Cadini di Misurina | Hiking the Dolomites best Viewpoint

a woman in a light down jacket and hiking gear stands in front of jagged mountain peaks at the cadini di misurina viewpoint in the Dolomites
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The sight of these jagged peaks is one of the very best in the Italian Dolomites and the hike to Cadini di Misurina is well worth the effort. Here’s everything you need to know to get there safely and tips to take stunning photos when you’re there!


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Cadini di Misurina has achieved what so many people are struggling for – getting famous on Instagram! Like any other celebrity, it’s tempting to think that their fame is just the result of good angles and excellent lighting.

Not so.

These soaring mountains, needles of pales grey stone piercing the sky, are truly stunning. What’s even better is that they’re not hard to get to. Unlike many of the best views in the Dolomites, there’s no uphill hike for hours. You don’t need any special gear and you can easily combine a trip to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint with a visit to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Either end of the day will give the best light for photographers, but I honestly recommend a visit even if you can’t make it for sunrise or sunset. I’ve included my best photography tips for the location in this post, as well as gear recommendations.

So if you want to visit the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint, this guide is for you. In my opinion, it really is one of the best things to do in the Dolomites. You’ll find detailed information on how to get here, what to take to get those banging Instagram shots, and where to stay and eat nearby.


A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HIKING TO THE CADINI DI MISURINA VIEWPOINT


Cadini di Misurina viewpoint in the Dolomites | Cats Nine Lives
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CADINI DI MISURINA ESSENTIALS

LOCATION | Sesto / Sexten Dolomites

DISTANCE | 3.75km out and back

ELEVATION | +/-120m

BEST AT | golden hour

TRAILHEAD | Rifugio Auronzo

STEP BY STEP

MAP

GETTING HERE

WHEN TO VISIT

PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

TOP TRAVEL TIPS

WHERE TO STAY + EAT

Where is the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint?

High in the Sesto (Sexten) Dolomites, a stone’s throw from the incredibly popular Tre Cime, is a rather intriguingly named marker on Google maps – The Towers of Mordor.

Obviously, Middle Earth hasn’t just appeared in the Italian Alps. Sorry. What has happened though, is that over millions of years these ancient coral reefs have become towering mountains.

The fact that there’s a handily placed natural viewpoint directly opposite them just happens to be the magic of nature.

You’ll find lots of great things to do in the Dolomites in this area. As well as the Tre Cime nature park, there’s Lago di Sorapis, Lago di Dobbiaco and Lago di Braies all within an hours drive. It’s a great area to base yourself for a few days, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the short hike to the viewpoint to get there for sunrise or sunset as the weather allows.

a woman in a beige jacket and hiking gear stands at the top viewpoint in front of the cadini di misurina range
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The Hike to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint

It’s actually pretty easy to get the viewpoint at Cadini di Misurina. If you’re anxious about heights then it can be a bit daunting, but you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s an alternative viewpoint. I’ll tell you more about that too! It doesn’t require the heart-pounding walk along a narrow ledge so it’s safer for you and better for the trail.

If you want to turn this into a day hike, or just have a more challenging (or cheaper) day out there are alternative routes to get here. Those are outlined below.

Hiking to the Cadini di Misurina Viewpoint from Rifugio Auronzo

This is far and away the easiest hike and is the one I’d recommend if you’re also hiking the Tre Cime. You’ll be starting from the parking area at Rifugio Auronzo.

TRAILHEAD | Rifugio Auronzo
DISTANCE | 3.75 km
TIME | 1-1.5h and allow at least 30mins for photos
ELEVATION | +/-120m
DIFFICULTY | easy

Once you’re at Rifugio Auronzo, you’ll want to ignore everyone heading off towards Forcella Lavaredo. Instead, turn so that your back is to the rifugio. You’ll actually be able to see the peaks you’re aiming for, and a well-trodden path straight ahead.

Cross the asphalted area to path 117 which goes all the way to Rifugio Col de Varda via Rifugio Fratelli Fonda Savio and is part of the Alta Via 4. Initially, the path heads fairly steeply downhill which is great on the way there but a bit of a bummer for the return.

The path forks, although it’s not marked, and it seems as though the left fork has been created by people looking for thrills. Take the right fork here, which is definitely the better option. You’ll then make your way around and uphill to a plateau where it’s easy to see the peaks you’re aiming for.

