Hike in Cortina: from Ra Stua to Sennes Hütte

A rather long hike from the pastures of "Malga Ra Stua" to the "Rifugio Sennes". A fantastic walk along an amazing valley called "Val Salata", in the natural park of Fanes, Sennes and Braies.

Overview

Starting point: Ra Stua
Total length: 11 km (6.8 mi)
Height gain: 500 m (1,640 ft)
Round trip: About 3 hours
Destination: Sennes Hütte
GPX: Download our GPX route

Map

Introduction

The hike from "Malga Ra Stua" to the Sennes Hütte is a beautiful walk through two nature parks, with as destination the most popular high-altitude mountain lodge in the entire Pustertal valley. The Austrian German word Hütte has the same meaning as the Italian word "Rifugio", and both mean an open to the public mountain lodge.

This hike can be found on the Tabacco Map 003 - Cortina d'Ampezzo e Dolomiti Ampezzane and goes along Path 6.

Tabacco 1:25.000 Map 003

This is a fairly challenging hike, not difficult, but rather long. Although it can be done without too much difficulty by a person with average training, it is not recommended for small children and people with mobility difficulties. The difference in altitude is mainly concentrated in a single and steep climb.

Continues after the AD...

Path of the hike

The hike to "Rifugio Sennes" begins at the parking lot of "Malga Ra Stua" , a restaurant, with also the bar, where you may drink a coffee or have breakfast before the walk. We'd like to avoid writing here all the different ways to reach this mountain hut, if you need detailed information, you can find them in the second part of this page, in the chapter "how to get there" .

From the parking lot of "Malga Ra Stua" head toward the bar that blocks the passage of the cars and take path n°6, in the direction of: "Rifugi, Val Salata e Ciampo de Cróš".

The parking lot of Ra Stua
The mountain lodge called Malga Ra Stua
The beginning of the path towards the Sennes refuge
(1) The parking lot. (2) "Malga Ra Stua". (3) The beginning of the path.

The road continues for about 15 minutes slightly uphill, through the pastures of "Ra Stua". This is a traditional place to graze cows, and it's likely you will see some grazing peacefully nearby.

Path 6 15 minutes

These animals are generally used to the presence of people, so they can be approached without problems, but always with respect, slow movements and attention to the animal's behavior. If you are afraid of free animals, and a cow approaches, it's probably only looking for food. Ignore her completely, without looking at her, and she will do the same to you.

The road crosses the Ra Stua pastures
Sign in the direction of the Sennes refuge
Cows grazing
(1) The road through the pastures. (2) Sign pointing Sennes. (3) Cows grazing.

Once you reach the wood sign that indicates "Ciampo de Cróš", continue straight, along the path n°6, towards "Val Salata". From here the excursion changes pace, the climb begins to become quite steep and will remain so for about forty minutes.

When the road surface, from gravel, becomes concrete, you will see a sign indicating "Senes scorciatoia", It means "shortcut to Senes". It's a decidedly steep road, which we recommend only using for the descent, but if you want to shorten the walk it will save you about ten minutes.

The climb of the Val Salata
Concrete road surface
Shortcut to Senes
(1) The climb of the Val Salata. (2) Concrete road surface. (3) Shortcut to Senes.

The entrance to the shortcut to Sennes marks, approximately, the halfway point of this steep climb towards the Senes meadow plateau.

Path 6 35 minutes

Once this part of the climb is finished, the slope will be much less pronounced and you will be welcomed by some amazing panoramas. The Fanes-Sennes-Braies Natural Park will stand out in front of you, while behind you you will have a privileged view of the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites.

The climb towards the Sennes refuge
Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites
The road towards Senes
(1) The climb towards "Rifugio Sennes". (2) The Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites. (3) The road towards Senes.

After about half an hour you will come across a crossroads that would allow you to reach the "Rifugio Biella" and the Fosses lake. Continue straight, always along path no. 6, you are now only 10 minutes from your destination.

Path 6 40 minutes

The "Sennes Hütte" will not appear in front of you, because it is hidden behind a small hill. Looking to the left, at a certain point, you will see an antenna appear, then the roof and finally the entire structure.

According to many, this is one of the mountain lodges where you can eat best in the entire Pusteria Valley. To remove the doubt, we decided to stop for lunch and we were very happy, we can only advise you to do the same!

The last piece of the trail
The Sennes Refuge on the horizon
Un piatti del rifugio, cotoletta e cappucci
(1) The last stretch of the trail. (2) Sennes Hütte. (3) Some of the plates.

