Essential Guide to Hiking in the Dolomites in October, Italy

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Essential Guide to Hiking in the Dolomites in October, Italy

October in the Dolomites can be an extension of September, delivering clear skies and comfortable daytime temperatures, perfect for day hiking and photography.

As the month progresses, the foliage turns increasingly orange and golden, reaching a colorful apex in late October. Generally, you can expect fewer people, peaceful hiking trails, virtually no thunderstorms, and lower hotel rates. An added bonus of hiking in the Dolomites in October is the late sunrise (around 7:30 am).

However, it can also be the beginning of winter, with heavy snowstorms and freezing temperatures (rare, but possible in our experience).

See more The best places to visit the Dolomites Italy in 2022 here!

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October is firmly off-season, which means most rifugios (mountain huts) and cableways are closed for the season. Additionally, many accommodations and restaurants are also closed, especially in Trentino and Belluno, Italy.

Let’s see essential Guide to Hiking in the Dolomites in October, Italy

Tofana di Rozes, October, Dolomites, Italy

Tips for Visiting the Dolomites in October

Base yourself in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alta Pusteria, Val Gardena, or Val di Funes. Hike in the Dolomites in early October if you want to visit mountain huts and alpine pasture huts. Some huts in Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park stay open until mid-October. Hike in the Dolomites in late October if you want to see golden larches and fall foliage.Mountain lake water levels are extremely low. By the end of the month, some high-elevation lakes (e.g. Lago di Sorapis) might be frozen and some small lakes (e.g. Lago di Limides) might be completely dried up. Stay in a hotel with an on-site restaurant, or an apartment/aparthotel with a kitchen. Dining is very limited in October, so we recommend staying in a hotel that offers half board, or in an apartment where you can cook for yourself. Stay in a hotel with spa and wellness facilities for bad weather days. Rent a car with winter tires (or chains). If it snows, it will be very difficult to drive over mountain passes. Bring extra gear for wintery conditions (crampons, winter coat, gloves, beanie, etc…).

See more The Best tips to travel Heavenly Val di Funes in the Italian Dolomites 2022

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Weather in the Dolomites in October

Passo Falzarego in October, Dolomites, Italy

The average temperature in October is 6.8°C (44.4°F), with an average high temperature of 11.8°C (53.4°F) and an average low temperature of 1.8°C (35.4°F).

It’s crisp, but still comfortable. Just remember to pack a down jacket, beanie, gloves, crampons, and hiking poles.

If it snows and temperatures stay low, the snow may linger, specially on north-facing slopes.

We’ve traveled to the Dolomites twice in October. During our first visit, we experienced very heavy snowstorms. During our second trip, the weather was stable and brilliant for the entire duration of our trip.

The mountains are unpredictable and you need to be prepared. For that reason:

Rent a car with winter tires, or chains. If we didn’t have winter tires, we wouldn’t have been able to safely drive across mountain passes to our next destination.

Bring an ice scraper like this SubZero Ice Ripper Scraper. Most rental car companies provide one, but not always. Most mornings, we had to scrape off the frost from our windshield and windows, before setting off. In late October, it’s usually around 2°C at 8 am and 3°C at 9 am.

Stay in a hotel with wellness and sauna facilities. Bad weather days don’t have to be tragic if you have access to a nice wellness area. We’ve written about our favorite hotels with wellness areas in Best Hotels in the Dolomites.

Pack crampons and hiking poles. We saw so many people struggling on slippery and icy hiking trails because they didn’t have the proper equipment.

Where to Hike & Stay in the Dolomites in October

How to use this map | Click on the “sliding-door” icon on the top left of the map to display the list of accommodations. Click on each accommodation to display further information. Click on the “expand” icon on the top right to open this map in a new window. Each color signifies a different Dolomites destination:

Val Gardena: coral redAlta Pusteria: blueVal di Funes and Bressanone: maroonCortina d’Ampezzo: green

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Lago Federa, Cortina d'Ampezzo, late October, DolomitesLago Federa

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a resort town and municipality in Ampezzo Valley in the Italian province of Belluno in the region Veneto. The town is encircled by the Tofane, Sorapiss, Cristallo and Croda da Lago mountains.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is very quiet in October, as many hotels and restaurants shut down for the season in late September. Most mountain huts and cableways are also closed.

Luckily, the best hiking trails around Cortina do not require cableways. A car, however, is essential in getting around to trailheads.

Shoulder-season travel to Cortina means quiet trails, gorgeous fall colors (mid-late October), no traffic, and readily available parking.

