All you need to know to plan a hiking trip to the stunning Three Peaks of Lavaredo with kids + fun facts about the peaks
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo (Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen) are three alpine peaks in the Italian Alps and one of the most recognisable mountainous landscapes in Italy.
They stand at the border between the regions of Veneto and Alto Adige and they are a paradise for climbers and hikers alike, even those with little hiking experience and those, like us, who hike with primary school age kids.
I have been going to the Three Peaks of Lavaredo all my life, when I was a kid myself and, now, with our own kids.
We are not climbers, but we have taken many hikes in the area: these are our tips for visiting the Three Peaks of Lavaredo and our favorite family hikes in the area.
Fun and interesting facts about the Three Peaks of Lavaredo
Where they are – the Three Peaks of Lavaredo are in the North East of Italy, on the border between the province of Belluno (Veneto region) and Bolzano (Alto Adige).
They are part of the Italian Dolomites and they have the distinct appearance of Dolomite rocks, with pink hues.
- They consist of:
- Cima Grande in the middle (Big Peak or High Peak, 2,999m asl)
- Cima Piccola (Small Peak, 2,857 m a.s.l.)
- Cima Ovest (West Peak, 2,973 m a.s.l.)
Cima Grande was the first to see climbers and the first ascent was in 1869 by Paul Grohmann, Franz Innerkofler and Peter Salcher.
Nowadays, it is common to see climbers on the peaks: you usually seem them from the trails, climbing up in colorful gear. Spotting them is always exciting and great fun for the kids!
The Tre Cime are in South Tyrol, which is an area of Italy bilingual Italian German (find more fun facts about Italy here)
Since the area is bilingual, the Three Peaks of Lavaredo are called The Cime di Lavaredo in Italian and Drei Zinnen in German.
The Cime are so distinctive looking, the are the symbol of the Dolomites as Unesco World Heritage Site – they entered the list in 2009!
There are several mountain huts in the area, serving delicious food as well as shelter and facilities. In Italian, they are called ‘Rifugi’ (lit. Rifugio, or Hutte in German). In this article, I refer to them as Rif. + Italian name.
How to get to the Cime di Lavaredo
Despite they wild and remote appearance, the Three Peaks are easy to reach not just hiking but also by car.
From Lake Misurina, a panoramic road (toll) climbs up with swichbacks all the way to the Auronzo Mountain Hut and here you have a large car park where you can park for the day.
The panoramic road is steep however, it is paved and well kept so aside from the ascent, it can be done with a standard car non 4×4 needed.
From the Auronzo Hut you have an easy trail that follows the bottom of the peaks, which you find on your left.
The first part of the hikes is mostly flat and leads you to the Rif. Lavaredo first (hot food and facilities) and then hikes up the Lavaredo Saddle, from where you catch the first view of the peaks as you may have seen it on photos!
From there, several paths depart either following the base of the peaks of heading to the Paterno Mountain in front and the Locatelli Hut, both locations offering fantastic views of the peaks and the valley below.
Where to catch the best views of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo
There are several spots that are easy to reach and offer stunning views of the peaks.
Lavaredo Saddle (Forcella Lavaredo)– close to the peaks, you find yourself just beside the moutains, which stand tall immediately to your left
Mount Paterno – in front of the peaks, this is maybe the place with the best views of all. Here you trails leading you to abandoned First World War shelters and stinning views over the peaks, just in front of you.
The presence of these memories from the war and the stunning nature are one of the things that makes this area one of the best to visit on the Dolomites with children of school age.
Rif. Locatelli – this is a very popular destination for day hikes and it is a mountains refuge offerinf hot food, facilities and option for overnight stays. Despite the crowds, it is a wonderful place from where to see the peaks and it sits right in front of them.
Famous hikes at the Three Lavaredo Peaks you can tackle with kids
There are many hikes in the area, suitable for different levels of fitness.
The ones below are suitable for school age kids with some hiking experience and who are happy and able to walk for a couple of hours or more.
