VALLUNGA TO RIFUGIO PUEZ

Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike | Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez, Dolomites

NURAN HIKING, ITALY

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Day 1 of the 5-Day Puez-Odle Altopiano hut-to-hut trek leads you through the stunning Vallunga (Langental), which translates to Long Valley. The terrain gradually transitions into steeper and rockier paths. The ascent persists until you reach your overnight destination, Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte). This remote hut is accessible only by foot or helicopter, making it the most isolated stop on this 5-day hike.

In this article, I provide a summary of Day 1 of the 5-Day Puez-Odle (Puez-Geisler) Altopiano hut-to-hut hike in a counter-clockwise direction, including hiking statistics, maps, and pictures. For a comprehensive overview of the entire 5-Day hike, please refer to our article titled Puez-Odle Altopiano: A Multi-Day Hut-to-Hut Hike in the Dolomites.

Vallunga to Rifugio Puez Hiking Stats

Start: Vallunga Car Park in Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein) | Open in Google Maps
Finish: Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte)
Distance: 8.30 km
Moving Time: 2 h 30 min
Elapsed Time: 3 h 50 min
Ascent: 870 m
Descent: 0 m
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
Map: Tabacco 05 – Val Gardena – Alpe di Siusi / Groden – Seiseralm

Route Map | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez
Satellite Route Map | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez – Elevation Profile 

Elevation Profile | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

READ MORE: Puez-Odle Altopiano: A Multi-Day Hut-to-Hut Hike in the Dolomites

Where to Park for the Vallunga to Rifugio Puez Hike

Vallunga Car Park | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

At the hike’s starting point in Vallunga (Langental), Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein), there is a paid car park. Follow the directions to Parcheggio Vallunga (Parkplatz Langental) from the centre of Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein). Open in Google Maps

Arrive early during the summer months, as the car park tends to fill up quickly. We arrived just before noon and had to wait a while to find an available spot.

You have the option to purchase a multi-day parking ticket (maximum 4 days) for €8/day (as of 2023).

Getting to the Start of the Hike

Vallunga (Langental) | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

From the car park in Vallunga (Langental), walk to the end of the car park where the trail through Vallunga (Langental) begins. Soon, you’ll arrive at the open expanse of the so-called Long Valley, and it becomes clear why it was given that name.

Vallunga to Rifugio Puez Hiking Guide

Vallunga (Langental) | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

The towering cliffs, lush meadows with grazing cows, and the scattered pine trees create a stunning landscape.

It’s no surprise that this spot is very popular with day hikers, families, and mountain bikers. As you venture further into the valley, however, the crowds disperse, and you’ll almost have the valley to yourself.

For the first 5 km, the elevation gain is negligible.

After about half an hour, you’ll reach a gate. Continue following the footpath straight ahead.

Vallunga (Langental) | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez
Vallunga (Langental) | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez
Vallunga (Langental) | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Along Vallunga (Langental), you’ll cross a few streams, which is always great fun for kids… and adults!

Vallunga (Langental) | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

After about 5 km, just when you’ve become accustomed to the minimal elevation gain and are enjoying a leisurely stroll, the terrain becomes steeper, and you’ll gain about 600 m over the next 3 km. This ascent continues until you reach Rifugio Puez.

As you climb higher, you’ll be increasingly rewarded with breathtaking views stretching across Vallunga (Langental) and the surrounding peaks in the Puez-Odle (Puez-Geisler) mountain range.

Waterfalls | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Looking back to where we came from.

Looking back to where we came from | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez
Reaching higher & rockier grounds | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Having your destination in view is always motivating. While we couldn’t spot Rifugio Puez from this spot, fellow hikers informed us of its whereabouts: just beyond the col to the left of the cliff faces. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had initially pictured it being situated on top of the cliffs.

Just beyond the col lies Rifugio Puez | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Continue following the clearly marked path that runs just beneath the cliff faces, heading towards the col.

Way-marks along the path | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez
Cliff faces of the Puez mountain range | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

The last stretch up to the col involves a series of zig-zags. You’re almost there!

Final Approach to Rifugio Puez | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Finally, you’ll get a first glimpse of Rifugio Puez!

First glimpse of Rifugio Puez | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

The views across the Puez mountains are breathtaking, and this is just the beginning!

Views across the Puez mountains | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Just behind the col lies Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte), nestled in a sheltered position under Col de Puez. The old alpine hut is the first building, and just behind it, you’ll find the new one.

Rifugio Puez | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

The views from the terrace of Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte) are absolutely incredible.

Views from the terrace of Rifugio Puez | Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike Day 1: Vallunga to Rifugio Puez

Dinner Options at Rifugio Puez

Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte) offers three options for a 4-course set menu for dinner, catering to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. While we were satisfied after savouring our delicious 4-course non-vegetarian meal, we couldn’t help but notice that the portions were small, highlighting the fact that everything delivered to the hut is transported by helicopter.

One of the four delicious courses we enjoyed was Knödel (German bread dumplings), and it was the only one I managed to snap a picture of before devouring it. Yum!

Knödel – One of the 4-course meals at Rifugio Puez

Overview of the 5-Day Puez-Odle Altopiano Hike

Day 1: Vallunga (Langental) to Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte)

Day 2: Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte) to Rifugio Genova (Schlüterhütte)

Day 3: Rifugio Genova (Schlüterhütte) to Sass de Putia (Peitlerkofel) and back

Day 4: Rifugio Genova (Schlüterhütte) to Rifugio Malga Brogles (Brogleshütte)

Day 5: Rifugio Malga Brogles (Brogleshütte) to Vallunga (Langental)

What do Alpine Huts Provide?