Nonetheless, popular destinations like Lago di Sorapis continue to attract many visitors, especially during the weekends.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

During your time in Cortina d’Ampezzo, we highly recommend hiking the circuit trail around Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks). The mountain huts along the route will be closed, but we recommend this trail nonetheless. After completing the circuit, detour to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint.

This Three Peaks hike begins at Rifugio Auronzo, which is accessible by a toll road. The road stays open until late October, or even early November, depending on snow conditions.

If you’re not sure whether the road is open (e.g. after a snowstorm), contact the Misurina-Auronzo Tourist Office: [email protected] If temperatures are low and there’s a risk of snow/ice, the toll road is only open during the day. When we visited in late October, the gate was only open from 8 am until 6 pm.

Lago di Sorapis

In Fall, water levels decline drastically in mountain lakes in the Dolomites. It’s also possible that lakes freeze, if temperatures are low enough. So, if you visit Lago di Sorapis in late October, there’s a chance that it will be frozen.


At Passo Falzarego, there’s a cablecar, which operates until late October, to Rifugio Lagazuoi, one of the most impressive Rifugios in the Dolomites. You can take the cableway up and down, or ascend with the WWI Lagazuoi Tunnels.

Rifugio Croda da Lago / Rifugio Palmieri

Rifugio Croda da Lago (aka Rifugio Palmieri) at Lake Federa usually stays open until end of October, depending on snow conditions. This is one of the most photographed destinations in the Dolomites in Autumn because the lake is ringed with larch trees. If there’s snow, you may need crampons to hike up to the lake. If conditions are favorable, we recommend hiking the full Croda da Lago Circuit Trail.

Cortina d’Ampezzo Accommodations

Budget | Jaegerhaus Agriturismo is a highly-recommended farm stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The farm is located 2 km north of the town center in a dreamy location, facing Punta della Croce and Croda del Pomagagnon. Expect a delicious breakfast buffet. You can also eat dinner in their restaurant, which features ingredients sourced directly from their farm. Rooms are clean, cozy and designed in an alpine-rustic style.

Midrange | Camina Suite & Spa is a modern and stylish accommodation, managed by a caring and kind staff. Highlights of staying here are the bright, spacious suites, lovely furnishings and design accents, balcony views, and air conditioning. The breakfast is outstanding. Don’t miss out on their spa facilities (may need to be booked in advance due to COVID regulations).

Luxury | Hotel de Len is a sparkling new luxury hotel in the heart of Cortina. Fresh-faced interiors blend alpine design, modern lines, and natural and sustainable materials. The hotel restaurant, open 12 pm – 10 pm,  showcases mountain products and local Ampezzo flavors in unique and exciting ways. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Rooftop spa access is an extra charge.

Luxury | Dolomiti Lodge Alverà is a splurge-worthy hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, featuring an on-site spa and pool, on-site restaurant, and plush suites. Guests rave about the hotel’s mountain views, breakfast, wellness facilities, and design.

See more The 5 best hikes of the Dolomites in Italy here :

Alta Pusteria

Monte Specie View, DolomitesMonte Specie

Alta Pusteria is the region surrounding the Upper Puster Valley (Val Pusteria/Pustertal) in South Tyrol. It encompasses the villages of Villabassa/Niederdorf, Dobbiaco/Toblach, San Candido/Innichen, Braies/Prags, and Sesto/Sexten in South Tyrol.  Also, the side valleys of Braies/Prags, Sesto/Sexten, and Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal are all part of the Alta Pusteria region.

This South Tyrolean region is also known as the “Three Peaks” holiday region.

The main attractions of Alta Pusteria are Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Val Fiscalina, Lago di Braies, Prato Piazza, and Lago di Dobbiaco.

Alta Pusteria is an excellent base for exploring both the Braies/Prags Dolomites and the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. Additionally, Alta Pusteria is only a 35-40 minute drive to Cortina d’Ampezzo. So, places like Lago Federa, Lago di Sorapis, and Cinque Torre are within easy driving distance.

October is a great time to visit Alta Pusteria, because there are no traffic restrictions in Braies Valley (like in high summer) and congestion is low.

Many hotels and accommodations stay open throughout the month as well.

Rifugio Auronzo Toll Road

The Rifugio Auronzo toll road connects Lake Misurina with Rifugio Auronzo, which is situated at the base of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The road stays open until late October, or even early November, depending on snow conditions. If you’re not sure whether the road is open (e.g. after a snowstorm), contact the Misurina-Auronzo Tourist Office: [email protected] If temperatures are low and there’s a risk of snow/ice, the toll road is only open during the day. When we visited in late October, the gate was only open from 8 am until 6 pm.

