Alta Via del Granito: From Hut to Hut in the Lagorai

By Charisa Kailey-Lê

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Alta Via del Granito: From Hut to Hut in the Lagorai
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The Alta Via del Granito, just not any Alta Via. It's the Italian name for High Trail and in Northern Italy and the Dolomites you can find a lot of them. You may have heard or you even may have hiked Bookatrekking.com bestsellers Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2. You can't get more Dolomites than on those two phenomenal treks. Although geographically part of the Dolomites, the Alta Via del Granito isn't entirely dolomite. Yep, it's a bit more special than that. Why? Lace up your hiking boots, read our blog post, the tips from Ilse, and go discover the granite trails of the Lagorai!

What and where is the Alta Via del Granito?

Granite trails indeed, because the Alta Via del Granito plainly means Granite High Route. This is a circular traverse of the unique granite of the Cima d'Asta - Cime di Rava group in the Lagorai chain. Popular with Italians, this well-kept secret follows a network of ancient paths and former military roads, dating back to the First World War, connecting the only two refuges in the group: the hospitable Rifugios Conseria and Caldenave. Looking for a short and spicy hut to hut trek in Italy? Bingo.

The Alta Via del Granito (Granite High Route) is a 3- or 4-day circular traverse of the unique granite area of the Cima d'Asta - Cime di Rava group in the Northern Italian Lagorai chain, geographically still part of the Dolomites. The Alta Via follows a network of ancient paths and former military roads, dating back to the First World War, connecting the only two refuges in the group. Three days of pleasant trekking amidst stupendous natural landscapes, stark reminders of the Great War, mountain huts and alpine pastures, good evidence of man's ancient pact with nature. In short: The Alta Via del Granito is pretty epic.

On this Alta Via, you can't really mention the Dolomites. Yes, geographically it is part of the Dolomites, but you won't find any dolomite here. Dolomite is the name of the mineral found in the Dolomites by Deodat de Dolomieu, back in 1791. He would not have found this in the Lagorai chain or, more specifically, on the trails of the Alta Via del Granito. Why? Simple, this whole area is granite.

The trek starts and ends at Malga Sorgazza, locally a well-known restaurant at a dead-end road about an hour's drive from the town of Trento. Trento lies in between Bolzano, known for the Alta Via 2 and access point to the peaks of that side of the Dolomites, and Verona, close to Lago di Garda. Malga Sargazzo is also only a 2 hours drive from Venice, which is much shorter than some hikes in the northern Dolomites. This allows you to combine the mountains with the sea and hiking with sightseeing. Surf and turf the Italian Way!

What and where is the Alta Via del Granito?

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Is the Alta Via del Granito for me?

Do you like mountains? Are you looking for an epic hiking adventure off the beaten track? Of course, the Alta Via del Granito is for you! If you came here to get that questions answered, we have to have a very good chat. We can imagine you are looking for something different than the outrageously popular Alta Vias further up North. Maybe you came here because they are fully booked. Let's be clear that the Alta Via del Granito is not just an alternative to other treks in this part of the world. This is an epic adventure that is very popular with Italians but hasn't really made it to the mainstream long-distance hiking world yet. That, our friend, allows you to enjoy an unspoilt local rifugio experience.

There you have it, we have spilt the beans. But, if you think that this is just a walk in the park, you are very wrong. Sure, it's only three days and two night, but it is still very much an Alta Via and that means you are constantly at an altitude of around 2,000 metres and you are tackling more than 2,000 vertical metres in those 3 days. The trails are not super technical, but granite is quite a rough mineral, hence it can be pretty gnarly from time to time. Is it worth it? Oh yes.

At Bookatrekking.com, we not only book your huts, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your Alta Via del Granito, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

What is the best season for the Alta Via del Granito?

The season runs from the 20th June to the 20th September, fairly in line with other hut-to-hut treks in the Alps and Dolomites. Although the traverse can be carried out until late September-October. In that case, it will be necessary to carry a tent and sleeping bag or rely on the winter shelters of the huts. At the beginning of summer, depending on how the winter has been, snow may still be found on the trails, especially towards the Cima d'Asta, in which case gaiters are useful. In the height of the summer season, it is essential to book well in advance, and as a simple matter of respect and delicacy towards the needs of others, it is recommended that any non-attendance be cancelled promptly - where possible.

Staying in rifugios on the Alta Via del Granito

Austria and Germany have the Alpenverein, South Africa has the Mountain Club of South Africa and the UK has British Mountaineering Council and the list goes on. Italy also has its own association and it has been going under the name Club Alpino Italiano, CAI for short, since 1863.

