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A second home in the majestic silence of the high mountains

6  treks to the most remote mountain huts and a night in the mountains

For mountaineers and trekking enthusiasts, a mountain hut or “rifugio” is like a lighthouse for a sailor. A place to drop anchor and find comfort, a home away from home. Granted, it may not offer the services of a 5-star hotel but that’s simply because the silence and the majesty of a sunset in the high mountains are inestimable.

You will be welcomed with a simple yet wholesome meal (don’t forget that getting provisions up here isn’t a simple task) and the wooden table is shared with other high-mountain travellers, complete with backpacks and tales of mountaineering feats. You sleep in a shared dormitory, on a bunk bed, which together recall the pleasure of simplicity. The prudent tanned faces of the managers, their precious advice and their reminders that all lights must be switched off after sunset (electricity is a valuable commodity up here!), make you feel that you’re in safe hands, the strong resourceful hands of those that know and keep watch over the highlands of Trentino.

The trails that lead to these high mountain huts are all generally challenging, but with a bit of training and preparation you’ll be able to enjoy the gratifying experience of reaching a mountain hut after a long day of trekking. Here are our suggestions for this summer, from the Dolomites to the Lagorai group.

#1

Rifugio Velo della Madonna

This mountain lodge owes its name to one of the steepest and most famous ascents of the Dolomites, which has its starting point close by. Nestled between the rocks, offering a sweeping view of the valleys below, the lodge itself was constructed recently and is very comfortable. Of the many access routes to choose from, the one beginning in San Martino di Castrozza offers a good compromise between the effort and difficulty involved and the incredible views it offers.

#2

Rifugio ai Caduti dell'Adamello

This mountain lodge is known to all as the “Pope’s Refuge”, as it was here that Pope Wojtyla came in July 1984 to ski on the Adamello glacier, along with the Italian President at the time, Sandro Pertini. The lodge is perched precariously on the side of the mountain at an altitude of 3,000 metres, at the edges of the largest glacier in the Alps. It attracts many mountaineers and high-altitude hikers, as it provides the starting point for numerous routes that require excellent skills in getting about on rock and ice.

#3

Rifugio Contrin

This lodge has long been a landmark for mountaineers, and in summer it also draws many hikers who make their way up from Val di Fassa. It’s the perfect starting point for those who want to explore the peaks of the Marmolada Group, with many walking trails available; or for the bravest to take the via ferrata on the western ridge to reach Punta Penia.

#4

Rifugio Torre di Pisa

This mountain hut is the only one in the Latemar dolomitic group, surrounded by numerous peaks such as the “Torre di Pisa” (Tower of Pisa) from which it takes its name. A number of cableways, both from the Valle di Fiemme and Obereggen, make the approach easier, but we suggest you try to be honest with yourself and earn a tasty meal by taking off on foot from Pampeago.

#5

Rifugio Tosa T. Pedrotti

This lodge is an essential stop for hikers tackling the classic routes in the Brenta Dolomites, given its position close to the only pass — the Bocca di Brenta — which joins the Campiglio and Molveno zones. Stop off here to get to know Franco and his family, who bring admirable dedication and a profound understanding of the mountain to the running of this mountain home.

#6

Rifugio Saent "Silvio Dorigoni"

Nestled in the Saènt basin in the heart of the Stelvio National Park, surrounded by marmots, chamois and flowers of every colour, is the Dorigoni mountain lodge. Here, the dark and brooding mountains provide a stark contrast to the sky-blue waters of the glacial lakes situated a little higher up. In addition to the many hiking routes that set out from the lodge, the nature walk that leads to the little Sternai lakes is also unmissable.

Published on 13/05/2021