Alta Via – Day 1 (Badia – Fanes)

We got a very late start on Day 1 due to jet lag. The long trip from the US to the Dolomites left us exhausted. We spent the morning rushing to pack our backpacks. We also had to arrange to leave our rental car “poo brown’ (Fiat station wagon) at the hotel. Thankfully the hotel staff generously provided us a parking spot for 5 days free of charge.

To save time we elected to take 2 chairlifts and zoom up to Santa Croce which has a tiny church and rifugio. The views over Badia valley were incredible.

Badia chairlift
Chairlift = timesaver!

We stopped at the rifugio for a small lunch before beginning our hike. As a sign of things to come the food was excellent (vegetable soup, sandwich, and sparkling water).

Soup snack
Europe – where you can get good food right on the trail

We took a little time to enjoy the views as well, of course! After taking a quick peek inside the church, Santa Croce, we headed off.

We started out in the shade hiking through the forest before breaking out into a field of scree. We took a small detour to see the remains of an ice cave (more of a snow bank). From the ice cave it was a long climb up to San Antone pass. The views as we climbed were fantastic both up and down the valley. At the pass there was a small shrine where took a short rest admired the view in both directions and pushed on for the rifugio.

Overlooking Santa Croce

The trail down from the pass was murderous without a single switchback. It was also quite rocky, which was to be expected.

Alta via day 1
Survived a long pass

Eventually the trail leveled off and we reached a green pasture. After passing through a gate we immediately lost the trail in the pasture despite having a GPS. We muddled south attempting to find the trail without success. We made our own trail and eventually after several side trips found our way to the rifugio which sat in a wide valley amidst several ponds.

steep pasture
Some steep pasture land!
cows on Alta Via

We were famished after our small lunch and after a quick shower we sat down for a lovely 3 course dinner. The pasta was amazing (go figure Italy). To top it off we had profiteroles for dessert.

Distance: 7.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 3005 feet
Elevation Loss: 3051 feet

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