Walk in Cortina: to Lake Pianozes from Zuel district

An easy loop walk from Zuel to Lake Pianozes. A splendid and relaxing circular walk, both in the middle of the forest and asphalt road, which starts and ends in the picturesque district of Zuel.


Starting point: The district of Zuel
Destination: Lake Pianozes
Total length: 6 km (3.7 mi)
Height gain: 100 m (328 ft)
Round trip: About 1 hour and a half


Map of the hike


The loop of Pianozes is a relaxing walk in the woods of Cortina d'Ampezzo which, from the district of Zuel, will bring you to the charming Lake Pianozes, crossing the locality of "Pian da Lago" and the forest that divide "Socol" from "Pianozes".

This walk follows the track of a historical running race called "El Siro de Pianozes", that takes place the 14th of August, for more than forty years.

Lake Pianozes at Cortina

This hike can be found on the Tabacco Map 003 "Cortina d'Ampezzo e Dolomiti Ampezzane" and goes along Path 449. Alternatively, you can see our route on Google Maps by clicking here .

Tabacco 1:25.000 Map 003

It is a walk suitable for everyone, but you should have a minimum of training, because the length is around six kilometres, almost four miles.

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Path of the walk

This is a loop walk, so you can start at any point of the track. We chose to start from the football field of Zuel , which is located in the landing area of the Olympic Ski Jumping Trampoline. If you are unsure of how to reach it, we will describe it in depth down on the page in the chapter "How to Get There" .

From the football field, take the road downhill, towards the industrial area of "Pian da Lago, which is the place where most of the Cortina's artisan workshops are located.

Once you've passed the barrier that blocks the passage of cars, keep right and take the gravel road, which runs alongside the buildings, for about five hundred metres.

The road that leads from Zuel to Pian da Lago

When you reach the crossroad, near the last industrial building, turn right, towards "Socol". Continue along the gravel road, when you reach the lumberyard turn left, then right, and head towards the bridge over Boite river. It might seem complicated, but it's the only reasonable path to take, it's nearly impossible to go the wrong way.

For now the walk has not been very naturalistic nor scenic, but after crossing the bridge you'll see that the atmosphere will change completely.

The bridge over Boite river at Socol

After crossing the river, keep right, following the wooden sign that indicates path 449, towards "Lago de Pianozes". It means Pianozes Lake, and if you can read Italian it might seem a typo, but it's written correctly, in Ampezzo dialect.

Wooden sign indicating the direction of Lake Pianozes

Now you have to face a short climb, which ends at a scenic point, from which it is possible to see Mount Tofane and the Boite river.

Panorama on Mount Tofana

Continue straight along the biggest road, for about twenty minutes, avoiding the smaller paths into the woods that deviate from the main road.

Straight gravel road

After a simple climb and an easy descent, you will cross a wooden bridge and immediately after you will see some benches with a strange wooden column that contains some books.

This relaxation area has been installed by the "Regole d'Ampezzo" and consists of a picnic area, with a library in the woods, called "Librasción", where it's possible to read a book immersed in nature, following the philosophy of book crossing.

Il Librasción, un book crossing in mezzo al bosco

Proceeding a few minutes you will reach the suggestive Lake Pianozes , and the restaurant of the same name. Here you can stop to eat something or relax on the banks of the lake.

The restaurant is quite prestigious and the prices are not exactly popular, but you can also have an ice cream, drink something or eat a sandwich at the kiosk, which stands on the opposite side of the lake, that is open during some summer months. If you visit the lake in the low season it will probably be closed.

Lake Pianozes at Cortina

We recommend turning left, taking a walk all around the lake, but you can also continue straight towards the restaurant. Once you've passed it, proceed along the white road, until you reach the asphalt road, then take right and descend towards the district called "Campo di Sotto".

The Campo di Sotto bus stop

Once you reach the end of the descent, turn right. When you reach the intersection with the electric tower, which you see in the photo above, turn again to the right, along the asphalt road in the direction of Zuel. You will enjoy a beautiful panorama of Mount Faloria and the vast meadows of Campo.

Road that leads from Campo di Sotto to Zuel

Once you reach the bridge over the Boite river there is one last climb to face before reaching the district of Zuel. Follow the asphalt road, because there might be a deviation that runs alongside the river, but it will be closed for a lot of years, due to work. That road on the side of the river is a very beautiful path, so it could be a nice idea to follow it up to the fence, and then return back, as it is very suggestive.

The last climb of our walk from Zuel to Pianozes

Once at the top of the climb you may want to take a close look at the feet of the Olympic Ski Jumping Trampoline , vestiges of the 1956 Cortina Olympics. To reach it, turn right and continue along the uphill road, the one that enters the woods. The duration of this detour should be twenty minutes, adding the time to look at the trampoline and the beautiful panorama on the side of the jump. Currently the area is a bit neglected, but it still has a certain charm.

