From San Candido to the trailhead and finally taking your first steps on AV4, what I’ve recommended in this post is a pseudo-“day 0” with just 90min of hiking that will perfectly set you up for trek to come.
Rather than spending the night in San Candido before starting AV4 (I begrudgingly paid 230€ for one of the last rooms available, ugh), this day 0 still gives you plenty of time to arrive from neighbouring towns or even countries by bus/train, grab lunch and snacks in San Candido, and then walk or catch the bus to the trailhead with absolutely no hurry. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a stress-free early start to day 1 that allows time for TWO excellent via ferrata!
*If you have no intention of climbing either via ferrata on day 1, then you may wish to hike all the way out to Rifugio Locatelli (a further 3hrs) and combine day 0 as it’s described here with the standard AV4 stages described in my day 1 post.
This comprehensive guide to Day 0 of Alta Via 4 contains detailed section times, route recommendations, adventurous side trips, via ferrata, and heaps of insider tips— use it to plan your hike & then refer back on the trail so you always know what to expect!
For a complete Alta Via 4 planning guide, check out this post: COMING SOON
Alta Via 4: Day 0 overview
- Trail hours: 1.5hrs (+45min if walking from San Candido)
- Distance: 6km
- Elevation gain & loss: 350m up
- Huts: Rifugio Tre Scarperi
San Candido to AV4 (bus)
The official start to AV4 is just outside of San Candido, behind the Alte Säge restaurant as you drive towards Sexto. You can walk here in about 45min from town, but it’s entirely on pavement and without a great footpath, so it’s preferable to just hop on a quick bus.
Bus 446 leaves every half hour just below the gondola station in San Candido and will deliver you within a few metres of the trailhead— get off after 2 stops (tickets 1.5€ payable on board).
Alte Säge to Rifugio Tre Scarperi (1.5hrs)
AV4 officially begins on a pleasant, shaded trail through the forest, ascending around 350m over the course of 6km en route to Rifugio Tre Scarperi. It’s a slow and steady start to the more serious hiking to come, and a pleasant way to settle into your rhythm!
There are several parallel paths along the river and it doesn’t much matter which you take— they all seem to rejoin and disconnect constantly as you make your way to the hut. Don’t worry too much about the GPS here, all roads lead to Rome!
The last section of the walk brings you through a carpark (technically you could have been dropped off all the way up here, but where’s the fun in that) and then out into the Campo di Dentro Valley, where Rifugio Tre Scarperi sits with a dramatic view of Monte Mattina.
Night 0: Rifugio Tre Scarperi
So close to the trailhead, you’ll find very few AV4 itineraries that recommend staying overnight at Rifugio Tre Scarperi— but as I advocated previously, this functions very well as a “day 0”, perfectly setting you up for a massive and adventure-filled day 1.
And I actually really enjoyed Rifugio Tre Scarperi, with its balcony views of Monte Mattina and an excellent 3-course dinner that finished with a large serving of berry and lemon gelato. It also has one of the better breakfast spreads I’ve seen at any of the 16 huts I’ve stayed at! Reserve Rifugio Tre Scarperi using their online booking system.
*I only had the idea for “day 0” while hiking AV2 in the week prior, so by the time I went to reserve the Rifugio Tre Scarperi, it was fully booked on their website. I asked to be placed on a waiting list but never heard back— boldly, I hiked in anyway and found that there was PLENTY of room! People do cancel and I even suspect that most Rifugi set aside a couple spots for walk-ups, so don’t be discouraged if the hut claims to be full online. Especially if you’re 1 or 2 people, chances are they’ll have space for you!
- Rooms: 25/30/35€ (smaller/larger dorm/double)
- Food: 65/70/75€ half board (includes 25€ 3-course dinner and 15€ brekky); great selection of food, wine, beer!
- Showers: 3€ for 5min
- Connectivity: None
- Alpine club discount: -10€ half board
RIFUGIO GUIDE COMING SOON
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