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The Cadini di Misurina viewpoint is easy to see at a distance, and the path to it is impossible to miss. There’s likely to be somebody standing on it when you arrive unless you’re very lucky or an extremely early riser!

Now that you’re here it’s time to decide whether you want to head out onto the viewpoint itself. As you can see, it’s not of the faint of heart! As the designated photographer I was able to just kick back and watch other people confront their fears this time. Which was nice.

There’s sometimes a rope barrier in place to indicate that the viewpoint is closed. Please don’t head out there if it’s present. The other thing to bear in mind is that this path is just dirt and rock, so if there’s been recent rain it’s very slippery. I absolutely would not recommend heading out onto the end in those conditions.

TIP | I think there’s a better viewpoint on top of the cliff to the right of the famous one. Just retrace your steps and take the track heading up to your left once you’ve finished here.

Once you’ve finished here, simply retrace your steps and return to Rifugio Auronzo. I recommend taking some time to enjoy the beautiful views down to Val Marzon and Misurina. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a clear day you’ll be able to see Lago di Misurina sparkling away in the distance.

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Hiking to Cadini di Misurina from Lago d’Antorno

As with so many places in the Dolomites, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (isn’t that a weird phrase?). You can actually reach the viewpoint from either the north or the south if you hike from Lago d’Antorno.

The first option below is easier (although by no means easy) and is the one you should do if you want to have a tougher trail or aren’t intending to do Tre Cime the same day. It’s also the one do to if you don’t want to pay the steep fee for the Rifugio Auronzo toll road. You’ll end up at around the halfway point of the hike above.

The second option takes you directly to Rifugio Fratelli Fonda Savio, where you’ll then tackle the Senterio Bonacossa. This route will bring you along the Cadini di Misurina peaks from the south, so you’ll be approaching the viewpoint from the opposite direction. This is a beginner via ferrata and you should only do it if you’re an experienced hiker with appropriate ferrata equipment.

The easier hiking route | 4km one way | +/-450m | 1.5-2h

There’s ample parking near Albergo Chalet Lago Antorno at the lake. If you arrive before the toll road is open and want to hike up for sunrise then you’ll probably find a spot by the toll road barrier. Later in the day, this area is almost always full.

Some people were parked up here for the night when I visited, but I suspect that the no parking signs are more rigorously enforced in the summer months.

From here take path 101/119 towards Val del Ciadin de Longeres, where you’ll veer right. After a relatively gentle start (1.2km) you’ll hit a tough 2km uphill climb until you reach the plateau and path 117. Now it’s all downhill to the viewpoint.

Once you’ve recovered enough to consider going up a hill again, you can either head for Tre Cime, return the way you came, or tackle the via Ferrata below in reverse. Be aware that the below route is harder to do in this direction.

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The challenging via Ferrata route | 4.7km one way | +/-500m | 3-4h

Start from the parking area for Rifugio Fratelli Fonda Savio at Pian degli Spiriti. Go up path 115 to the rifugio. There are a few easy cabled sections on the way. This part of the route is around 2.2km with the most significant 500m ascent and will take 1-1.5h.

Once at the rifugio, head along path 117, the Senterio Bonacossa to the north. This is signposted for Rifugio Auronzo. You’ll encounter several ladders and cabled-in sections and via ferrata equipment is recommended. After around 2.5km and 2-2.5h of hiking, you’ll reach the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint.

From here I advise heading back down the route outlined above or, alternatively, you could do the Tre Cime hike.

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Hiking to Cadini di Misurina from Misurina

This involves hiking the full length of the Senterio Bonacossa and will take roughly 4 hours to complete.

Start in Misurina at the Col de Varda cable car and take this up to Rifugio Col de Varda. From the rifugio, you’ll head off along path 117 towards Rifugio Fratelli Fonda Savio. This is a difficult 2 hours of hiking along the beginner via ferrata.

Once at the Fonda Savio, it’s another 2 hours, via the route above, to get to the viewpoint.

Sabrina & Kati have a great guide to the Senterio Bonacossa hike (along with loads of other guides to hikes I hope to do one day!) up on their blog.

THE DETAILS

Parking | bottom station Col de Varda cable car

Lift | mid-June to mid-September 9am – 5:30pm, 10 mins, €9/€13 return (season dependent)

How to Get to Cadini di Misurina

In order to do the easiest hike, you need to get to Rifugio Auronzo, which is the trailhead. You can do this on foot, as outlined above. Alternatively, you can also get there by car or public transport.