The CAI is hugely active in marking and maintaining mountain trails, protecting the Italian Alps and Dolomites, organising climbing competitions and, of course, operating mountain huts. The CAI has 433 fully equipped mountain huts, 224 bivouacs and 106 smaller huts under its care. Together, these accommodations account for more than 23,500 beds. Hikers are required to spend the night in mountain huts, rifugios in Italian. The good thing about spending the night in huts is that you don't need to bring a tent, cooking kit and the food for your multi-day hike. The rifugios vary in size and accommodation options, but all offer a shower, a good night's sleep including half-board with tasty local dishes. Believe us, the food is really good compared to some neighbouring countries :)

Staying in rifugios on the Alta Via del Granito

Alta Via del Granito map and navigation

There are plenty of maps and guidebooks that can help you do the Alta Via del Granito or any other trek in the Italian Dolomites. Below you can find a map with an overview of the route.

Classic Alta Via del Granito day-to-day itinerary

Check out this short, 3-day version of the Alta Via del Granito trek in the Italian Dolomites.
Day
1

Malga Sorgazza - Rifugio Caldenave

Duration: 07:00 h
Distance: 11.4 km
Ascent: 1060 m
Descent: 710 m
From the Malga Sorgazza hut, now a restaurant, take the spirited hiking trail No. 328 that leads, along Lake Costa Brunella, to Forcella Quarazza. From here, continue to Forzelon di Rava. From Forzelon you can take a detour to, Cimon Rava (2,436 m), which offers stunning views of the peaks of the Cresta del Frate. Descend and continue on 332 to the top of the Val di Rava, eventually arriving at Forcella Ravetta. Now descend sharply, passing under the northern slope of the imposing Cima Caldenave and order a beer at the eponymous classic Rifugio Caldenave.

Rifugio Caldenave

Info
Rifugio Caldenave
Day
2

Rifugio Caldenave - Rifugio Cima d'Asta

Duration: 06:50 h
Distance: 11.8 km
Ascent: 1100 m
Descent: 410 m
Descend from Rifugio Caldenave to the plateau, cross the stream and take path 360, which, along the lakes of Val dell'Inferno, climbs to Forcella delle Buse Todesche. From this point continue north on path 373, along the eastern flank of the Cengello and the Cima Lasteati. This leads to Forcella Magna, an important pass connecting Val Sorgazza with Alta Val Cia. During World War I, this pass was served by a cart road that allowed the Italians to place large artillery emplacements there. The ruins were a witness to this. Then down there along path No. 380 to the fork on the right before Socede Pass. Here again remains of World War I, this time in the form of some remains of trenches. From here you will reach the Rifugio Cima d'Asta, also known as Ottone Brentari, in 15 minutes, lavering over granite rocks.

Rifugio Cima d'Asta - O. Brentari

Info
Rifugio Cima d'Asta - O. Brentari
Day
3

Rifugio Cima d'Asta - Malga Sorgazza

Duration: 04:15 h
Distance: 8.8 km
Ascent: 40 m
Descent: 1080 m
From Rifugio Cima d'Asta descend to the foot of the cable car. Then along the forest road to Malga Sorgazza, ending the hike. From the hut, if you have the time and want to make more of your Alta Via del Granito, we recommend the ascent of Cima d'Asta (2,847 m - 1 h 15' / 370 m difference in altitude), the highest summit of the group and, of course, again fantastic views.

Did you know that we can book all huts and refuges for the Alta Via del Granito for you? Check out all our options here.

Do you want to hike Alta Via del Granito? Ilse went before you!

Ilse Boersma from the Netherlands walked the Alta Via del Granito in the summer of 2022. How did it go? "It's pretty granito," Ilse says, referring to the granite surroundings and hiking trails. "So there' s a lot of rock, scree, and also big stones. Also on the hiking trails, so by all means, if you ask me, hiking poles are therefore a good idea. High hiking boots are also definitely recommended."

Physically, Ilse did not need to prepare for this hut trek. "I exercise four times a week and found this hike doable. You are ascending and descending a lot and of course you are going to feel that, but good fitness makes it manageable. We also had a pretty calm trek."

We just mentioned it, you can also spend the night at Rifugio Consèria, a very nice hut according to Ilse: "Here we had a hot shower, got good coffee and the food was top notch. In that respect, slightly better organised than Rifugio Caldenave, which is typically piddly Italian. Cima d'Asta was a bit basic but in return you got beautiful views."

