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Hiking Italy's Dolomites



Hiking Italy's pathways—hut to hut. Photo: Rich Brame

Join a group of NOLS grads and instructors for a week of spectacular hiking in the Dolomites as we trek between "rifugios" (small, hostel-style lodgings) during the Italian Alps' early autumn.

Connecting our string of rifugios gives us the chance to savor Italian cuisine and culture while mixing with other, mostly European travelers, in a dorm-style setting. Sleeping and dining (dinner and breakfasts) in the rifugios allows us to considerably lighten our packs for our daily hikes (average move is ~5 miles, plus elevation changes) among the stunning spires, valleys, ridges and peaks of northern Italy.


The trip starts and ends in the ancient, cobble-stoned city of Bolzano (capital of the Bolzano-Bozen Province: population ~100K). Participants can flying in and out of Bolzano, Verona, Milan or other area cities— consider staying extra days on either end of the trip to explore the sights of northern Italy.

As a group from Bolzano, we will take a series of train and shuttle rides to and from our "roadheads" in the mountains.


We'll follow trails up, over and around the Dolomite's rugged summits.
Photo: Rich Brame


The trip spends 6-nights in the "field" at rifugios, and 7-days hiking as well as a hotel night on either end in historic Bolzano. Unlike a standard NOLS expedition, we won't carry cook gear, or heavy rations—even pads and sleeping bags are not needed at the rifugios—but we'll do "real" trail hiking up and down varied and sometimes steep terrain with our backpacks.

This trip will re-acquaint you with NOLS backpacking techniques in a convivial, relaxing and visually stunning location. Instruction is geared to your interests, with optional walk-up peaks, Italian "word(s) of the day," time for journal-writing and photography, and more. Of course, non-alumni adult friends and family members are also invited— this is a great way to introduce NOLS to your sidekicks.

Cick here if you'd like to see a quick slideshow from a past September Dolomite trip or a 34-second video.


Our trip starts and ends in Bolzano with its mix of German and Italian culture. Photo: Rich Brame

Cost: $2,575 — this includes shared hotel lodging in Bolzano on both ends of the trip, lodging and meals (wine/beer and showers not included) at the rifugios, instruction, trail food on hiking days, transportation from the mountains to Bolzano, and group backpacking equipment.

Because of our nonprofit structure and with no hidden costs, confusing pricing schemes, or gratuities, this trip is a terrific value— perhaps 40% less than competitors' similar trips!


Hiking Italy's Dolomites

September 7-14, 2017

Duration: 8 days
Cost: $2,575
Average Age:


Typical Female/Male Mix:


Course start/end: Bolzano, Italy

Activity Rating :

(this is a subjective rating of anticipated physical difficulty- weather, route, and the group mix can combine to make alumni trips more or less "difficult" —higher numbers indicate more challenge.)


Staying in huts means cultural interaction, bunks, cooked meals and light packs on the average 5-mile trail days- with plenty of ups and downs. The route's average elevation is ~7,200'.

Fly in/out:

Bolzano, Italy (code: BZO)  - try connecting via Munich or Rome. You can also make train connections to Bolzano by flying into Milan, Verona or Munich.

Additional Information:

Trip Description & Equipment Guidelines (pdf)

Email us with questions.

Apply Now:

Download Application (pdf)
[Hint: complete the form electronically, print it, sign it, return it to us via hard copy or scanned email.]


Instructors: Click here for information on our cadre of alumni trip instructors.
Reviews: "You'll hear cow bells, enjoy cappuccino at a pit stop, check out the rock climbers on Cinque Torre, and of course enjoy wonderful Italian lunches trail-side. just can't beat it, an all-around amazing backpackers experience." — Brette Bricklel, Newburyport, MA

"My Italy trip was a casual and rustic respite from my daily life with all the NOLS basics— teamwork, unpredictable elements, varied terrain, and astounding scenery! "— Sarah Hiza, Salt Lake City, UT
"The Dolomites adventure was the trip of a lifetime for us. With the perfect mix of physically challenging daily mileage (mitigated with light daypacks!), breathtaking scenery every day, and the luxury of hot showers, warm beds, delicious European meals and lively NOLS camaraderie at night, NOLS Dolomites was truly a unique opportunity. Helpful and skilled guides who handled everything from logistics, to local area info to support for those needing a little extra help. A trip we'd highly recommend!" — Ben Baum, Palo Alto, CA
"Jaw-dropping mountain vistas at every turn. 360 degree views at lunch. Italian and German/Austrian WWI command posts and mountain caves to explore. Great food, great fellow hikers." — Linda Gray, Calais, VT "The challenge, the scenery and the company were all spectacular and something I will remember and cherish forever. At the time I signed up, I intended to just do this one alumni trip, but now am inclined to make this a yearly or bi-annual adventure.”— Betsy Davis, Kendall Park, NJ

Signing Up
A $200 per person non-refundable deposit is required for enrollment on all alumni trips. If you would like to sign up or have questions just give us a call at 1-800-332-4280 or email at


Experience Italian culture as part of a NOLS Alumni HIking Trip.

Photo: Sam Talucci

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