Cadini di Misurina is an awe-inspiring mountain group in the province of Belluno in the Italian Dolomites. Defined by sharp, slender spires and pinnacles, the jagged Cadini mountains look like the imagined backdrop of a high fantasy epic.
The name “Cadini” refers to the many high valleys and cirques – called “cadin” or “ciadin” – that dissect the massive towers of the Cadini Group. “Misurina” refers to Lago di Misurina, the beautiful lake that lies at the southwestern foot of the Cadini Mountains.
Though the Cadini di Misurina Peaks are striking from multiple angles (e.g. Lake Misurina, Lake Antorno, Val de le Cianpedele), there’s one vantage point that upstages all others. Nicknamed the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint and sometimes referred to as the Towers of Mordor, the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint brings you face-to-face with the northern side of the Cadini Group.
From this perspective, the northern Cadini di Misurina pinnacles look like a stone forest of giant blades. It’s a dream location for photographers and anyone who loves the mountains.
The fastest way to get to the Cadini Viewpoint is by driving, or taking the bus, to Rifugio Auronzo via the Rifugio Auronzo – Tre Cime di Lavaredo toll road. From the hut, it’s a 30-40 minute walk to the famous viewpoint. This short hike can easily be combined with the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit trail in a single day.
Alternatively, you can skip the expensive toll road, and hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint from Lago d’Antorno, an alpine lake located just south of the Auronzo – Tre Cime di Lavaredo toll gate.
Experienced hikers can also approach the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint from the south along the challenging Sentiero Alberto Bonacossa Trail.
- Mountain Range: Sesto/Sexten Dolomites
- Location: Belluno, Veneto, Italy
- Other Names: Ciadìs de Meśorìna in Ladin
- When to Hike: Late June – Mid-October, depending on snow conditions.
- 4 Hiking Route Options: Rifugio Auronzo (Easy), Lake Antorno (Moderate), Complete Sentiero Bonacossa Trail (Difficult), or Sentiero Bonaccossa Northern Circuit (Difficult)
- What to Bring: Sturdy Hiking Boots and Hiking Poles
- Recommended Trail Map: : Tabacco 010: Sextener Dolomiten/Dolomiti di Sesto 1:25.000
- Where to Stay: Albergo Chalet Lago Antorno (close to the trailhead), Cortina d’Ampezzo, or Dobaccio/Toblach
Where is Cadini di Misurina
The Cadini di Misurina mountains are located in the municipality of Auronzo di Cadore in the Italian province of Belluno in Veneto.
They form the southernmost mountain group of the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites, a magnificent range which extends into South Tyrol in Northeastern Italy.
Cadini di Misurina is bounded by the Misurina Lake to the west, the Lavaredo Group to the north, the Val Marzon and Vallone di Lavaredo valleys to the East, and the Ansiei valley to the South.
Neighboring ranges include the Cristallo-Popena Group (east), Sorapiss Group (south), and Lavaredo Group (north).
The highest peak is Cima Cadin of San Lucano (2839 m).
Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint Map
There are four notable hikes to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint.
1. Rifugio Auronzo Ascent Route. This is the most popular approach to the Cadini Photo Spot. Most people combine the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail with this short out-and-back hike. This easy trail is marked in red on the map.
2. Lago Antorno Ascent Route. This moderate hike is marked in green on the map. The benefit of starting at Lake Antorno, is that you don’t have to pay the Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Rifugio Auronzo toll fee.
3. Sentiero Bonacossa Ascent Route. This challenging route is marked in yellow (north trail) and grey (south trail) on the map. It starts at Rifugio Col de Varda, accessible via a chairlift, and ends at Rifugio Auronzo. It traverses the whole Cadini Group.
4. Sentiero Bonacossa Northern Trail Circuit. This difficult ascent route starts at Lago Antorno, or Rifugio Auronzo. This is what we did. This loop trail is marked in red, yellow, and green.
How to Get to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
1. Hike from Rifugio Auronzo to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
- Summary: This is the fastest and easiest approach to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint.
- Distance: 3.9 km out-and-back
- Time Needed: 30-40 minutes one-way / 1:00 – 1:30 hours out-and-back
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 144 meters ascending/descending
- Minimum Elevation: 2256 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2334 m
- Trail: 117
Get to Rifugio Auronzo
Rifugio Auronzo Parking Lot
Rifugio Auronzo is a high-alpine refuge located at the southern foot of Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen in German, Three Peaks in English).
In summer and early Fall, you can drive all the way up to the hut via the Auronzo – Tre Cime di Lavaredo toll road. There are also bus connections to the Auronzo hut from Lake Misurina, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and Dobaccio/Toblach.