For the return we took the same road we used to get here, but we chose to go down the shortcut at the halfway point of the "Val Salata". We've done it mainly to create the GPX file, but it is steep enough to make it tiring and not recommended, even for the descent.

Continues after the AD...

Curiosities

In front of the "Sennes Hütte" you can see a long runway, which can make you wonder if it has been built for the landing of planes. As strange as it may seem, that is indeed its purpose. In 1968, during the Cold War period, Italy had deployed some military forces to guard its borders. To train pilots in mountain landings the army built here a 450 meters airfield. With the arrival of the helicopters the runway fell into disuse.

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out whether the correct form was "Senes" or "Sennes". The natural park is almost always referred to as "Senes", but the official sources for the facility names it "Sennes Hütte". Both forms should be correct.

This area of the Fanes, Senes and Braies Natural Park is famous for being naturally frequented by chamois and ibex. Immediately after lunch we went out onto the terrace and there was a friendly ibex grazing near the refuge, near the lake, to the delight of the hikers who watched him fascinated.

If you want to walk a little further you could take the opportunity to visit another mountain lodge, Fodara Vedla which, from here, is about forty minutes away. It is an almost completely downhill hike, always well signposted. Take path n°7 in front of the Sennes refuge, after about 20 minutes turn left, leaving the main road, and follow the shortcut in the woods, always along the path n°7, until you'll reach Fodara Vedla. If you want to get an idea of the route, by clicking here you can see it on Google Maps , or you may prefer to download the GPX route here . Once you reach Fodara you can go back to Ra Stua following another hike, that we described on another page, that you can read by clicking below:

From Malga Ra Stua to Fodara
From Ra Stua to Fodara Hike from Malga Ra Stua to Fodara Vedla refuge, in the Sexten Dolomites Nature Park. 3h 00' - 10 km - Intermediate
Continues after the AD...

How to get there

In order to reach "Malga Ra Stua", in low season, the easiest way is to take your car. From Cortina you'll have to reach the car park Sant'Uberto , from there you have to go up the asphalt road, which is quite narrow and steep, in the direction of the mountain lodge. Here you will find the parking where you can leave your car . Ra Stua is the starting point for many hikes, so it's best to reach the car park early in the morning, in order to find some free space. From the center of Cortina the ride will take you approximately twenty-five minutes.

SS 51 25 minutes

The road to "Ra Stua", in the months of July and August, is closed to traffic, but a shuttle service is available, at a cost of approximately €8 per person. In this case you will have to leave the car in the large free parking of Fiames from where you can take the shuttle. Also in this case it is better to arrive early in the morning, so as not to find all the parking spaces occupied. The ride from the center to Fiames will take you approximately ten minutes.

SS 51 10 minutes

There's no public transport to "Ra Stua", so you can take the bus only in peak season, when the shuttle service from Fiames is active. In this case you have to take bus n°1 from the Cortina bus station , and get out at the sports field stop . Once you cross the street, you will find the shuttle departure point. To purchase the tickets, you can contact the station ticket office . Attention, as it may close for the lunch break.

Line 1 15 minutes

If you have no means of transport you may take a taxi. From the town center to "Ra Stua" the price should be around 50€. If the shuttle service is active you could get off at Fiames, the cost should be around €30. Prices could vary a lot, both for the type of vehicle and for the number of people, you should always ask for the price before jumping in. Taxis can be found both in Roma Square and at the Bus Station , or you can click here for the official Taxi website .

Taxi 25 minutes

Before taking the presence of the shuttles for granted, always ask for confirmation. If they don't have answers at the station, there's a Tourist Information Office in town center that will help you.

Useful information

The hike to "Sennes Hütte" can be done every month of the year, but you will need snowshoes, or mountaineering skis in winter, as the track is not groomed. You also need experience to walk or sky in fresh, groomed or frozen snow.

At certain times of the year, during the thaw, you may find ice in some places. To avoid slipping, it is best to be equipped with crampons to attach to your shoes. Unfortunately, every season is different and it is not possible to know in advance when the snow will melt.

If you decide to eat at one of the mountain lodges described above, the facilities are usually open for most of the year. If you don't want to have bad surprises, in low season, it's always better to call to check the actual opening.

If you are not used to mountain excursions, before venturing, we recommend you read the page below:

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

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

Conclusion

We hope you liked this page on the hike from "Malga Ra Stua" to the "Rifugio Sennes". Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read our home page, with all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'AmpezzoInternal link .

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