Dolomites, Day 8 – San Giovanni in Ranui to Geisleralm


Our 9th day in the Dolomites begins with a plan: walking the trail between Malga Zannes and Rifugio Genova, in the Puez-Odel National Park.

From La Villa, our starting point, we decide to drive the shortest path, which involves driving through Passo delle Erbe, a nice location with a huge issue… The road is so narrow that two cars don’t fit. This becomes a nightmare as every time we have a car in front of us, one of the two needs to find a recessed spot to let the other pass. This would not be an issue if the road wasn’t more crowded that it should be. It is a continuous go and then stop. This goes on for almost an hour… a perfect recipe for getting car sick.

However, we manage to get to the road that brings us to Malga Zannes, only to find out that the road is closed because all the parking spots are already full… We got there too late.

We have two options now: Wait for the road to be opened again, but we don’t know when, or just change destination. A quick look at the maps and the decision is taken. A few hundreds meters from us there is the wonderful church called San Giovanni in Ranui. The parking for the church is also the beginning of the trail that brings to a mountain hoot called Geisleralm (Odle hoot). We don’t even look at the pictures, it’s going to be a total surprise for us.

Before starting the hike, we spend some time around the church. It is very small, located in the middle of a green field, with the Odle group in the background. Very nice location. Unfortunately the clouds around the area generate a flat light, basically unusable for decent pictures. It’s time to walk to get to our destination.

The starting point is located a few meters from the church, at approximately 1350 mt above sea level. The trail is easy, large and with solid surface. Walking is not a problem for us, and we attack the hike with a good pace even though the trail has a decent slope. As explained before, our information on the trail are not complete, as we changed destination on the fly, so we keep walking without knowing exactly how long the walk would be. We have some indication thanks to the marks along the trail, but we learned that the expected time to get a location may be different from what indicated on the trail marks.

However after an hour walking at a decent pace we decide to take a break. The trail is constantly between trees, which helps against the heat, but the day is still hot and we sweat a lot despite trees and clouds. Based on the map we are following, we’re approximately in the middle of the hike. A good 15 minutes of break are needed to drink, and get a little bit of rest.

The remaining part of the trail is similar to what we have already hiked, with a steeper slope (nothing difficult though), so when we finally get to the last few hundreds meters (the steepest of the trail) and we finally see a mountain hoot we feel relieved. We made it. Our destination, located at approx. 2000 mt above sea level is there, in a green plateau full of people, animals and with breathtaking view.

The Odle group is in front of us in all of its majesty. Even the clouds give us a break, letting a warm sun illuminate the area. It’s impossible not to admire the beauty of what we have in front of our eyes. We see another hoot a few hundred meters in front of us. The area is less crowded and it’s worth going there to see if there is a better view of the Odle. The hoot is called Malga Casnago and offers a better view of the Odle group in a less crowded environment. The area is enjoyable with horses and cows free to graze around. 

Our lunch here is well deserved, and it’s even better as we sit on the grass to have our sandwich with one of the most beautiful views of the Dolomites in front of us. 

It would be wonderful to wait sunset here, because it is clear that, with the right light, this area would become a dream for every photographer. Unfortunately we cannot stay this long, as there is an hour and a half to walk back to our car and we would end up walking in the dark for a good hour.

We wait as long as we can to let a warm light hit the mountains, and then we start our way back to the car. The hope is to be able to get a good light at the church we visited before, taking also advantage of the mountains behind the church.

The way back is a breeze, the temperature is decent, and walking the area is a pleasure. Towards the end of the trail we spend some time photographing the creek on our left but then rush to the church before sunset is over. 

The light helps us as a warm light start hitting the area, with the Odle in the background, covered in clouds.

Another wonderful day in the Dolomites. We’re tired but more than satisfied!


Note: Some of the places shown in the posts from our Dolomites trip were dramatically hit by unexpected severe weather conditions at the end of October 2018. Strong winds and heavy rains damaged several woodland, villages and hiking trails. Images and descriptions on my blog refer to a trip we had almost 3 months before (beginning to mid August 2018). What shown in this blog may differ from what is the current status. I’m not aware of all the damages created by the weather, therefore this general note will be inserted in all the following posts. For those areas that I know for sure were damaged, I will point it out in the description.  


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