  • Accommodation: Most mountain huts offer dormitory-style sleeping arrangements with bunk beds or single beds. Some also provide private rooms for couples or small groups.
  • Meals: Meals are typically available, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, often featuring hearty mountain cuisine. Packed lunches for day hikes can often be arranged.
  • Beverages: Huts serve a variety of beverages, including hot and cold drinks, soft drinks, and alcoholic ones.
  • Shower and Toilet Facilities: Huts have bathroom facilities, including showers and toilets. Typically, there is an additional fee for hot showers.
  • Blankets and Bedding: Mountain huts typically provide duvets/blankets and pillows, eliminating the need for you to carry your own sleeping bag. However, you will need to bring your own sleeping bag liner/travel sheet. I have a cotton sleeping bag liner while the kids have a super-light silk sleeping bag liner.
  • Electricity and Charging: Some huts offer electricity for charging devices like phones and cameras, but it’s not a guarantee. Be prepared with portable chargers if needed.
  • Resupplying Essentials: You can often purchase basic necessities like snacks, drinks, and toiletries at mountain huts. Prices are higher due to the remote locations.
  • Information: Hut staff can provide information about the trail conditions, weather forecasts, and hiking routes in the area.

Packing List for Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites

Surprisingly, you don’t need to pack as much as you might think for a multi-day hike in the Dolomites. You can purchase all the food in the mountain huts, including a packed lunch. I carried a 30L day pack, while my kids each had an 11L day pack.

Pack one set of evening clothes for use in the mountain huts, a spare set of hiking clothes (consider adding extra t-shirts if you prefer), a spare pair of hiking socks, the bare minimum of underwear that you can manage with comfortably, rain gear, pyjamas, a sleeping bag liner, water-proof slippers to wear inside the mountain huts (as hiking boots are not allowed in the dorms), essential toiletries, and a micro-fibre travel towel. The most important items to aid your sleep will be a pair of ear plugs and an eye mask.

Additionally, include trekking or walking poles, a first aid kit with necessary medications, a sun hat, a buff or warm hat, gloves, a water bladder or water bottle, high-altitude sunglasses, a head torch,map, a compass, and a dry bag.

Pro Tip: A set of thin thermals make for great light-weight and warm pyjamas.

Resources

I planned our multi-day hut-to-hut hike around the Puez-Odle (Puez-Geisler) Altopiano with the help of Cicerone’s guidebook, “Walking in the Dolomites: 25 Multi Day Routes in Italy’s Dolomites”. Other guidebooks that inspired our 3.5-week road trip to the Dolomites included those from Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. For day hikes and Via Ferrata, I used the following guides:

FAQs

How long does the Vallunga to Rifugio Puez hike take?
The Vallunga to Rifugio Puez hike typically takes approximately 4 hours. We completed the hike in just under 4 hours, which aligns precisely with the time estimated in the Cicerone Press guidebook.

How challenging is the Vallunga to Rifugio Puez hike?
The hike from Vallunga to Rifugio Puez is rated as a 2 in the Cicerone guidebook, with 1 indicating an easy hike and 3 representing a challenging one. We found this rating to be accurate, as the hike is indeed of moderate difficulty.

Do you need a guide for the Vallunga to Rifugio Puez hike?
No, a guide is not necessary for the hike from Vallunga to Rifugio Puez. You can undertake it as a self-guided hike with minimal navigation skills, as the paths are well-marked and easy to follow.

Can you undertake the Vallunga to Rifugio Puez hike with kids in tow?
Absolutely! You can certainly undertake the Vallunga to Rifugio Puez hike with children. My children were 10 and 13 years old when we completed this hike in the summer of 2023.

How do you make reservations for the Rifugio Puez alpine hut?
Reservations for the Rifugio Puez alpine hut can be made via their website Rifugio Puez (Puez Hütte).

Final Words

The first day of our 5-day hut-to-hut hike around the Puez Odle Altopiano got off to a great start.

Not entirely sure of what to expect, and with a departure time just after noon, we maintained a good pace to ensure we would reach the hut in time for dinner.

I estimated the hike would take us about 6 hours, based on guidebook stats of 4 hours plus a 50% buffer, as we tend to take numerous breaks to soak in the scenery and hike at a moderate pace. I even called Rifugio Puez ahead of time, informing them of our arrival, albeit with a potential delay for the 6:30 pm dinner service.

Most alpine huts typically hold reservations until 6 or 6:30 pm, which is dinner time, unless you’ve informed them in advance of your late arrival, allowing them to accommodate other hikers on a walk-in basis.

When hiking with children, dormitory-style alpine huts are considerate of who they place in your dorm. We were informed that we might have the 7-bed bunk room to ourselves unless some last-minute hikers arrived. Indeed, last-minute hikers did show up, and my kids and I ended up sharing the room with two other female hikers.

Our first night at the alpine hut was a wonderful experience. During dinner, we shared a large table with an elderly and extremely fit couple from South Korea, who were tackling the 13-stage Alta Via 2 route in just 11 days! We also met two competitive brothers from the Netherlands, with whom my youngest played a card game. Staying at an alpine hut is an incredible and sociable experience, creating memories that last a lifetime!

Happy hut-to-hut hiking!


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