Cadini del Brenton is a breathtaking series of cascading pools fed by crystal-clear waters in the bosom of the Italian Dolomites.
Easy to reach via an undemanding hike, you will find them a short drive away from the city of Belluno in the Northern Italian region of the Veneto.
The Cadini del Brenton are beautiful to visit for a family-friendly nature walk and picnic. Plus, they come with the added bonus of being near the Cascate della Soffia and Lago del Mis. The first is a stunning waterfall and the second is an artificial lake with sparkling turquoise waters. You can visit all three in about two hours max or choose to spend half a day or a whole day picnicking near them.
If you have ever dreamed of seeing the Italian Dolomites and yet, for one of many reasons, you are not prepared to do a challenging hike over many hours, the Cadini del Brenton, the Cascate della Soffia, and Lake Mis could be just the right destination.
I spent a lovely summer day visiting all three during a weekend trip to Belluno. It was an incredibly hot month of August and we had escaped to the Dolomites in search of fresh air and forest shadow. The Cadini del Brenton and the area around them turned out to be just the perfect place. Very easy to reach, so beautiful to look at, and providing enough variety to keep us entertained for hours, it was one of our best nature experiences during the six years that we spent living in Italy.
So, in this blog post today, I want to share with you some helpful information and first-hand tried and tested tips about visiting the Cadini del Brenton, the Cascate della Soffia, and Lake Mis in the Dolomites. I hope that it will come in handy when you are looking for an easy and pleasant nature experience for yourself and your family in this beautiful corner of Italy.
Have a look!
Cadini del Brenton and Cascate della Soffia – An Easy Hike Near Lake Mis in the Dolomites, Italy
Before we start in earnest, I need to emphasise that all the information herewith is entirely based on my personal experience. I don’t and can’t guarantee that you will have the same experience yourself. This is not professional, exclusive advice. Just personal experiences and suggestions shared without any obligation to you and any expectations from you.
What are the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
The Cadini del Brenton are 15 potholes shaped by evorsion – erosion due to vortices of water. In simple words, these are circular and oval pools excavated in a series of steep rocky steps by the waters of the stream Brenton. Waterfalls cascade from one pothole down into the next. This creates a very pleasing constant water babble.
An easy hiking path leads up to the Cadini del Brenton. A wooden bridge is placed across around the mid-point of the potholes. This way you can see several of them from above and admire the cascading design created by nature. The path continues down alongside the potholes and incorporates several steps. At the bottom of the Cadini del Brenton, a second wooden bridge takes you back across them and the hiking path – again with steps at several points along its length – scales the slope back up to the first wooden bridge.
The Cascate della Soffia is a fast and furious waterfall under a kilometre away from the Cadini del Brenton. You can easily walk there, first following a paved road and then a very pretty path through the forest. From this path, you can also see the turquoise waters of the artificial Lake Mis.
The Cascate della Soffia is 15 m high. There is a wooden platform above it. It allows you to admire the waterfall right at the point where the water hurls forward into the abyss. The forest path then takes you upstream so that you can see the pool with crystal clear waters that feed the waterfall.
Where are the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
The Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia are in the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites. The Belluno Dolomites are part of the enormous Dolomite mountains in Italy.
You will find the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia less than half an hour away by car from Belluno – one of the major cities in the Northern Italian region of the Veneto. The Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia are in Val del Mis – the long canyon-like valley of the river Mis. They are on the territory of Sospirolo – a municipality in the Province of Belluno – and about 30 km away from Feltre – a beautiful hilltop town which is also part of the same province.
If you are spending a few days in the Veneto and have a car at your disposal, according to Google Maps you can reach the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia:
- from Venice in about 1 h 30 mins to 2 h 10 mins on average;
- from Verona in about 2 h 20 mins to 3 h 10 mins on average;
- from Padua in about 1 h 50 mins to 2 h 30 mins on average;
- from Treviso in about 1 h 20 mins to 1 h 50 mins on average; and
- from Vicenza in about 1 h 50 mins to 2 h 30 mins on average.
