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 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 shuttle rides to and from our trailheads in the mountains.
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.
*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.