This section of the Dreamway leads you through the Northern Dolomites, crossing the Puez-Geisslergruppe and the Sella gruppe. It also offers splendid views of the highest mountain of the Dolomites: The Marmolada. Most hikers regard this as the highlight of the trail. Bear in mind that this section of trail is hugely popular and reservations should be made well in advance.
Pfunders to Kreuzwiesen Alm
This stage is what one would call a connector stage. It possesses not much charm on its on own and is mostly on tarmac roads and jeeptracks. The day starts out with a 9km roadwalk down to Niedervintl. There is a route down the valley that avoids the worst of the roadwalking but it is badly signed and hard to follow. Many hikers take the bus for this section.
Niedervintl itself has train connections to Brixen and even Munich. There is a good but overpriced supermarket and an equally overpriced pharmacy.
After Niedervintl you follow a jeeptrack and some singletrails as they lead you steeply up the valley through thick forrest before reaching the top of the climb at the Roner Hütte. This section of the trail has confusing waymarking, take care with navigation. The remainder of the day is spent hiking on jeeptracks over a grassy and hilly ridge with good views of the Dolomites ahead. Kreuzwiesen Alm itself is an amazing place to stay, with excellent food (try their cheeses) and a sauna. The views to the Dolomites are amazing.
Kreuzwiesen Alm to Schlüterhütte
This is a long day but also one of the best along the trail. Throughout the day you’ll follow a maze of grassy ridges towards the Peitlerkofel (2875 meter). There are great views of the Dolomites ahead and to the side. After dipping down to the remote Würzjoch pass you climb round the right side of the Peitlerkofel to eventually reach the Schlüterhütte. As with other ridgewalks it is important to keep an eye out for the weather. Thunderstorms can be dangerous.
Schlüterhütte to Rifugio Puez
This is arguably the best day of the entire dreamway. The terrain is at times quite rough but not harder than any other high mountain pass on the Dreamway. You start out traversing towards the Puezgruppe, where you climb to the Forcella della Roa over steep scree fields. After the Forcella della Roa a series of simple scrambles lead you to the higher Forcella Nives at 2720 meter. From here you can climb up to Piz Duleda at 2908. Going up and down takes about 45 minutes of extra hiking. The descent down to Rifugio Puez is easy, although also quite long.
Rifugio Puez to Rifugio Boè
The great hiking continues with an amazing morning hike past a canyon and rocky towers, culminating in the very scenic descent to Passo Gardena. After Passo Gardena there is a long and hard ascent up the Sella group, ending in a series of scrambles to the unhospitable Rifugio Pisciadù. After Rifugio Pisciadù there is yet more climbing and scrambling through a rocky moonscape all the way up to Rifugio Boè. This hut stands right underneath Piz Boè (3152 meter). If you’re lucky you can reserve a place to sleep at the Rifugio Capanna Fassa, which stands right on top of the mountain.
Rifugio Boè to Rifugio Viel Dal Pan
From the start you have two options: Go straight for the Forcella Pordoi or take the detour over the top of the Piz Boè. I recommend the latter, as Piz Boè has splendid views across the Dolomites and to the Marmolada. The detour takes about 2 hours extra. After Forcella Pordoi there is a steep descent through scree slopes down to Passo Pordoi. From Passo Pordoi it’s only 1,5 hours of easy hiking to the great Rifugio Viel Dal Pan which sits right across the Marmolada.
Rifugio Viel Dal Pan to Alleghe
This is one of the worst day along the Dreamway. It starts out with a pleasant morning hike from Rifugio Viel Dal Pan down to Rifugio Castiglioni but after this it is basically a long slog down the valley with frequent roadwalking and minimal views. At Rifugio Castiglioni you have the opportunity to avoid the misery and catch the bus to down to Alleghe.
Alleghe is a lakeside resort town and as such has all facilities one could need. Accommodation tends to be cheaper the further away you go from the town center. There is a public beach near the cable car station. Alleghe has bus connections to Belluno, from where you can catch the train to Venice.