Hiking to Lago di Sorapis in the dolomites is one of the top things to do in Italy. After spending some time at the incredibly crowded Lago di Braies, we wanted to find something a little more secluded and ended up at this stunningly blue alpine lake. What most people don’t know: you have to hike 3 hours to get there! Luckily, we got you covered in this guide to Lago di Sorapis hike!
Lago di Sorapis Travel Guide
When most people share this beautiful lake, somehow nobody talks about the hike to the lake. That’s why we decided to set up this Lago di Sorapis travel guide to help you plan your travels!
Lago di Sorapis Hike – Key Facts
Start & End
The hike to Lago di Sorapis starts and ends at Passo Tre Croci. You can simply search for this in your maps app and it will bring you to your destination.
Length | Elevation Gain
The Lago di Sorapis hike is 11km / 6.8 miles round trip. The elevation gain is around 536 meters / 1759 feet.
Difficulty | Time needed
Although most website list this hike as easy, we’d say it’s moderate – mostly due to its length. Additionally, the hike to Lago di Sorapis includes some steep inclines and narrow pathways. There are railings and ropes that you can use as support on very difficult sections.
We needed around 3 hours to complete the hike, but most people will do it in around 2 – 2 1/2 hours. We mainly needed so long because we didn’t knew whether we were on the right trail at the beginning of our hike.
Lago di Sorapis, also known as Sorapissee in German or Lake Sorapis in English is located in Veneto, Italy and most people either talk Italian or German. Since it is close to the autonomous province of South Tyrol, where German is spoken, by the way, you should not be surprised.
Getting to Lago di Sorapis Hiking Trail
As previously mentioned, start and end point of your hike will be the Passo Tre Corci trailhead located a 15 minutes drive from Cortina D’Ampezzo. Cortina D’Ampezzo is a popular hiker’s base in the Dolomites. However, since we had some more locations on the list we had our base in Innichen, Italy.
You will find plenty of street parking at the trailhead. However, it’s definitely recommend to arrive early as it’s a very popular hiking trail! Moreover, this will also allow you two enjoy some time without the crowds at Lago di Sorapis itself.
It takes around 15 minutes from Cortina D’Ampezzo to Passo Tre Croci. Simply use your preferred maps app and search for the hiking trail. You’ll then be guided to the parking spaces at the street.
By Public Transport
There are buses running a few times a day during high season (from June til September). It’s very important to consult a timetable for your specific dates as the buses will run less frequently during shoulder and low seasons. If you want to take the bus 30/21 to the trailhead, plan with additional 30-45 minutes.
Of course, the car is still the easiest way to get to the trailhead, but the bus would be better if you don’t want to go hiking very early. By taking the bus then you won’t have the problem of parking your car.
The third option would be to simply walk to the trailhead. We’ve heard some people who did this, but we would not recommend doing so. If you decide to go to the trailhead first, it will stretch your hike from 11km up to 41km.
Where to stay?
During our stay we had some more locations that we wanted to see and we simply booked accommodation in the middle of all these. However, we’d recommend a hotel or hostel in Cortina D’Ampezzo.
Essential Tips for your Lago di Sorapis Hike
Firstly, we decided to do the hike early in the morning when there were no people around. We did this because we wanted to enjoy the lake as empty as possible and because Tabitha is not a very good hiker and gets nervous when hiking with many other people. We’d prefer going early! By doing so you can get used to the trail before you have to get back down with hundreds of people.
Unfortunately, the trail gets quite crowded around 9 am and the way back was anything but fun. You have to take other people into account and therefore you cannot go at your own pace. For someone who has problems with the hike anyway, this is of course doubly difficult. In one piece, a staircase leading over a rocky drop was so full that you would have had to go all the way out. Without another railing and with a cliff right next to you.
We did the Lago di Sorapis hike in June and left around 6am when the sun was already rising. We enjoyed the morning light as much as possible and were incredibly happy. Although we did not know if we were on the right path the first few meters, because different maps apps were showing us different directions.
Luckily, we were completely alone on our way up, but there were already a few people at Lago di Sorapis itself. After three hours of hiking we finally arrived at the lake, which looks incredibly beautiful.
