Lago di Sorapis – A Hike in the Dolomites, Italy
One of the most beautiful places in Northern Italy, or probably even in all of Italy, is the Dolomites region; and in particular, the stunning lake “Lago di Sorapis.”
The Dolomites are a mountain range with UNESCO World Heritage status, and hiking in the area is just breathtaking.
The Dolomites are home to one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy – and Lake Sorapis, a mountain lake surrounded by the Dolomites, is one of the beauties.
Even though it is stunning, it is still not as Instafamous as other lakes (such as Lago di Braies or Lago di Carezza), but it is not a hidden gem anymore either. Given its small size, it can easily feel crowded, but nevertheless, it is a place you should add to your Northern Italy itinerary.
The reason why it might not be that famous is that you cannot get there by bus or car, but actually need to do some hiking. While in other parts of Europe, clever business people would have set up a cable car to attract more people, this is a very authentic and untouched part of Italy.
So, if you are wondering how to get to Lago di Sorapis, what to do there, and are looking for more travel tips, you are reading the perfect post.
I made some pretty bad mistakes, which you can learn from. A bit more on that later, but first, let me tell you some facts about the lake.
Sorapis is a mountain in the Dolomites, located in the province of Belluno in the Veneto region. Lake Sorapis is located just at the foot of the mountain.
It is about 1,900 meters above sea level, but I couldn’t find reliable information on the depth or water temperature. As it is a glacier lake, it is probably quite chilly even in the summertime.
Actually, there is not much info I can tell you as there isn’t much written about the lake.
The next biggest place is Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Where to Stay
To discover the pretty region of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a good base. You are not only close to Lago di Sorapis, but also to Lago die Braies and Lago di Careeza.
Another great base would be in Toblach.
When to Visit
I visited in September and it was a perfect time to visit. The hike is probably best done in late spring, summer, or early fall. In the summertime, it is pretty busy, so I recommend getting here early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Personally, I don’t recommend the hike, regardless of which one you do, for kids or people who aren’t fit. You should have a decent level of fitness – and you should wear proper shoes.
While I don’t have hiking boots, I do have proper sneakers, but for this difficult hike, I wish I had at least had some walking poles with me.
Also, there are no water fountains (only streams), so bring enough water.
The refugio at the top is not always open, so I suggest bringing your own food and snacks with you.
Also, there are no toilets. So, I finally did what many men do regularly. I irrigated the earth.
While I never use trekking poles, I wish I had some with me that day.
Hiking Lago di Sorapis
The more difficult hike of Lago Sorapis
Okay, I will tell you how I hiked Lago di Sorapis and I will give you tips on how you should hike it yourself. As mentioned above, I had some problems because I chose the wrong hiking trail.
I read a lot of TripAdvisor reviews and blog posts, so I knew that I had to get to “Passo Trec Croci” and park my car there.
As I had seen a sign the day before, I knew where to drive – at least, that is what I thought. I drove towards the “Passo Tree Croci“ and found the parking area I thought I had read about. It was opposite an abandoned hotel.
I also saw the map and some info on the hike, and so I was pretty sure I was on the right track.
I passed a grazing area with some cows and horses, a little cute house, and a little water fountain. There were also some signs that showed me the way towards the lake. After an easy start on a big, simple uphill path with some smaller streams to jump over, it got more tricky.
The paths got more narrow, the waterfall louder (yes, there is a big waterfall if you opt for that track), and there were parts that I had to climb to some extent.
And while it was still fun at the beginning, I eventually realized that I must have taken a more difficult hike. There was no one around and, at times, I panicked. At certain points, I wondered if I would have to pass the holes in the mountain to get to the lake.
I was really worried about falling because of the extremely narrow paths, and with a little dog, the situation did not get easier.
My phone couldn’t give me any help, so I was stressed out for most of the hike.
My legs started to hurt like crazy, but my biggest fear was slipping. When I finally was passed by two guys, I was at least happy to know I wasn’t alone on the path.
On the way up, I met one more hiker with dogs. She was already on her way back and she confirmed that it was the right way, but it would take another 1.5 hours or so. And that it what happened. I needed almost four hours – including some breaks – and with a dog that I had to carry part of the way.
It seems I chose the wrong parking spot. I should have driven a few more minutes to reach the easier track.
That day, I was so stressed and did not enjoy the hike just because I wasn’t sure where I was. If had known that all was well, I would have enjoyed it more. Looking back, it wasn’t as bad as it felt at that moment, but I surely would take walking poles and someone else with me next time (and no dog).
So, if you like more challenging hikes and feel fit, you can do Track #217, too. This route is also the best choice for those who don’t want to share the place with too many others. While I saw many people at the top coming from the other trail, I was mostly by myself on my trail.
The easier and more popular route is surely the busier one.
The easier hike of Lago Sorapis
Head to Passo Tre Croci and don’t park close to the abandoned hotel. Head to the Bar Ristorante Son Zuogo instead – there are a few parking spots opposite the restaurant, but if you prefer the more difficult hike follow the instructions above – the car park for Passo Tre Croci is just beyond it.
There is a bigger car park and then just follow the signs to Track #215.
This hike is apparently easier – though not easy – and there are wire ropes for narrow paths or exposed sites (unlike on the hike I did). The route takes about 2-2.5 hours (one way).
I have read mixed reviews about that hiking trail. The fitter hikers call it an easy hike, but most people don’t recommend the hike for kids or people who aren’t fit.
What to Do at Lago di Sorapis
Once at the lake, you can hike the lake. This is probably the best way to enjoy the lake from all different angles. However, the hike around the lake is also not the easiest but definitely doable(if you have done the hike to the lake it would be a pity not to surround the whole lake).
I did not see any sign which forbids swimming but it is probably very cold in the water.
Several people brought books and just read. Definitely bring some snacks and drinks and have a picnics at this unique spot in the Dolomites.
READ MORE: The most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites – my four favorite picks.
However, the lake is so unique in Europe that it is worth the hike. Whether you opt for the “easy“ or more difficult one, you will be rewarded with the best views.
Hopefully, this post has helped you find the perfect hike for your trip to Lake Sorapis.
READ MORE: Here is my post on the perfect Dolomites itinerary!