Passo San Pellegrino by bike: discovering the Dolomite passes

Passo San Pellegrino is one of the most well-known Dolomite locations and popular with professional cyclists to get in shape for the key meets of the competitive season. Here they can train in a quiet and familiar environment, enjoying the benefits of staying in the high ground and pure air, among beautiful landscapes. Also, it is just a short ride to reach the primary Dolomite passes – Valles, Rolle, Sella, Campolongo, Pordoi, Flazarego, and Giau – to build muscles and develop the lungs on some of the toughest and, at the same time, famous climbs in all of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.

The best itineraries

In the footsteps of the Champions

Length: 70 km
Number of ascents: 2
Altitude difference: 2000 metres
Maximum slope: 20.6 %
Difficulty: 3 stars

A favourite itinerary of Ivan Basso and other Cannondale Pro Cycling champions during their high altitude retreats in Passo San Pellegrino, it has very challenging stretches, with slopes of more than 12%, but allows you to admire breathtaking views. From Passo San Pellegrino, descend toward Falcade, admiring the Focobon group on the right. At the Passo San Pellegrino/ Passo Valles intersection, turn right and get ready to face Passo Valles (2031 m), to then descend through the famous spruce forests, known as the “violin forests” of the Paneveggio Natural Park. At the intersection, turn right and continue toward Lake Paneveggio, then down passing Bellamonte until you reach Predazzo. At the intersection for Paneveggio, those who are in the best shape can make a small deviation, turning left to face the challenge of Passo Rolle (1984 m). Once at the peak, after admiring the famous Pale di San Martino, head back down the same road and return to the path heading towards Predazzo. From here, head back up the valley to Moena. At Moena, turn right and begin climbing up to San Pellegrino (1919 m).

Legendary Ascents

Length: 90 km
Number of ascents: 2
Altitude difference: 3000 metres
Maximum slope: 18 %
Difficulty: 3 stars

A beautiful panoramic tour that gives you a taste of the primary Dolomite ascents. Starting from Passo San Pellegrino, take a long descent toward Moena. Turn right, heading through Val di Fassa, a long slight slope crossing the most beautiful villages in the valley including Soraga and Vigo di Fassa until you reach Canazei. Here a legendary climb awaits, the Pordoi Pass, about 10 km without impossible slopes, but with a unique charm and scene of the great cycling challenges of the Giro d'Italia. Climb to an altitude of 2239 m before returning to the province of Belluno, then face the descent that leads to the town of Arabba. From here, the itinerary lets you recover your strength.

A descent and plain among green pastures and woods lead through the villages of Livinallongo, Caprile, Alleghe, and Cencenighe. Turn right for the last km of climbing for the day, about 6, which allow you to get to Falcade, where you immediately start to climb towards Passo San Pellegrino, about 8 km with steep slopes that even reach 18%.

Tour 1 Falcade - Passo Valles

An itinerary whose backdrop is some of the most beautiful peaks in the Dolomites linking up pleasant places, an en plein air art gallery and a break for a taste of characteristic, local dishes directly at a mountain dairy. 

The starting point is Falcade, a small town nestling between the imposing rock faces of Focobon and the splendid Val Biois.  We get to an altitude of 1890 metres using the cable car from Molino to Le Buse. Just a few metres from the cable car top station is Bosco degli Artisti, an open air art exhibition showcasing the creative skills of a range of local Val Biois sculptors and painters inspired by the beauty and traditions of the area. It is an around 1 km route in which visitors are invited to discover the various works hidden amongst the trees, step by step.

At the end of this brief walk visitors can stop to admire the Casa delle Api honey farm with its hard working hymenoptera colony of ‘apis mellifera’ to observe the frenetic toing and froing of the forager bees gathering honey in the Dolomites from its rhododendrons, raspberries, wild orchids, thistles, etc. 

Just a short distance away, and still up high, Chalet Le Buse, Malga Le Buse and Rifugio Gigio Picol are great opportunities for a regenerating break with their local specialities.

We continue along the footpath, with minimal altitude gain, to Pian della Sussistenza. Crossing the Passo Valles road takes us to Malga Valles Alto where a zero miles cheese tasting is possible. 

