Hike in Cortina: "Ra Gores de Federa"

A walk that leads from Lake Pianozes to the Federa mountain lodge. We'll walk along the panoramic path of the gorges of Federa, a path that goes along the Federa river along the gorges and waterfalls carved in the rocks by the water.

The path

Start point: Parù de Col parking area Length: 10 km (6.2 mi) Height difference: 650 meters (2133 ft) Duration: About 3 hours and half Destination: Federa mountain lodge GPX: Download our GPX route

Introduction

Ra Gores de Federa is a very pleasant and panoramic excursion that leads from Lake PianozesPiccola icona mappa to the Federa mountain lodgePiccola icona mappa walking up the path 432. The walk runs along the river Ru de Fedèra allowing us to pass near some beautiful waterfalls and gorges that have been dug from the water along its descent towards the river Boite, of which it's a tributary. The name literally means the gorges of Federa, because during the hike we'll walk through some very suggestive gorges.

Although the hike is often advertised as an easy excursion for everyone, we preferred to categorize it as slightly challenging because of the strong difference in height and also because there is a tiny iron path, extremely simple and well equipped, but not recommended for those with very young children or elderly people. These traits are easily faceable also from those suffering from vertigo, because the height is really low and above water. I'm terrified of heights and I've done it with no problems at all. If you don't want to take the small via ferrata, it is possible to do a variant, less panoramic and suggestive, which we'll discuss later on this page.

Even though Ra Gores de Federa is an easy hike, you should always wear shoes suitable for the mountains, with a well-defined sole, as you'll surely need to cross some slopes with mud. If you don't have much experience with mountain walks, you may want to read this page where we give some suggestions to novice hikers.

The hike

The start of the hike takes place at Parù de Col parking areaPiccola icona mappa, where you can leave your car for free, just above the suggestive Lake Pianozes. Alternatively, it's also possible to park higher, near the pole where the road is closed to traffic, but in the peak season it would be difficult to find a parking lot, and the road surface conditions are not the best. Absolutely avoid this road if you have a sports car. If you have parked in the suggested parking further down, start climbing by taking the road that climbs less steeply, the one furthest to the left.

Once you reach the pole that blocks the cars, you'll have to continue along the paved road for about 10/15 minutes, until you find the sign Barìza in cu, 1280 meters, where you have to turn left, following the direction sentiero 432 (path 432) and Malga di Federa (Federa mountain Lodge).

The car park near the pole where the road is closed to traffic The initial road towards the gores of Federa Direction of forest path 432 and Malga Federa (1) The car park near the pole. (2) The road towards the gorges of Federa. (3) The sign "Barìza in cu".

After a short walk in the woods, a waterfall will appear on the horizon. From there you can see the aided path 432 that's the prosecution of our hike.

Once you've passed the waterfall you'll cross a wider gravel road, turn right and walk along the path in the woods until you see the asphalt again. There are some minor intersections along the way, but no worries, the path is always perfectly marked. As soon as you reach the asphalt road, turn left again, at the sign "Col Purin" 1350 meters.

The equipped path of the Federa gorges The gravel road in the woods The sign Col Purin 1350 meters (1) The aided path 432. (2) The gravel road in the woods. (3) The sign "Col Purin" 1350 meters.
Continues after the AD...

The hike continues along the path in the woods for a few hundred meters, until you find a wooden bridge. From here the path begins to become a little steeper, walking up some small embankments built with logs and terrain. Once cleared, in front of you, will appear a beautiful view of Cortina. There are some wooden benches, where you can stop if you need to take a breath or you want to enjoy the panorama.

The wooden bridge to cross small embankments built with logs and terrain Panoramic point on Cortina d'Ampezzo (1) The wooden bridge to cross. (2) The small embankments. (3) Panoramic point on Cortina.

Now you have to choose how you want to proceed the hike of the gores de Federa, because you'll find a crossroads that requires you to make a choice:

We would like to remind you that the definition of iron path is a bit exaggerated: it's not a scary path, nor is it exposed. It's a series of iron and rock steps on which to walk, overhanging above the river, with a steel cord to hold on to. Although, morally, we must advise you to use them, we did not use any kind of harness or carabiners and we assure you that we are not at all comfortable with ferratas and heights. This passage would be hard only for people with little mobility.

