This interesting itinerary starts from the “Magnificent” Rifugio Refavaie, located at the end of the Vanoi Valley, about 5 km far from the village of Caoria. This classic route draws a loop – which can be safely hiked in either direction – on trails of the rugged porphyry chain of the Lagorai massif.
The route is always well-marked and never features excessive difficult stretches; however, as is often the case when exploring the Lagorai, it will not be finished until one has walked for over 20 km and climbed for more than 1,000 metres, hence making the route not really suitable for everyone.
From Rifugio Refavaie (1,102 m asl) follow the signs toward Malga Coldosè di Sotto / Forcella Coldosè / Valmaggiore, along the Signpost No. 335, which climbs following the stream of Rio Coldosè. A couple of fairly steep sections of trail passing alongside well-maintained cottages allow you to cut a few bends off the rather boring gravel road leading to Malga Fossernica di Dentro. This first section in the middle of the forest is definitely the least scenic and climbs along a gravel road for about 3 km, reaching the crossroads with the gravel road of the Signpost No. 339 (1,466 m asl), where you leave the Signpost No. 335 – which continues to Forcella Valmaggiore – to continue the ascent along the forest road of the Signpost No. 339 toward Forcella Coldosè / Malga Moregna.
After crossing the bridge over Rio Coldosè (1,529 m asl), a series of hairpin bends in rapid succession leads to the grassy slope of the location called Campìgol del Solài (1,650 m asl), where the Signpost No. 335 leaves the road and ascends the eastern slopes of the summit of Busa Alta / Keiserspitze toward Bivacco Forcella Coldosè / Malga Moregna / Malga Valmaggiore.
After passing a further wooded section, featuring both forest and small clearings, you reach the crossroads of Coldosè di Dentro (1,805 m asl); from here the trail continues to the right (Signpost No. 339), on a flat stretch that comes out of the vegetation giving a completely different panorama; the view now opens up to the typical rugged spectacle of the high altitude Lagorai, where the meadows and the conformation of the surrounding peaks recall landscapes very distant from those of the nearby Dolomites and similar to those of the Rocky Mountains.
After a few uphill stretches that make you quickly gain altitude, a beautiful valley of grassy hollows carved by streams of water flowing downstream into the Rio Coldosè makes it possible to reach the gully of Busa di Coldosè (2,076 m asl); once past this section, the last uphill ramp leads to the beautiful shelter named Bivacco Forcella Coldosè (2,168 m asl), located just below the namesake fork. On summer weekends, it will not be unusual to find hikers (or wanna-be hikers) along the ascent descending after spending the night in the bivouac.
A few metres above the bivouac you then reach the fork named Forcella Coldosè (2,182 m asl), beyond which the N slope of the mountain range of Lagorai opens up, overlooking the Fiemme Valley. On this slope, the sight changes again, the view becomes very wide and the rocks begin to appear as precious emerald-green treasure chests of water; the gaze extends into the bottom of the valley to the town of Predazzo and the more distant Dolomites of Latemar. Here the wild beauty of the rocks enhances the charm of three lakes, at short distance from each other: Lago delle Trute, Lago Brutto, and Lago di Moregna.
The route proceeds toward Forcella Valmaggiore / Bivacco Paolo e Nicola on the path of the Signpost No. 349, which descends alongside the beautiful Lago delle Trute (or Lago delle Trote – 2,103 m asl). After passing the lake, you soon reach the junction between the Signpost No. 349 and the Signpost No. 349B, where two alternatives are presented to reach the gap of Forcella Valmaggiore, being both variants of the Translagorai route (to the N and S of the summit Cima Moregna, respectively, arriving below the summit of Cima di Valbona): the first solution involves the lower passage skirting the lake of Moregna (2. 058 m asl) – a bit longer but with not much climbing involved -, the second climbs to the gap of Forcella di Moregna at 2,397 m asl and passes alongside the beautiful lake Brutto (2,207 m asl) – more challenging but perhaps more beautiful -.
From the point of arrival of the two possible variants, the itinerary then continues without further elevation gain, along the Translagorai route (Signpost No. 349 “Achille Gadler”), on a scree slope until it reaches the gap of Forcella Valmaggiore (2,173 m asl), located W of the imposing nose of the summit of Cima Céce, with the nearby bivouac named Bivacco Paolo e Nicola (2,180 m asl). For history lovers, remnants of the defensive line built during the Great War by the Austrian Command are still clearly visible on the gap and throughout the ridge. Just below Forcella Valmaggiore, on the S side, is located one of the rare high-altitude springs of Lagorai.
The return from Forcella Valmaggiore descends to the valley to the S along the path of the Signpost No. 335 towards Rifugio Refavaie, in an initial rather steep section that leads to the grassy clearing of Pian delle belle Fiór (or Pian de la bèla Fiór – 1,947 m asl); from here the descent becomes gentler and reaches the junction with the gravel road of the Signpost No. 335 (the same one used from the start).
To end the loop tour, all that remains is to descend along the 3 km already travelled previously, following the road connecting Refavaie to Malga Fossernica di Dentro towards Refavaie (Signpost No. 335), heading back the “Magnificent” Rifugio Refavaie.
- From the hut of Rifugio Refavaie (1.102 m asl), follow the Signpost No. 355 towards Malga Coldosè di Sotto / Forcella Coldosè / Valmaggiore until the crossroads with the Signpost No. 339 (1,466 m asl),
- Continue along the Signpost No. 339 towards Forcella Coldosè / Malga Moregna, passing through the locations of Campìgol del Solài (1,650 m asl) and Coldosè di Dentro (1,805 m asl), up to the shelter named Bivacco Forcella Coldosè,
- From the bivouac (2,168 m asl), cross the near Forcella Coldosè (2,182 m asl) and proceed along the Signpost No. 349 / 349B towards Forcella Valmaggiore / Bivacco Paolo e Nicola until you reach the gap of Forcella Valmaggiore,
- From Forcella Valmaggiore (2,173 m asl), descend along the path of the Signpost No. 335 towards Rifugio Refavaie, until you arrive back at the starting point. ✓
- Rifugio Refavaie: http://www.rifugiorefavaie.com/