Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime Nature Park in South Tirol: The perfect short hike to reenergize in nature

As some of you know, I can really enjoy the outdoors. Getting fresh air in my lungs, exercising, and seeing things out in nature. One of the spots I can now really recommend to do so is the Drei Zinnen in Italy. 

Also known as the Tre Cime Di Laveredo, or just the Three Peaks. And no, it’s not a sequel to Twin Peaks. Though equally as exciting!

What is the Drei Zinnen Nature Park

The Drei Zinnen
The Drei Zinnen

The Drei Zinnen is actually just three peaks in the Eastern part of the Dolomites. The German and Italian names suggest they are battlements. It’s not hard to see why they got the name, as they do look like the medieval peaks on castle walls.

In ye olden days, the Drei Zinnen was the border between Italy and Austria. Though now it is completely on Italian ground. In WWI, it also used to be a region of heavy fighting, so when visiting, you can still encounter some old buildings and monuments.

Recently, it was the ground of a conflict between the Galactic Empire, Han Solo, and Enfys Nest. Of course, this one was just in a movie.

The Names of the Zinnen or Cime

All names are in German and Italian, as the South Tirol region is a bilingual one.

  • Cima Piccola – Kleine Zinna is about 2857m high
  • Cima Granda – Große Zinne is 2999m high
  • Cime Ovest – Westliche zinne is 2973m high

Where is the Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime Nature Park

Drei Zinnen national park

You can find the Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime Nature Park in the eastern part of the Dolomites. Close to Toblach.

Nearby you can find the Skyview Chalets. Another place I can recommend to rest before or after you do the hike of Drei Zinnen. Looking from the terras of your chalet, you can see the starry night. I even saw the Milky Way!

the milky way as seen from South Tirol

About the Drei Zinnen hike

The hike around the Drei Zinnen allows you to have a view of all sides of the battlements. 

The hike is around 9 kilometers long and takes you three hours. However, I recommend you to take more time. You will want to take a lot of pictures along the hike as the view is amazing in all directions!

The lowest point in the hike is at 2169 meters, while the highest is 2451 meters. Still a good 500 meters lower than the peak of the Cima Grande. This makes the height differences of the hike vary by 304 meters.

Hiking at the Drei zinnen
The Drei Zinnen is a lovely place for hikers of all ages

By the way, the best period to go is from April to November. It’s not really recommended to do it during the winter, as it gets freezing and snowy!

My tips for the Drei Zinnen hike

One of the paths around the Drei Zinnen
Some parts go aaaaaall the way down, just to make you go up again

So, from my (one-time) experience, there are some tips I can give you.

The first one is to do the hike in a clockwise direction. This way, you do the hardest part first. With hardest, I mean the part that goes up and down the most. The other part is more ‘flat’ and has better roads for walking on. Of course, you can choose in which direction you do the hike. Just make sure to bring water and snacks for energy with you.

My second tip is to stop halfway at the Drei Zinnen Hut. It’s also a hotel if you really can’t finish the hike. However, you have to book in advance.

The Drei zinnen hut
The Drei Zinnen hut

At the hut, you can have great meals which you can enjoy while looking at the Drei Zinnen. And there is something for everyone. I can recommend the Kaiserschmarrn. It’s a sweet dish similar to pancakes. Only ten times better.

It’s best to pay with cash at the hut, as there is no connection to the outside world. So your card or app won’t work. There is no WiFi either.

What to wear at the Drei Zinnen

Looking around with Swarovski binoculars
Wear layers, also bring binoculars 😉

Like with any hike, there are some clothes you will have to consider. Wear layers, as it can get cold higher up, but also warmer when going down again. 

Some good shoes will definitely help you have a great time. I just wore running shoes I bought on Zalando for 40 euros or so. So don’t go overboard either. 😉

Bring sunscreen too. Maybe a hat or sunglasses might come in handy too.

A code of behavior around the Drei Zinnen

Walking your dog in the mountains
Leash your dogs

During my hike, I had the chance to have a guide. Which, if you can book one, is a real added value to the trail. You learn so much about the parc, the rocks, the plants, and the animals.

During the hike, I asked him some questions on how to behave on the hike. It’s a pretty busy hike, and it’s completely free to enter in your own fashion. Just keep these things in mind:

having lunch on a mountain top
I’ve seen worse lunch places
  • Stay on the trails: don’t go wandering off into nature. This will disturb the animals.
  • Don’t write your name with the stones: There are plenty of places you will see words and names written on white rocks. They actually have to clean those up for cattle to be able to have enough green grass.
  • Take your time; it’s not a race: You will see people doing the hike whilst running, which is perfectly fine. Just don’t try to keep up with them. Do it at your own pace. 
  • Keep your dog leashed: You might not see it, but there is wildlife your dog might want to chase after.
  • Be respectful to nature: it’s why you are there, so make sure you and other can return to it. Let’s all enjoy the quietness of nature.
  • Be quiet: Animals are sensitive, and your noise goes far in the mountains.
  • Try not to use a drone: It’s not forbidden (yet), but it does disturb the wildlife. Remember to be quiet. 😉
  • Please don’t leave any garbage: I’m not sure why I am telling you this; this should be common sense everywhere!

Are you ready to go hiking? Put on those shoes, pack your bag, and GO!

Disclaimer: This article is the result of a press trip by Glenaki and IDM

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