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Essential Guide to Hiking in the Dolomites in October, Italy

October in the Dolomites can be an extension of September, delivering clear skies and comfortable daytime temperatures, perfect for day hiking and photography.

As the month progresses, the foliage turns increasingly orange and golden, reaching a colorful apex in late October. Generally, you can expect fewer people, peaceful hiking trails, virtually no thunderstorms, and lower hotel rates. An added bonus of hiking in the Dolomites in October is the late sunrise (around 7:30 am).

However, it can also be the beginning of winter, with heavy snowstorms and freezing temperatures (rare, but possible in our experience).

See more The best places to visit the Dolomites Italy in 2022 here!

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October is firmly off-season, which means most rifugios (mountain huts) and cableways are closed for the season. Additionally, many accommodations and restaurants are also closed, especially in Trentino and Belluno, Italy.

Let’s see essential Guide to Hiking in the Dolomites in October, Italy

Tofana di Rozes, October, Dolomites, Italy

Tips for Visiting the Dolomites in October

Base yourself in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alta Pusteria, Val Gardena, or Val di Funes. Hike in the Dolomites in early October if you want to visit mountain huts and alpine pasture huts. Some huts in Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park stay open until mid-October. Hike in the Dolomites in late October if you want to see golden larches and fall foliage.Mountain lake water levels are extremely low. By the end of the month, some high-elevation lakes (e.g. Lago di Sorapis) might be frozen and some small lakes (e.g. Lago di Limides) might be completely dried up. Stay in a hotel with an on-site restaurant, or an apartment/aparthotel with a kitchen. Dining is very limited in October, so we recommend staying in a hotel that offers half board, or in an apartment where you can cook for yourself. Stay in a hotel with spa and wellness facilities for bad weather days. Rent a car with winter tires (or chains). If it snows, it will be very difficult to drive over mountain passes. Bring extra gear for wintery conditions (crampons, winter coat, gloves, beanie, etc…).

See more The Best tips to travel Heavenly Val di Funes in the Italian Dolomites 2022

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Weather in the Dolomites in October

Passo Falzarego in October, Dolomites, Italy

The average temperature in October is 6.8°C (44.4°F), with an average high temperature of 11.8°C (53.4°F) and an average low temperature of 1.8°C (35.4°F).

It’s crisp, but still comfortable. Just remember to pack a down jacket, beanie, gloves, crampons, and hiking poles.

If it snows and temperatures stay low, the snow may linger, specially on north-facing slopes.

We’ve traveled to the Dolomites twice in October. During our first visit, we experienced very heavy snowstorms. During our second trip, the weather was stable and brilliant for the entire duration of our trip.

The mountains are unpredictable and you need to be prepared. For that reason:

Rent a car with winter tires, or chains. If we didn’t have winter tires, we wouldn’t have been able to safely drive across mountain passes to our next destination.

Bring an ice scraper like this SubZero Ice Ripper Scraper. Most rental car companies provide one, but not always. Most mornings, we had to scrape off the frost from our windshield and windows, before setting off. In late October, it’s usually around 2°C at 8 am and 3°C at 9 am.

Stay in a hotel with wellness and sauna facilities. Bad weather days don’t have to be tragic if you have access to a nice wellness area. We’ve written about our favorite hotels with wellness areas in Best Hotels in the Dolomites.

Pack crampons and hiking poles. We saw so many people struggling on slippery and icy hiking trails because they didn’t have the proper equipment.

Where to Hike & Stay in the Dolomites in October

How to use this map | Click on the “sliding-door” icon on the top left of the map to display the list of accommodations. Click on each accommodation to display further information. Click on the “expand” icon on the top right to open this map in a new window. Each color signifies a different Dolomites destination:

Val Gardena: coral redAlta Pusteria: blueVal di Funes and Bressanone: maroonCortina d’Ampezzo: green

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Lago Federa, Cortina d'Ampezzo, late October, DolomitesLago Federa

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a resort town and municipality in Ampezzo Valley in the Italian province of Belluno in the region Veneto. The town is encircled by the Tofane, Sorapiss, Cristallo and Croda da Lago mountains.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is very quiet in October, as many hotels and restaurants shut down for the season in late September. Most mountain huts and cableways are also closed.

Luckily, the best hiking trails around Cortina do not require cableways. A car, however, is essential in getting around to trailheads.

Shoulder-season travel to Cortina means quiet trails, gorgeous fall colors (mid-late October), no traffic, and readily available parking.

