I always associate the Dolomites with quite a lot of people – even in the low season, for example, there are still many people on the Alta Via No. 1. Are you looking for something where that’s not the case? Then welcome to the Friuli Dolomites, on the Anello Dolomiti Friulane.

As the name suggests – it is a ring trail. It connects 4 huts, rifugi, in this quite small Dolomites area. The starting point is Forni di Sopra. Accordingly, the actual circular route is 4 days long – for a complete hiking week, I add the obligatory introductory tour on the first day, as well as a beautiful approach hike on which you can already see the Friuli Dolomites from a little further away. That’s the theory…

In practice, we caught exactly the week when the weather plummeted from very hot weather to a cold front. After almost 30 degrees on Saturday when we arrived, even in Ampezzo, it was already cooler on Sunday (fortunately!), and also already cloudy. Visibility was no longer clear on our tour high above Sauris, a German-speaking enclave, but the weather remained stable into the evening.

The forecast was thunderstorms with lots of rain – for days on end. We were lucky – on Monday morning it started to thunder and rain so much that it seemed clear that the world was going to end today. But by 10 a.m. the storm front had passed and it was “only” raining. We shortened the ascent to the Rifugio Giaf as much as possible – but even after the 45 minutes uphill we were completely soaked. Fortunately, the wood stove was on and our clothes (and not only ours) dried until the next morning. The team running the hut took the situation easy, and we enjoyed the hut rather than being upset by the weather.

The weather gradually improved over the next few days: the following day, it only started raining at the Forca dell’inferno – and before that, we enjoyed wonderful panoramic views and the sight of the Dolomite peaks during the ascent and the subsequent gentle ups and downs. Nevertheless – we were completely soaked when we arrived at the Rifugio Flaiban-Pacherini. But a wonderful crostata sweetened our arrival.

The weather forecast was good for the next day, but a look outside told us – it would probably rain some more. We set off anyway: the right decision, because after about half an hour the rain stopped and we managed the partly difficult climb to Passo del Mus in the dry. The heavy rain had washed away the path in some places and subsitituted it with a rock slide. After that, it was just a relaxed descent. And yes, about half an hour before we reached the Rifugio Pordenone, it started raining again.

However, the Rifugio was excellently equipped with dry stands, and so we started the most demanding but also most beautiful day the next morning via the Forca del Leone with dry equipment and in the sun (!). After almost 3.5 hours of climbing (with breaks) we were at the top and had really earned our packed lunch down at the red bivak in the hollow! Once more up to the next forca – and then the long way down to the Rifugio Padova. The Rifugio Padova is a picture book dream – a pretty hut from the beginning of the 20th century, green pastures and with a great Dolomite panorama.

Too bad that the fog initially blocks our view the next day. But the longer we climb on the way to Rifugio Giaf, the clearer the view becomes. And on this day we also meet people – the days before we only saw the 3 other small groups hiking the same route. When we arrive at the Rifugio Giaf, lunch is already waiting – a last refreshment before we descend into the valley for our final overnight stay and continue on to Villach.

For me, this was definitely not the last hike in the Friulian Dolomites!

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