Following the footpath in the direction of Passo Valles takes us to the refuge of the same name, traditionally owned by the Cemin family which will welcome you with the best of the local culinary traditions. Continuing in the Laresei direction, along CAI footpath 658, we pass one of the area’s most panoramic spots, a perfect stop off for an Instagramable photo.  

Downhill now in the direction of Le Buse, the fittest can return to Falcade on CAI footpath 695 with an obligatory stop off at Hotel Dolomiti where you can relax and enjoy its genuine hospitality and experience a moment of authentic contact with local life. 

Overall altitude gain/loss: 500m
Difficulty level: easy
Total km: 9.59 + 1.96 (Laresei variant)

Tour 2 Col Margherita

There is a magical place in which to fall in love with the Dolomites: Col Margherita, an extraordinary natural terrace at 2514 metres in the San Pellegrino Ski Area. It is a breathtakingly beautiful natural stage and the site of the new, panoramic InAlto mountain hut, the starting point for one of the most attractive MTB itineraries.

The starting point is Passo San Pellegrino: cabin lift Col Margherita takes us from 1874 to 2514 m in just 5 minutes. Before getting on our bikes, we enjoy the spectacular views opening up before us: from the south face of the Marmolada to Mt. Pelmo, the majestic Civetta and Pale di San Martino.

Part of the cabin lift upper station, brand new Rifugio InAlto is an ideal break for lunch, a drink or a snack with a view and its wine list includes labels which are the result of truly heroic wine growing. The itinerary begins downhill in the direction of Lago Cavia, crossing over the dam, with landscapes taking in peaks like the south face of Mt. Regina, the Marmolada.

Along the nature footpath opening up to the right we climb up to the Col Margherita cable car and Rifugio InAlto and then return to the valley floor with the cabin lift.

Altitude gain/loss: 440m
Difficulty level: medium
Total km: 5.3 km

Tour 3 Passo San Pellegrino Costabella

Ideal for those who love cycling through places whose history has a capital H. The starting point is Passo San Pellegrino with the Costabella ski lift. Before setting off we recharge our batteries with breakfast at the Snow Thrill bar.  The route begins downhill on vehicle access road number 604. Along the way we pass Rifugio Baita Paradiso and, later, Austrian Great War positions which are visible and in excellent condition giving an insight into one of the most tragic episodes of the twentieth century in the mountains.  The mule track which crosses the moraine deposits of Val Tegnosa takes us to the Fuciade valley, a pleasant spot with a refuge of the same name, surrounded by Mts. Cirelle and Sasso di Valfredda with breathtaking views of Pale di San Martino and Col Margherita.

Cycling through the Val Fredda meadows to Rifugio Flora Alpina, at an altitude of 1860 metres, this is the ideal place for cycling lovers wanting to put themselves to the test on favourites with the champions: this hut has been the starting point for memorable exploits by Ivan Basso, Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan who completed their training here with their teams before winning, respectively, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and the Tour de France’s green jersey.

Continuing through mountain dairies and pastures we reach Passo San Pellegrino, perhaps stopping off at Rifugio Miralago or Chalet Isabella or tasting cheeses made at the San Pellegrino mountain dairy.

Altitude gain/loss: 953m
Difficulty level: medium
Total km: 14.6 km

MTB RENTAL AVAILABLE AT:

Hotels Arnica and Cristallo at Passo San Pellegrino
Scuola sci e snowboard Equipe and the Holiday Sport shop at Falcade

THE MOUNTAIN HUT

If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind place for lunch, a drink or a snack with views, the new InAlto mountain hut, part of the Col Margherita cable car upper station, is the place for you.  InAlto is the ideal place for a gourmet break at high altitude. Its cuisine is local food given a modern twist and its extensive wine list includes labels which are the fruit of heroic, high altitude winemaking. With its large panoramic windows, the hut offers views of some of the main Dolomite peaks: the south face of Mt. Marmolada, Mt. Pelmo, majestic Mt Civetta and Pale di San Martino.