), there are rifugi all over (more than 300 in the Dolomites?) to stop for food, drinks, and maybe a place to spend the night. The mountains are generally crowded with people and do not feel wild. It’s a fantastic mountain destination for a mixed age (or ability) group like ours. The lifts allow you to get up high with very little physical effort, or you can opt to only take the lift down (like my parents did a few times).
Will I come back? Well, on the via ferrata section of Vallon, Ferda and I passed a couple about 20 years older than us. We made a pact to come back when we’re their age.
A month in Italy! Ferda and I spent a month in Italy, and the only time we had pizza was our last night in Colfosco.