Guide to Hiking to Lake Sorapis in Italy

Guide to Hiking to Lake Sorapis in the Dolomites

Lake Sorapis (AKA Lago Di Sorapis or Sorapiss) is a stunning turquoise lake in Northern Italy in the Dolomites. Hiking here is no easy task and involves sections via Ferrata, which include some cables and ladders. But this difficult hike is worth the effort and offers incredible views of mountain peaks and the dreamy blue waters of Lake Sorapis.

While there are many hikes in the Dolomites, this hike was less crowded and is our favorite in Northern Italy. Don’t miss a hike to Lake Sorapis when visiting the Dolomites! Read on to learn all about what to expect during your hike.

Content and photographs provided by Yana Kogan and Timon.

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Lake Sorapis Hiking Guide

When to Visit

Summer and fall are the best time to visit the Dolomites for hiking purposes. The Lake Sorapis trail is inaccessible during the winter due to snow.

How to Get to Lake Sorapis

Lake Sorapis Hike
Lake Sorapis

The hike begins from Passo Tre Croci. There is a parking area at the top of the pass. From the parking area, there is a mountain access road (service road) that connects to trail 213 to begin the hike.

Where to Stay in Cortina D’Ampezzo

Stay in the mountain village of Cortina d’Ampezzo for excellent access to the Dolomites. Search for available hotels here:
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Lake Sorapis Hike Details

Lago di Sorapis Hike: Trailhead
Trailhead 213

Our Hike: 9.5 miles / 15.3 kilometers return
Elevation Gain: 2,664 feet / 812 meters gain
Time: 5 hours 34 minutes
Difficulty: Difficult

The hike to Lake Sorapis starts in the forest where a walking path leads to trail 213. Continue on the trail until shortly after above the tree line where trail 213 intersects with trail 216. Turn left on trail 216 to continue towards Sorapis.

After this point, the trail ascends above the tree line, opening views of the surroundings.

Lake Sorapis: Trailhead
Trailhead 213 Intersects with Trail 216 – Turn Left

Following a short section where the trail is flat, the trail ascends up a very steep gulch. The ground is loose rock, which will probably cause your feet to often slip out from under you. This is the steepest section of the hike. Zigzag to the top of the gulch, at which point you are at the highest elevation of the hike.

Continue on trail 216 towards Lago di Sorapis (or Rifugio Vandelli) at the top of the gulch.

The trail is mostly flat or downhill from this point. It leads to the first via Ferrata section of the hike. The via Ferrata is daunting with a narrow path and enormous vertical drops. In some sections, there are cables along the cliff.

While this hike is challenging, it is not a technical hike, and no equipment is necessary. Several sections of cable continue as the trail leads around the side of the mountain.

Following the via Ferrata section, Lake Sorapis comes into view. The trail descends first to Rifugio Vandelli, and just beyond that, Lake Sorapis. Make sure to walk around the lake to soak in the view from all angles.

Take trail 215 to return to Passo Tre Croci. The trail is mostly downhill. There is a small section of via Ferrata with ladders and cables; however, most of the hike is easy. The trail will lead you to the main road and from here, walk uphill for a few minutes to return to the parking area.

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What to Bring on the Hike

  • Daypack
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Water
  • Snacks (food/beer is available for purchase at Refugio Vandelli)
  • Sunblock
  • Hat

That’s it – We hope you enjoy this short but strenuous hike to Lake Sorapis!

Planning a trip to Italy? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


About the Author:

  • Yana and Timon

    Yana & Timon met at college in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating, they started their professional careers. They moved to San Francisco in 2010, a city they loved living in for nearly six years.

    After working and saving up money for several years, they quit their jobs and set off on an adventure of a lifetime. They started living a nomadic lifestyle in December 2015 and have not looked back since.

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