Safety tips for novice hikers

Useful suggestions for those who are facing a hike for the first time. Common sense tips and some advice on how to prepare your backpack, as well as some considerations about hiking in Cortina d'Ampezzo.


Are you planning a mountain hike and looking for recommendations for a walk with no surprises? On this page, you'll find the best tips for novice hikers, a list of essential items to always have in your backpack, and our advice for a hike with no hussle.

Hikers at Cortina d'Ampezzo
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Use common sense

You should always remember that the mountain could potentially be dangerous. Some passages can be difficult, if you fall you could get very hurt. The phone does not always work, so you have to be much more careful than you normally would be, especially if you are alone. In this regard, remember to always tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.

Hikers on a via ferrata at Fanes Falls

Before leaving you should always check the weather forecast, because it's extremely important to avoid difficult hikes in case of rain or bad weather. Always carry a rain jacket in your backpack, even if the forecast is good, but above all don't go on dangerous hikes or via ferrata if a storm seems to be approaching, even if the weather forecast did not foresee rain, it's too dangerous.

... Cortina's hikes are generally well marked...

The trails in Cortina are generally well marked. Usually, on the most touristic trails, the road signs are well placed, but if you find yourself in front of an unmarked intersection, it's often better to choose the most trampled path. If you're not sure which way is right, look for the red-white signs on trees or rocks. They are the safest way not to get lost. You can see a couple of them, painted on the trees, in the photos below.

A marker painted on a tree in Cortina

Needless to say that it is best to know which one to follow before leaving. If you don't want to take the busiest roads, or if you want to go on long walks, buy a paper map and carry it with you at all times.

Maps and charts of Cortina

You should avoid all the places where you don't feel safe. All the hikes proposed on our website are rather easy so you should not worry, even if you have vertigo, but remember: everyone must be responsible for his body and his ability to handle fatigue or fear of height. If you are tired and you think you cannot continue, stop, eat something sweet, drink some water and, after a few minutes, decide whether to continue or to turn back.

If you want to tackle the mountain intensely, making your first climbs or via ferratas, remember to always contact a professional. In Cortina, the reference point for those who want to practice these sports is the office of the Alpine Guides .

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Clothing should be appropriate for hiking, with sturdy shoes and comfortable clothing, preferably technical. Never choose appearance over functionality. Try to dress in "onion" style, meaning stratified, so that you can add or remove a layer if you feel cold or heat.

A typical dress is: light and waterproof jacket, a fleece sweater and a technical t-shirt. For the pants a good idea are those convertible from long to short with a zipper. In midseason it is also advisable to take a cap and gloves. Remember that the temperatures in the mountains can change quickly, especially in the fall and spring, where it is easy to find colder or warmer than expected.

Mountain boots, indispensable friends

In the mountains there are ticks. We don't want to bore you with all the problems, potentially very serious, that a tick bite could bring. Remember that we are not at the beach: below 2,000 meters of altitude, or 6,500 feet, no one should dare to walk in the meadows in shorts and flat shoes, maybe without socks. You should always protect your legs with long pants or thick socks, using appropriate shoes. Alternatively, there are specific products, but nothing works better than good prevention.

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The rucksack

Even if you are going on a short hike, we always recommend bringing with you a backpack with the necessary. The basic equipment consists of: a bottle of water, something sweet to eat, a rain jacket and a clean T-shirt, so you don't have to stay sweaty when you'll stop to relax.

A backpack for going on a hike

When you get to the top, whether it is to eat a sandwich or to eat something in a mountain lodge, it would be very unpleasant to keep a wet and sticky T-shirt soaked with sweat. Having a dry one will make a big difference, believe us. If you'd like more information about eating in a mountain lodge, you may want to read our page on this topic. You can find it below:

Eating in a Cortina's mountain lodge
Eating in a mountain lodge An article about mountain lodges, both if you want to walk there or use the ski lift. Reading time: 11 min

When planning a long hike, it's generally best to stay as light as possible, but that doesn't mean you should move on without the necessary. Below you will find a list of the minimum needed for a day hike, we recommend printing it out or taking a screenshot. Obviously this is a generic list, which should be expanded according to your needs. You should always prepare for the worst outcome.

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You should always plan your hikes in the early morning hours. As all mountaineers can confirm, walking with the midday sun on your neck is never a good idea. Another thing to consider is that, by leaving early in the morning, it will be much easier to find parking and a place to eat at a mountain lodge. You'll also greatly reduce the risk of getting caught up in heat storms, brief thunderstorms that occur in the early afternoon hours of the hottest days.

Useful tips

Before we say goodbye, we want to give you a few more useful tips that might make your hike more enjoyable. Forgive us if some will seem obvious or uninteresting, but it's best to point out some concepts, even if they seem trivial.

... Hiking should be a relaxing activity, not a masochistic experience...
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Respect the mountain

The mountain has to be treated with respect, you have to be careful not to damage the environment and you must always bring home your own garbage. It would be amazing if you would contribute to cleaning the forest, collecting any garbage left by less respectful guests.

Rubbish in the woods Creative Common, by elduendesuarez

It would also be better to avoid making noise, as much as possible, to have a chance to see wild animals, such as squirrels or deer, who would otherwise run away, frightened by your chaos. If you would like more information about animals living in Cortina, you may want to read our page.

Native animals of Cortina
The animals of Cortina A brief description of Cortina's fauna: from the smallest to the most majestic animals. Reading time: 6 min
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We hope you liked our tips for novice hikers. Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read our home page, with all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'AmpezzoInternal link .

If you want to thank us you can read the page Support usHeart icon . If you only want to suggest a change, propose something or just say hello, in the section contacts and infoEmail icon you'll find all the ways to reach us.