If you are looking for a sunrise hike in the Dolomites, look no further than Le Cinque Torri, or The Five Towers, spectacular rock formations nestled in the heart of the Dolomites.
Flaming Sunrise at le Cinque Torri.
First things first: if you’re considering the hike to Le Cinque Torri, keep in mind that there’s a convenient chairlift option available during the day. However, if you want to experience the magical atmosphere of a sunrise at Le Cinque Torri, the trek uphill is a must.
No worries though, the hike in the dark is easy with the proper headlamp. If you decide to follow the early bird call and be there for sunrise you will not regret it!
Another Photographer patiently waiting for the sun to rise in the cold morning light.
Overview of the Le Cinque Torri Hike
Given that there are two available trails leading to Le Cinque Torri, I planned my route as a loop hike. Personally, I always opt for loops to delve deeper into the landscape, but if an out-and-back hike is your preference, that’s entirely feasible too. just pick one of the two trails on the map at the end of the post.
Hiking at le Cinque Torri
Once you reach Le Cinque Torri you will also discover another trail that leads across and around them. If you have time I’d recommend you do it. It’s just a couple of KMs and passes by an open-air War Museum.
If you’d rather not do the loop around the towers you can take a couple of km from the total distance in the table below.
Waiting for Sunrise, with the sky slowly warming up.
How to get to Le Cinque Torri and Parking
The trailhead is easy to reach and is directly accessible from the road between Cortina and the Falzarego Pass.
- Driving Directions: from Cortina d’Ampezzo you can drive toward Passo Falzarego. Keep driving uphill and follow the sign until you see the road signs of the Parking/Chairlift. The drive takes about half an hour.
- Parking: parking is available at the valley station of the chairlift to Rifugio Scoiattolo. Click here for the directions on Google Maps.
- Public Transport: there is a bus stop right by the parking area. Check dolomitibus.it for the detailed schedule.
Tip: if you are visiting before the start of the Sumer season when the huts open (usually around d the 21st of June), you should be able to park by the Rifugio Cinque Torri. From there, it’s about a ten-minute walk to the best viewpoint. Keep in mind, that you cannot drive there when the Rifugio is open.
Exploring of colors at Sunrise
The Cinque Torri Hiking Trail
From the chairlift parking area, you have two options and hiking trails. You can either follow the trail under the chairlift all the way up to the Rifugio Scoiattolo or follow the other trail that leads to the Rifugio Cinque Torri. Both will converge at the top.
The trail that follows the chairlift is the steepest one of the two, and also the shortest.
The other trail, the one that passes by the Rifugio Cinque Torri, is a little longer but less steep. It’s also a mix of paved road and trails, but it is still a nice walk.
On the trail around le torri
Once you are up there, you can also choose to hike around the Torri and visit the World War I museum. It’s an open-air, permanent display of how the area looked like during the war. it is often overlooked but a very interesting one to see.
Lastly, be sure to make a quick stop at the Lago Bai de Dones too. It is a beautiful small lake just by the chairlift parking area.
Lago Bai de Dones
Le Cinque Torri Photos and Photography tips
In case that wasn’t clear, this is a great sunrise hike :). Le Cinque Torri are relatively far from other nearby mountains, so as the sun rises you are guaranteed to have a light show if the weather cooperates.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the warm sunrise light slowly filling the sky and the vast valleys around Le Cinque Torri. This is something you would love even if you are not a photographer.
The early morning light slowly warming up the landscape.
The most classic composition will be the one using the leading lines of the trail as the foreground, but that can be relatively crowded at sunrise. Fear not though, there are plenty of compositions available, be it rocks, flowers, or snow.
If you also want to do it for Sunrise, you will catch the sun rising behind Le Cinque Torri, or peeking behind them. For sunset instead, you will be able to catch the light and glow on the rock face in classic dolomitic style.
Flaming sunrise at le Cinque Torri
But enough with the towers. Yes, they are beautiful and the most obvious subject to photograph. However, what I found when I got there is an amazing landscape everywhere you look.
As the sun was rising, I kept running around taking as many photos as I could from different perspectives. Funny enough there were two other photographers there and one of them jokingly noted how much I was moving around.
Fog in the cold morning light
Sunrise light on the beautiful dolomites
Le Torri offers amazing views of the Dolomite range all around.
The bizarre shapes of Le Cinque Torri
I used pretty much all of the focal lengths I had, which are from 14mm to 2oomm. I spent about three hours in total taking photos and running around up there and time flew. Before I even realized it, the sun was already shining bright up in the sky, which meant it was time to head down the mountain and go for a decent breakfast and a good coffee.
Map of Le Cinque Torri Hike
Here is the map of this hike, You can download the GPS file by clicking on the activity linked below.
Where to stay
If you are planning to visit in the summer, you could consider staying at either Rifugio Scoiattolo or Rifugio Cinque Torri, especially if you are planning to be there for Sunrise or Sunset.
Otherwise, there are several other huts around Passo Falzarego. Stalin in the parking lot of the chairlift with a can or camper seemed to be a relatively popular choice too.
Alternatively, the closest town is Cortina d’Ampezzo, where there also are a couple of campsites you can stay at. This is a good option if you want a base to explore the entire region around Cortina. This is what I did, staying at a campsite there for a few nights.