Toll Road Seasonal Opening Times: Late May/Early June – Late October/Early November, depending on weather conditions. Toll Road Operating Times: The operating times change throughout the season. Email [email protected] for current times. Payment: Cash or Credit Card Cost: 30 EUR for cars, 20 EUR for motorcycles, 45 EUR for campervans/caravansParking: There are 700 parking spaces next to Rifugio Auronzo. The toll gate closes when the parking lot reaches full capacity.
Locate Trail 117
Rifugio Auronzo is situated along the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circuit Trail. Most people arriving at the Auronzo hut will be walking around Tre Cime di Lavaredo towards Rifugio Lavaredo and Rifugio Locatelli/Dreizinnenhütte (Trail 101) or towards Langelam (Trail 105), in the opposite direction of you.
From the Rifugio Auronzo parking lot, look south (opposite direction of the Three Peaks). You can already see the jagged Cadini di Misurina spires as well as Monte de le Cianpedele/Monte Campedelle, a mountain which looks insignificant by comparison.
That’s where you’re headed. Trail 117 (Sentiero Bonacossa Trail) will steer you directly to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint.
The best way to locate trail 117 is by heading first to Rifugio Auronzo. From the hut’s outdoor terrace, walk down the paved steps along the road. Directly at the road, there’s a trail sign guiding you south in the direction of Rifugio F.lli Fonda Savio (Trail 117).
This clear path steers you away from the monumental Tre Cime di Lavaredo and towards Monte de le Cianpedele/Monte Campedelle (2346 m) and the razor-sharp Cadini peaks.
Follow Trail 117 to Forcella Longeres
The path initially descends for about 10 minutes to the Forcella Longères saddle. Ignore the path that branches off to the right in the direction of Casello, Lago Antorno, and trail 101.
Continue straight along trail 117, making a quick counter-ascent across the high plain of Monte de le Cianpedele/Monte Campedelle.
To the east (looking left), you’ll see the deep Vallone di Lavaredo – Valle Marzon valleys and several prominent peaks of the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. Looking behind you, the views of the Three Peaks get better and better.
Trail 117 Divide 1 – Head Right
Approaching the first trail divide
After ascending for a few minutes, the path divides. Ignore the left trail. It’s dangerous, because the ledge path is eroding and in poor condition. We took this precarious path, not knowing that it’s actually fenced off on the other side.
First divide – left trail (don’t hike here)
Bear right instead, following the official trail, which is waymarked with mini poles.
Trail 117 Divide 2 – Head Right or Left
When the trail divides again, about 10 minutes later, you can now follow the well-established left footpath, which skirts the summit of Monte de le Cianpedele/Monte Campedelle. This ledge path is very narrow, but stable. Note: you will not see this trail delineated on most paper trail maps.
Alternatively, you can continue on the right trail to the viewpoint. This is the better option if you have any fear of heights, or if the trail is wet and slippery. This trail is marked on all paper trail maps.
We opted for the left path.
As you follow the left path, the views of the Cadini mountains mesmerize and it’s all too easy to lose track of time.
The Famous Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
Soon, you’ll see the famous Cadini di Misurina viewpoint, which is a grassy ridge sloping upwards and projecting triumphantly towards the Cadini pinnacles. It looks like a small ski jump.
Trail 117 continues steadily towards this impressive viewpoint, crowned by dwarf pine.
Cadini di Misurina Viewpoints
Approximately 150 meters before you reach the conspicuous viewpoint, the left and right paths merge and then split once again.
The lower track follows the ledge and leads to the celebrated Cadini di Misurina viewpoint. The narrow path to the “ski jump” viewpoint branches off to the left of the main trail 117. Only hike up there in dry conditions.
Upper Track Viewpoint
The upper track leads to a panoramic plateau with several other great Cadini di Misurina photo spots – a worthy detour.
From this higher-elevation vantage point, there are more excellent views of Cadini di Misurina as well as Tre Cime di Lavaredo (to the south), Val Marzon and Croda dei Toni/Zwölferkofel (to the east), the Cristallo Group, Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo/Hohe Gaisl, and Picco di Vallandro/Dürrenstein (to the west).
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (south face) at sunset
Return to Rifugio Auronzo
This marks the end of the Cadini Viewpoint hike. To return to Rifugio Auronzo, follow the same trail back.
Or, Extend Your Hike to Rifugio Fonda Savio
From afar, the Cadini mountains seem impenetrable. However, these seemingly intimidating mountains are furrowed with multiple excellent hiking trails.
What most people don’t realize is that the Cadini Viewpoint is situated along the Sentiero Bonacossa Trail, a thrilling route which traverses the Northern and Western Cadini Mountains.