If the Rifugio Auronzo toll road is closed, you can still hike up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo from Val Fiscalina. Learn more in our Sexten Hiking Guide.

Prato Piazza

Prato Piazza (Plätzwiese in German) plateau is a high alpine pasture in Valle di Braies/Pragser Tal Valley. Late October is a great time to visit Prato Piazza with a car, because there are no road restrictions. The road is open all day and there’s no toll fee to drive up. We highly recommend hiking to Monte Specie for sunrise or sunset.

Also, Rifugio Vallandro/Dürrensteinhütte and Rifugio Prato Piazza/Berggasthof Plätzwiese – two huts atop the plateau – stay open all month, weather-depending.

Lago di Braies

There are no traffic restrictions in Braies/Prags Valley in October. The lake water level is significantly lower in October. You can see photos of Lago di Braies in October in our Lago di Braies guide.

Braies/Prags Accommodations

Budget | Garni Bergblick is a darling guesthouse in Braies/Prags Valley, located a mere 5.6 km (8-min drive) from Lago di Braies, 6.2 km (9 min drive) from Ponticello, and 11.3 km (18 min drive) from Prato Piazza. Set in an idyllic meadow surrounded by trees, Garni Bergblick is the perfect base for exploring the Braies/Prags Dolomites. Breakfast is included in the rate.

Budget-Midrange | Berggasthaus Agritur Moserhof is a traditional and cozy farm stay, perched high above Braies/Prags Valley. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rate. From Moserhof, it’s a 5-minute drive down to the valley and a  11-minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Midrange | Farmhouse Hanslerhof is a mountain guesthouse and farm overlooking Braies/Prags Valley and surrounded by meadows. Guests love the charming stone pine rooms, homemade breakfasts (included the room rate), and quiet location. From Hanslerhof, it’s an 8 minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Midrange | Hotel Erika is a 3-star hotel situated at the entrance of Valle di Braies. Guests have access to a lovely 400m² wellness area containing a Finnish Sauna (90 °C), steam bath (42-45° C), bio sauna (60 °C), infrared lounge, jacuzzi, and relaxation rooms. Rooms are clean and comfortably furnished in a Tyrolean-alpine style. A rich and varied breakfast buffet and a  5-course dinner are included in the room rate (half board). From Hotel Erika, it’s a 10-minute drive to Lago di Braies and a 20-minute drive to Prato Piazza.

Midrange | Hotel Turmchalet (3 nights minimum) is a family-run 3-star-superior hotel in Valle di Briaes, praised for their superior service and friendliness. The hotel was recently renovated, resulting in tastefully-designed, alpine-modern bedrooms and a standout facade. Guests describe the cuisine as delicious, sensational and outstanding. Breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate (half board). And, there’s also a wellness area.

Look for an accommodation in Braies Valley.

Val Pusteria Accommodations

Luxury | Naturhotel Leitlhof is a 4-star-superior, climate-neutral wellness hotel in San Candido. Situated at a slight elevation and bordered by forest, idyllic Naturhotel Leitlhof overlooks the village and the gorgeous Sexten mountains including Haunold/Rocca dei Baranci and Dreischusterspitze/Cima di Tre Scarperi. Sunsets and sunrises are glorious here. The 2000 m² wellness facilities and outdoor pool are stellar. And, the cuisine is second to none. This is one of the very best hotels in the Dolomites.

Luxury | Hotel Christof is a new and stylish hotel in the village of Monguelfo/Welsberg in Val Pusteria. Stay here for the striking fresh-faced architecture, modern 600 m² wellness area, and excellent cuisine (you can book breakfast-only or half board). This modern hotel is a splash of cheerful color and laid-back fun on the South Tyrolean hospitality scene. From the hotel, it’s a 13-minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Val Gardena

Monte Pic in October, DolomitesMonte Pic Summit

Val Gardena/Grödnertal is a valley in South Tyrol, stretching from Gardena Pass (Passo Gardena / Grödnerjoch) and Sella Pass (Passo Sella) to Valle Isarco (Eisacktal).  Val Gardena encompasses the popular villages of Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena.

Val Gardena is the best place to stay, if you want to visit Seceda, Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, Sassolungo/Langkofel, Passo Gardena, Passo Sella.

Val Gardena is an excellent base in October, because many hotels, restaurants, huts, and facilities (e.g. cableways) stay open all month.

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