Complete Guide to Hiking to Lago di Sorapis in the Dolomites

lago di sorapis

Hiking Lake Sorapis, popularly known as Lago di Sorapis in Italian, is a phenomenal experience. This turquoise, milky lake sits in the Dolomites in northeastern Italy. Famous for offering breathtaking views from the top of the mountain ranges, this location is an exquisite hiking spot for hiking enthusiasts worldwide.

The glacial lake in Sorapis is around 1,923 meters above sea level and boasts an intense color in tones ranging from turquoise to light blue. The lake’s colorful waters attract droves of visitors annually, most of whom come to catch the lake’s stunning views from the top of the Dolomites mountains.

A hike to the lake can be among the most timeless excursions of your lifetime. However, unlike other hiking destinations that offer fantastic scenery, a complex hiking trail, and large crowds can make the lake less attractive. This hiking guide to Lake Sorapis can make things easier by teaching you everything you need to know if you are planning an excursion to this wondrous place.


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Where Is It Located?

Lake Sorapis is situated in the province of Bellunto in northeastern Italy. It is approximately 1923 meters above the Circus of Sorapis, the underground basin of the Dolomites’ northern slopes.

How to Get to the Lake

With dozens of trailheads to Lake Sorapis, getting to it can be challenging since most routes can be tricky to navigate. Nonetheless, visitors can conveniently get here by car or bus if they opt for the correct trailhead. These are some routes to take while hiking to Lago di Sorapiss:

  • From Cortina: This trailhead is among the shortest routes to Lago di Sorapiss. Start your trip at Passo Tre Croci in the nearby town of Cortina and drive along the SR-48 Highway. Continue your ride, and you will notice a signboard directing you to the lake.
  • From Dobbiaco: Begin your trip to the lake at Dobbiaco town and drive through the SS 51 di Alemagna. Turn east when you get to Carbonin and connect with the SR-48. Drive to Passo Tre Croci, where you will see a path leading to the lake after a short driving distance.
  • From Auronzo: Auronzo is relatively close to the Dolomites, making it a suitable trailhead to Lago di Sorapiss. Drive from Auronzo through the SR-48 until you reach the busy Misurina to Passo Tre Croci junction. Turn left and drive to Cortina. A signpost will direct you to Sorapis Lake a few meters from the road.

lago di sorapiss

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How Long Will a Hike to This Lake Take?

The entire lake hike over the pass, including about 30 minutes of walking around the park, takes about four hours, while visitors who skip the pass can take about three hours. The hiker’s time to reach the colorful lake depends on their chosen trailhead. Visitors taking the Passo Tre Croci route take four hours on average, while those taking longer routes can hike up to six hours.

However, being among the most stunning places in the Dolomites region, you can set aside about six hours of walking since you will be taking breaks in the middle of your hike. Your hike will take longer if you plan a leisurely picnic at Lago di Sorapiss.

Which Is the Best Trail to the Colorful Lake?

The favorite trail for many hikers traveling to Sorapis Lake is the one from Passo Tre Croci. The path is surprisingly easy to navigate because it doesn’t have many rough sections. Since it connects the nearby towns of Auronzo and Cortina, this route is perfect for those planning a tour of other popular trails in the Dolomites area, including the Tre Cime Circuit. Furthermore, it’s accessible by cars and public means.

Best Time to Hike the Lake

The peak season at Lago di Sorapiss begins in July and ends in September. The lake is ever busy in the peak season, so it’s wise to visit it early to avoid the vast crowds synonymous with the high season. Early May is also a great time to hike Sorapis Lake, although it snows a lot on some of the trails. Large snow patches cover the lake in early May. But it starts thawing, and crowds become smaller in late May.

October is the perfect time to hike Lake Sorapis and tour the Dolomites. The many latches filling the valleys in October create a stunning hiking atmosphere. Adjust your travel schedule to ensure you get the best out of your tour of Sorapis Lake.

lake sorapis

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What to Pack

Hiking Lake Sorapis is fantastic for adventurers who understand precisely what to carry in their backpacks before their Dolomites vacation. Every hiking destination requires unique equipment depending on the weather, hiking trail, and location. These are worth including in your backpack while packing for your Lago di Sorapiss hike:

  • Hiking Boots: These are a must-have on your hike to Lake Sorapis. While the hike here is moderately challenging, you will sometimes go through narrow sections requiring sturdy boots. Some favorable hiking boot brands to consider packing for your hike include Keen and Columbia.
  • Windbreaker or Rain Jacket: Like most places in Northeastern regions, the Dolomites are cold throughout the year. Mornings are particularly chilly. A rain jacket or a windbreaker comes in handy when hiking to this location.
  • Snacks: Most trailheads to the lake have only a few cafes or eateries, so hikers have limited meal and snack options. Pack your snacks to eat when you get to the lake.
  • Camera: It’s nice to capture the precious moments of your time in Lake Sorapis. A camera will come in handy in making this possible. A smartphone with a decent camera can also help you capture those unforgettable memories at the lake.
  • Travel Map: All the hiking routes to Lake Sorapis are appropriately marked. However, hikers unfamiliar with the hike routes can get lost. Download a travel map to help you understand where to go next.
  • Hiking Poles: People with hiking difficulties or balance issues should carry a hiking pole during their excursion. Some sections of the hiking trail can be tricky, and a hiking pole can save you from straining your legs.

lake sorapis

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Where Can I Stay While Going for a Hike to the Lake?

