Why I Loved Hiking the Dolomites

Hiking in the Dolomites | Allie Peden
Hiking in the Dolomites | Allie Peden

Why I Loved Hiking the Dolomites

Avid outdoors enthusiast, Allie Peden, reflects on her hike in Italy's spectacular Dolomite mountain range. She and a friend joined a small group of hikers on the Dolomite Guided Walk, which was led by the expert local guide, Madeline.
If we could sum up her experience in a word, it would be DRAMATIC! But read on to get the full picture from Allie.
Hiking in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

Why did you choose to walk the Dolomites? 

Ever since doing UTracks' Mont Blanc Guided in 2018 I’d been dreaming of another big bucket list alpine walk. I thought the Dolomites Guided Walk seemed very different to the French, Swiss and Italian Alps that I’d walked through on Mont Blanc. What interested me was the craggy moonscape-like rock formations & fascinating World War I history. 

Hiking in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

How did you prepare for your trip?

I knew from previous Alpine hikes in Europe and Nepal that I’m guilty of not doing enough stair/step training. I did my usual training walks but also added the step master at the gym. Who knew step master could be fun - a 30 minute Netflix episode really makes the time fly!

I also added weights to a day pack which I took on my morning dog walks. While on the Dolomites Guided Walk, you only need to carry a day pack with the essentials that you need for the day (lunch, raincoat, water, etc), I found that training with extra weight meant the longer walks felt like a breeze.  
Hiking in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

What was the accommodation like in the Dolomites? 

I really loved the accommodation on this walk. Each nights stop was charming but just the right amount of rustic. My favourite accommodation was the Refugio Giussani Huitte at 2600m. The views were stunning and décor inside was quirky. 
Alpine hut in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>
Another favourite was the Hotel Sennes, which has beautiful decks upstairs as well as by the restaurant, where we could relax, take in the afternoon sun and the views. The food at Sennes was also incredible!
Accommodation in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

What was the scenery you walked through like?

I think the best way to describe the Dolomites scenery would be DRAMATIC. The Dolomites have a wild rugged look but the every changing colours of the rock is what’s most special. Due to the high concentration of calcium and magnesium carbonate in the rock during sunrise and sunset the mountain tops colour from orange to pink to in the end purple. We would sit out watching the colours change until the last of the light, it was stunning!
Hiking in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

What was the local cuisine like? Can you describe your favourite food and drink? 

After a long days walking the group was usually straight to showers, change and then a nice cold beer or Italian wine, while chatting about our day and fantasising about the dinner to come. In the Dolomites you get to try foods very different to your typical Italian dishes as the regions cuisine is influenced by their German & Austrian neighbours. 
Afternoon drink with a view |  <i>Allie Peden</i>
A few favourites that I tried were "Casunziei" (ravioli stuffed with pumpkin or spinach), potato gnocchi with smoked cottage cheese or pumpkin, canederli (balls of bread, like dumplings with speck & cheese), and a hearty barley soup that was the perfect entrée on a cool evening. Most places we stayed at offered menus and in true Italian style we got to choose our primo, secondo and dolce (desert). After dinner those who were brave enough would try the local distilled spirit called Grappa, which is unique to Italy. 
Dinner with a view in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

How challenging did you find the Dolomites trail?

The trail was challenging, but in a way that left you feeling accomplished and stronger each day. On two days we had options for additional peaks, or relaxing, and another day there was an option to shorten the walk. 
Our guide Madeline was great at assessing the weather coming in to determine the best options for the days walks. What I did find most challenging about the trip was the actual rock and scree underfoot. Walking poles helped with balance and going downhill on these tricky stages.
Hiking in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

What surprised you the most about your trip? 

I was most surprised by the amount of people visiting the region of the Dolomites. While seeing the Tre Cime was a special experience and highlight for me, I also really valued the time with our group on the more remote trails that we visit on the UTracks walk. I was also blown away by many of the incredible mountain ranges we traversed, it’s not only about the well known Tre Cime di Lavaredo!

Group photo in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>

Can you share advice for other travellers thinking about hiking the Dolomites? 

Do it!
Hiking in the Dolomites |  <i>Allie Peden</i>


Have you been to the Dolomites before? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comment section below.
Dolomites, Italy, Dolomites Hike, Italian Alps, Traveller Tale

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