Walking in the Dolomites during the low summer season can be one of the most rewarding (and surprising!) ways to enjoy these amazing peaks. Here in the Alta Badia the winter lifts have closed and most of the snow has gone. Flowers are beginning to bloom and the grass has reassumed an intense springtime green. The weather is in its turbulent element scattering a healthy mix of thunder storms and even snow on the highest of peaks, along with welcome sunny spells and sample of the temperatures one would like to expect from the summer ahead. Nature is well and truly at its most active.
Today I joined our walk organisers as they ventured out for their first walk of the summer season. We took the short drive from our base in Badia, Haus Valentin, to do some walking in Corvara which is nestled at the foot of the Sella Massif.
It was to imagine that just days before the Giro d’Italia had passed through this way, filling the streets with cyclists and spectators from around the world. Instead we were greeted by quiet roads and a sleepy village from which to start the walk.
The Gardena Pass is one of the four passes that make up the ‘Sellaronda’ – a popular route with both cyclists in summer and skiers in the winter. From Corvara the journey to the head of the pass can be made along an impressive switchback road (a favourite with cyclists and classic car drivers), or a network of idyllic footpaths that follow the base of the cliffs. We of course chose the paths and climbed towards the well-known waterfalls just outside the village of Colfosco. What were ice falls a few months ago are now raging waterfalls, unrelentingly plummeting over the Dolomiti cliffs. Similarly the rivers are running high, tinged with a cloudy glacial blue from all of the snow melt.
The local wildlife is also in abundance. The quieter roads and footpaths increase the chance of Marmotte and Chamois sightings and it’s not unusual to hear the valleys full of happy whistling and chirping. Many of the surrounding peaks had an extra dusting of snow a few nights ago which makes them even more distinctive against the lower green valleys. It makes for a stunning contrast. The higher paths can also still hold snow from the winter bringing another element to walking in the low season.
I peeled away from the group before reaching the snowline to take some time at the falls. They ricochet between high rock walls, creating clouds of spray that caught the rainbow light. At the very base of the falls Crocuses in there hundreds are just about to flower. Give it a week and the valley will be even more colourful.
I enjoyed my time there without interruption and then made my way back through the trees, without seeing a single soul. The Dolomites are waiting for the summer crowds to arrive, but in the meantime they’re certainly not pulling any punches. Walking in the Alps doesn’t get much better than here in north east Italy.
See Walking Holidays in the Dolomites for more information.
Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer and walker, Beth Lloyd. If you are out on a walk with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs.