The best way to get to know a mountain region like Trentino is to leave the van at the camp site and then walk it. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, or how high you climb, nothing beats the intimacy you develop with your surroundings when you set out on a footpath.
Trentino is home to a 5,000km network of well-maintained trails; because if ever there was a landscape worth exploring, it has to be ours. There may be higher peaks on the planet, and more intimidating crags. But you won’t find a mountain region more ravishing.
Three hiking circuits to choose from
At the heart of our footpath networks lie three big trekking circuits – each one exploring a different part of our spectacular province. All three have been comprehensively mapped and waymarked, and you can download GPS coordinates for many key sections. Crucially, each offers easy as well as more challenging variants. So you don’t have to be a mountain goat to enjoy them.
The biggest circuit is the Dolomiti Panorama Trek, a 200km network of trails through our most famous Unesco-protected landscapes. Highlights include the Dolomiti Pala Ronda Trek, which circles one of the most dramatic of all the Dolomite massifs, the spiky Pale di San Martino; and the six-day Dolomiti Trek King which takes you from the dizzying heights of the Marmolada glacier to the shattered rock of the Catinaccio-Rosengarten massif. Another key section of Dolomiti Panorama Trek is the Lagorai Trek. This is the wildest of our big walks: a five-day hike through under-visited landsapes of mountain lakes, forests of red spruce, and flower-strewn meadows. Watch out for wildlife. Among the rare species in the area are golden eagles, capercaillie and chamois.
Just as spectacular is the Dolomiti di Brenta Trek, which circles the Brenta Dolomites and combines stunning scenery with the protected forests and meadows of the Adamello Brenta Nature Park. There are two tours. The easier Country Tour is divided into 17 stages and sticks mainly to the valleys. Meanwhile, the Expert Tour, offers a tougher, 11-stage circuit which includes 8,200m of ascent, and some thrilling via ferrata sections.
Finally, the brand new Garda Trek offers three circular walks, exploring Lake Garda’s mountain crown. The easy and medium loops can be hiked at any time of year - so you can enjoy breathtaking Lake Garda views in winter as well as summer. But the seven-stage, 90km top loop should only be tackled when the paths are clear of snow and ice.
You’re never far from a mountain refuge
Nothing beats a day hiking in the mountains. Well, actually one thing does: staying for the night in a refuge afterwards. As everyone else heads back to a world that’s just a little less beautiful, you get to stay at altitude, and watch the sun go down. The colours deepen. The heat fades. Silence settles over your moment of rapture – followed by a hearty supper with people who love the mountains, just like you.
Of course, not all refuges are the same. Some are easily accessible and are perfect for your family’s first night in the mountains. Others lie at an altitude of 3000m, at the end of challenging hikes – or at the start of hair-raising rock climbs or via ferrata routes. Either way, many are now staying open into September and October; offering their unique blend of informal hospitality and stunning locations long into the autumn.