Hike in Cortina: to Sennes from Ra Stua

A hike from Malga Ra Stua to Rifugio Sennes. This quite long and challenging hike will get you through the Val Salata and the amazing natural park of Fanes, Sennes, and Braies.

Overview

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

Map

Map of the hike

Introduction

The hike from "Malga Ra Stua" to the "Sennes Hütte" is a beautiful walk through two nature parks, with as its destination the most popular high-altitude mountain lodge in the entire Pustertal valley. In Italian, we call it "Rifugio Sennes," as the words "Hütte" and "Rifugio" both mean mountain lodge, in Austrian German and Italian.

The Rifugio Sennes Hütte on the horizon

This hike can be found on the Tabacco Map 003 "Cortina d'Ampezzo e Dolomiti Ampezzane" and goes along Path 6. Alternatively, you can see our route on Google Maps by clicking here .

Tabacco 1:25.000 Map 003

This is a quite challenging hike, not difficult, but rather long. The difference in altitude is mainly concentrated in a single and steep climb. 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.

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Path of the hike

The hike to "Sennes Hütte," or "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.

The parking lot of Ra Stua

We'd like to avoid writing here all the different ways to reach this mountain lodge; if you need detailed information, you can find it in the second part of this page, in the chapter "How to Get There."

The mountain lodge called Malga Ra Stua

From the parking lot of "Malga Ra Stua" you have to head toward the bar that blocks the passage of the cars, and take Path 6, in the direction of: "Rifugi, Val Salata e Ciampo de Crósc."

The beginning of the Path 6 towards the Sennes refuge

The road continues for about fifteen 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.

Cows grazing

These animals are used to the presence of people, so they can be approached without problems, but always with respect. 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

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

The climb of the Val Salata

When the road surface, made of gravel, becomes concrete, you are approximately halfway of this steep climb towards the "Sennes Hütte" mountain lodge.

Concrete road surface

After a little, 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.

Shortcut to Senes

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 Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites

The "Fanes, Sennes and 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 road towards Senes

After about half an hour you will come across a crossroads that would allow you to reach the "Rifugio Biella" and Lake Fosses. Continue straight, always along Path 6, you are now only 10 minutes from your destination.

The last piece of the trail

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.

The Rifugio Sennes on the horizon

According to many, this is the mountain lodge where you can eat the best in the entire "Pustertal," the name of this valley. We wanted to try the famous "schnitzel," a breaded cutlet, a dish of cabbage and eggs with speck. We've been very happy.

Shelter dishes, schnitzel and cabbage kale

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 not recommended.

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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 four hundred meters airfield, one third of a mile. 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 in front of the refuge, near the lake, to the delight of the hikers who watched him fascinated.

Chamois taken at Sennes

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 7 in front of the "Sennes Hütte," after about 20 minutes turn left, leaving the main road, and follow the shortcut in the woods, always along the Path 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 Vedla" 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
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How to get there

In order to get to "Malga Ra Stua" in the low season, the easiest way is to use the car. From the center of Cortina, you need to reach the "Sant'Uberto" parking area , also known as "tornichè." From here, you'll have to proceed along a rather steep and narrow road, towards the destination. There you will find the free parking lot of the "Malga."

"Ra Stua" is the starting point of many hikes. You should get there early in the morning to be sure to find a free spot. From the center of Cortina, you will need approximately a twenty five minutes drive.

SS 51 25 minutes

The road towards "Malga Ra Stua" in July and August is closed to vehicles, but there is a shuttle service that costs approximately 8€ each. In this case, you have to park your car in the free parking area of Fiames to take the shuttle. It's better to get there early in the morning. You shouldn't take the presence of the shuttle for granted. Ask for information at the bus station; otherwise there is a tourist information office in the town center, whom you should ask.

Shuttle 10 minutes

There is no public transport directly to "Malga Ra Stua." In peak season, there are shuttle buses available, so you can take Local Bus 1 at the Cortina Bus Station and get off at the stop of the Fiames Sport Center . You just need to cross the road to find the shuttles. You can buy the bus ticket at the ticket office at the bus station . Be careful, as the office may be closed during the lunch hour. The shuttle ticket can be taken directly to the starting point.

Line 1 15 minutes

You could also take a taxi. From Cortina to the "Malga Ra Stua" the cost should be approximately €50. If the shuttle service is active, you may get off at Fiames. In this case the price will be lower, around 30€. Considering that prices could vary by a lot, both for the type of vehicle and the number of people, you should always ask for a quote. Taxis can be found both in Roma Square and at the Bus Station , or you can visit the Taxi official website .

Taxi 15/25 min.

Even though this hike is already quite long, you might want to reach "Malga Ra Stua" on foot. In this case you may want to read our page on this hike, you can find it below:

Hike from Sant'Uberto to the meadows of Ra Stua
Walk to Malga Ra Stua A hike from the car park of Sant'Uberto to Malga Ra Stua, avoiding the paved road. 2h 30' - 6 km - Intermediate

If you need any information there is a Tourist information Office . It is located in the town center, near the church.

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Useful information

The hike to "Rifugio Sennes," or "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.

When you go hiking you should always use sturdy shoes and carry a backpack with some water, a snack and a jacket for the rain. If you want more information, we recommend you read our tips for first-time hikers:

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:

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Conclusion

We hope you liked this page on the hike from "Malga Ra Stua" to the "Rifugio Sennes." 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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