I love spending time mountains and have been doing it all over the world since I was a toddler, but somehow, the Dolomites stole my heart and quickly rose to be my favorite mountainous region. While spending time in Trentino this summer, I had the opportunity to come up close and personal with the mountainside and I have to say, pictures don't do it justice.
Note: Our entire itinerary took 24 hours to complete.
For the sake of simplicity and length, I divided this post into two parts. This is Part II, and it covers our hike through the Catinaccio group, from the mountain hut Rifugio Roda di Vael and toward Vigo di Fassa.
Part I covers our hike to the mountain hut and our overnight stay.
The map below covers the entire itinerary, which can be done in reverse as well, starting at Vigo di Fassa and ending at Carezza. Head over to Mapcarta for the original map.
After spending the night at Rifugio Roda di Vael mountain hut, we packed up our things and started the beautiful trek towards Vigo di Fassa, ultimately looking to end up at QC Terme spa for a rejuvenating afternoon. But before we got to relax, we had to earn it with a hike through one of the most picturesque regions in the world.
The complete route to the center of Vigo di Fassa is 4.5 km long, with the Ciampedie cable car being at 1,950 meters above sea level, a height difference of 300 meters compared to our starting point at the Refuge.
Route no. 545 leads towards the cable car.
We were there mid-June, and the snow hadn't melted completely yet, but it was still pretty warm outside. Of course, it helps to have extra layers with you, as the weather can be unpredictable in the mountains.
The Catinaccio Group is an 8 km long massif between the Val di Tires valley in South Tyrol and the Val di Fassa valley in Trentino. The group is also known by their German name, Rosengarten.
One interesting characteristic of the Rosengarten is the pink shade its rocks take on during sunset, taking the glows from golden hour due to the chemical composition of the walls of the Dolomites and the presence of the ‘dolomite' mineral.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see the infamous pink shades, since most it was overcast most nights we were there. However, that gives me a chance to go back for something!
The Catinaccio Group is further subdivided into eight sub-groups, including Roda di Vael, where our mountain hut was located.
The view is incredible, every step of the way. It changes so dramatically every couple hundred meters, that you can't help but be in awe.
Half-way into our route, and before the path started going downhill, we stopped for a lunch break on a panoramic plateau. We each got a sandwich from Roberta at the Rifugio Roda di Vael to fuel us during our hike, and this was the perfect time to stop and enjoy the view.
It's not every day you get a 360-degree view of the mountains at lunchtime. During lunch, our guide pointed out all the peaks that were used in various movies, such as 1993's Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone.
A Break at Rifugio Negritella
After such a rewarding hike, we were very excited to get to the beautiful Rifugio Negritella, an alpine hut with an unbeatable view of the Dolomite Valley. Open during summer, the Refuge is a perfect place for a break before taking the chairlift down towards Vigo fi Fassa.
What To Bring On Your Hike
Here are some things you might find beneficial to have on your hike through the Dolomites:
- Hiking boots/shoes
- Layers of clothing
- Small backpack
- Plenty of water
- Sandwich + snacks
If you're staying at a mountain hut and continuing your hike afterward, don't forget to bring a change of clothes, sleeping bag, bed linen, and towels.
Our first stop after our hike was to QC Terme spa, an oasis in the heart of the Dolomites located in Pozza di Fassa, right next door to Vigo di Fassa.
I recommend stopping by if you're in the area. They even have a buffet snack every evening that's included in the entrance price. And then there's this view…
Points of Interest on the Map
Below are the main points of interest if you're looking to follow the same route we took through the Dolomites. The yellow markers are where we ended up after our hike through Catinnacio. The red markers show the start of our route from Carezza, to the chairlift and onwards to Rifugio Roda di Vael. However, you can do the route in reverse — starting from Vigo di Fassa and ending in Carezza.
If you're planning a longer hike through the Catinaccio Group, you can find a list of all the mountain huts you can eat or stay at during your time here.