This famous protected route connects Rifugio Auronzo with Rifugio Fonda Savio and Rifugio Col de Varda.
If you’re an experienced alpine hiker, you can continue south along trail 117 to Rifugio Fonda Savio. That’s what we did and it was unforgettable.
2. Hike from Lake Antorno to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
- Summary: This is a moderate day hike perfect for anyone who wants to skip the expensive toll road.
- Distance: 7.2 km one-way / 14.4 km out-and-back
- Time Needed: 2 – 2:30 hours one-way / 4-5 hours out-and-back
- Elevation Gain: 489 meters ascending
- Elevation Loss: 47 meters descending
- Minimum Elevation: 1844 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2333 meters
- Trails: 101 and 117
Get to Lago d’Antorno
Lake Antorno is located along the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Panoramic Road, north of Lake Misurina, and just 650 meters south of the toll gate.
There’s a free car park next to Chalet Lago Antorno. There are also a few free parking spaces directly at the toll gate. However, these spots fill up quickly.
Walk North to the Toll Gate
Follow the trail along Lago d’Antorno. At the northern end of the lake, leave the lake path and continue north towards Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Parallel to the main road, follow a soft forest path to the Misurina Casello signed intersection, which is just below the Rifugio Auronzo/Tre Cime toll gate.
Follow Trail 101 in the direction of Rifugio Auronzo
At the intersection, head right, away from the road, and follow trail 101 in the direction of Rifugio Auronzo.
After about 10 minutes, you’ll reach the Rio di Rinbianco signed intersection.
Continue left over the creek in the direction of Rifugio Auronzo. After passing a large meadow, ringed by larch, the trail begins to gradually ascend.
Trail 101 progresses uphill through a larch forest on an enjoyable, undulating path.
After you clear the timberline, the path levels out and you’ll cut across the rocky western slopes of Col de le Bisse.
Rifugio Auronzo is already visible ahead.
The trail descends a few meters to the valley floor of Val del Ciadin de Longares, where there’s a trail juncture.
Here, you can hike to Rifugio Auronzo first (following trail 101) or take the more direct trail to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint via Forcella Longeres saddle.
Ascend to Forcella Longeres
For the direct route, head right in the direction of Forcella Longeres and trail 117.
It’s a 1 km (210 meter elevation gain) ascent to the Longeres saddle. The path climbs up the Ciadin de Longeres Valley/Cirque and crests at the Forcella Longeres saddle.
Follow Trail 117 to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoints
From the saddle, continue right (south) and follow trail 117 to the Cadini Viewpoint (30 minutes).
After ascending for a few minutes, the path divides. Ignore the left footpath and follow the waymarks along the right path. When the trail divides once again you can choose between the narrow, left path (more scenic), which skirts the summit of Monte de le Cianpedele/Monte Campedelle, or the easier right path.
After 10 minutes, the paths merge. From here, the paths split once again. The lower track (trail 117/Sentiero Bonacossa) leads to the “ski jump” viewpoint, the famous Cadini di Misurina photo motif. The left track leads to a plateau with multiple Cadini and Tre Cime di Lavaredo vantage points.
Return to Lake Antorno
To complete this Cadini hiking trail, you can return to Lake Antorno along the same trail you ascended.
Another option is to detour to Rifugio Auronzo (for lunch) and then descend to the lake along trail 101. Note: this trail crosses the toll road twice.
Alternatively, you can follow the thrilling Sentiero Bonacossa Trail (experienced hikers only) through the Cadini Mountains to Rifugio Fonda Savio, and then descend 1:30 hours to Lake Antorno.
3. Hike the Complete Sentiero Bonacossa Trail to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
- Summary: This is the most strenuous approach to the Cadini di Misurina photo spot.
- Starting Point: Rifugio Col de Varda, easily reached with the Misurina-Col de Varda chairlift
- Ending Point: Rifugio Auronzo
- Distance: 8.3 km point-to-point
- Time Needed: 4 – 5 hours
- Elevation Gain: 1062 meters ascending
- Elevation Loss: 846 meters descending
- Minimum Elevation: 1882 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2546 metersTrail: 117
The most exciting, albeit strenuous, approach to the Cadini Viewpoint is from the south, along the Sentiero Bonacossa Trail.
This route is something between an easy via ferrata and a difficult hiking trail. All exposed sections are secured with cables. Though a full via ferrata kit isn’t necessary, we highly recommend wearing a helmet and gloves:
The path bisects the range, starting at Rifugio Col de Varda (accessible by chairlift from Lake Misurina). The trail leads north to Rifugio Fonda Savio and then eventually up to Rifugio Auronzo.
