Alta Via Day 3 – Scoiattoli to Prolongia

After a tough 2nd day with 5300 feet of vertical we were looking forward to an easier day 3 with far less climbing. We started early in the morning from Scoiattoli rifugio with a commanding view over the Dolomites and is just a stones throw from the gorgeous rock formation ‘Cinque Torri’.

Scoiatolli trail sign

Although the days hike started in the middle of a ski run it quickly veered west and hugs a rock wall with stunning views looking out to the north. We quickly reached the bottom of the hill and had a quick snack at Rifugio Passo Falzarego right across the street from the cable car up to Lagazuoi.

After a refreshing snack we headed northwest following the road and getting roasted in the hot sun. A recurring theme for this trip is we were over dressed as it was unseasonably warm almost everyday. A few minutes later we were walking by an ‘Forte Tre Sassi’ a WWI Austrian fort converted into a museum. The small lago next to the museum had a striking turquoise color and we stopped to take numerous pictures.

Following the lake and a short uphill we followed the path just below Monte Castello. We stopped for lunch and had Loacker’s cookies which were a tremendous treat each day :D. After lunch we pushed on another hot and sunny uphill slog. After cresting another ridge we were rewarded with a view of our destination Berggasthof Pralongià our lodging for the night. It was an easy gentle stroll into Pralongia with sweeping views all around.


Pralongia sits at the top of several ski lifts and given its prominent height has great views of Marmolada Glacier to the south. We both consumed giant bubble waters well deserved after the intense heat. Our room at Pralongia was much better than expected as we had a private hotel room and shower with a great view. Thankfully the rifugio staff was super helpful and did a full load of laundry that night for us so we had clean clothes in the morning. I absolutely love the German pronunciation of ‘Super’ the guy at the front desk kept saying :D. We were consistently surprised that rifugio’s we were booked into felt much more like upscale hotels. Dinner was 5 course with an excellent pana cotta for dessert.

Distance: Approx 8.3 miles
Elevation Gain: +2200′
Elevation Loss: -4100′

sunset lake view

Cottonwood Lakes

What better way to spend your birthday weekend than squeezing a late season backpacking trip in the Sierras, answer not much. We decided on a quick overnight trip somewhere relatively close to the LA area and came up with this little gem Cottonwood Lakes. These lakes are tantalizingly close to Southern California just outside Lone […]