Bucket List: The Dolomites

The Dolomites

By Vincenzo Gianferrari Pini – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5 it, https://commons.wikimedia .org/w/index.php?curid=2858442

Region: Alps Mountains, Italy

Logistical Difficulty: Moderately High

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate to High depending on route

Degree of Risk: Moderate

Estimated time required (including travel and logistics): Could be done in a week

Technically an offshoot of the Alps (the are in fact an arm of the Southern Limestone Alps, which also include the Julian Alps of Slovenia) the Dolomites, or Dolomiti, are usually considered a range in their own right. Whatever else they are, they are amazing.

Why Hike Here?

  • Fantastic scenery worthy of a James Bond Villain‘s lair
  • Some of the most unusual mountains anywhere
  • Who doesn’t want to visit Italy? Great mountains and great culture
  • Sylvia speaks passable Italian (Brian speaks passable pizza joint Italian.)
  • Great tourist infrastructure
  • Not much danger of Altitude sickness
  • Tent not needed (in fact its probably not allowed in most areas)
  • Refugios and towns offer meals and a comfortable place to stay
  • Interesting World War I history
  • The ‘Via Ferrata’ routes

But First Consider…

  • Expensive. This is the ski paradise of the rich. Really, this is the only bad thing we can think of about the Dolomites
  • Okay — it can be crowded
  • Livestock, ski slopes, roads…this is not a wilderness
  • Temptation to eat and drink your way into destitution is high in Refugios
  • Bad weather can move in rapidly
  • Some of the trails are very steep and eroded; some routes are scrambles
The Dolomites - iStockphoto
Image © iStockphoto / Dan Breckwoldt.