Hey there SuperHikers and chill family hikers too! Check out our itinerary for hut to hut hiking with kids on the Alta Via 1 trail.
The Dolomites. Yes, this is where we're going!
And yes, you've got to plan 6-12 months in advance. These amazing mountain hütten (mountain huts called rifugio in Italian) book up early as they are paradise like and located directly on the hiking trail at high elevation. Welcome to the Alta Via 1 blog for families.
i've planned it so that hiking the Dolomiti 2021 is hard, but not too hard. Sage did it last year and she was 11. We had to turnaround on day 1 due to one of our group not ready. To makeup time, Sage and I did day 1 and day 2 together the next day. it was okay. We didn't stop to eat though, except for one bowl of amazing pasta at Fodara Vedla hütte. So I guess we did eat. But it's doable even with an 11 year old to make up time on the trail.
But I'd rather take my time this year and savor the walk more, vs racing to get to the mountain hut before dark.
ahead of time.
the dolomities are STEEP, but so scenic. many parts are kinda flat and there are plenty of grandmas and grandpas and 5 year olds on the trail....but preparation makes the experience so MUCH better.
I'm going to use my physical therapy super powers and suggest walking in your boots weekly for a few hours as training. And deadlifts to make the pack feel light. But if you know me, i'll suggest deadlifts for every endeavour. (really though, deadlifting is great)
I noticed that lots of families that did it last year, Dad would have a big ole pack, mom a medium and kids not wearing. I will not be carrying my children's pack out of sheer principle, but it's a great option to split things up if needed for bigger shoulders to carry more if needed. (i did carry most of sages water)
We've had good luck with going to the outdoor store with a few heavy water bottles in my purse. Put the water bottles in pack, the try it on and walk around the store to see how it feels. They are all so different and you've got to find your fit.
i mistakenly spent $240 on a pack i thought was good by looking at it. it literally rubs me the wrong way, AND, my cell phone doesn't fit into the hip pocket for easy photo access. boo.
if we get totally f*&$^ked it might rain all day. normally not so much in this time of year. but, i wouldn't pack for the "cold". think 50-70 degrees F. chill at night, warmish during day. again, we might get screwed....but doubt it.
we dont need to bring more than 1-2 liters of water (one cool hydroflask and a 1.5 liter bladder in pack was too much water) and no food really.
You can wear the same clothes to hike daily (easy to rinse at night at hut) and one outfit to eat dinner and hang out at night. YOU REALLY don't need much.
low top or mid top hiking boots are fine, running shoes will not feel great on due to the rocky terrain. the 70 dollar cheapo columbia ladies boots have worked great for us and many ladies i know. but shoes are personal, so test them out ahead of time and break them in.
i'll bring athletic tape just in case. last year i managed to step on a 1.5 inch shard of glass on my heel 4 days prior to the trip. tape worked great, it didn't even bother me during the hike despite the gash.
you will need slides or flip flops for night as boots aren't allowed in the huts.
Breakfast is at the hut, dinner is at hut. Lunch will be at a midway hut or a packed sandwich. Hikers all eat together with a set menu dinner is at 6-7, and is a 3 course Italian meal with wine. Breakfast is usually between 7-9. meat, cheese, fruit, bread, juice, coffee. credit card accepted, plenty of places to plug in phones to charge.
Honestly, I was NOT hungry much. the granola bars went uneaten.
I'm too old for "sleepsacs" and all that, so the rooms we have reserved are almost like a bnb...they provide all the sheets and towels and such. No need for anything special besides earplugs.
Hiking Hut to Hut with Kids in the Dolomites Itinerary : 28 July - 2 august
28 July - Wednesday We're staying in Carbonin and driving from germany or maybe a half way point. I've reserved for fielders and Carl/Cynthia and paid already. we're staying at Crodo Rossa. it's about 20 min from "Dobbiaco' ---- the starting point in the morning.
TODO: get the bus tickets to state park reserved online. reserve gondola boats for the lake 29 July - Thursday (Dobbiaco to Fodara Vedla Hut: 12km mostly uphill 6-7 hours hard + car/bus ride) we'll get up 6 am, drive to Dobbiaco bus station and leave cars in free park there and catch the 0800 bus to the Lago Di Braies National park. impossible to drive to. and too pricey even if not impossible. 8-10 explore park bfast, then 10-6 hike. lunch is at the peak at Rifugio Biella, lots of pasta and views. the first day is hard and longest day maybe 6 solid hours hiking but we will take many breaks. we have to get up early to get bus into national park....then it's UP UP UP. so gorgeous though- prettiest lake i've been too. milky blue waters. and we might want to rent a gondola type boat and do drone photos. but it is a tough day on the legs. we're staying at Fodara Vedla a small family run hut in a tiny valley with delicious pasta and sheep running around. https://www.fodara.it/en
30 July : Friday (Fodara Vedla to Laverella: 9km, flat. 3.5 hours easy) second day is a stroll 3.5. hours. rambling, top of the hills...NO RUSH. Stay at Lavarella. https://lavarella.it/en/welcome. 52 euros per person, except Julia (kid price) 44.20. Paid already 220 euro deposit. 31 July : Saturday (Laveralla to Lagazuoi: (16.5 km, up, down, up 6-7 hours) Longer day 4-6 hours - ups and downs, bring the sack lunch from lavarella. This day is hard up and down with crazy views but not so bad as first, ends in a steep uphill trail (not slippery, just rocky flat path upward) to the most scenic view with the hut on teh top of a rock with a sauna on the deck. stay Lagazuoi: paid 20 euros pp deposit. OUTSTANDING: plan a tour guide of ferratas, wwi tunnels. Aug 1: Sunday (Lagazuoi to Cinque Torri: 13km, DOWN, 4-5 hours) Here we have a chance to explore the WWI tunnels, ferratas (hanging onto the sides of a cliff buy a wire) and more. The views are incredible. More tourists than we are used to due to access by bus. The day is mostly downhill- but if knees are a bother, there is a gondola to skip the downhill and it's 2 hours gentle up-ish but fun with some scrambling up rocks if you want (you can go around). a cute coffee shop is there. the most delicious hut is Averau a 30 min walk from cinque torri
Stay in Cinque Torri. This is a place i had in 2020 but had to reschedule because i jacked up the plans in 2020, they offered me to move it. so cool. still negotiating the rooms, etc. they wanted me to wait until feb to finalize. it's a cutie simple place. i'm not sure about it, but it'll be okay no matter what i think. AUG 2: Monday (Cinque Torri to Cortina d'Ampezzo 14.5 km, easy stroll 3-4 hours) walk from cinque torri down the glen into Cortina de Amprezzo.
Aug 3: Tuesday (Cortina d'Ampezzo to Dobbiaco where cars are. 1 hour bus ride, anytime) breakfast bakery meetup: there is a bus stop in Cortina every hour to Dobbiaco where our cars are parked. it's uber cheap. get back to cars in Dobbiaco and then drive home or to airport and/or next destination.
More Fun Journeys & Stories for Travelling Families that Love Equal Parts Adventure and Culture
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Explore: Listen to this podcast with Rick Steve's Ireland Expert on How to Buy a Swiss mountain hotel during covid.
Connect to Your Way: get an idea of how to pack wisely (aka lightly) for your first hut-to-hut hike with kids in the Italian Dolomites.
Until Next Time, Adventure Awaits!!!
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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a family adventurer, physical therapist and travel writer. She is actively involved in the community and advocating for connection and sustainability with her community projects a tCornhole Europa and Sustainable Investors Group.