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© Michele Da Pozzo

Loop trail around the Lagazuoi Grande

Michele Da Pozzo
Director of the Nature Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites
info@dolomitiparco.com - https://www.dolomitiparco.com/

The tour passes along the lower screes of the Great Lagazuoi. The landscape sceneries towards the of Ampezzo, Badia, Cordeiro and Travenanzes valleys are among the most suggestive and complete of the entire Dolomite area. 

The route passes through the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites and, due to the geological, natural, historic and touristic importance of this area, it has been chosen by the park management as the "Talking Trail" of the Ampezzo area midst the UNESCO World Heritage. 


The geological history of the Lagazuoi Grande is similar to that of other Dolomite mountains, such as the Tofane or the Tre Cime (Three Peaks of Lavaredo).
These mountains are formed by a basement of reefs surmounted by rock strata of Main Dolomite and fragile and reddish layers in between. 
What distinguishes the Lagazuoi Grande from the others, are the unique shapes, the abundance of moraines and glacial tills and the remarkable creation of an ancient deep karst network (caves of the Dolls of Travenanzes), that is unique in the Ampezzo Dolomites. 
The characteristics of the geological substrates, the high altitude and the central position in the Dolomites, make the Lagazuoi area a hot spot of floral and faunal biodiversity.  
This is one of the richest endemic floral areas in the Ampezzo Dolomites and one of the main wintering areas for the wildlife of the Nature Park thanks to the conformation of the south-facing mountainside and the protective rock shelters. 
The Italian-Austrian front line ran through this area, the theatre of the fiercest battles of the Mine War during World War I.  

Briefly, a concentration of extraordinary landscape, of geological and geomorphological, naturalistic and historical interests, with many aspects that are still little known and full of charm and mystery. A must for every Dolomite hiker who wants to discover new aspects of this area, which thanks of its beauty has been declared a World Heritage Site. 


Departure point
1 -Falzarego pass; 2 –Road man's house

Total duration
○ = 2,5 h (↓ n°2 = 4,5 h)

Path number
○ = 401 & 1020; ↓ altern. = 402 & 412

Total difference in altitude
○ = 200 m

Maximum altitude
2660 m – Forcella Granda

You can hike the circular trail in both directions, clockwise it is easier. There are two main accesses to this itinerary. 1 - The first one is from the top of the Lagazuoi Piccolo (can be reached by cable car) or from the southern side of Falzarego pass. It leads to the loop trail passing through Forcella Lagazuoi and Forcella Travenanzes. 2 - The second, to the east, starts from the former road-man's house Ra Nona, 1984 m, on the road from Cortina. Passing through Forcella Col dei Bòs, it reaches the loop trail at Forcella Travenanzes.

Loop trail: from Forcella Lagazuoi, facing the Val Badia, the trail follows a spectacular range of natural ledges in front of the majestic Cima Scotoni. These ledges are slightly exposed but easily practicable on a path without equipped sections.   Passing through the summit plane, you cross the Forcella Granda, where the path leads through a short tunnel that opens onto the ridge and where there is a beautiful rock tower on the edge with an apparently precarious balance. On the eastern side, facing the Val Travenanzes, cross the small saddle Forcella Gasser Depot and the extensive  screes on the mountainside on a well-marked trail with hairpin turns and reach Forcella Travenanzes. 

From Forcella Travenanzes you can reach the nearby Forcella Lagazuoi saddle in about ten minutes and return to the top of the Piccolo Lagazuoi or the Falzarego pass.  Alternative descent: once you have completed the Grande Lagazuoi loop,  you can descend via Forcella Col dei Bòs to the Alpe di Ròzes. This route runs partly on a wide military road, which was created for the supply of the Castelletto emplacements. This variant requires two cars, thus it is more suitable to use the local buses.