The hike to Lake Sorapis is one of the most spectacular hikes in the Dolomites and an absolute highlight of Veneto, the neighboring region of South Tyrol. However, in our opinion, the real highlight is not the lake itself, but the way to get there. The hiking trail to Lago di Sorapis leads not only through the forest but also along steep slopes and with views of the mountains of the Dolomites, which is truly unique.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Lake Sorapis in the Dolomites
Lake Sorapis is located just 12 km from Cortina d’Ampezzo and is famous for the turquoise color of its crystal clear waters. The water that feeds this lake comes from a nearby glacier and reaches a large rocky sill through an underground path from where it flows into the towering waterfall “il Piss”. This waterfall is also the name giver for the Sorapis lake (Sora el Piss = above the Piss).
The Hike to Lago di Sorapis
How to get to the Starting Point of Lake Sorapis
The start of the hike to Lago di Sorapis is located on Passo Tre Croci. There is no official parking lot for hikers, but you can park directly on the road (Google Maps link). If there is no space left on the road, only 200 meters to the west is the Hotel Passo Tre Croci Cortina with a huge free parking lot. However, this is in a disastrous condition and has potholes as big as car tires. We would therefore recommend parking on the road.
Our Experiences on the Lago di Sorapis Hike
The trail to Lago di Sorapis starts out quite friendly with wide trails through the dense forest. However, after only a kilometer, the trail crosses the boulder field of a dry riverbed, and after that, the trail climbs steadily. The path becomes more and more varied and every now and then you catch a glimpse of the valley to your left, which seems to be lined with millions of conifers. Lush green wherever you look.
From now on the trail becomes steeper and steeper and we start to sweat for the first time and take small breaks. It doesn’t take much longer and we reach the place where the trail seems to cling to the mountain along steep slopes.
The Steep Slopes
We had read about this part of the trail before, but we never thought that it would be so dangerous and at the same time so beautiful. On the way there, you have the steep face to your right and the abyss to your left, and mostly a view of the valley for miles, with fir trees stretching up into the sky as far as you can see. This is the beautiful part of this section of the hike.
The dangerous or at least very demanding part is the narrow path with the abyss right next to you and a steel rope on the right side to secure yourself. But in some places this safety rope is also missing. And if you are careless or slip because it becomes slippery due to rain on the often rocky path, then you inevitably fall into the depths. Not a very nice idea.
But if you get used to walk here very carefully, especially with small children or dogs, then you can enjoy this path very much. Even if you often have to wait with oncoming traffic, because in particularly narrow places no 2 people fit next to each other.
Finally arrived at the Lake
After almost 2 hours we finally arrived at the destination of the hike. Still a small hill to cross and already the lake reveals itself before us. It is cloudy, but still this mountain lake looks very impressive to us. After the strenuous hike we send our dog Aaro in the water to cool down.
After some time we walk along the shore of the lake and look for a nice place where we are alone and can strengthen ourselves for the way back. It is also possible to walk on a narrow path once around the complete Lake Sorapis, but we are still too tired from the way there.
If you want to visit more lakes in South Tyrol here is an overview of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites.
Way back in the Rain
After about an hour we leave the Sorapis lake and start the difficult way back home. Suddenly it starts to rain heavily. We don’t find the small cooling at all bad, but nevertheless the rocky way becomes partly so slippery by the rain that we have to be careful like hell not to slip.
But then the sun comes out and we can experience a beautiful rainbow that forms a complete semicircle in the valley next to us. A real wow moment and a great end to a special day of hiking.
Important Tips for the Lake Sorapis Hike
Is the Hike to Lago di Sorapis worth it?
For us, the hike to lake Sorapis was one of the highlights of our trip through the Dolomites. We also found the hike itself more beautiful than the actual destination, Lake Sorapis. But I guess everyone sees that differently. In any case, we recommend every vacationer in the Dolomites or in South Tyrol to do this hike.
Is it possible to get directly to Lake Sorapis by car?
No, it is not possible to get directly to the lake by car or in any other way. The only possibility is to hike from Passo Tre Croci.
Hiking Lago di Sorapis with Dog & Kids
Often the hike to the Lago of Sorapis is described as a family-friendly hike for kids. However, we can not confirm this at all. We found the hike with its many rocky, slippery and also close to the abyss lying paths as quite dangerous. There are mostly safety ropes at the dangerous places, but not everywhere. And especially when it was wet, some places could be extremely slippery.
We had some problems with our lively dog already and with several small children it could be difficult. If your children or dogs are experienced climbers and hikers then there should be no problems. But be prepared for a challenging hike in some places.
Is the Sorapis Lake hiking trail easy to walk?
As indicated in the chapter above, we did not find the hike easy. On the one hand, this was due to the almost 500 meters in altitude that have to be overcome and also due to the very narrow and slippery places on the steep slope. Nevertheless, the hike is super varied and one of the coolest we have done so far.
Is it allowed to swim in Lake Sorapis?
Unfortunately we have to say no. Bathing is prohibited to protect nature. We wouldn’t recommend it either, because the water is really cold. By the way, there is no problem with dogs and our Aaro visibly enjoyed the bath in the cool glacier water after the long hike.
The Refuge Vandelli
Directly at the lake, by the way, there is also a hut where you can get drinks and snacks in the high season. WiFi is also supposed to be available here. However, we have not tried this.
When is the Best Time for hiking the Lago di Sorapis?
We arrived at the starting point of the Sorapis Lake hike only at noon due to a slightly longer journey and started walking around 12 o’clock. And at this time, most of the tourists already met us. Hardly anyone walked with us or even overtook us.
We were really surprised how many other tourists came towards us. Therefore, our recommendation is not to start running early in the morning, otherwise you will probably arrive at the lake with a large crowd. In the afternoon we were of course not alone, but there were much less people on site than in the morning and so we had a much nicer experience.