Dreamway – The Southern Dolomites

This is the last section of the hike and completes the traverse of the Alps. As you close the distance to the Southern edge of the Alps you’ll find that the nature of the terrain and vegetation slowly changes. As this section is oft-times well below 2000 meters the mediterranean heat becomes much more prolific.

This is also the quietest section of the trail, which offers you ample opportunity to reflect back on an amazing journey.

The stage to Rifugio 7th Alpini features a long and hard Via Ferrata. When this route is taken you should call ahead in Alleghe to Rifugio 7th Alpini to rent gear.

Alleghe to Rifugio Tissi

Going up to Rifugio Tissi requires a lot of climbing. There are 3 ways to reach Tissi from Alleghe:

  1. Use the cable car to go up to Col dei Baldi and then traverse underneath the Civetta (3220 meter) along the Alta Via 1 to reach Tissi.
  2. Don’t use the cable car and climb to Forcella Alleghe and Rifugio Coldai before traversing to Tissi.
  3. Take the direct route to Tissi. This route is wild, remote and features exposed scrambling. You start out on the ski slope near the cable car but soon cut right on jeep track. After about 10 minutes the track forks. Go left. Soon the jeeptrack changes into a narrow trail that you follow all the way up untill you reach the Alta Via 1 and rejoin the main route. Due to river crossings this route would be very dangerous to follow in bad weather.
Cliffselfie from Cime di Col Rean (2281 meter) just above Rifugio Tissi
Cliffselfie from Cime di Col Rean (2281 meter) just above Rifugio Tissi. The town of Alleghe is seen in the top left corner.
Rifugio Tissi to Rifugio Bruto Carestiato

This is one of the most remote stages of the Dreamway. You finish the traverse across the slopes of the famous Civetta and then traverse across the slopes of the Moiazza (2878 meter). Along the way you’ll notice subtle changes in the scenery signifying a break from the high Alpine hiking of the last two weeks. The mountains ahead appear to be much lower than before and much further apart.

Looking back on the Civetta group along the Dreamway
Looking back on the Civetta group
Rifugio Bruto Carestiato to Rifugio Pian de Fontana

This stage starts with an short hike to Passo Duran. From there there is a short roadwalk before a path branches off into the forrest. The forrest is thick and humid, another sign that the Dreamway is in its closing stages. After a long ascent and a traverse across the slopes of Castello di Moschesin (2499 meter) you have the option to visit Rifugio Sommariva al Pramperet which is five minute off trail. Here you can pick up Via Ferrata gear for the traverse across the Schiara next day.

After Pramperet there is still a long climb up to Forcella de Zita Sùd (2395 meter) followed by an even longer descent down to the charming Rifugio Pian de Fontana.

Edelweiss near Forcella de Zità Sud along the Dreamway
Edelweiss near Forcella de Zità Sud
Rifugio Pian de Fontana to Rifugio 7th Alpini

This is by far the hardest day of the Dreamway. It features 3,5 hours of hiking and about 6 hours of Via Ferrata. The Via Ferrata itself is quite serious and should only be done in good weather. Those who do not like the prospect of doing the Via Ferrata can either take a long and challenging hike around the Schiara group or drop down to the valley to take the bus to Belluno.

The day starts out through lush forrest but soon the nature of the scenery changes as you approach the Forcella Marmol. This is the last high Alpine section of the trail, so try to savour it. From Forcella Marmol the Via Ferrata starts. Initially it is quite easy, but as soon as the long descent to Rifugio 7th Alpini starts the route becomes more serious and care is needed. Those who have extra energy can climb to the top of La Schiara (2565 meter) and descent via the SW ridge. This will add an extra 2 hours of scrambling.

View from La Schiara (2565 meter) along the Dreamway
View from La Schiara (2565 meter)
Rifugio 7th Alpini to Belluno

The descent down to Belluno is remarkably charming as you follow the Torrente Ardo all the way down to the valley. In the first half of the day there are plenty of opportunities to take a swim in the river. Be careful to follow the proper route description after the village of Bolzano; hiking down the main road is dangerous.

Belluno is a large town with rail connections to Venice. Many hikers call it quits in Belluno but this is slightly premature as there are still two days of good hiking before the Alps are crossed properly.

Belluno to Rifugio Pian de le Femene

The official Dreamway halts at Rifugio Col Visentin but this hut is in bad shape and very dirty. Alternatively, continue to the lovely Rifugio Pian de le Femene about 2,5 hours further. This makes for a long day but is totally worth it as it sets you up for a relaxed final day to Arfanta.

The day itself is mostly spent climbing to Col Visentin. After Col Visentin there is an amazing ridgewalk, the final highlight the Alps have to offer on this trip.

Rifugio Pian de le Femene to Arfanta

This is a short day, allowing for plenty of time to savour your final steps in the Alps. You descent through lush decidious forrest all the way down to the village of Revine. Once you emerge out of the forrest your traverse of the Alps is officially complete.

After Revine there is some hiking along roads and jeeptracks and past a good lake (very inviting on a hot day) before you climb the road to the town of Tarzo. Tarzo has bus connections to Venice for those who want to leave the trail. Alternatively, continue to Agriturismo le Noci in Arfanta which offers a special room and fair prices for hikers and is a great way to end the trip.

Thunderstorm over Col Visentin along the Dreamway
Thunderstorm over Col Visentin

Arfanta is a tiny village located on a hillside in the heart of the Prosecco region. Staying in this charming rural village is a great way to end an amazing trip. To leave Arfanta you can simply retrace your steps to Tarzo or continue the Dreamway to historic town of Refrontolo where you can take the bus and train to Venice.

A most charming accommodation in Arfanta
Agriturismo Le Noci – A most charming accommodation in Arfanta

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