Nonetheless, popular destinations like Lago di Sorapis continue to attract many visitors, especially during the weekends.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

During your time in Cortina d’Ampezzo, we highly recommend hiking the circuit trail around Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks). The mountain huts along the route will be closed, but we recommend this trail nonetheless. After completing the circuit, detour to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint.

This Three Peaks hike begins at Rifugio Auronzo, which is accessible by a toll road. The road stays open until late October, or even early November, depending on snow conditions.

If you’re not sure whether the road is open (e.g. after a snowstorm), contact the Misurina-Auronzo Tourist Office: [email protected] If temperatures are low and there’s a risk of snow/ice, the toll road is only open during the day. When we visited in late October, the gate was only open from 8 am until 6 pm.

Lago di Sorapis

In Fall, water levels decline drastically in mountain lakes in the Dolomites. It’s also possible that lakes freeze, if temperatures are low enough. So, if you visit Lago di Sorapis in late October, there’s a chance that it will be frozen.


At Passo Falzarego, there’s a cablecar, which operates until late October, to Rifugio Lagazuoi, one of the most impressive Rifugios in the Dolomites. You can take the cableway up and down, or ascend with the WWI Lagazuoi Tunnels.

Rifugio Croda da Lago / Rifugio Palmieri

Rifugio Croda da Lago (aka Rifugio Palmieri) at Lake Federa usually stays open until end of October, depending on snow conditions. This is one of the most photographed destinations in the Dolomites in Autumn because the lake is ringed with larch trees. If there’s snow, you may need crampons to hike up to the lake. If conditions are favorable, we recommend hiking the full Croda da Lago Circuit Trail.

Cortina d’Ampezzo Accommodations

Budget | Jaegerhaus Agriturismo is a highly-recommended farm stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The farm is located 2 km north of the town center in a dreamy location, facing Punta della Croce and Croda del Pomagagnon. Expect a delicious breakfast buffet. You can also eat dinner in their restaurant, which features ingredients sourced directly from their farm. Rooms are clean, cozy and designed in an alpine-rustic style.

Midrange | Camina Suite & Spa is a modern and stylish accommodation, managed by a caring and kind staff. Highlights of staying here are the bright, spacious suites, lovely furnishings and design accents, balcony views, and air conditioning. The breakfast is outstanding. Don’t miss out on their spa facilities (may need to be booked in advance due to COVID regulations).

Luxury | Hotel de Len is a sparkling new luxury hotel in the heart of Cortina. Fresh-faced interiors blend alpine design, modern lines, and natural and sustainable materials. The hotel restaurant, open 12 pm – 10 pm,  showcases mountain products and local Ampezzo flavors in unique and exciting ways. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Rooftop spa access is an extra charge.

Luxury | Dolomiti Lodge Alverà is a splurge-worthy hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, featuring an on-site spa and pool, on-site restaurant, and plush suites. Guests rave about the hotel’s mountain views, breakfast, wellness facilities, and design.

See more The 5 best hikes of the Dolomites in Italy here :

Alta Pusteria

Monte Specie View, DolomitesMonte Specie

Alta Pusteria is the region surrounding the Upper Puster Valley (Val Pusteria/Pustertal) in South Tyrol. It encompasses the villages of Villabassa/Niederdorf, Dobbiaco/Toblach, San Candido/Innichen, Braies/Prags, and Sesto/Sexten in South Tyrol.  Also, the side valleys of Braies/Prags, Sesto/Sexten, and Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal are all part of the Alta Pusteria region.

This South Tyrolean region is also known as the “Three Peaks” holiday region.

The main attractions of Alta Pusteria are Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Val Fiscalina, Lago di Braies, Prato Piazza, and Lago di Dobbiaco.

Alta Pusteria is an excellent base for exploring both the Braies/Prags Dolomites and the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. Additionally, Alta Pusteria is only a 35-40 minute drive to Cortina d’Ampezzo. So, places like Lago Federa, Lago di Sorapis, and Cinque Torre are within easy driving distance.

October is a great time to visit Alta Pusteria, because there are no traffic restrictions in Braies Valley (like in high summer) and congestion is low.

Many hotels and accommodations stay open throughout the month as well.

Rifugio Auronzo Toll Road

The Rifugio Auronzo toll road connects Lake Misurina with Rifugio Auronzo, which is situated at the base of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The road stays open until late October, or even early November, depending on snow conditions. If you’re not sure whether the road is open (e.g. after a snowstorm), contact the Misurina-Auronzo Tourist Office: [email protected] If temperatures are low and there’s a risk of snow/ice, the toll road is only open during the day. When we visited in late October, the gate was only open from 8 am until 6 pm.

