The Path of the Big Trees or Il Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi as it’s known in Italian is a beautiful and easy hike in the Little Dolomites in Northern Italy.
When you have spent too much time cooped inside, doing this hike is a great way to reconnect with nature and to smoothly slide back into the habit of walking and burning energy.
I walked the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi on a sunny afternoon a few days ago and I fell in love with it.
Let me tell you!
It doesn’t matter if you are new to hiking or an experienced walker! This path is very easy and perfectly suitable for people of any age and new to hiking. At the same time, it offers soul-inspiring views along the way to entice even expert hikers.
You will find the hike of the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi in the Little Dolomites. This is an arch-shaped mountain range with lush forests and meadows at the foot of rocky peaks reaching a height of just over 2,000 m. The hike is within an easy reach from the Northern Italian cities of Vicenza, Padua, and Verona.
So, if you are looking for an easy, family-friendly, and stunningly beautiful hike in the northern Italian region of the Veneto in order to enjoy a relaxed day out, look no further. The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi ticks all the boxes.
In this blog post, I will share with you extensive information about how to do this hike. From specific location and parking options to first-hand tried and tested tips on what else to see and do in the area, everything is covered.
Walking the Path of the Big Trees – An Easy Hike in the Little Dolomites in Northern Italy
What is the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi?
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi (or the Path of the Big Trees in English) is an easy and beautiful hike in the Little Dolomites in the region of the Veneto in Northern Italy. It owes its name to the multitude of trees that grow along the path. Many of them are centuries-old with linden, beech, and ash trees particularly well-represented.
The Little Dolomites are a mountain range with dramatic rocky peaks reaching just over 2,000 m in height. At their foot, lush meadows and forests abound. The landscape is pretty as a picture and the mountains form an uninterrupted arch on the horizon making you feel safely ensconced in the bosom of nature.
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi starts from Recoaro Mille – a ski resort near the town of Recoaro Terme in the Province of Vicenza in the Veneto. It then stretches through 16 places in the Plateau of Montagnole which is considered the most beautiful plateau in the Little Dolomites.
The hike can be divided into two parts:
- from Recoaro Mille (Point 1 on the map) to the locality of Casare Asnicar (between points 8 and 9 on the map) – this portion of the hike runs along the tarmacked road. The road goes through some lovely forests and it is very pretty but you will walk right next to passing cars for just under 4 km one way. So, instead of parking at Recoaro Mille, you can drive all the way to Casare Asnicar and leave your car at one of the two car parks there to start on the actual hiking path.
- from Casare Asnicar (between points 8 and 9 on the map) to the mountain shelter Rifugio Cesare Battisti alla Gazza (last place on the map) – a wide and well-maintained unpaved road runs through meadows and forests, past small dairy farms and tiny ponds. It’s very pleasant and easy to walk and it’s about 6 km long one way.
The hike is not circular. You walk out the same way that you walked in. This means that you can do as much of the hike as you want and then turn around.
The elevation is just under 300 m and the height above sea level varies from 1,000 to 1,280 m. In general, the path is flat and easy to navigate with only the occasional gentle to very slightly taxing slope here and there.
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is very well-signposted. Large informational boards are placed along the track and give you details about the local flora and fauna, the geological properties of the land, and the story of the local small dairy farms (called malga in Italian). A special emphasis is given to the different varieties of trees that grow here and after which the path is named.
How to Reach the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi?
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is in the northern Italian region of the Veneto and it is within an easy reach from the following large cities here:
- Vicenza – approx 1 h
- Bassano del Grappa – approx 1 h 10 mins
- Padua – approx 1 h 25 mins
- Verona – approx 1 h 30 mins
As the Little Dolomites are on the border between the Veneto and Italy’s Autonomous Province of Trentino, you can also reach the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi from:
If you punch Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi in Google Maps, the navigation system will take you straight to Casare Asnicar where the second portion of the hike starts (see above). If you want to start the hike from the very beginning, please punch either Recoaro Mille or Pizzegoro in your navigation system.
Casare Asnicar is a small hamlet of stone houses with traditional for the area steep roofs. There are two car parks there. The bigger one is right before the hamlet and the other is right after you have passed by the hamlet. Both car parks are very convenient.
Keep an eye out for this informational board. It pinpoints the lay-by leading to the larger car park right before the hamlet of Casare Asnicar. If you park in the other car park, then you will need to walk a couple of hundred meters back up to this same informational board to commence the hike.
What Do You Need to Hike the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi?
Hiking shoes with a good grip are always a must. Comfortable clothes will make your hiking experience so much more enjoyable.
As the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is very easy to navigate, you don’t need any specialised hiking equipment. However, please, put comfort and safety in terms of shoes and clothing above all.
Bring water and snacks/packed lunch. Some of the dairy farms along the path are open and sell refreshments to the passing tourists. Still, it’s best to be prepared with water and food rather than be left disappointed if it so happens that nothing is open on the day you are there.
For tips on how to prepare for a hike in Italy, please, read this interview with an expert hiker.
Who is the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi Suitable For?