BY CAR

Hiring a car and doing a road trip is a great way to see the Dolomites outside of peak season. To get to the Tre Cime/Drei Zinnen nature park, follow the SS49 road towards Misurina. Just north of the town, take the toll road towards Rifugio Auronzo.

The road is free until just north of Lago d’Antorno, where you’ll encounter the toll booths and barriers across the road.

THE DETAILS

Cost | €30 for cars and camping vans and €45 for motorhomes (valid for 24h). If you have a camper then it’s an additional €25 for extra days after your first. Parking at Rifugio Auronzo is included in the cost of the road.

TIP | Credit cards are accepted at the toll road to Rifugio Auronzo but I recommend having cash available as the phone lines can go down unexpectedly.

Hours | The toll road is open from 7am – 7pm in the summer season and 8am – 6pm during the shoulder seasons (June and from mid-October). Plan your arrival at Rifugio Auronza before 9am to be sure of a place to park in high season (August and weekends). You can come down after the closing times as there’s an automatic barrier on the way out.

BY BUS

The regular shuttle bus is a great option during peak hiking season. In fact, public transport is your best choice all round at this time of year. If you have a Sütirol Pass then your bus ticket may well be included.

From Cortina | Take bus 30 from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Misurina and then bus 31 to the trailhead at Rifugio Auronzo. The timetable is here. Alternatively, take the 445 to Dobbiaco and then follow the directions below.

From Dobbiaco/Toblach | From late June to October 3rd, shuttle bus 444 goes to Rifugio Auronzo. From July 10th to September 10th, tickets have to be booked and paid for online in advance here. Outside this time, buy tickets at the Dobbiaco bus and train stations. The cost is €16 return.

Cost | The bus to Rifugio Auronzo is €8/adult each way (€16 return)

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO Visit Cadini di Misurina

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT CADINI DI MISURINA

Just like the rest of the Dolomites, the hiking season here runs from late May to early October. The best time to visit the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint is either late June to mid-July or September. The last of the winter snow will be gone, you won’t have to deal with the August crowds, and the cable cars and rifugios will still be operating.

Hikes here should take into account the weather conditions and elevation of the walks you want to do. Both the viewpoint and the via ferrata can be hazardous in wet or icy conditions. The most settled weather is usually in the autumn.

TIP | The rifugios along the Senterio Bonacossa are only open from mid-June to the end of September. Take this into account if you’d like to do the via ferrata route.

THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO VISIT CADINI DI MISURINA

The views of Cadini di Misurina are honestly stunning no matter what time of day you visit. If your focus is hiking rather than photography then it really doesn’t matter when you get here. In summer, it can be extremely warm in the middle of the day, so I’d advise doing the hike either earlier or later in the day.

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For the best photos, you should be here at sunrise, sunset and golden hour. If you’re here in the autumn, then sunset is amazing due to the ‘Burning Dolomites’ phenomenon, where the mountains turn red in the light of the setting sun.

You’ll need to hike up here from below the Auronzo toll gate for sunrise unless you’re staying at a rifugio or in a campervan at the Auronzo parking area. Be really careful if you’re attempting this hike in the dark and be sure to have a headtorch in the evening too.

Photography hints and tips for Cadini di Misurina

You could honestly point your camera pretty much anywhere from the main viewpoint and get an amazing shot! If you’re anything like me you’ll have all your gear with you anyway. If, however, you’d like to plan a little better, here’s everything you need to know to take awesome photos once you’ve done the hike to Cadini di Misurina.

Best photography spots at Cadini di Misurina

In my opinion, there are 3 spots to consider. The first is as you’re approaching the main viewpoint, when you’re in the curve of the mountain before the path splits to the upper and lower viewpoints. If you stop here and look towards the left you’ll get a great angle of the viewpoint and in front of the most impressive peaks.

Cadini di Misurina viewpoint in the Dolomites
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The second spot is the upper viewpoint. This is where you can easily get up close to your subject whilst also having the best angle of the peaks in the background. You won’t need to worry if it’s wet, icy or snowy since this is a large flat area with plenty of space to move around. This was actually my favourite location.

