Trekking for starters in the Dolomites

How to choose the right mountain trek tour?

Almost all nature and mountain lovers love to hike. A trekking, walking holidays in the mountains from refuge to refuge, is the ‘summum’. After a few days of hiking in the mountains you feel reborn. But mountain hiking from hut to hut is physically heavy, you walk uphill and downhill with a backpack, therefore a good basic condition is a requirement.

Are you interested in doing a trek from hut to hut and you ask yourself the question, how do I choose the right trekking ? Then read this article to find out how our tours from hut to hut are classified so you can choose a trekking at the right level for you.


Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

What determines the level of difficulty of a trekking ?

The level of difficulty of a trekking in the high mountians is determined by a number of predefined characteristics such as the average number of hiking or climbing hours, the altitude, the altitude meters you have to cross, the terrain and the technical difficulty of the trails or routes. In general, the higher the trekking, the rougher the landscape and the more difficult is the level of your trekking.

Trekking from refuge to refuge at 3 levels: starter, sportive and expert

Based on the duration, the altitude and the terrain, we divide our trekking tours into three levels of difficulty. From less heavy to heavy, these are:
Starter  trekkings: for fit people and families
Sportive trekkings: for trained people with some mountain experience
Expert trekkings: for tough adventurers with elaborate experience

Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

Trekking at starter level
mountain hiking for fit people and families

Trekkings at starter level offers mountain hiking for fit people or families with children. During starter trekkings  the number of daily altitude-meters is limited to approximately 400 to 600 meters (only up) and you will hike for about 5 to 6 hours a day (excluding breaks). A starter trekking can be done without a mountain guide provided that you are fit and can read map. These trekkings are also accessible for children.

Trekking at sportive level
mountain hiking with or without via ferrata routes

During trekkings at sportive level, mountain hiking can be combined with via ferrata routes. The trekkings, at medium-heavy level, are for trained people who like a sportive challenge. During sportive treks you will hike of climb (via ferratas) for about 6-8 hours a day (excluding breaks) and you cross about 600-800 (+) altitude-meters (only up). You can go on medium-heavy trek without a mountain guide when you are well-trained, have some mountain experience, can read a hiking map and are able to orient yourself in the high mountains.

Trekking tours at expert level
treks for adventurers

Trekkings at expert level, heavy treks for adventurers, often in the high mountains, crossing glaciers, mountain ridges or technical routes. During heavy treks you will hike or climb for at least 8 hours a day and you cross 1000 (+) or more altitude-meters (only up).

Often you need special techniques and materials to cross glaciers or technical routes. You carry a heavier backpack. During heavier trekking tours you do not always sleep in a mountain hut but possibly also in a bivouac. Heavier mountain trekking tours are not without risk. You can only do this with the guidance of a certified regional alpine mountain guide unless you have followed alpine courses or have sufficient experience.

Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

Trekking from hut to hut
how do I prepare myself?

The difficulty of a trekking is partly determined by yourself. Regardless of the level you choose, it is always important to prepare well in advance and to depart in a good physical shape. The fitter you are, the more you enjoy your trek.

Do not forget to bring light hiking poles! Although hiking sticks are often regarded as an otiose luxury, in the high mountains they are a must. All local mountain athletes use them to distribute their strengths over arms and legs, to spare their knees during the descent and as a tool to keep the balance during difficult oversteps …

Walk with the lightest backpack possible  buy lightweight clothing and equipment that dries quickly. Do not bring too much, use a scale to determine the contents of your backpack, weigh grams and remove unnecessarily heavy ballast! If you have packed superfluous things, leave them in a mountain hut where you return, if possible.

Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

Trekking from hut to hut
what if the weather conditions are bad ?

Bad weather can complicate your trekking  In order to minimize the impact of the weather, trekkings in the high mountains (1500+) are only organized during the summer. Then most of the snow is melted and the chances of good weather are highest. The areas where we organize our hiking tours, the Dolomites and Stelvio National Park, belong to the dryer parts of the Alps with a lot of sunshine during the summer.

However, in the early summer (from June 15 to mid July), you can still find snow. During this period take light crampons to cross snow parts safely. Also in the early autumn there is a chance of showers and and early snow. During hot summers especially thunderstorms are risky, you can avoid these by starting early as they usually take place during the late afternoon.

If  you come across bad weather , you can stay in your refuge until it clears up. Bring rain clothing, ideally a medium-heavy gore-tex coat that breathes and protects both against wind and rain.

Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

Trekking from hut to hut
what is the best period?

In the high mountains, above 1,500m, refuges are open for 3 months a year, from mid June to mid September. Outside this period it is not possible to make a trekking from refuge to refuge in the high mountains.

Trekking from hut to hut
with or without mountain guide?

In deciding whether you want to make a trekking with or without a mountain guide, you should ask yourself these questions. Do you have experience, can you read a detailed hiking map, how sporty are you and which tour do you want to make? Explorer trips can often safely be done without a guide provided that you can read and orient yourself. For heavier, expert treks we advise to leave with a guide. The advantage of a guided tour is that you are automatically insured.

Which mountain guide shall I choose ?

You best choose mountain guides from the region. They grew up and have been trained in their mountains, they know the area best. Even if trails are covered with snow or with fog, they can orient themselves without any problems. You are in good hands, an alpine mountain guide trained in Northern Italy (high level of training) is extremely qualified.

Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

Trekking from hut to hut: how to handle it?

First time on trekking ? Start at an easy level and consider a guided tour.
On trekking with children? Then an explorer trekking is the most suitable level.
You doubt between trekking levels ? If you have no experience, choose the starter level.
Your ideal trekking is not in our offers? If possible we adjust trekking tours at request!
You are not super fit but still want to hike? Choose to stay in a mountain hut and make dayhikes. You only need to carry a daypack and can yourself determine the length of your dayhike.
Still in doubt about your trekking tour? Contact us for a personal advice.


Hoe kies ik een huttentocht

Trekking from hut to hut
hiking hours and altimetres

Most tours on our website are created by regional Alpine Guides in combination with municipal tourist offices.When composing a hut to hut tour, one tries to fill in the daily routes in such a way that they fit within the indicated walking or climbing hours and altitude-meters. Yet there will still be days that are lighter or heavier. The infrastructure in the mountains is rough and though. You will sometimes have to cross a pass that is a bit higher or reach a mountain hut that is a bit further away.

Trekking from hut to hut
don’t forget the membership at your national alpine club

Before you leave we advise you to become a member of your national certified mountaineering club. You are then automatically insured for mountain sports. In addition, you will receive an attractive discount for overnight stays in refuges that we process in our prices (You will receive a discount from us upon providing a pdf of your membership card).