If the Rifugio Auronzo toll road is closed, you can still hike up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo from Val Fiscalina. Learn more in our Sexten Hiking Guide.

Prato Piazza

Prato Piazza (Plätzwiese in German) plateau is a high alpine pasture in Valle di Braies/Pragser Tal Valley. Late October is a great time to visit Prato Piazza with a car, because there are no road restrictions. The road is open all day and there’s no toll fee to drive up. We highly recommend hiking to Monte Specie for sunrise or sunset.

Also, Rifugio Vallandro/Dürrensteinhütte and Rifugio Prato Piazza/Berggasthof Plätzwiese – two huts atop the plateau – stay open all month, weather-depending.

Lago di Braies

There are no traffic restrictions in Braies/Prags Valley in October. The lake water level is significantly lower in October. You can see photos of Lago di Braies in October in our Lago di Braies guide.

Braies/Prags Accommodations

Budget | Garni Bergblick is a darling guesthouse in Braies/Prags Valley, located a mere 5.6 km (8-min drive) from Lago di Braies, 6.2 km (9 min drive) from Ponticello, and 11.3 km (18 min drive) from Prato Piazza. Set in an idyllic meadow surrounded by trees, Garni Bergblick is the perfect base for exploring the Braies/Prags Dolomites. Breakfast is included in the rate.

Budget-Midrange | Berggasthaus Agritur Moserhof is a traditional and cozy farm stay, perched high above Braies/Prags Valley. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rate. From Moserhof, it’s a 5-minute drive down to the valley and a  11-minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Midrange | Farmhouse Hanslerhof is a mountain guesthouse and farm overlooking Braies/Prags Valley and surrounded by meadows. Guests love the charming stone pine rooms, homemade breakfasts (included the room rate), and quiet location. From Hanslerhof, it’s an 8 minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Midrange | Hotel Erika is a 3-star hotel situated at the entrance of Valle di Braies. Guests have access to a lovely 400m² wellness area containing a Finnish Sauna (90 °C), steam bath (42-45° C), bio sauna (60 °C), infrared lounge, jacuzzi, and relaxation rooms. Rooms are clean and comfortably furnished in a Tyrolean-alpine style. A rich and varied breakfast buffet and a  5-course dinner are included in the room rate (half board). From Hotel Erika, it’s a 10-minute drive to Lago di Braies and a 20-minute drive to Prato Piazza.

Midrange | Hotel Turmchalet (3 nights minimum) is a family-run 3-star-superior hotel in Valle di Briaes, praised for their superior service and friendliness. The hotel was recently renovated, resulting in tastefully-designed, alpine-modern bedrooms and a standout facade. Guests describe the cuisine as delicious, sensational and outstanding. Breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate (half board). And, there’s also a wellness area.

Look for an accommodation in Braies Valley.

Val Pusteria Accommodations

Luxury | Naturhotel Leitlhof is a 4-star-superior, climate-neutral wellness hotel in San Candido. Situated at a slight elevation and bordered by forest, idyllic Naturhotel Leitlhof overlooks the village and the gorgeous Sexten mountains including Haunold/Rocca dei Baranci and Dreischusterspitze/Cima di Tre Scarperi. Sunsets and sunrises are glorious here. The 2000 m² wellness facilities and outdoor pool are stellar. And, the cuisine is second to none. This is one of the very best hotels in the Dolomites.

Luxury | Hotel Christof is a new and stylish hotel in the village of Monguelfo/Welsberg in Val Pusteria. Stay here for the striking fresh-faced architecture, modern 600 m² wellness area, and excellent cuisine (you can book breakfast-only or half board). This modern hotel is a splash of cheerful color and laid-back fun on the South Tyrolean hospitality scene. From the hotel, it’s a 13-minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Val Gardena

Monte Pic in October, DolomitesMonte Pic Summit

Val Gardena/Grödnertal is a valley in South Tyrol, stretching from Gardena Pass (Passo Gardena / Grödnerjoch) and Sella Pass (Passo Sella) to Valle Isarco (Eisacktal).  Val Gardena encompasses the popular villages of Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena.

Val Gardena is the best place to stay, if you want to visit Seceda, Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, Sassolungo/Langkofel, Passo Gardena, Passo Sella.

Val Gardena is an excellent base in October, because many hotels, restaurants, huts, and facilities (e.g. cableways) stay open all month.