Bridges along the path The easy iron path od the Gores di Federa A sign indicating the direction (1) Bridges along the path. (2) The easy iron path of the "Gores di Federa". (3) A sign indicating the direction.

After about an hour and a half you'll reach the bridge of Fedèra, at an altitude of 1600 meters (5,250 ft). By now you have already climbed 300 meters (980 ft), but there are still 200 meters (670 ft) to reach our destination. Take a little breath, if you need energy, eat something, and head towards the second part of the hike, which is well marked by a wooden sign on the right of the bridge. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of the walk because, running along the river, the path allows us to observe the waterfalls and the gorges carved by the force of the water. Hence the name "Ra Gores de Federa", comes from the local dialect and can be literally translated as: "The gorges of the Federa River".

Continues after the AD...

To further valorize this area, this path has been chosen for the Paths of Art 2020, a project sponsored by the Municipality of Cortina d’Ampezzo and organized by the "Controcorrente" Association and the "Regole d’Ampezzo". For this reason, along the walk of the gorges of Federa, you can see some sculptures created by internationally renowned artists.

The artworks are abstract and have been inspired by the geological history of the Dolomites, the fossils and the human sphere connected to the intellectual and spiritual component. These permanent installations have been positioned so that they are not immediately spotted. If you like art, keep your eyes open... Want a tip? At a certain point you'll find, on your left, a passage in the rock with a platform over the river, the second photo below, just before the main gorge. Here you can see, suspended in the air, a resin face made by South Korean artist T-yong Chung.

The bridge over the Federa river passage in the rock Crossing the gorge (1) The bridge over the Federa river. (2) A passage in the rock. (3) Crossing the gorge.

Proceeding along the path you'll walk through a gorge carved into the rocks, then you'll have to go through a section equipped with a rope, a staircase and a steel bridge, at the end of which you'll reach a forest full of blueberry plants. Continuing the walk you'll reach the most characteristic point of the whole excursion, that is the Ru de Fedèra (Federa river) waterfall. From here the path runs alongside the river, with some views of small natural pools and very nice waterfalls. One more last effort and we'll reach the pastures that surround the Federa mountain lodge,the arrival of this hike. Here you can stop for a drink or to eat something. We preferred not to publish too many photographs of this last part, because we don't want to spoil the surprise for those who will see it in person.

We took this hike on a Monday morning in mid-October. We had to work in the afternoon, so we decided to return along the asphalted road, that is much faster, but it's not recommended because it is less panoramic and it is frequented by cyclists, shuttles and, in winter, snowmobiles. You have to decide if you want to return from the same road you did to go up, or if you want to opt for the descent along the road. It is faster, but less pleasant and open to the traffic. There could be a lot or really few vehicles, it depends if we are in peak or low season.

The Ru de Federa waterfall Becco di Mezzodì in sight La Malga Federa, meta della gita (1) The "Ru de Federa" waterfall. (2) "Beco de Mezodì" on the horizon. (3) Malga Federa, destination of the excursion.

Curiosities

Ra Gores de Federa is a relatively new path: the first part, the lower one, was inaugurated in 2021. The second part, created by a collaboration between the Regole d'Ampezzo and the Sci Club 18, was inaugurated in 2019. In the past this path was only known by hunters, but thanks to the desire to enhance the area and to the collective effort, this highly naturalistic hike has been created. It has been a great success among tourists and residents, and also the owner of the mountain lodge is happy. Before the road was mainly known by tourists for Croda da lago, which is further along the road, but now Federa is a desirable destination too.

If you still have some energy left you can go further Malga Federa and reach the Palmieri mountain lodgeSmall map icon to see the amazing Lake Federa. This is a walk that takes approximately another 40 minutes uphill.

Conclusion

Hoping that you liked this page on the hike of the gorges of Federa, before saying goodbye, we remind you that you can read all the other hike paths we recommend you to do in Cortina, or alternatively read all the other pages we have written about Cortina d'Ampezzo and its surroundings.

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