Heavy traffic on weekends and during the high season stretches the travelling times.
Spending the night in Belluno or Feltre is a great idea. This will make travelling times more manageable. It will also give you a chance to explore the Dolomites a bit more and maybe even do another hike. The Grotta Azzurra di Mel is a great nearby hiking destination.
How to Hike to the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
The distance from Belluno to the Cadini del Brenton is just under 20 km. Depending on the day and traffic, you will need between 25 and 30 mins to drive there. Just punch ‘Cadini del Brenton’ in Google Maps or the navigation app you are using and the directions are easy to follow.
Towards the end of the journey, you will see the turquoise Lake Mis on your right-hand side. The road (Strada Provinciale 2) will then take you across a bridge over a wide pebbly river. Straight after the bridge, there is a parking lot on your right-hand side. Leave your car there, cross the bridge back on foot and you will see the start of the hiking path to the Cadini del Brenton.
There is a small wooden hut manned by the representatives of the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites. Please, note that on certain days during the high season there is a small charge to pay here in order to access the path (it’s free for kids up to 14 years of age).
The ticket also gives you access to the adjacent botanical garden Campanula Morettiana – a small place where you can see the plants and flowers typical for the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites. In fact, the garden carries the Latin name of the flower symbol of the park – the Dolomites bellflower.
When the wooden hut is closed, there is no charge to pay and the path can be accessed free of charge. This official page explains in detail which are the paid-for days and times. It’s in Italian, so you can use Google Translate to get the gist of the information.
The path from the wooden hut to the first bridge of the Cadini del Brenton is wide, easy to walk on and with only a small elevation. It’s about a km long and it takes about 15-20 mins to cover.
Once you have walked around the actual potholes – by crossing the bridges and remaining on the path as described under the heading ‘What Are the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?’ above – you retrace your steps back to the wooden hut, then across the road bridge and back to the car park.
Once at the car park, you need to walk up the paved road that starts from it and leads you to a small eaterie called Osteria della Soffia. It serves an unpretentious menu of panini and platters with local salumi and cheeses. The food is simple yet delicious. The eaterie is very popular in summer, so you may need to wait for a table and service but it’s all done with a smile, so it’s quite pleasant just hanging around waiting for your food.
The path to the Cascate della Soffia starts from this osteria. It first leads you to a magnificent viewpoint offering gorgeous panoramas of Lake Mis.
It then enters the forest and it’s very pleasant to walk on it in the shadow of the trees. It only takes minutes to reach the waterfall.
What Do You Need to Hike to the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
Hiking shoes with a good grip are always a good idea. The hiking paths are wide, flat, and with a very small elevation. Yet, wearing appropriate hiking shoes that don’t slip is paramount when out and about in nature.
Comfortable clothes will make your hiking experience so much more enjoyable and safe.
In addition, bring water and, if you want, some light snacks or a packed lunch. Next to the wooden hut at the start of the hiking path to the Cadini del Brenton, there are picnic tables. Also, many people picnic on the shore of the river Mis right next to the car park.
On a sunny day, suncream is advised. A bug repellent may come in handy, too.
For helpful tips on how to prepare for a hike in Italy, please, read this interview with an expert hiker.
Who Is the Hike to the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia Suitable for?
In principle, the hike to the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia is suitable for hikers with full mobility. The paths are wide, flat, and with a very small elevation. Yet, there are steps at numerous spots along the track.
Caution should be exercised when crossing the road bridge over the River Mis from the car park to the starting point of the hike to the Cadini del Brenton.
The Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia are a very popular destination on sunny days. Usually, you will never be too far away from other people on the path, especially during the high season.
When Is the Best Time to Hike to the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
On a nice and sunny day! This way you will enjoy the best views of the Cadini del Brenton’s potholes and waterfalls. Avoid doing the hike on days with reduced visibility and/or bad weather.
Also, according to the official information provided by the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites, the hike should be done only between March and November.
