Exploring amazing Val di Funes on the Adolf Munkel trail | Hiking in Dolomites #6
In this episode of Hiking in Dolomites we are going to share very easy one-day hike to do in Val di Funes. It is called the Adolf Munkel trail. It is 11 kilometers long, has only 400m of elevation profile and most of the trail goes through the forest with some beautiful rocky views on the surrounding mountains and several wide angle landscapes.
We woke up to a sunny morning in our wild camping spot in the forest where we had a very quiet night. We didn’t have much choice to choose the spot and it appeared to have quite a bad downhill that we felt a lot while sleeping. Also we had some animal visitor once again in the early morning and we heard him scratching the backpack probably trying to sneak out some food from there. We guessed it was a fox again by how quiet it was and once again left fascinated by how well was the smell of a wild animal and no matter how good you hide the food they will feel it in several kilometers of a distance. We knew that we can hang our food somewhere further away from our tent and this would certainly help. But as we weren’t expecting any potentially dangerous animals visiting us we just were lazy to do it.
So we had our quick breakfast and got down to Santa Cristina village to catch the bus to Val di Funes-Refugio Zannes. It took us around an hour of time and we finally were at the place. Right away we started to search for the place to leave our backpacks at and we were lucky enough with one guy from a restaurant who let us store them at the farm house.
So feeling quite light we started this Adolf Munkel trail (that has been named in honor of some soldier). We knew that this trail going to be easier than all the previous ones we did in South Tyrol region due to quite low elevation profile-only 400m and moderately short distance-11 kilometers. Also we had around 5 hours to spare until our bus that we felt like was more than enough for this trail. So we didn’t have to rush anywhere for the first time.
Val di Funes was the new valley to explore for us after Val di Fassa and Val di Gardena and most of the people got attracted to it because of the epic rocky wall that stays on the side of it. It became so popular that when you Google the name Dolomites Val di Funes and this epic views comes out in the first image. So we were quite excited to dedicate some time to explore it. But we already realized that again this view was taken by a drone and so we weren´t expecting it to be the same.
The trail started to go through the gravel dirt car road with a little bit of uphill. It was all surrounded by forest and had a lot of shade. Right away when we got out of the bus, we saw many hikers ready to start their trail too and so we were ready that this trail is going to be quite popular.
On the way we stumbled across the info board stating the things you are not allowed to do in this Puez- Odle natural park and which we then saw in many other places too. There were quite a lot of prohibitions and some of them were more standard like no camping, no fire and no litter, but some of them we have never seen before like do not use the claxon of the bike, do not scream out loud, do not break glass bottles, do not break the rocks and branches of the trees. So they got really detailed there and mentioned everything.
At first there weren’t too many people on the trail with us and we have been enjoying the secluded shaded forest paths and the calmness and silence of the places. It even reminded us some parts of the Tour du Mont Blanc trail we did earlier that year with lots of rocky areas and huge roots of the trees you have to go through. It was very idyllic forest stretch.
The marking of the trail was very good all the way through and it was very difficult to lose the right direction. We barely used our GPS tracker and it felt really nice.
The shaded forest path from time to time was opening to the giant abrupt rocks rising high to the sky and it was an incredible scenery as we were hiking so close to them. The only thing we didn’t get lucky was the light as the rocks were very harshly lighted up by a backlight and were in shadow themselves which was quite bad for photography and filming. So we did think that it would be much better to hike here later in the evening, so to start at 3 pm and finish at around 6pm. As it is not a challenging trail it is quite possible to finish in several hours and get back until the dark. But our bus was at 4 something pm so we didn’t have such possibility unfortunately.
We crossed several little streams and river channels before we got to the first viewpoint of the Odle Sass Rigais. There was quite a lot of open space with wonderful views over the huge Dolomite rocks and some rock falls coming down from it. Also there we could enjoy the amazing scenery of the pine trees growing right from the big rocks and standing up on them. It was really fascinating to see how the nature can find the ways to grow even when there is not enough ground for her.
From this point on we started to meet more and more hikers on the trail. There were people of all ages, some with children and some with dogs and sometimes they were creating a line on both sides of the path and it was hard to get through because of how narrow it was. There were always people behind and in front of us and so we had to wait for them or to run through them which wasn’t really enjoyable. To us it felt too overcrowded and created the hectic atmosphere thus it was ruining the serenity and magic of these beautiful natural places. It was still close to the high summer season and so the solution would be to come here off-season. Also to hike it early in the morning could help too. It was one of the only things we didn’t like about this trail.
We got very lucky with the weather – it being sunny and clear all day long as well as warm comfortable temperature.
We had our little break at one of the picnic tables on the open wide space and for the snack we had the Italian Taralli which were very similar to crispy crackers but were unsalted and thus healthier to eat. It ended up being one of our favorite snacks here in Italy.
From this point of view we could enjoy the scenery of the same mountain range we visited the day before when we ascended the Seceda mountain. We spotted its cable car that was going right to the top of the mountain. And it was crazy to think that we travelled for one hour thinking that we are going much further and end up being almost at the same place. It was amazing to see the same place from a different angle of view and know that we have seen this Val di Funes from above yesterday and it looked very different.
So getting through the rocks and tree roots, we didn’t notice how we have done the half circle of the trail. We didn’t expect it to be that easy and thus we were moving faster than normal. But at the same time we enjoyed having this kind of relaxed and chill out day in a row of the challenging hikes that we have been doing lately.
The flows of people trekking got really crowded and busy while we were coming close to the highest point of the trail Refugio delle Odle. The path started to go through the green mountain plains with lots of cows pasturing on them. There were several wooden cabins and houses offering you food and shelter if needed. Lots of people were taking advantage of it chilling out in the chaise lounges on the side of the hill in the warm sun and having their lunch. It was the place with 360 degree angles of view from where you can see all the mountain ranges from all sides and enjoy the sun.
So we spend half an hour there just breathing the fresh air and being in the moment and started to descend down. We knew that it is going to be quite an easy around 6 km downhill through the forest following the dirt car roads. We met several mountain streams on the way and could enjoy the views of the high rocky mountain tops turning into the pinky colors of the evening light. The trail wasn’t really steep but very gently descending down to the place where we started-refugio Zannes.
There we catched our bus to the city Brixen from where we planned to take a train to the town Brunico where we found a campground to stay in a night or two. Then we were planning to continue hiking in Dolomites and visit a famous attraction Lago di Braies and doing a Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop. So we were excited to explore the different area of Dolomites…
Could you please share the location where did you sleep before the hike (you said wild camping in some forest?)?