The loop of "Pian de Ra Spines" is a relaxing walk, with a length of about 7 kilometers, 4.34 miles. It is a loop, so it starts and ends in the locality of "Fiames". This stroll should take about an hour and a half, with practically no elevation gain, making it suitable to anyone, even mothers with baby carriage or people who are not very fit.
This hike can be found on Tabacco Map 003 - Cortina d'Ampezzo e Dolomiti Ampezzane and goes along Trail 417, returning along Trail 10.
The loop of "Pian de Ra Spines" is enjoyable during both mild and warm seasons. Thanks to its proximity to water and the abundance of trees that cast their shadow on much of the route, it is very suitable on hot summer days. In winter it is not accessible, as it is crossed by cross-country ski trails.
Path of the hike
The walk of "Pian de Ra Spines" starts from the free parking lot of Belluno's Dolomites Park. If you have no idea of how to get there, we talk about it in depth towards the end of the page, in the specific chapter.
From the parking lot walk towards the tourist information wooden hut, cross the bar which blocks the passage of cars and walk along path 10. On your right you can see a suggestive gorge, dug by the flow of the river, which is called "Forra del Felizon".
After about one hundred meters, three hundred feets, you will find the intersection of the "Felizon" Bridge. Take the road to the left, indicated by the path 417, which goes down in the direction of the river. Be careful not to get confused with the loop of "Pian de Loa", which has a similar name and also starts from here.
If you have taken the right direction, you will end up on a very pretty road, along the shores of the Boite river, that leads to a wooden bridge. Here you can see some very suggestive waterfalls and an enchanting view, perfect for taking some photographs or relaxing to the sound of flowing water.
After the bridge the road turns south, in the woods, for almost three kilometers, a little less than two miles, along path 417. The walk continues pretty flat, without significant climbs or descents.
During the walk you will encounter a curious wooden column, with some books in it. This is the "Librasción", a bookshop in the woods based on book crossing, where you can read a book immersed in nature. The word has no meaning in Italian, it is the merging of two words: book, "Libro", and "Brasción" that means tree in the local dialect.
The road continues flat as expected. At a certain point, looking to the left, you will see the chalet "Spiaggia Verde", which is very close to where you parked your car. On the way back you might stop there for a drink or to eat something. It is also possible to rent a sunbed, to relax on the banks of the "Boite" river. We have never tried the restaurant under the new management. Although it is always crowded during high season, it might be advisable to read some reviews first.
Continuing your walk you should see some artistic installations among the trees, with descriptive tables. These are some works by the students of the Art Institute of Cortina d'Ampezzo. These installations are part of the Sentieri d'arte project sponsored by the Municipality of Cortina d'Ampezzo and organized by the "Controcorrente" association and the Regole d'Ampezzo, with the support of "Quiqueg" creative agency from Milan. Those who need more information could read the official webpage of the project, but it's written in Italian.
Proceeding the walk, on your left, you will see the Camping Olympia. It is easily recognisable by the caravans and the fence. Once the camping ends you have to turn left, in the direction of the state road that goes towards "Fiames".
You will see a bridge above the river, cross it, then go left again, into the path in the woods before the state road. Walk north for a few minutes, until you'll reach a large gravel square.
From here there are several ways to return back to your means of transport. You are in a strip of land between the river and the state road, you can't take the wrong direction even if you want to.
You could stay at the left of the woods, moving towards the Fiames airfield, to walk along the runway of the former airport. Consider that it is a long stretch of asphalt without even a tree. It might be interesting, but it's definitely not the ideal choice on hot days. At the end of the airport you will have to continue straight, along the path in the woods that will bring you to the hut "Spiaggia Verde", after about half an hour's walk.
Alternatively, you can stay closer to the state road, continuing along path 10 for about ten minutes, heading towards the Hotel Fiames, where you can eat or drink something, or you can continue past the hotel, keeping it on your left, walking on the side of the state road. After a few meters you will have to take the dirt road on the left, that goes into the woods called "Bosco dell'Impero", that means "Forest of the Empire". It is just after the bus stop and is delimited by a car barrier. From here the road continues in the woods for about 20 minutes, ending at the hut "Spiaggia Verde".
