Hike to Lake Sorapiss, Dolomites, Cortina, Italy

July 11, 2015

Hike #13 – Rifugio Vandelli Traverse
Cicerone Guide, Shorter Walks in the Dolomites
Starting Point: Tre Croci Pass off of SS48
Distance: 12.5km/7.8 miles
Ascent: 750m

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss
One of my favorite hikes of the six trails we followed on this trip. On a beautiful Saturday it was very popular especially with families and sunbathers heading to Lake Sorapiss just down from the rifugio. Leave early and consider taking the spectacular high route back to Tre Croci Pass.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

From Tre Croci Pass trail 215 is a straight forward route to the lake. Heading generally up there are some steep sections. The track opens up along a rock face with great views to the east and south.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

The one section marked on the map with +++ and translated as “ladder” is really a staircase built into the rock and nothing to worry about.

Rifugio Vandelli

Rifugio Vandelli

Rifugio Vandelli also boasts amazing views, but consider, as most Italians do, picnicking by the lake.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Tricky section along ledge

Tricky section along ledge

You can walk around the lake but there is one tricky section a short ways to your left as you reach the lake from the main trail where a cliff face blocks your path. You can either scooch along a ledge, crawl under a tree branch and then climb down off the rocks – perfectly doable if you are inclined to do that sort of thing – or you can climb up and over the ledge and back down to the trail. Views from the opposite end of the lake are worth the effort.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

The alternate way back suggested in Cicerone guide book is certainly manageable despite the warning +++ symbols marked on the map. Although there are a couple of short cable sections there is nothing particularly long or scary.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Take trail 216 up a long steep slippery hill. Frequent views back over the lake and out to the east allow you a chance to catch your breath.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

The famous “ledge” marked with +++ on the map is a fabulous view point. The descent on the ledge itself is short and not difficult.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Down the valley from the ledge is the old turn off for trail 223, but after a huge landslide – you can see where the trail used to go –

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

the trail has been rerouted with the junction across the valley and back up the top of the ridge at Forcella Marcoira.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Across the ridge to the left you rejoin the old route 223.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

A short cable gets you across the pass and down into the next valley. Where you hit trail 213 (turn right) that takes you back to Tre Croci Pass.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

The way is steep and slippery in sections but manageable with trekking poles. There is also one boulder scramble. Great views in the afternoon light.

Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss Cortina - Hike from Tres Croci to Lake Sorapiss

Trail 213 eventually hits an old road that leads back to SS48.

Note that from Forcella Marcoira you could also take trail 216 down to trail 213. The Cicerone guide book says that this is a steeper yet shorter way down.

dolomite maps-2-2

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11 Responses to Hike to Lake Sorapiss, Dolomites, Cortina, Italy

  1. Paulo Paraluppi says:

    Do you recommend this to a 60-years-old couple? Me and my parents are in love with Lake Sorapis but they are not used to hiking. What do you think? Thanks.

    • baidanbi says:

      For a 60+ year old in reasonably good shape the way in on the main trail should not be a problem. The back way, the way we returned, over the mountain, is more strenuous and may be a bit much. I’d recommend the main trail in and out. The lake is beautiful. Hope you enjoy your time there.

      • When you say the main trail, is that the path 215? I’m reading a bit about it and a lot of people said that 215 is the easiest. Did you guys go with a toursist guide or all by yourselves? Thanks.

      • baidanbi says:

        Yes trail 215. We went by ourselves and don’t think a guide is necessary. The trail is very popular and easy to follow. In fact I would avoid weekends if you can. We drove to the trailhead ourselves. Parking was not a problem but may get crowded on busy weekends. Hope this helps. When are you planning on going?

  2. I am planning to go there in May/June-2017. It’s kinda early to plan I know, lol Thanks for your explanation, I’m more confident we will be able to do that now.

  3. nickro says:

    Hello from Romania! Great hike and great review. Can you tell me wich is the distance from Passo Tre Croci to Vandelli and return by main trail without strenous hike back. Thanks in advance.

  4. Carla Viana Pereira says:

    Hello, I’m from Brasil and I’m planning to go there next week. I read I could use the Faloria Cab from Rifugio Faloria and take 213 to get there. Wich should be easier, 213 from Rifugio Faloria or 215 from Tre Croci?

    • baidanbi says:

      Hi Carla, We’ve not done the 213 from Rifugio Faloria, but looking at the google map we did the hardest part of the 213 up and over the ridges. I would say that the 215 is easier, but will most likely have more traffic. I don’t think the 213 would have anything too technical but I would confirm with a local. In any case it is a beautiful area. Have a great hike and let me know how it goes.

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