What Rules Need to Be Observed at the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
The most important rules are:
- Swimming in the potholes of the Cadini del Brenton is strictly forbidden.
- Sunbathing next to the potholes of the Cadini del Brenton is also not allowed.
- In principle, you must not leave the paths and you shouldn’t go beyond the fences and railings that have been put up.
In addition, there are billboards placed along the paths advising strictly against littering, picking flowers, camping, disturbing the animals, driving on the footpaths, rafting, making noise, lighting fires, motor flying, and hunting. Dogs should be kept on a leash at all times.
According to the onsite billboards, fishing, mushroom picking, horse riding, mountain biking, gliding, and boating are regulated activities.
My Personal Experience of Hiking to the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia
I had a great experience spending the day together with my family at the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia in the Italian Dolomites.
For us, it was a bit of a last-minute decision to head there. It had been a very hot and suffocating month of August. The temperatures in the city of Vicenza, Italy where we were living at the time had left us craving a bit of cool air and forest shadow.
So, one Saturday afternoon we jumped in the car and drove to Belluno – a lovely city in the Dolomites – to spend the night there. The day after, we wanted to make the most of being close to nature. We found a mention of the Cadini del Brenton online and didn’t need any convincing to head there.
The short drive took us first past a large historic charterhouse – Certosa di San Marco di Vedana. We stopped to see if it was open for visits. We could hear the choir singing mass and as all doors were closed, we decided not to disturb the congregation and continued driving.
The drive from Belluno was short and pleasant. In under half an hour, we had reached the long and narrow Lago del Mis. This artificial lake has the most stunning turquoise waters. A long grassy beach ran along the lake and a helicopter was parked a little bit further away.
Curious, we stopped to see what was going on. As it turned out, there had been a forest fire high on the steep rocks overlooking the lake. We saw the helicopter fly in the air, then scoop water from the lake, fly next to the summit of the rocky peak and dump the water on the smouldering trees. The fire had already been extinguished and the situation was under control.
We also noticed that although there were quite a few people sunbathing on the grassy beach, no-one was swimming in the lake. We were told that swimming is strictly not allowed in Lake Mis. Its waters are incredibly cold and entering them it’s not safe.
We continued for a couple more minutes and reached the parking area for the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia visit. The hike to the potholes was beautiful and so refreshing. It felt so nice being in the forest, surrounded by lush vegetation.
We came across this large boulder. From a particular angle, it looked just like the face of a troll. It truly felt like we were in an enchanted forest.
The potholes and their waterfalls were so beautiful! We walked around them, admiring their crystal-clear green waters.
The only thing which made quite a negative impression on me was the number of people who ignored the express instructions not to leave the path and not to clamber on the rocks next to the potholes. Apparently, in the not too distant past, swimming in the potholes was not forbidden. However, this is not the case now. Still, there were people who would clamber over the railings, walk around the potholes, sit there, and even dip their feet in the water.
I totally understand the wanting to have a dip in these absolutely beautiful potholes. However, nature and rules need to be respected. Slipping on the wet rocky surface is a potential hazard and also contaminating the water can be an issue, too. You also need to think that these potholes had been created by vortices, so it could potentially be quite dangerous to find yourself in the rocky pool with the vortex created by the waterfall that feeds it.
We then retraced our steps back to the car park and once there, we followed the road up to the Osteria della Soffia. We had a light lunch of panini followed by a nice strudel. It was so nice to simply sit there, eating this simple yet delicious meal.
A purple flowering bush next to us seemed to be a butterfly central. We counted over twenty butterflies on one of its branches, all seemingly enraptured by the blossoms’ nectar.
A tiny chapel stands next to the Osteria della Soffia. In front of it, there is a great spot to look out at Lake Mis surrounded by the steep peaks of the Dolomites.
A short walk following the forest path and we could see the thundering Cascate della Soffia. Standing on the wooden platform and seeing the water rush down into the abyss made my pulse race with fear and excitement.
