Hiking King Laurin and his Rose Garden

The Dolomites are full of legend and fairy tales (see “The Legend and the Fairy Tale of Lago di Carezza“), and one is about King Laurin and his Rose Garden. In this day hike we visited Haniger Schwaige hut, located below the Torri del Vajolet (Vajoletttürme, 2813 m) and Croda di Re Laurino (König-Laurin-Wand, 2813 m).

View back to Kin Laurings Garden

View back to King Laurins Garden

If you ever wondered about the phenomenon known today as Alpenglow, here is the legend behind it for the Dolomites:

“King Laurin was the ruler of a thriving race of dwarves who lived up here and mined the mountains for precious jewels and valuable ores. He possessed a subterranean palace made of sparkling quartz. But his special pride and joy was the great garden located in front of the entranceway to his underground crystal castle. Countless wonderful roses blossomed in this garden, whose scent was enchanting. But woe unto those who might attempt to pluck even only one of these roses! Laurin would order that his left hand and right foot be chopped off! He exacted the same punishment from anyone who tore the silken thread which surrounded his entire rose garden instead of a fence.

Similde was the beautiful daughter of the “King on the River Etsch.” One day, he felt that the time had come to marry off the girl. So he invited all of the noblemen in the neighboring lands to join with him in a May Day ride – but he did not invite Laurin, the King of the Dwarves. Because of this, Laurin decided to wear his magic Invisibility Cap and attend without being detected. But as he caught sight of Similde, he immediately fell in love with her. So he grabbed her, leaped onto his horse, and galloped away.

The King on the River Etsch sent out his knights to find and rescue poor Similde. King Laurin, who believed that they would never discover him, pranced about in his Rose Garden. But the knights could see the roses swaying, and thus knew where Laurin was hiding. So they were able to trap him. Laurin was so angry at being discovered that he turned around and cursed the Rose Garden, which he believed had betrayed him: “Neither by day nor by night should anyone again glimpse this lovely sight.” But in saying that, Laurin had forgotten the time between day and night: The twilight. And so it is that the pink glow of the Rose Garden can still be seen at dawn and dusk.” (Source)

The plan is to start from St. Zyprian up to the Nigerpass with the bus, then hike to the Haniger Schwaige, Plafötsch Alm and back to St. Zyprian. For this we followed the Sagenwanderweg (Sent. delle Fiabe, Fairy Tail Trail, Trail No. 26):

Sagenwanderweg

Sagenwanderweg

With the public bus from St. Zyprian we arrived at the Nigerpass (1690 m).

Nigerpass

Nigerpass

The first part of the trail is on a forest road:

Forest Road

Forest Road

Soon, the King Laurin Wall (right) and the Tschaminspitze (center) is visible. The goal is to get up into that valley up behind the forest:

König Laurin Wand

König Laurin Wand

It is late in the year, but still alpine flowers are blooming:

Alpine Flowers

Alpine Flowers

Crossing the Niger spring, a mountain spring which is most likely the highest situated sprint in the Tiers valley. It is fed by the seeping waters of the Rosengarten Rocks.

Niger Quelle

Niger Quelle

Then the trail narrows and goes up rather steep:

Sagenweg Going Up

Sagenweg Going Up

Alpin Hut

Alpine Hut

No Fairy Tale trail without Fairy Tale characters:

Wooden Face

Wooden Face

Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushrooms

We get higher and higher on a wonderful and mystic trail:

Way up the Sagenweg

Way up the Sagenweg

That way we get closer and closer to the King Laurin Wall:

King Laurin Wall

King Laurin Wall

During winter time, the area can be dangerous because of avalanches. And water alone can release big rocks too. With clear evidence that this can be a dangerous place.

Water Forces

Water Forces

Creek

Creek

The trail features many scenic resting places to sit down and enjoy the nature. Below one of the scenic resting points:

Trail to Angel Meadows

Trail to Angel Meadows

The Angel Wiesen is an open alpine meadow. And yes, there is a resting bench too:

Angel Wiesen

Angel Wiesen

Angels, Yes!
Unicorns? Yes, why not:

Horses in front of the Tschaminspitze

Horses in front of the Tschaminspitze

After a short descend, the Haniger Schwaige shows up:

View to Haniger Schwaige

View to Haniger Schwaige

After a short descent, we are getting closer to the Alm:

Cows around Haniger Schwaige

Cows around Haniger Schwaige

The Haniger Schwaige is an excellent resting place. Take a seat, have one ‘Schnaps’ or two :-). Leave a tip, and you get one more Schnaps :-).

Haniger Schwaige

Haniger Schwaige

From here, the trail descents back to the valley, crossing different creeks.

Creeks crossing

Creeks crossing

The water seems to turn the stones into gold nuggets. Amazing what the water can do in contact with these stones.

Water on Golden Stone

Water on Golden Stone

The Gogglberg-Kuhboden Spring: a piece of art and same time a refreshing place.

Gogglberg Kuhbodenquelle

Gogglberg Kuhbodenquelle

Barn with Firewood

Barn with Firewood

Meadows are filled with the Herbstzeitlose flower:

Herbstzeitlose

Herbstzeitlose

On this tour there are no worries no to get enough break time. So time for yet another break: the Plafötsch Alm: A nice Alm to sit down, and I enjoyed a big glass of fresh cow milk.

Plafötsch Alm

Plafötsch Alm

From the Plafötsch Alm, we took the trail No. 7 (part of 27) down to the valley. A trail full of fairy tale feelings:

Trail number 7

Trail number 7

Small Bridge

Small Bridge

After one more hour, we arrived back to our starting point in St. Zyprian. The sky cleared up (it was mostly cloudy during the day) and we had a stunning view back to King Laurins garden:

View back to Kin Laurings Garden

View back to Kin Laurins Garden

Summary

Take the public transportation (bus) to Nigerpass (1688 m), then follow trail No. 26 (“Sagenwanderweg”) down to St. Zyprian (1135 m).
Duration: 7 hours including stops at Haniger Schwaige (1937 m) and Plafötsch Alm (1570m).
Difficulty: moderate, good hiking equipment recommended.

Happy Rosengardening 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Hiking King Laurin and his Rose Garden

    • In January, that area is usually snow covered (well, last winter there wwere times with not much snow). If there is enough snow, it is wonderful for snow shoe hiking. I plan to be up there in January time frame too :-).

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      • we are skiers, I hope there will be snow 🙂

        The ski season just ended here (Australia), last weekend, I’m just back from a ride on the mountain bike (stuck to the north side), I had to carry it across some sections still covered in snow.

        2017 was a very good winter here, best in around 20+ years.

        The plan is to ski for at least 1 week, out of say 3.

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  1. its so great you have many opportunities for hiking , New Zealand’s south Island might have some hikes to rival what you have there. Also, I am looking forward to your next blog post where you tell us how to turn Rock into Gold using just water, preferably using a process automated with an NXP based controller 🙂

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    • New Zealand (and Australia) is on my ‘bucket list’ to go! I only need to find the opportunity for a longer stay (preferable more than 4 weeks).
      On that ‘Gold’ thing: I was thinking building a small fountain with it. To me it is a special kind of bacteria which creates that nice color.

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