Trentine Alto Adige, Italy
Start: Passo di Sella
Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5 km)
Time: 5 hours
Surface: Well-Graded Mountain Trails
In the early 1900s, Friedrich August III, newly crowned king of Saxony, visited the South Tyrol town of Alpe di Siusi near Compaccio-the largest mountain plateau in Europe and the undisputed king of mountain plateaus outside of the tepuis of Venezuela. When he saw the panorama of mountains that stretched before him, the king wanted more than anything to give his name to a local trail. Consequently, the Friedrich-August Trail, the trail with the impeccable pedigree, was born.
The walk begins at Passo di Sella, and from there it’s a short climb to the Friedrich-August hut, where the actual trail starts. lt is an easy path that allows you to circumnavigate the six major summits of the Dolomites’ Sassolungo Group-a wonderful alpine wilderness full of huge rock faces, ice gullies, ledges, pinnacles, and even a small glacier-in around five hours. On the way, you will be able to admire some of the finest Dolomite panoramas, including views over the Sassolungo/Langkofel and Sasso Piatto/Plattkofel Mountains, as well as of the Sella massif to the east and the Pale di San Martino to the south.
From the Friedrich-August hut, walk along a contour line to the Sasso Piatto hut (7,545 feet/2,300 m) and then onward over volcanic subsoils to the Passo Duron, a high mountain pass that connects the Zoido and Cordevole valleys, before starting the descent to Saltria, from where a bus will take you back to your starting point.
If you are the sort of person who likes walks that provide maximum thrills for minimal effort, this is one walk that you really need to do before you die.