To return to the football field, our starting point of the Loop of Pianozes, you must turn right just before the first houses of Zuel, following the route of the "Pista Ciclabile", which is clearly signposted. It means "bike path" but it's open to pedestrian too. After a couple of hundred meters you'll cross a road, turn right and walk downhill.

If you take the wrong road don't worry, all the roads that go downhill lead to the football field, there are at least four different ways to get there.

Using the trampoline as a reference it is practically impossible to choose the wrong way, the football field you are aiming for, in fact, is right below, as it is built on what was the landing of those who made the jump.

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Lake Pianozes was created artificially, for tourism purposes. In 2019 the "Regole" of Ampezzo, the owner of the area, improved the access road and expanded the restaurant. The shores of the lake have been made accessible to people with disabilities and the peninsula where the kiosk is located has been enlarged.

The "Librasción" is a project born from the collaboration between the students of the Artistic High School of Cortina, the "Regole d'Ampezzo" and the "Ulda" (the Union of the Ampezzo Ladins). It's a free "bookstore" in the woods, where you can read a book immersed in nature. The concept is the same as book crossing, where you can take a book for free, or you can add one to the collection. The name of the project derives from the words "Libro", "book" in Italian and "Brasción", "tree" in the local dialect.

Cortina was also very important during the fascist period. The Italian monarchs, as well as Mussolini's daughter, Edda, came here as guests. In the locality of Campo, in 1934, a summer camp was built, there were hosted three hundred "children of Italians abroad", sons of soldiers that were fighting. Here is a video of the "Campo Mussolini" on YouTube .

If you want to make your walk longer and more demanding, once you arrive at Lake Pianozes you may also go to see Lake Ajal. We talked about this hike, which will take you about two hours, on the page below:

From Lake Pianozes to Lake d'Ajal
From Pianozes to Lake Ajal A short but intense hike to see two beautiful alpine lakes: Lake Pianozes and Lake Ajal. 2h 00' - 4,5 km - Intermediate
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How to get there

Zuel, the starting point of our walk, can be reached in different ways. If you want to take the car, it will be ideal to park near the Zuel football field . This is a free car park that usually always has available space, even in peak season, as it's not close to any point of tourist interest. The ride time, from the center of Cortina, is approximately ten minutes.

SS 51 7 minutes

If you want to take the bus, you can take the urban line n°2 at Roma Square and get off at the bus stop of Zuel , from here go down towards the center of Zuel, heading towards the Ski Jumping Trampoline. We have described the piece of road that goes down towards the football field in the final part of the path of the walk .

You can find more information about buses at the ticket office at the bus station , considering that it might be closed during lunch hours.

Line 2 7 minutes

From the center of Cortina, you can also walk in order to reach the loop of Pianozes. You have to take the white road known as "Ex Polveriera" to reach "Campo di Sotto", from there you can walk towards Zuel.

Ex Polveriera 30 minutes

The walk will take you, in total, around three hours, with a length of around twelve kilometres, a little more than seven miles. If you want a deep description, you can read our page on the walk that, from the center of Cortina, leads to Lake Pianozes. You can find it below:

Walk from the center to Pianozes
Walk to Lake Pianozes A walk from the center of Cortina to Lake Pianozes, along a road surrounded by green. 1h 45' - 6,5 km - Easy

Finally you could consider taking a taxi to Zuel. The cost should be, approximately, €15 but consider that prices could vary greatly, both for the type of vehicle and the number of people, so you should always ask for a quote. Taxis can be found both in Roma Square and the bus station , or you can visit the official taxi website .

Taxi 7 minutes

For any doubts you may have, you can consult the Tourist Information Office in the center of Cortina.

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Useful information

The loop of Pianozes can be done at any time of the year, even in winter, but the road is not regularly groomed by snowcat nor snowmobile. In case of snow it is highly recommended to have crampons to attach to your shoes, to avoid slipping on the ice. You should also have experience of walking on the snow.

During the spring the thaw could make the ground a little muddy, and in some places you may find ice. In this case, it is better to be careful not to slip. Unfortunately every season is different and it's impossible to know in advance when the snow will come or melt.

Even if this is not a difficult walk, when you go hiking, you should always use comfortable shoes and bring a backpack with some water, a snack and a rain jacket. If you are not used to mountain hikes, before venturing, we recommend you read the page below:

Walking in the mountains safely
Safety tips for hikers Tips for safely going hiking in the mountains and prepare your backpack with all you need. Reading time: 8 min

We want to emphasize that, in the Dolomites, there are rules to be followed. The main ones are:

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We hope you liked this page on the walk of the loop of Pianozes. Before saying goodbye, we would like to mention that you can find other amazing hikes in Cortina and its surroundings by clicking hereInternal link .

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