See more HIKING IN THE DOLOMITES | Road trip through Italy :

Tips for Visiting Val Gardena in October


In most regions across the Dolomites, cableways stop operating by end of September. In Val Gardena, many cableways run until mid-, or even end of October. These cableways make certain hikes accessible, by trimming off long ascents/descents. If you’re visiting Val Gardena in October, you may want to take advantage of these various cable cars.

Ortisei Accommodations

Budget | B&B Lavi Ortisei val Gardena is a clean and comfortable bed and breakfast managed by a very friendly host. The B&B is situated outside of the town center, though within walking distance (~15 minutes).

Midrange | Casa al Sole is a newly renovated bed and breakfast in the center of Ortisei, only a short walk from the Seceda cableway and the Resciesa funicular. Highlights of staying here include the modern minimal interiors, comfortable bedrooms, warm hospitality, and delicious and plentiful breakfast. At Casa al Sole, Alexandra and Manuel host with great care and enthusiasm, and are always available to offer advice and help make dinner reservations.

Midrange | Chalet Hotel Hartmann is a charming adults-only hotel featuring tastefully furnished alpine interiors, a delicious breakfast buffet, a complimentary afternoon snack, and a spa area (bio-sauna, steam bath and solarium). This is an ideal accommodation for couples and anyone traveling without children. It’s a 15-minute walk to reach the town center.

Luxury | Perched high above Ortisei, the young, fun, and newly-renovated La Cort My Dollhouse – Adults Only hotel offers 26 stylish rooms, a rooftop spa and pool, and fabulous views. La Cort is a great choice for travelers who want more flexibility during their visit (no rigid eating times, etc..). Breakfast (7:30 am – 11 am) and Linnerl (4 pm – 7 pm) – are included in the rate.

Luxury | The family-run Hotel Niblea sits proudly above Ortisei in its own beautiful oasis. Here you can experience a slice of heaven in the hotel’s new wellness area (panoramic sauna, steam bath, infinity pool), which overlooks Val Gardena. Stay here for the gourmet regional food (book half board!), the unparalleled hospitality, the gorgeous facilities, and the comfort.

Santa Cristina Accommodations

Budget | Smart Hotel Saslong is a no-frills hotel in Santa Cristina featuring modern, minimalist interiors decorated in local wood. Guests have access to a self-service bar, free parking (indoor and outdoor), and on-site restaurant serving local cuisine. This is a perfect place to stay if you’re traveling with friends. Book breakfast!

Midrange | Charme Hotel Uridl is a family-run hotel set in a mountain chalet dating back to the 17th century. Stay here for the cozy and quaint atmosphere and delicious breakfast buffets and dinners.

Luxury | Dorfhotel Beludei is the finest hotel in Santa Cristina and one of the best hotels in the Dolomites. With inspiring mountain views, gorgeous alpine-style rooms, hiking trails right on the doorstep, and a chef that puts ingenious and creative riffs on regional cuisine, this darling hotel is quite the Dolomites dream. We also loved the spa area and indoor pool. Breakfast, marende (afternoon snack), and dinner are included in the rate.

Val di Funes

Adolf Munkel Trail, Val di Funes, DolomitesAdolf Munkel Trail

Val Di Funes/Villnösstal is located in South Tyrol in Northern Italy. The 24-km-long valley runs from Valle Isarco/Eisacktal Valley, just north of Chiusa/Klausen and south of Bressanone/Brixen, to the Odle/Geisler mountain range.

Val di Funes enompasses the villages of Tiso/Teis, S. Pietro/St. Peter and S. Maddalena/St. Magdalena.

Val di Funes is a top-choice for October travel to the Dolomites, because all hiking trails are accessible and many alpine pasture huts stay open, weather permitting.

Tips for Visiting Val di Funes in October

Alpine Pasture Huts

Several trailside alpine pasture huts in Val di Funes stay open until mid-late October. These scenic huts serve food and drinks throughout the day, but unlike a Rifugio, do not accommodate overnight guests.

Budget | Fallerhof is an active farm and a great-value apartment-style accommodation with stunning views of the Geisler Group. It’s a short walk to the Santa Maddalena Church (5 minutes) and the famous Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui (15 minutes). Breakfast is available upon request.

Midrange | Hotel Fines is a welcoming, 3-star hotel in Santa Maddalena, owned by a young and enthusiastic team. Guests love the rich breakfast buffet, central location, and hotel restaurant. Definitely book half board (breakfast and dinner) here. The DolomitiMobil Card is free for all guests.

