Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Rifugio Auronzo)


I had been looking forward to cycling to Tre Cime di Lavaredo for a long time. Sadly the weather was not great, but this ride — along with the amazing hike we did after — were both terrific.

Starting in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Doreen followed me in the car to the first goal: Passo Tre Croci. It’s a pleasant, short climb surrounded by big Dolomites. A couple of 12% signs to keep me honest.

After Passo Tre Croci is an easy stretch, and then a quick climb to the scenic Lago di Misurina. Note, the huge parking lot is pay – Doreen didn’t notice and we got a ticket. 🙂

Lago di Misurina
The Giro d’Italia has cycled up to the Rifugio Auronzo 7 times. First in 1967, and most recently Nibali won a stage here in 2013.
Just after the lake, the route turns right onto a smaller, dead-end road. There is a toll booth here to limit the number of cars at the summit. €24 to pass. My wife was shocked but paid up in case I was freezing up ahead. 🙂

Old Giro Paint
It’s hard to describe how beautiful it is here. I have no good photos of the road as it was drizzling and I was just struggling to pedal the last, super steep three kilometres. A Belgian friend had warned me that Eddie Merckx had called this one of his hardest climbs (he won a Giro stage here in 1968). It’s very, very hard work.

Chilly at the rifugio

Note, for the purists, the paved road continues slightly above the rifugio (2333 metres) up to perhaps 2360 metres – a parking lot.

We threw the bike into the car and had a very tasty pasta and cake lunch at the rifugio. From here we went on a truly, truly great hike. Basically we walked around the Tre Cime (three peaks). At first it is a flattish, unpaved, good quality trail to the rifugio lavaredo.

Between rifugio auronzo and rifugio di lavaredo

From rifugio lavaredo we hiked up to the Forcella di Lavaredo (basically a mountain pass). It was foggy and we didn’t expect much, but wow, the other side is paradise. The pass is at 2454 metres. There is a no bikes past this point sign:

Forcella di Lavaredo – no bikes past here. Next goal: Dreizinnehutte in distance.

The trails are good quality. We continued down then up to the Dreizinnehutte and the Laghi dei Piani:

Laghi dei Piani

From Dreizinnehutte, we descended and then climbed up the trail behind the south side of the Tre Cime. A nice Norwegian lady pointed out climbers hanging from the face of the largest Cime. Crazy. The entire loop took maybe three hours. There are also plenty of other tougher trail options on the way, including several hikes up to WW1 fortifications and tunnels built into the mountains.

I am repeating myself but this is an amazing place. The hike while not easy, is also not too crazy. I cannot recommend it enough. It makes a superb and challenging bike climb into an even more unforgettable day.

We heard climbers up high on the mountain face

Note: the map is only for the cycling. I should have GPS’d the hike too. Sorry.

9.4 Awesome

A very, very challenging climb to paradise. If possible, bring some shoes and hike higher. You won't regret the effort.

  • Views 9.5
  • Difficulty 9.5
  • Quiet / No Traffic 9
  • Fun Factor 9.5
  • User Ratings (9 Votes) 5.6

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. That was a fun climb watching the gradients staying above 10 for a lot of the time. The only cyclists I met were Czech and very fit. Spectacular views and of course I had to do the last bit of climb to the top. That was the toughest part as I thought the Refugio was the finish and psychologically a smack to the head. Definitely worth it though! Thanks as always for your website. Off to Giau today! (Rest day?)

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