The walk, which should have taken you about an hour and a half, ends at the "Baita Spiaggia Verde". It is located just below the parking lot of the Park of the Belluno Dolomites, where you can take your car and return towards Cortina.
The former airport of Cortina was built during the First World War, as a makeshift runway for planes engaged in the war. It was expanded in 1962, thanks to the tourist boom of the 1956 Olympics. The airport has never been widely used, and it closed in 1976, after a plane crash where six people died, including some councilors of the municipality of Cortina. Over the years there have been some attempts to reopen the airport, but none of these succeeded. In modern days the airfield is mainly used as a heliport.
If you decide to take the walk of "Pian de Ra Spines" between May and the end of July, observe the green around you. With a little attention you can see one of the many orchids that grow spontaneously in the Cortina area, especially in the areas of "Podestagno" and "Pian de Loa", very close to where you are walking. These are small flowers, but extremely complex, they are worth observing closely. Be careful, as these are protected species, collection of which is absolutely prohibited.
Many beautiful hikes can be taken from the tourist information house where we parked the car. One above the other is the hike of the Fanes Falls. This is a trek with different variations, the one we propose offers a beautiful view of the low waterfalls, with the possibility of walking the optional canyons and waterfalls trail. If you wish you could also do the small via ferrata under the waterfall. We talked about this excursion in detail on the following page:
The "Librasción" that you saw along the walk is not the only one in Cortina. You can also find one on the walk from the car park of "Sant'Uberto" that leads to "Malga Ra Stua" and one near Lake "Pianozes". This nice project was born from the collaboration between students of the Art School of Cortina, the "Regole d'Ampezzo" and the "U.L.d'A.", the Union of the Ladins of Ampezzo. The concept is the same as book crossing, so you can bring your books to add to the collection or take one freely.
In the woods behind the "Hotel Fiames", the one called "Bosco dell'Impero" there was a cemetery for the victims of the First World War. Around 1939 the bodies were transferred to the Military Ossuary in the locality of "Pocol", which we talked about on this page:
How to get there
The walk of "Pian de Ra Spines" is a loop, so you can start at any point of the path. If you have the car, the best place to start is the free parking lot of the Belluno's Dolomites Park, near the chalet "Spiaggia Verde". From the center of Cortina you will need around 15 minutes.
If there are no free parking spaces there is a second parking lot, that might go unnoticed. It is exactly here. Another solution might be to go back to "Fiames" and park your car in one of the many free parking spaces in the surroundings of the airfield, from which you can easily reach the starting point.
Another solution might be to take Bus n°1 from Cortina's bus Station and get off at the end of the line, near the Hotel "Fiames". For more information or to purchase tickets, you can contact the ticket office of the bus station. It may be closed during lunch hours.
If you left your car in "Fiames", or you took the bus to arrive there, you will have to walk a path through the woods called "of the empire". This first stage is the one we walked as last. If you have any doubts about which direction to take you will have to read first the end of this page and then go back to the beginning.
The walk of "Pian de Ra Spines", in winter, is closed. The cross-country track crosses part of the route and, by regulation, it is forbidden to walk or use snowshoes on the ski slopes.
This walk is really easy, but we suggest using appropriate clothing, starting with your shoes, which should be sturdy. Always carry a backpack with, at least, some water, a snack and a rain jacket. If you are new to hiking, we recommend you read the page we wrote on how to tackle a mountain outing:
We want to emphasize that, in the Dolomites, there are rules to be followed. The main ones are:
- It is strictly forbidden to light fires.
- It is strictly forbidden to pick plants and flowers.
- Free camping is prohibited.
- It is prohibited to abandon garbage.
- It is mandatory to keep pets on a leash.
We hope you liked this page on the loop of "Pian de Ra Spines". Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read our home page, with all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo.
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