Hiking the Hirzelweg in the Dolomites

One of the most scenic hiking trails in the Dolomites is the ‘Hirzelweg’ (Sentiero del Masaré): a scenic trail under the walls of the Rotwand (Roda di Vael) on the west side of the Dolomites.

Rotwand and Hirzelweg

Rotwand and Hirzelweg

The tour started from St. Zyprian near Tiers in the Dolomites, Italy.

St. Zyprian

St. Zyprian

We took the 9am bus up to the Passo di Costalunga (1752 m).

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

The bus was already filled with a lot of other hikers, so it seemed that everyone had the same idea. But everyone finally got squeezed into the bus, ‘italian style’. I’m still wondering how the bus was able to drive up with such a speed up to the summit.

Part 1: Paolina – Ciampaz – Rotwandhütte

The first part of the tour is going up to the Paolina, then hike to the Rotwandhütte and Ciampaz:

Part 1 Paolina Rotwandhütte

Part 1: Paolina Rotwandhütte

With the public bus we arrived at the parking lot for the lift up to the Paolina hut:

Passo di Costalunga with view to the Latemar

Passo di Costalunga with view to the Latemar

From there (1609 m), we would have the choice to hike up to the Rifugio Paolina (2125 m). We were lazy, so we used the lift :-).

Lift up to Paolina

Lift up to Paolina

The destination is the Paolina hut:

Poalina

Poalina

From the Paolina you have a beautiful view to the valley and Latemar group:

Panorama Paolina

Panorama Paolina

From Paolina we took the trail 539:

Trail 539 from Paolina

Trail 539, view back to Paolina

At 2349 m the first stop: Monumento a Cristomannos:

Monumento a Cristomannos

Monumento a Cristomannos

Theodor Christomannos (1854-1911) was an important person, developing the South Tyrol area.

Christomannos Eagle

Christomannos Eagle

After that we crossed the ‘Murmeltiertal’. Can you spot the Marmot in the image below?

Murmeltiertal

Murmeltiertal (click to enlarge and find the Marmot!)

💡 Hint: check the center of the image.

Then the first time the Ciampaz (2316 m) was visible around the corner:

Towards Ciampaz

Towards Ciampaz

Left from the Ciampaz is the Rotwandhütte (Rifugio Roda di Vael, 2280 m):

Rotwandhütte with Ciampaz

Rotwandhütte with Ciampaz on the right

The Rotwandhütte is located behind the Rotwand at 2280 m. To me one of the most scenic huts:

Rotwandhütte

Rotwandhütte

Panorama Rotwandhütte

Panorama Rotwandhütte

No time for resting (yet): first we want to get up to the Ciampaz!

Ciampaz

Ciampaz

It takes us 20 minutes to go up there (some climbing needed!). But the view is really worth it!

Panorama Ciampaz

Panorama Ciampaz (click to enlarge)

The Rotwandhütte is an excellent starting point for many hiking and climbing tours in the area.

Rotwandhütte from Ciampaz

Rotwandhütte from Ciampaz

Part 2: Rosengartenhütte – Hirzelweg – Kölnerhütte

Rotwandhütte Frommeralp

Rotwandhütte to Frommeralp

After a lunch break in the Rosengartenhütte, it was time to go back the same way we came from Paolina.

On the way back, yet another beautiful view to the Latemar peaks:

Latemar

Latemar

Shortly after the Christomannos monument, instead going down to the Paolina station, we took the way up to follow the Hirzelweg:

Starting the Hirzelweg

Starting the Hirzelweg

This scenic trail passes down under the Masare Spitze (2589 m), Teufelswand (Roda del Diavolo, 2727 m), Rotwand (2806 m), Tscheiner Spitze (2810 m) and Tschager Spitze (2781 m) with stunning views.

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Hirzelweg

Passing big rocks, one so big there is an iron ladder to get on top of it:

Iron ladder Stone Block

Iron Ladder Stone

Iron Ladder

Iron Ladder

With the Dolomite mountains on the right and above us, we have a beautiful view down to the valley were we came from:

Valley View

Valley View

The Kölnerhütte (Rifugio A. Fronza alle Coronelle, 2337 m) showed up as our next target:

View to the Kölnerhütte

View to the Kölnerhütte

But this time we did not visit the hut for a break.

Kölnerhütte

Kölnerhütte

Instead, we took the lift. They pause the lift for an hour (12:30 – 13:30). So we arrived right on time at 13:30 when it started running again.

Lift at Kölnerhütte

Lift at Kölnerhütte

The lift took us down to the Frommer Alm (1743 m):

Lift down to Frommer Alm

Lift down to Frommer Alm

While going down, we had a beautiful view to the Schlern on the right:

View to the Schlern

View to the Schlern

Then we arrived down at the Frommer Alm (1743 m).

Frommer Alm

Frommer Alm

Part 3:

The plan was to take the public bus back St. Zyprian. But because the lift had some problems (stop and go), we missed the bus. With the next bus in two hours, we decided to hike all the way back instead waiting:

Frommeralm - Nigerpass - St. Zyprian

Frommeralm – Nigerpass – St. Zyprian

We entered the ‘Perlenweg’ which is a nice hike to the Nigerpass (Rifugio Passo Nigra), going through a beautiful forest.

Perlenweg Forest

Perlenweg Forest

Perlenweg Wald

Perlenweg Wald

After 30 minutes, we arrived at the Rifugio Passo Nigra (1688 m):

Rifugio Passo Nigra

Rifugio Passo Nigra

After taking a rest and refreshing energies in the Restaurant, time to take the last part under our feet. We continued to follow the Perlenweg down to St. Zyprian:

Going down to St. Zyprian

Going down to St. Zyprian

That way goes down around 600 m to St. Zyprian (1070 m).

Perlenweg Bridge

Perlenweg Bridge

After one hour, we arrived back to our starting point again :-).

View to the Rosengarten

View to the Rosengarten

Time to have a beer, relax and plan for the tour on the next day 🙂

Summary

  • Time: 7-8 hours (hiking time 5-6 hours, not using the lift: add 2 hours)
  • Highest point: 2316
  • Lowest point: 1070

Happy Dolomiting 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Hiking the Hirzelweg in the Dolomites

  1. Hi Erich,

    My prefered tour on Rosengarten is from Paolina Hütte to Vajolon Pass and then use the Rotwand via ferrata. After passing the Rotwand summit cross the iron way goes down on the backside of the Rotwand. Some 100 meters down you have to climb up again to the Maseré via ferrata. The iron way goes alongside the crest over all that nice torres and ends above the Rotwand Hütte. Comming from the Rotwand Hütte normaly then I take the Hirzelweg to the Köllner Hütte and use the König Laurin lift to the Frommer.
    I do also start and end all my tours in Südtirol by train or public bus.

    Happy Rosengartening

    Michael

    Like

    • Hi Michael,
      thanks for the details and idea! We considered going up the Vajolon Pass, but saved that for a next time. Today the weather was not that good, otherwise we would have considered the Vajolon Pass. The public bus and transporation here in Südtoriol is excellent for all this kind of tours.
      Happy Laurining,
      Erich

      Like

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