Then, after a few minutes, the next hikers came and about 60 minutes later the lake was very crowded already. It became more and more crowded with every minute.
Because the path around the lake itself is also a bit more strenuous in some places and you have to climb through a narrow crevice, for example, everything gathers at the front of the entrance bay.
Hiking Trail | Is the Lago di Sorapis Hike easy?
As previously stated, we’d say that the Lago di Sorapis hike is not for beginners, but rather for intermediate. That is mostly due to its length but also due to some more complicated sections.
The trail starts with a flat, easy walk before then dipping downhill. After 30 minutes of easy hiking, the trail starts to get a little more complicated. You have to deal with steep and narrow trails. Please be mindful that some of the rocks can be wet and slippery! You really shouldn’t be joking because there is a meter deep abyss right next to you.
Normally, the hike takes around 2 – 2.5 hours, but we did it in 3 hours and 2 hours back down.
Tip: If you do this hike in autumn, be aware that the lake might be a little less full. Some years it’s almost completely dry, others, it has more water.
Loop around the lake
After arriving at Lago di Sorapis, we’d highly recommend to enjoy the views for a while before heading back! You can either do a loop around the lake or picnic at one of the stones in the front. However, please clean up your space afterwards. The path around the lake takes around 60 minutes and was the best experience at Lake Sorapis.
The hike back down
Then, make your way back – it’s the exact same route you came up along. We left around 1pm after enjoying the lake for about 4 hours. Our way back down was anything but fun since it’s been so crowded and you could barely see the next steps.
If you want to escape the crowds, we’d suggest to go up very early and then leave after one hour at the lake.
Lago di Sorapis Packing List
You should definitely bring a day pack with you for this hike! Please keep in mind that you’ll spend around 5-6 hours away from your car or hotel and it’s absolutely necessary to have water with you.
If it’s cold, go with a thermos with tea / coffee / hot chocolate to enjoy at the lake after your hike. Also, bring snacks but make sure to take all of your rubbish with you!
Further, if it’s cold, I’d consider bringing a hat and gloves, because these cables can get pretty cold! Also, use sunscreen no matter what seasons it is.
Although we visited in summer, we brought a rain jacket/windbreaker, because the weather in the mountains can change within seconds.
For shoes, we would highly recommend hiking boots. Unfortunately we are not good role models here, because we did the hike in normal sports shoes.
- Thermos with tea / coffee / hot chocolate
- Snacks like cookies or sandwiches
- Hat and gloves if it’s cold
- Lightweight jacket or windbreaker
- Hiking boots
Lago di Sorapis Photography Tips
For photography purposes, it’ll be best to hike up early during summer months. We visited the beautiful Lago di Sorapis in June and went around 6am.
You get the best light for photos about 1-2 hours after sunrise, because the surrounding mountains dim the light perfectly. In other seasons the light will, of course, be worse and you have to wait longer which will also result in more people at the lake itself.
Lago di Sorapis Hike | Conclusion
We would absolutely recommend Lago di Sorapis. Of course it can be considered negative that you have to hike there for 2 hours, but we find it better than just leaving the car, taking photos and walking again. Somehow we always appreciate places a lot more if we had to do something about it beforehand. It was the same with our first hike together in the Caribbean (which was completely unplanned). There we hiked to the Titou Gorge waterfall and were not disappointed. This time the hike was not as difficult and dangerous as on Dominica, but we had a lot of fun.
Since we love taking photos while traveling, we include this in our final evaluation. Lake Sorapis is a very photogenic lake that is absolutely perfect for photographers. We even find it a little more beautiful than Lago di Braies, because you don’t see it again and again on social media, but something special.
We hope you liked this Lago di Sorapis travel guide. Here are some other posts you might enjoy:
- A complete guide to Lago di Braies in Italy
- 14-day road trip itinerary for Germany, Austria & Italy
- The absolute best photo spot in Austria and how to get there
- Things to do in & around Berchtesgaden
- Photo spots in Germany
OMG! I never heard of it before, but Lago di Sorapis seems to be so beautiful!!
Thanks so much 🙂