A student stopped while backpacking to take in the beauty of the cloud cloaked peaks of the Dolomites in Italy.
Camera Rich Brame

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Backpacking Italy's Dolomites - Alta Via #1 - Alumni


Sep 12 - 19, 2024

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8 days


18+ yrs



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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) in the Italian Alps.

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.

Activity Rating*:

*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.


NOLS have many staff for this trip, but some of our most common include: (click their photo for more info)




What Our Grads Say

"The Dolomites adventure was the trip of a lifetime for us. With the perfect mix of physically challenging 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, it was truly a unique opportunity.” 


If you have questions about enrollment or including families/guests on a particular alumni trip, then contact:

NOLS Alumni Department

Other Alumni Courses

Other courses