You can hike the full Sentiero Bonacossa trail from Rifugio Col de Varda to Rifugio Auronzo and then return to Lake Misurina by bus.
Regional buses usually operate from mid-June until early-October. We’ve outlined the bus connections between Cortina, Dobbiaco/Toblach, Misurina and the Auronzo hut in our Rifugio Auronzo Toll Road guide.
Alternatively, you can hike the Sentiero Bonacossa South Route (Rifugio Col de Varda with Rifugio Fonda Savio) or the Sentiero Bonacossa North Route (Rifugio Fonda Savio to Rifugio Auronzo) as circuit trails. This is the best option if the Misurina-Col de Varda chairlift and regional buses are no longer operating.
Note: only the northern circuit takes you to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint.
More info below.
4. Hike the Sentiero Bonacossa North Trail Circuit to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
- Summary: This circuit route to the Cadni di Misurina viewpoint follows the northern Sentiero Bonacossa Trail.
- Trailhead: Rifugio Auronzo or Lago Antorno
- Distance: 12.5 km circuit
- Time Needed: 6 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 869 meters ascending/descending
- Minimum Elevation: 1838 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2346 meters
- Trails: 117, 115, 101
It’s possible to start the Sentiero Bonacossa North Circuit at either Rifugio Auronzo or Lago d’Antorno.
Starting at the Auronzo hut, you’ll follow Trail 117 to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint (as described earlier in this post) and then continue along 117 through the Cadini Mountains to Rifugio Fonda Savio.
From this darling hut, descend along trail 115 to Lake Antorno and then follow trail 101 up to the Auronzo hut.
Learn more about this fantastic trail in our in-depth Sentiero Bonacossa North Trail Guide.
Important: We started this route at Rifugio Auronzo and hiked the Sentiero Bonacossa north-to-south, because we wanted to return to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint for sunset, after completing the hike.
Unless you want to experience sunset at the viewpoint, definitely start the hike at Lago d’Antorno. The main reason is that it’s safer and easier to hike the Sentiero Bonacossa trail south-to-north. Another compelling reason is that it will save you money. By starting at the lake, you won’t have to pay the expensive Tre Cime di Lavaredo-Rifuguo Auronzo toll.
Cadini di Misurina Photo Spots
The Cadini di Misurina “ski jump” viewpoint is a popular photo motif, which means you’ll likely encounter a line-up of tripods and a handful of drones during your visit, especially around sunset.
Luckily, there is more than enough room for everyone and multiple photo spots to explore.
In addition to the celebrated Cadini photo spot (which we’re calling the “ski jump”), there are many amazing photo opportunities along the approaching trail and atop the plateau.
Our Cadini di Misurina Photography Gear
When to Hike to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint
Sunset in October
Best Time of Year
The toll road to Rifugio Auronzo is usually open from Late May/Early June until Late October/Early November. The dates change each year, depending on the snow/weather conditions.
We recommend hiking to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint in September, or October. The weather is generally more stable in the Fall.
If you’re visiting the Dolomites in high summer (July and August), expect more people and congestion along the trails.
June can also be promising, but it’s likely that there’s still a lot of snow in the Sexten/Sesto Dolomites.
Best Time of Day
The Cadini di Misurina mountains are the most stunning around sunrise and during golden hour, the hour before sunset.
Where to Stay near Cadini di Misurina
If you want to deeply explore the southern Sesto/Sexten Dolomites, we recommend staying near Lake Antorno or Lake Misurina. From Lago d’Antorno, it’s a mere 10 minute drive to Rifugio Auronzo.
Midrange | Albergo Chalet Lago Antorno is situated along the Tre Cime di Lavaredo panoramic road, directly across from Lake Antorno. With its unbeatable location, you can embark on a variety of hikes directly from the hotel’s doorstep: Rifugio Fonda Savio, Rifugio Auronzo, Monte Piana. As a guest, you’ll love the views of the Cadini di Misurina peaks, the cozy rooms, and the on-site à la carte restaurant. Breakfast is included.
Look for accommodation near Lake Misurina.
Ringed by the Ampezzo Dolomites mountains, Cortina d’Ampezzo boasts a central and stunning location in the Ampezzo/Boite Valley in Belluno, Veneto. You can stay here for a few days or for several weeks and never run out of things to see and do: Lago di Sorapis, Tofana di Rozes Circuit, Croda da Lago Circuit, Lago Federa, Passo Giau to Mondeval, Lago delle Baste, Passo Falzarego and Rifugio Lagazuoi. It’s a 40-minute drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Rifugio Auronzo.
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 | 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.
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