The third spot is the main viewpoint. You can get a great angle down into the valley and a wide-angle lens will get you the full mountain range in view. However, I think this is better as a location to get a subject to stand to add a sense of scale to your images.

Best time to photograph the Cadini di Misurina

Sunrise is great for light hitting the Tre Cime as you look back towards them, and you’ll also get some lovely light in the valley looking down towards Misurina. Once the sun’s a little higher, you might find that that lower viewpoint is fully illuminated whilst the mountain range behind is still in shadow – this was certainly the case in October. The viewpoint shots above were taken within an hour of the sun coming up.

TIP | During the day, there are some amazing views of the Cadini di Misurina range from Forcella Lavaredo, with Rifugio Lavaredo in the foreground. You’ll also get a great view from the part of the Tre Cime hiking loop that’s just north of the parking areas.

the cadini di misurina mountain peaks in the distance with rifugio lavaredo in the foreground
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I suspect that earlier in the season the sun’s angle would give you some light on the valley behind the viewpoint, but it’s likely to be a little later in the morning. The contrasts are extreme here once the sun’s fully up unless you’ve got a little high cloud to diffuse it.

Sunset is lovely, with golden hour giving the best light, but you’ll find that there’s no direct light on the lower viewpoint. If you can, I recommend coming here both for sunrise and sunset if the weather is good. It’s honestly like a different place at each end of the day.

What photography gear to take to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint

I mean, are you really going to leave any behind?

Just kidding. If you’re hiking then it’s wise to pack relatively light. I think that a 70-200mm equivalent is actually the best lens for this spot. It enables you to get the compression you’ll want for the lower viewpoint whilst also enabling you to get everything in frame at the upper viewpoint.

If you’re planning to take a couple of lenses then something covering the 20-40mm range is a good second choice. I didn’t drone here, but you can definitely get some incredible perspectives.

Since you’re hiking, I recommend putting everything in your backpack of choice (mine’s an F-stop gear) and attaching it to your back with a Peak Design clip. Having your camera close at hand makes all the difference.

READ THIS | What’s in My Camera Bag

Map for your hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint

This map has the easy trail marked on it, along with all your options for parking. You’ll also find my accommodation recommendations. To save it to your own maps just click on the star.

Where to stay to hike the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint

If you’d like to be at the viewpoint for sunrise or sunset then Rifugio Auronzo is the top choice. If you’re not so bothered about when you get there you’ve got many more options.

Rifugios are the best places to stay to explore the area for a few days. They’re also easier on the budget than many other options. If you’re just in the Tre Cime area for the day, eat at any of the huts in the area since the food is great at all of them.

Lago d’Antorno and Misurina are the closest towns, with Dobbiaco a slightly further 40 minutes drive away. Cortina d’Ampezzo is still close enough for a day trip, but I wouldn’t stay here if you want to make it for sunrise.

Indicated prices are for a night in peak summer season and will vary.

BOOKING YOUR TRIP | If you book your trip via my links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps keep me on the road. Thanks for your support – Cat.

RIFUGIOS NEAR CADINI DI MISURINA

Rifugio Auronzo | You definitely can’t beat this hut for convenience, but it does get crowded as a result. The food can be hit and miss, but the views are undeniably spectacular!
Open | late June – late September for accommodation – check website for dates
Dorm | from €60 half board
Dining | available until October

Rifugio Lavaredo | Just a 20-minute walk from the car park at Auronzo, there are multiple hiking options from this location. No credit card payment is available here.
Open | mid-June to late September
Dorm | €70 half board

Rifugio Fratelli Fonda Savio | One of the most incredible locations and rave reviews for the food! This is a really good option if you’d like to tackle an easier via ferrata. Head up here from Lago d’Antorno in the afternoon, stay overnight and then go to Cadini di Misurina in the morning. You can also do climbing courses here.
Open | mid-June to late September
Dorm | €60 half board

Hotels near Cadini di Misurina

LAGO D’ANTORNO
Albergo Chalet Lago Antorno | With beautiful views out over the lake, this is a lovely place to stay right near the bottom of the toll road that heads up to the Tre Cime. The shuttle bus stops right by the hotel to head up to the trails, so the location couldn’t be better. There’s a huge parking area beside the hotel where you can overnight in a van. From €153/night. Check rates and availability here.