These hikes are not buggy friendly and while they do not require the use of technical equipment (beside good hiking shoes) these are mountain trails, they require hours of walking and they do involve sometimes significant elevation changes so please, approach with caution!
Please always check locally for daily opening or closures and weather conditions on the trails.
Some of the most popular hikes to the peaks are:
Rif Auronzo – Rif Locatelli: this is the most popular hike and the easiest one in the area, also feasible with kids.
The first part is like described above: from the Rif Auronzo, an easy trail leads you to the Rif. Lavaredo and then climbs rather steeply to the Lavaredo saddle.
This first part is easy and almost entirely flat and suitable for small kids too – hold hands and/or use toddler reins as there is a steep drop on your right hand side, this is not a place for trotting ahead!
Top tip: Get your kids to keep their eyes peeled for climbers and marmots: they tend to stay well away from the trail but you can hear their calls and spot them if you have a binocular!
From here, you can follow one of two possible paths to the Rif. Locatelli / Drei Hutte.
These are easy paths on rugged terrain but pose no particular difficulties to hikers of a reasonable level of fitness, even of primary school age, and with good shoes.
Val Fiscalina – Rif Locatelli: this is a wonderful hike that can bring you straight from the valley to the Rifugio or can lead you up and across the Cima Dodici via Rifugio Comici, then Pian di Cengia and finally Locatelli.
The hike is not difficult but the elevation gain significant and walk long: the round trip hike will take the day and it is only suitable for older kids with hiking experience since once you commit, you have to finish!
Three Peaks of Lavaredo trail loop – this is a nice hike that circles the three peaks. The hike takes about 3 hours and it is not difficult however, it does have some changes in elevation that are likely to slow you down.
Campo di Dentro – Rif. Locatelli: Valle di Dentro is a stunning Alpine Valley with a lovely restaurant/hut called ‘Tre Scarperi’, very popular with families.
This first hut is for many a destination in itself and it is a wonderful place to to go with even very long kids as it doesn’t require a lot of walking (there is even a shuttle) and has wonderful wide lawns in front, perfect to run around and spend the day (no sheer drops etc).
The hut is also a starting point to the Three Peaks, which you can reach with about a 6 hour hike (round trip) via Torre Toblin and Rif Locatelli.
This is a longer, moderate/hard hike that you should only tackle with kids with previous hiking experience and teenagers just for its length and elevation gain.
Valle di Landro to the Three Peaks – this is a rather steep climb from Lago di Landro (Lake Landro) with beautiful views of the peaks almost along the whole trail!
You can find a selection of our 10 favorite family hikes in this part of the Dolomites here.
The best time to hike to the Three Peaks
The best time to hike in the Dolomites is the summer and in particular the months from mid0June to early August.
The weather at this time can still be chilly (In June) and you may find patches of snow however, this is usually a time with clear trails and good weather conditions.
Always pack layers however and the wind can get cold, you are pretty high up here!
What to pack for a day hike at the Three Peaks of Lavaredo
In summer, these are our hiking essentials for this area:
- Proper hiking shoes, with good sole and ankle support. You can find our recommended hiking shoes for small kids here.
- Cushioned hiking socks
- Sport trousers (or shorts in hot days)
- Layers – short sleeve top, hoodie and wind breaker on a good day
- Water and trail snacks
- Sun hat, sun glasses, sun screen
- Day pack
- Hiking poles – these are actually not a necessity in my opinion but can come handy and out kids love using them
- Trail map – the trail indications are very easy to find and follow but it is always a good idea to have a local hiking map
- Child binoculars
- Kids action camera
- Hike lunch and / or money for a stop at the refuges.
- First aid kit with hiking essentials
- Child carrier if hiking with small kids – this is not an area for all terrain strollers as the trails are narrow. You can find our favorite toddler carriers here
You can find a printable list of our day hike essentials here.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview and our tips for visiting the Three Peaks of Lavaredo and you will agree with me this is one of the most beautiful places in the Italian Dolomites. I am sure if you get to go, you will fall in love with them as much as we did!