Travelers can stay where they want during their hiking trip. However, you can always seek accommodation within the nearest town to the lake. Since Cortina is a few minutes away from some of the trailheads, you can stay here as you prepare for your hike to Lago di Sorapiss.

The town has plenty of guesthouses and hotels. The many accommodations available here give hikers easy access to other hikes besides the one to Sorapis Lake. Some great treks around the town include Lago di Braies and Cime di Lavaredo.

Looking for suitable hotel options nearby? These are the best hotels to stay in Cortina:

  • Hotel Olimpia: This family-friendly 3-star hotel is in the middle of Cortina. It offers a delicious breakfast, ideal for tedious, long days of hiking. The hotel is a solid accommodation option for those exploring the Dolomites area through public transportation.
  • Cristallo: Want to tour Lago di Sorapiss and the Dolomites region in style? This luxurious hotel in Cortina is an excellent option. It has stunning grounds, tasty meals, and fantastic views of the mountainous surroundings.
  • Rifugio Vandelli: A night’s stay at the elegant Rifugio Vandelli allows you to catch Lake Sorapis at sunrise. It serves many European-inspired meal options and offers luxurious facilities like a resort and spa.
  • Hotel Rosengarten: This is another family-friendly facility where those preparing for a hike to Lago di Sorapiss can rest. This traditional hotel offers sumptuous three-course meals, including a re-energizing breakfast. From the hotel, you can catch views of the Dolomites.
  • Al Larin Hotel: This hotel is a budget-friendly facility a mile from Cortina. Besides serving great European dishes, the hotel is a quick ride to Lago di Sorapiss. It’s a decent place for travelers relying entirely on public transportation since it’s an easy walking distance to many bus stops.

How Difficult Is It to Hike This Lake?

Lake Sorapis is relatively easy to navigate since most routes don’t present technical difficulties. However, some paths can be steep and rough in some sections. A hiking tour to the lake is unsuitable for people with vertigo and other balance problems because some routes pass through intimidating high sections.

Hiking to Lago di Sorapiss can also be challenging in wintertime. Large snow patches cover the lake and almost all routes to it. Plus, the chilly weather proves terrible to brace while hiking in winter.

sorapiss lake

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Tips for Hiking the Lake

It’s good to understand that Lake Sorapis can differ from other hiking destinations you have previously visited. You must prepare for your upcoming hike and have everything set. These are some hiking tips to help you have an enjoyable excursion to the lake on your Dolomites vacation:

  • Set Off Early: Starting your hike early can help you enjoy the cool morning air. The pine trees along the hiking trails fill the trip with pleasant scents, enticing you to continue moving forward and discover the lake’s beauty. You can also see the peaks of mountains, such as Piz Popena, emerging through the foliage as you walk.
  • Stay Close to the Lake: The closer you get to Lake Sorapis, the more time and convenience you have to plan and enjoy your hike. Consider staying in one of the nearest towns, especially Cortina. With many accommodation options within, you can strive to keep as close to the lake as possible.
  • Opt for a Guided Hike: This is an invaluable tip for newcomers who have yet to go to the Dolomites or Lago di Sorapiss. A guided hike makes sense if you have yet to go to a challenging destination. Guides at this lake are familiar with all trailheads. They will advise you on the shortest and safest trailhead to get there.
  • Always Check the Signs: This tip applies to those driving to Sorapis Lake for the first time. Check the signs directing motorists to the location when driving along unfamiliar trails, lest you miss the direction and get lost entirely.
  • Avoid Crowds: The peak season is the worst time to hike Lake Sorapis. The many activities around the lake bring enormous crowds. You can only visit a few places whenever there are so many people. Hotels, hostels, and guesthouses are packed during the peak season, making accommodation expensive.
  • Walking Around the Lake: Walking around Lago di Sorapiss helps you escape the crowds while providing many photo opportunities. Follow the distinct trail around the lake. You can catch superb views of the surrounding ranges and see places like the Tre Cime on the other side.


Lago di Sorapiss is an ideal hiking destination. Its colorful waters and magical beauty make it a great place to start your Dolomites tour. This wondrous location offers more than you can expect from an ordinary hiking spot.

If you’re planning to head over, Lake Sorapis is a must-visit destination that should be on the top of your hiking list. It will offer you more than just a hiking experience — it will leave you with memories for an eternity.

Caitlin Mueller, an avid writer, embraces the vibrant tapestry of life. With a curious eye, she delves into the intricacies of everyday existence, immersing herself in the bustling world that surrounds her.