MISURINA
Hotel Sorapiss | Right on Lake Misurina, some of the rooms here have absolutely phenomenal views. Incredibly convenient for the road up to the Tre Cime, this is definitely a top choice. From €100/night. Check rates and availability here.

DOBBIACO
Hotel Rosengarten | The rooms are beautiful here and the food is fantastic. You can get a free shuttle bus from the train station if you’re arriving without a car. It’s family-run and you actually do get to feel like part of the family when you stay here. From €190/night. Check rates and availability here.

Camping near Cadini di Misurina

DOBBIACO
Camping Toblacher See | Right on the shores of the lake, this campsite has wonderful modern facilities and is a fantastic option if you’re in a van or camping. The sites are flat and all located a stone’s throw from the lake. The onsite restaurant serves great food and pizza. If you want to splash out you can also check out their Skyview Chalets. From €20/night. Check availability here.

Insider travel tips for visiting the Cadini di Misurina

Here’s a quick rundown of the things I think you really need to know if you’re planning a visit and hiking to the viewpoint:

  • don’t go out onto the lower viewpoint if it’s raining, icy or has recently snowed
  • stay at Rifugio Auronzo for the easiest hike for sunrise
  • on a clear night in summer this would be a great spot for astrophotography
  • bring a picnic to enjoy with some of the best views of the Cadini di Misurina mountain range
  • don’t miss the views from Forcella Lavaredo while you’re here
  • bring hiking poles if you struggle with downhills
  • this is a great place to try out a beginner via ferrata on the Sentiero Bonacossa

Essential gear for a hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint

For this hike, hiking boots are helpful, but not necessary unless you’re coming from Lago d’Antorno or Misurina. You won’t need hiking poles unless you have really bad knees or you’d like them for the security whilst walking out to the viewpoint.

READ THIS | My Hiking Gear Guide

The weather is unpredictable in the mountains. Even if there’s not a cloud in the sky and there’s no bad weather forecast, you should prepare for all eventualities and bring layers. Also, sun protection is vital. Any hiking in the mountains in summer also requires bringing sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Nobody wants that UV damage in their lives.

Waterproof outer layers are also a really good idea. Other than online maps such as google or maps.me, Tabacco Maps are the best topographic maps in the Dolomites. Scaled 1:25000 they cover the whole north-eastern part of Italy. You can buy the maps here. If you’re relying on your mobile phone then bring a charging cable and powerbank and make sure you’ve downloaded everything before you leave wifi behind.

You’re definitely going to want to bring a camera to capture the amazing views up here, but it’s up to you whether that takes the form of your phone or your main camera. I’m that person who hauls all my gear plus a tripod up the mountain, but you might be more restrained! If you only want to bring a single lens then I’d recommend a 70-200mm for this hike.

Planning A Trip To the Dolomites?

With world-class hiking in summer, incredible skiing in winter, and a perfect blend of Italian and Austrian culture, the Dolomites is one of my favourite European destinations. Here are more posts to help you plan your own trip to this wonderful part of the Alps.

Check out these essential guides, travel tips, and more to help you plan your trip:

DAY TRIPS IN THE DOLOMITES | VISITING THE ALPE DI SIUSI

BEST THINGS TO DO IN THE DOLOMITES | VISITING LAGO DI BRAIES (PRAGSER WILDSEE)

HIKING IN THE DOLOMITES | 10 OF THE BEST DAY HIKES IN THE DOLOMITES

DAY HIKES IN THE DOLOMITES | GUIDE TO HIKING TO LAGO DI SORAPIS, THE CRODA DA LAGO CIRCUIT, THE BEST WAY TO HIKE THE TRE CIME and A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HIKING SECEDA

TRAVEL INSURANCE | Don’t go anywhere without it! I use and recommend Safety Wing.

THOUGHTFUL TRAVEL | No matter where you go, try to always be aware of the fact that travel impacts the place and people that live there. Being a thoughtful traveller is more important than ever. Here are my top tips to make your trip a mindful one.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Love my photos and want to know how to take better shots on your own trips? Then my photography guide is for you. Here’s all the photography gear I use too. Want to buy one of my images? Head to the Print Store.

ESSENTIAL GEAR | You’ll find my travel essentials here, and a complete guide to all my hiking gear here.


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3 Comments on “Cadini di Misurina | Hiking the Dolomites best Viewpoint”

  1. Pingback: 10 of the Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites | Cat's Nine Lives

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