The Val Fiscalina to Drei Zinnen hike is the perfect trail for anyone who is looking for a more unique hike in the Dolomites.
Val Fiscalina, also known as Fischleinvalley, is a beautiful valley located in the municipality of Sesto. It stretches on for over 4,5 kilometers and it’s the perfect place for mountain lovers to explore the peace and quiet of the area.
There are plenty of long and easy walks that you can do in the area but today I’ll be talking about one of the most beautiful hikes in the Dolomites.
Although my photos may suggest something else, I actually did this hike halfway October. We weren’t expecting for there to be so much snow during this time of the year but it actually made the hike that much more memorable.
Val Fiscalina To Drei Zinnen Hike in Sesto, Italy
If you’re visiting the Dolomites chances are high that at one point you’ll do the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Circular Trail. This is the most popular hiking trail in all of the Dolomites and it suffices to say that you won’t be the only one here.
I did the former trail twice already so this time I wanted to approach the famous Drei Zinnen from a different route and focus on following the lesser known trails in the Dolomites.
The beauty of this trail is that it’s way less oversaturated than most of the other popular hiking trails in the Dolomites.
Planning your trip to the Dolomites
Val Fiscalina Hike Details
Starting Point –Parkplatz Fischleinbodenhütte: 1450 meters above sea level
End Point – Parkplatz Fischleinbodenhütte
Hiking Trail – 102 to the Drei Zinnen Hut, also known as rifugio Locatelli (2450 meters above sea level)
Distance – The total distance of this loop trail is 17km if you start from that parking lot. If you start from the city centre of Sesto you’ll do a circular trail of around 23km.
Duration – You can do this hike in about 6,5 hours. For us it just took a lot longer since we started from the city centre of Sesto and had to plough through a lot of thick snow.
Elevation – The total incline for this hike was about 1000 meters
Difficulty – Moderate to Difficult. There’s a big chunk of elevation on this hiking trail plus we started our hike in the city centre of Sesto which added an additional 6km to the hike. On top of that I was knee deep in snow for over 3/4 of the hike which made for a really slow pace and a lot of faceplanting in the snow as well. However, during the Summer months I would consider this a hiking trail of moderate level. It really was the snow that made everything extra difficult and cold.
Best time to visit – end June to early October so you avoid being knee deep in snow :p.
How to get to the Val Fiscalina hike
We started our hike in the centre of Sesto which will add an additional 6km to the hiking trail. If you don’t wish to do the same I have listed all of the different options for you below. The Val Fiscalina hiking trail is one that you can easily reach by public transport as well.
- From Lienz (Austria) – Follow main road E66 for Val Pusteria, and after San Candido turn left onto the SS52, towards Sesto.
- From Brennero/Brunico – Turn right before San Candido onto the SS52. After 6.5 km, you’ll get to the Three Peaks village of Sesto.
From the centre of Sesto, take the main road to Moos. Drive past the church in Moos, and after 200 metres turn right for Val Fiscalina.
You can park your car for €8/day at the Parkplatz Fischleinbodenhütte (to pay when you pick up your car).
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- From Brunico/Dobbiaco – Take bus 402 in Brunico which runs around 5 times a day. In Dobbiaco you have to switch to bus 446 which will drop you off at Fischleintall.
- From Lienz (Austria) – Take the train to S. Candido Innichen (runs 5 times a day), where you’ll switch to bus 446 which will drop you off at Fischleintall.
My Experience on the Val Fiscalina Hiking Trail
This was already my 4th time visiting the Dolomites and of over a year I had looked forward to seeing this beautiful region covered in Autumns finest colours. I guess the joke really was on me when we literally drove into a snow blizzard upon arrival and woke up in a Winter Wonderland the next day.
However this didn’t stop us from heading down to the local grocery store and stock up on sandwiches to take with us on our first hike of this trip.
Since it was already my 4th time visiting the South Tyrolean region I wanted to spice things up a little and focus on more unique experiences. I came across a beautiful hiking trail that would lead us through Val Fiscalina and all the way up to the Drei Zinnen Hütte.
So full of energy I put on my hiking boots and choose to wear thermal gear as well (a very good choice!) and off we went! We started our hike straight from the city centre of Sesto and hiked down to the main street. Here you simply cross the river and from then on you just have to follow hiking trail 102 to rifugio Locatelli/rifugio Tre Cime.
Once you arrive at the Fischleintall you’ll be surrounded by larches everywhere and the first part of the hike is an easy and flat forest trail. After a while you’ll reach Rifugio Valle Fiscalina from where the trail slowly starts to incline.
By now the snow was becoming more thick and where otherwise there used to be a hiking trail, now was a thick layer of snow with a just few other footsteps showing us the way.
I tried to hop from one foot imprint to the other as fast as my little legs could carry me. But most of the time this just lead to me falling over face down in the snow.
Luckily we were surrounded by such a beautiful landscape that it eased the struggle of hiking up!
Along the way we passed by a river stream, followed by a lot of switch backs where I took a little breather on top of a bush instead of the bench. Both were equally covered in snow…
After a couple of hours we finally made it to the top and we could see the famous three peaks. By that time I was so tired and out of breath but I still wanted to reach rifugio Locatelli! But when we arrived on the plateau we couldn’t see anyone else’s footsteps anymore and I realised where we were…
I had visited this place before during the Summer and knew we were standing in front of two small lakes. Unfortunately we now had no idea of knowing where those lakes were exactly cause well, everything was covered in 50cm of snow.
We slowly continued but pretty soon both of us ended up falling through the ice. Water streamed into our shoes and it was so cold it felt like little knives were pricking my toes every time I set another footstep.
We ended up turning back before reaching our final destination cause we wanted to be back down before dark. Rest assured, if you do this when the trail is not covered in snow you won’t have any of these problems standing in your way.
We felt it would be better to be safe than sorry and started our journey back down. This went a little smoother fortunately but now we had to watch out to not slip. Neither of us had trekking poles so the occasional fall on the bum definitely happened.
But after a couple of hours we arrived back in Sesto, took off our soaking wet hiking boots and socks and took one of the best hot showers of my life!
Where to stay near Val Fiscalina
- Berghotel Sesto – A wellness hotel that serves as the perfect starting point for many incredible hikes in South Tyrol! They also offer guided excursions of various difficulty levels and rent out hiking equipment such as hiking poles, backpacks etc.
- Aparthotel Gamz – This modern boutique hotel in Sesto offers rooms with stunning mountain views.
- Hotel Dolomitenhof – Hotel Dolomitenhof is right at the start of the hiking trails in Val Fiscalina and offers an incredible view over this stunning valley.
Essentiel tips for hiking in the Dolomites
- Wear sturdy hiking shoes, preferably mountain trail shoes. A lot of the trails can be rocky and uneven and you don’t want to loose your balance.
- Pack for 4 seasons: even in the Summer months it can be very cold if you start hiking in the early morning. Make sure you’re wearing layers so you can easily take something on or put on an extra layer if you’re taking a break.
- If you want to sleep in one of the rifugio’s during high season you need to book well in advance.
- Make sure to arrive early at the most popular hiking trails to ensure you have the best experience.
- Bring polarised sunglasses with you if you plan on hiking in the snow. Otherwise you risk of becoming snow blind.
- Bring a small first aid kit with you. You can always hurt yourself during a hike and it’s important that you’re able to disinfect wounds as fast as possible.
- Almost all of the hiking trails are well marked but make sure to plan your route on maps.me as well.
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