The path continued a little bit further up to where the calm waters that feed the waterfall flow and collect between large boulders. Once again, and in spite of the railings in place, a young man had jumped over them trying to take better photos of the waterfall. A photo, definitely, is not worth the risk. I stood firmly behind the railings and zoomed in on the waterfall with my telephoto lens instead.
We rounded off the afternoon with a small picnic on the shores of the River Mis – the large pebbly river right by the car park. Numerous Italian families were picnicking next to us with some of them barbecuing whole feasts. The river bed was almost dry, with narrow cold rivulets running fast past us. It was such a pleasure to sit on the shore of the river and feel the coldness of the water on your feet and hands.
It was now late in the afternoon and time to head back to Vicenza. We stopped for a coffee and dessert in the small trattoria opposite Lake Mis. There was live music in full swing, a great adventure playground for kids, and lots of people having a nice and relaxed Sunday.
All in all, visiting the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia in the Italian Dolomites was a great experience!
What Else to Do in the Vicinity of the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia?
There are many hiking trails crisscrossing the Natural Park of the Belluno Dolomites. Of varying degree of difficulty, they allow you to explore many local sights and curious places like the abandoned village of Gena Alta and the Pisson Waterfall.
You can also spend time in Belluno. Its historic centre stretches on top of a steep hill offering stunning views of the peaks of the Dolomites. There are many museums and places of interest in this beautiful city of the Veneto.
The hilltop town of Feltre is another must-see destination in the area. Its tall frescoed houses and its stone central piazza are like plucked from a Renaissance fairytale. Next to Feltre, you can also visit the 11th-century Monastery of the Saints Vittore and Corona – a beautiful and peaceful place!
From the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia, you can also easily reach several picturesque spots in the Italian province of Trentino. Paneveggio – also known as the Violins’ Forest – is a great destination here, as well as the ski resort San Martino di Castrozza and Mezzano which officially is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The Cadini del Brenton is a series of 15 beautiful potholes connected by cascading waterfalls. You will find them in the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites in Italy. To reach them, you need to do a short hike which is suitable for hikers of all ages.
Near the Cadini del Brenton, you can also visit the Cascate della Soffia – a fast and furious waterfall – as well as Lago del Mis – an artificial lake with turquoise waters.
The above blog post gives you extensive details about the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia near Lake Mis in the Italian Dolomites. Information about hiking to them is provided from a first-hand tried and tested perspective. Many photos are included, too in order to give you a good visual idea of what to expect.
I hope that all this carefully organised information will galvanise you to experience the Cadini del Brenton and the Cascate della Soffia for yourself as soon as this is safely possible.
Enjoy hiking in the Dolomites!
More Helpful Hiking Info for You
Hiking in Italy: Practical Tips
Family-Friendly Walks and Hikes: Part 1 and Part 2
Dolomites: Grotta Azzurra di Mel, Paneveggio – the Violins’ Forest
Little Dolomites: Path of the Big Trees
Lake Garda: Rocca di Garda, Campo di Brenzone, Tibetan Bridge
Veneto: Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Parco delle Cascate and Molina, Grotte del Caglieron
Vicenza: Dante’s Hill, Six Super Easy Nature Hikes, Lake Fimon
More Helpful Italy Info for You
Northern Italy: 18 Best Cities to Visit
Veneto: Best Cities to Visit, Top 15 Places, 30 Adventures, 15 Most Colourful Places
Best of Italy: Italian Piazzas, Italian Food, Italian Markets, Italian Coffee Culture
Lake Garda: Best Towns, Nearest Airports, Travel Options, Lake Garda with Kids
Lake Como: Things to See
Venice: Hidden Gems, Boats in Venice, Day Trips from Venice
Verona: Things to Do in One Day, Day Trips from Verona
Padua: Things to Do in One Day, 101 Facts About Padua, 10 Reasons to Visit Padua, Day Trips from Padua
Vicenza: Things to Do, Day Trips from Vicenza
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