And what about that 'pretty calm trek'? "Yes, although most walk the Alta Via del Granito in 3 days, we did the trek in 4 days. You are then naturally much faster to the next hut. Your afternoon thus gets a bit longer, but that was also super relaxed with reading a book!"

Do you want to hike Alta Via del Granito? Ilse went before you!

Packing List for the Alta Via del Granito

It doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in the mountains, you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. Its size will depend on how many days you will be spending in the mountains, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Alta Via del Granito with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Getting to and from Malga Sorgazza

The best starting point for your Alta Via del Granito adventure is Malga Sorgazza, an old rifugio turned restaurant about 1 hour from Trento. As is so often the case with mountain adventures, it takes some time and effort to get to them.

By plane:

If you want to do the Alta Via del Granito, it is easiest to fly to Venice. From here, you would want to rent a car and drive in about two hours to the starting point.

By bus:

You won't get there by bus. A car or taxi is the way to go.

By car:

There is a large free parking space at Malga Sorgazza. Here hikers leave their cars overnight. Seeing this is a relatively short hike, you will (unfortunately) be back at your car before you know it.

Getting to and from Malga Sorgazza

Safe hiking tips for the Alta Via del Granito

When you go on walking holidays it is wise to be aware of a few points. Even if this is not your first time, you should never underestimate the mountains. Good tour planning and compliance with the regulations on the mountains will significantly increase safety. To ensure that your hiking holiday is a safe and enjoyable experience, here below you can find a list of 8 recommendations for safe hiking in the mountains:
  • Know your limits

    Hiking the Alta Via del Granito is the perfect outlet to escape from daily life. It is an endurance sport along with a beautiful nature experience with a positive effect on body and mind —as long as one is in good shape and has a realistic picture of one's possibilities and limits—. Never overestimate yourself or underestimate the route. Don't overdo it! Always choose the slower variant and take more time for your plans. Hiking under time pressure is not fun and at too fast a pace it can be dangerous. Be wise!

  • Plan carefully

    Good planning is half the work! Hiking maps, literature, the Internet and expert advice are invaluable when planning the route in the Alta Via del Granito and enable you to determine the length, altitude difference, difficulty and conditions of the hike. When planning group treks, the itinerary should always be planned for the weakest member of the group! The weather in the mountains can change incredibly quickly and rain, wind and cold all increase the risk factor. For this reason, always check the weather forecast beforehand and contact our trekking experts to find your way around before you start.

  • Be fully equipped

    Equipment is everything. In the most extreme case, it makes the difference between life and death, and in any case, it definitely makes the difference between having fun and having a bad time. Food and water, sunscreen and waterproof and warm clothes must always be in your backpack, as well as a first aid kit and a mobile phone with a full battery (in case there is an emergency). However, packing light makes walking easier, so don't take too much extra luggage with you. Your equipment should always be suitable for the terrain you'll be hiking on in the Alta Via del Granito.

  • Wear suitable footwear

    Good walking shoes protect your feet and provide a better fit. Shoes with a good fit, with non-slip soles, water-resistant and lightweight are a must for additional walking pleasure during the Alta Via del Granito. Trail running shoes are great for a weekend in the mountains, but on longer hikes or more technical trails, you'll want at least A/B hiking boots. That means it is recommended wearing high mountain shoes that are water-repellent with extra ankle support to prevent sprains.

  • Stay on marked trails

    Alta Via del Granito has endless marked hiking trails, which are controlled and maintained and should not be deviated from. It may be tempting, but it's not a good idea to take shortcuts or alternative routes through unmarked terrain. It increases the risk of disorientation and you're more likely to get lost and have accidents or fall in the mountains. Even steep slopes of packed old snow are often underestimated and dangerous. Are you in doubt? Better don't do it. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you. FYI, 75% of stumbles occur due to carelessness on marked paths or roads, not in open terrain!

  • Take regular breaks

    Remember you're on a hiking holiday. Timely and regular breaks not only provide welcome relaxation but also make it possible to enjoy the Alta Via del Granito. The body needs a regular food and drink intake to maintain performance and concentration. Our advice is that if you have little time, it's better to follow the short itinerary than to speed up the long one.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Alta Via del Granito.

  • Respect nature

    Leave no rubbish behind, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where Can I Book the Alta Via del Granito?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Alta Via del Granito and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Alta Via del Granito not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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