Best of Dolomites - Around Tre Cime via Paternkofel

The three peaks (italian: Tre Cime) are a remarkable and famous mountain range in the Dolomites. Challenging climbing routes lead to the peaks but this alpine region is also great for hiking and climbing some ferratas. We want to present you a round trip around the Tre Cime via the ferrata to Paternkofel peak, which offers stunning views of the Tre Cime and other surrounding mountains.

The map below shows the hiking tour with some intersting spots as waypoints like Paternkofel peak and the lakes at Col Forcellina.

How to get there?

We chose to take the street up to Rifugio de Auronzo and start our round trip from there. Although you have to pay for the street there are many advantages by starting from here. First it is possible to stay for the night at the parking space. Second advantage is that you are at the ferrata to Paternkofel very early and the light on the Tre Cime is just right for photography. The chance for thunderstorms is also lower in the morning and you don't want to be in the ferrata during a thunderstorm.

View of Tre Cime from Paternsattel

View of Tre Cime from Paternsattel

The Hike

The first part of the hiking tour is leading you along a easy road to the Patternsattel. There is the first spot where you can take some nice pictures. From there a easy trail continues directly to Dreizinnenhütte. Also the Via Ferrata to Paternkofel peak and back down to the Dreizinnenhütte starts here. We took the way up to Paternkofel which also has a tragic historic background as the ferrata leads you along old war tunnels from the second world war. At some points of the trail the Tunnels got holes from which you have a perfect view of the three peaks and that make for really cool photos.


On the first part up you get great views of the three peaks all along the way until you reach the beginning of the real ferrata. Most of the time you have to wait a little bit because of all the people climbing up and down. The ferrata to the top is quite short but may be challenging for beginners. At the top you are greated by the summit cross wich is pretty big. From the top the view is incredible! The three peaks but also the other surrounding peaks are really impressive.

Top of Paternkofel

Top of Paternkofel

After a few (or maybe a lot of) photos and break we took our way back down. First you have to go down the upper part of the ferrata the same way you went up. Then you follow the trail to Dreizinnenhütte. Now comes the part of the ferrata that I found to be a bit challenging (maybe it's just because I don't like climbing down). Along a steep route the ferrata leads you down with a magnificient view of Dreizinnenhütte and the two Lakes beside it.


At the end of the ferrata the trail gets easier and leads you with stairs through war tunnels down to Dreizinnenhütte. There you can take another break and get yourself a Kaiserschmarnn or Gulasch. If you're not hungry I would recommend to walk down to the two Lakes called Lago dei Piani and take some pictures or walk in front of Dreizinnenhütte and get some nice shots of the three peaks.


The next part of the tour leads you to Col de Forcellina. There are three little lakes which make a good spot for taking photos of the Tre Cime. If you got hungry now you can eat something at the Lange Alm. The last part of the trail leads you back to Rifugio de Auronzo.

Col de Forcellina

Col de Forcellina

What to bring?

If you're doing the ferrata you shouldn't forget your:

  • Ferrata set
  • Helmet
  • Climbing harness
  • Climbing gloves

! If you haven't done any climbing or have no experience of climbing ferratas we recommend to get a guide or someone who has a little bit of experience to go with you !


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