Luxury | Hotel Tyrol Dolomites is a family-run hotel in Santa Maddalena. This is the best place to stay when you want to combine outdoor exploration with wellness and relaxation. Their wellness area encompasses a Finnish sauna, steam bath, outdoor pool, whirlpool, and a garden with sun loungers and parasols. However, the main reason to stay here is their South Tyrolean cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients. The DolomitiMobil Card is provided. Tip: book half board and book a room with a Dolomites view (“Geisler Blick”).

Dolomites October Itinerary

Ampezzo Dolomites in October, ItalyPasso FalzaregoLarch in late October, DolomitesLarchesMonte Specie in October, Dolomites, ItalyMonte SpecieLago Federa in late October, DolomitesLago FederaTofana di Rozes Sunset, October, DolomitesPasso FalzaregoCristallo Group Viewpoint from Lake Sorapis Hike, DolomitesLago di Sorapis Hike

The best way to create a Dolomites October Itinerary is choosing 2-4 bases (Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alta Pusteria, Val Gardena, and/or Val di Funes) and staying in each base 3-4 nights.

Early October versus Late October in the Dolomites

Croda da Lago Circuit Hike, Cortina d'Ampezzo, DolomitesLate October 2021

Hiking in the Dolomites in Early October

Several mountain huts (Rifugio/Hütte) and alpine pasture huts (Baita/Malga/Alm/Ütia) stay open until mid-October (listed in the next section). That means you can enjoy the atmosphere, culture, and food of the huts without the summer crowds.

Also, some cableways still operate until mid-month, which makes popular hiking destinations more accessible.

Use the websites below to find out which Dolomites cableways are open in October:

See more TOP 3 Circular HIKES in the DOLOMITES Italy :

Hiking in the Dolomites in Late October

If your main objective is to see Fall colors and golden larches, it’s best to visit the Dolomites in late October (October 18th – October 31st).

Cableways are closed across the region, with the exception of several in Val Gardena. That means longer hiking ascents and descents. That also means that some hikes are not possible because there’s simply not enough time in the day.

In addition to the hikes already listed (in the where to stay & hike section), here are a few more hikes you can do in late October (weather depending) that don’t require any cableways. Note: most mountain huts and alpine pasture huts along these routes will be closed.

Dolomites Mountain Huts Open in October

Rifugio Vallandro, Prato Piazza Plateau, Cristallo GroupRifugio VallandroGeisleralm, Val di Funes, DolomitesGeisleralmRifugio Croda da Lago, Lago Federa, DolomitesRifugio Croda da Lago

There’s a vast network of mountain huts across the Dolomites. These huts are generally open from late June until late September. However, there are a few rifugios that stay open until mid-October, and a handful that stay open all month.

Below, we’ve listed out all the mountain huts (Rifugio/Hütte) and alpine pasture huts (Baita/Malga/Alm) that stay open in October, weather depending.  All of these huts serve food and drinks during the day. Typically, only Rifugios/Hütten accommodate overnight guests.

Generally, most of these huts are located in Puez-Odle Nature Park and Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. So, the best place to stay in early-mid October is in Val Gardena and/or Alta Badia in South Tyrol.

Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites in October

The hut to hut hiking season is essentially over by late September. However, the mountain huts along the first 3 stages of the Alta Via 1 are open until mid-month. So, if you’re craving an easy hut-to-hut hike in the Dolomites in October, you could do this route:

Dolomites Rifugios You Can Visit in October

Rifugio Croda da Lago in late October, DolomitesRifugio Croda da Lago along Lago Federa

You can stay the night in these mountain huts, or simply drop in for lunch. Rifugio Croda da Lago and Rifugio Vallandro stay open until end of October/early November, depending on weather conditions.

Rifugio Croda da Lago / Rifugio Palmieri

Location: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Belluno, Veneto

Recommended Hike: Croda da Lago Circuit or Lago Federa Hike

Trailhead: Ponte di Rocurto SP638, between Pocol and Passo Giau

Opening Times: June until late October/early November, depending on weather conditions.

Rifugio Vallandro / Dürrensteinhütte

Location: Prato Piazza, Braies/Prags Dolomites, South Tyrol

Recommended Hike: Monte Specie

Trailhead: Prato Piazza Car Park

Opening Times: mid-May to beginning of November. depending on weather conditions.

More Mountain Huts Open in October

Dolomites Alpine Pasture Huts You Can Visit in Early-Mid October

Val di Funes in October, Dolomites

Source: moonhoneytravel blog

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1 comment

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