Is it possibile to do the hike loop of the Three Peaks with children?
There are many articles on the web about the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hiking loop.
However, this article tries to answer a question that I asked myself this summer and to which I have not found a clear and unequivocal answer, and that is whether it is a feasible excursion with 7-year-old children.
For those who are interested in hiking with children, the most critical aspects of the excursion are the following:
(i) The length, over 9 km;
(ii) The final stretch of the excursion (if you follow the ring, as recommended, anticlockwise), after the Malga Lunga (Lange Alm), where the path runs along an exposed stretch that cuts a gully with stones and stones unstable.
However, these are two difficulties that can be overcome with a minimum of habit of walking and attention also for children. Indeed:
(i) as far as the length is concerned, 9-10 km with little difference in altitude, it takes about 3 hours, if you consider that when you walk you travel at about 5 km / h.
(ii) as regards the most exposed section, it is true that if you fall you will slide for hundreds of meters. However, it is equally true that the path is wide and it is possible to walk along it holding the children by the hand.
For school-age children this shouldn’t be a problem:
– the altitude. In fact, if on the one hand the path goes from 2300 to almost 2500 meters above sea level, on the other hand this altitude can represent a problem for an elderly person with heart problems, and not for a child without particular pathologies;
– the difference in height. In fact, the ring is almost entirely flat. The overall difference in altitude is about 400 meters, and there is only one real climb, which however takes 15-20 minutes.
Furthermore, consider that the path is wide and for the most part passable even with a small car; along the ring there are three refuges.
In conclusion: the Three Peaks loop hike can be done with children with a minimum of training, given for example by walking to school and taking a few more walks during the year.
The Three Peaks of Lavaredo are one of the most spectacular places on the entire planet. IMHO the beauty of the place is comparable to that of the parks of Yosemite and Yellowstone in the USA, or Ayers Rock in Australia. It reminds me of Arches or Monument Valley. In short, it is one of the wonders of the Earth.
My wife had never been there. My children were too young to tackle such a demanding hike. But in the summer of 2020, thanks to the coronavirus and the difficulties in getting out of Italy, I thought the time was ripe.
So, on Saturday 15 August 2020 with my wife and children aged between 7 and 11 I reached the Auronzo refuge by camper van. The program was to start our hike early in the morning, to avoid the chaos that would surely have occurred in the Sunday of August.
Overnight stay with the campervan in the Auronzo Refuge
The starting point of the excursion is the Auronzo Refuge, which is located above Lake Misurina, at over 2300 meters above sea level. There are plenty of parking lots; one of these is reserved for campers.
We arrived at the parking lot around 7pm, and the camper lot was full. I parked in an awkward and perhaps prohibited position. Many campers had settled in the other parking lots.
Before dinner we went out to take some pictures of the Cadini di Misurina mountains.
The night passed quietly, in silence. Unfortunately, the clouds covered the stars. Too bad: I would have liked to admire them from such a high observation point and therefore with little pollution.
Sunrise at the Auronzo Refuge
On Sunday 16 August we got up very early to admire the sunrise. It was nice, but nothing exceptional and, with hindsight, I wouldn’t do it again. I was expecting something better; the sun and the colors of the mountains probably give their best at sunset.
However, I took some nice photos.
Going to the Locatelli refuge
Immediately after breakfast (8 o`clock), we started the anti-clockwise loop, the one recommended and done by (almost everyone).
Being so early, we were in the company of climbers, or experienced hikers with harnesses, ropes and technical equipment. Few people and extremely professional looking. The excursion was therefore pleasant even though it was mid-August.
We quickly reached the Lavaredo refuge, but we didn’t stop because we were in a hurry to reach the Forcella Lavaredo (the highest point of the trip), where the sun was finally beginning to illuminate the top of the mountains.
At around 9:30 we reached the Locatelli refuge at 2,438 meters above sea level.
Here we are in South Tyrol, and there is also a path that leads to Fiscalina Valley.
At the Locatelli refuge it is recommended to make a stop, because it is the best place to immortalize the Three Peaks of Lavaredo. We drank something hot, and took dozens of photos.
Towards Malga Lunga
This part of the path is narrower, not accessible by car, but nevertheless never dangerous. It is the physically hardest part, also because you have been hiking for more than two hours.
At Malga Lunga the landscape becomes a little more bucolic; in fact, meadows, shrubs and cows begin to be seen.
As it was almost noon, with our mouth watering, we saw Tyrolean dishes that were beginning to be served to the first German tourists (who had probably reached the hut directly from the parking lot of the Auronzo refuge).
The final and most dangerous part of the path
The stretch that worried me most was the last one, that is, the one between Malga Lunga and the parking lot. I remembered it very exposed, without protections, with a crumbly bottom.
The memories from the previous hike, done with adult friends 5 years ago, were correct; however, the path is very wide and therefore it is possible to follow it holding children by the hand, for greater safety.
At about 12:30 we returned to the Auronzo refuge, just in time to have lunch in the campervan.