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is suitable for hikers of all abilities. Families with children will find the hike’s second part from Casare Asnicar to Gazza particularly attractive as there are several meadows for kids to run in and burn energy and the path is very easy and pleasant to follow.
Be aware of nettles. There are quite a few nettle patches along the way.
The path is also beloved by joggers, nordic walkers, and mountain bikers. Quite a few mountain bikers use the path so you will need to keep safely away when they pass on their bicycles. You can hear them coming from afar and as the path is quite wide at all stages, it’s easy to step away to the edge for a moment or two.
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is very popular. While it is not overrun with people and for most of the time you will be enjoying complete peace and quiet, usually, you will never be too far away from other people.
When Is the Best Time to Hike the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi?
Spring, summer, and autumn are the best seasons to head to the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi in the Veneto, Italy.
In winter, there is a danger of avalanches, so, please, don’t attempt the hike then.
My Personal Experience Hiking the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi was the first hike we did once Phase 2 of the fight against Covid-19 kicked in here in Italy.
After two months spent cooped at home, we were desperate for a nice nature walk and I spent days agonising over where to go so as to have a wonderful open-air experience. The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi had been on my Veneto’s travel wish list since before the social isolation had started. After looking at many other different hikes, we finally decided to do this one and I am glad we did as it turned out to be just perfect on so many accounts.
The weather was nice and sunny. The drive there from Vicenza took exactly an hour and was very smooth. Even the many uphill curves in the last twenty minutes in the car didn’t put a dampener on my mood. Plus, when we arrived, we discovered the two parking areas next to Casare Asnicar, so parking was easy, too.
Yes, we did the second portion of the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi. As pointed above, the first portion runs along the tarmacked road and I didn’t want to be worried about us walking close to the passing cars. I am an anxious mother and wanted my child to be able to run around without fear of cars. Hence, we drove through the first portion of the hike and walked the second portion.
The views all along the path were fantastic. From small dairy farms – called malga in Italian – that are so typical for Italy’s mountains to large centuries-old trees, from beautiful wildflowers in full bloom to tiny ponds, there was something at every step to catch our eye and delight us with its beauty and whimsicality.
We stopped often just to look around, to enjoy the view, to observe a small plant here, a babbling brook there. And above it all stood the craggy peaks of the Little Dolomites – majestic in the sun. We could see tiny patches of snow obstinately clinging to them here and there.
Towards the end of the walk, we came across a small peat bog – apparently the only one in the Little Dolomites.
There were quite a few people on the path, too. As per current regulations, we could hike freely provided we had masks that we had to have on our faces in the vicinity of other people. We also had to observe social distance.
It was a bit unusual to hike with a mask on but the feeling of being outside, surrounded by nature was more than worth it.
Most of the time, we were on our own on the path and we could pull the masks underneath our chins. As soon as a person or a group of people would appear around a bend, we all would pull our masks back on. Everyone would greet each other in passing. This was very nice and helped me get over the fear that I had developed of other people during the weeks of social isolation that we lived through.
All in all, hiking the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi was a great experience! It was an easy hike to help us kickstart getting back into a bit of shape and into the half-forgotten mentality that the weekends are to be spent outside surrounded by nature.
The only moment of drama occurred when my left eye happened to be in the flight path of a sizeable insect. After a minute of growing panic and manic blinking, I managed to make myself cry and the insect (or, sadly, what was left of it) reappeared from underneath my eyelid dragged out by a teardrop. All the while, around me, my family was shouting imperative instructions:
‘Water! You need to rinse it off with water!’
Gosh! There may be only three of us but we all like to give instructions and we seem to be convinced that whoever shouts them louder definitely gets to be in charge.
My only regret that glorious day (apart from feeling sorry for the poor insect!) is that we missed a small lake which is just off the track of the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi.
Called Sea del Risso, it’s, apparently, a very pretty and neat lake in the forest. The small path that leads to it branches off the main track and, unfortunately, it’s not signposted.
In any case, we were so absorbed in just walking and looking at the mountains, talking and taking photos that we completely forgot about this small lake. Instead, we saw a couple of other tiny ponds closer to the track and enjoyed the choir of frogs that was busy singing in one of them.
What Else to Do in the Vicinity of the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi?
The area of the Little Dolomites is very beautiful and offers many options for a lovely day out in the vicinity of the Sentiero del Grandi Alberi. Here are a few ideas for your interest:
- Recoaro Terme – a lovely Italian town famous for its thermal waters. About 15 mins away by car.
- Montagna Spaccata – a gorge with weirs and waterfalls where you can go for a nice walk and scale a metal ladder to get up close to the beautiful views of the falling waters. Less than 20 mins away by car.
- Schio – a small town where you can learn about Italy’s industrial archaeology. In the 19th century, Schio was the capital of Italy’s textile production. Nowadays, there are many vestiges of this glorious industrial past to explore in and around Schio. From gardens and buildings erected by the textile producers to provide optimal lifestyle conditions for their workers to a yearly festival held in Schio each October building on the town’s textile roots and industrial connections to England. About 35 mins away by car.
- Oasi Rossi (no relation to me) – a recreation park with a butterfly house on the outskirts of the small town of Santorso. A great place for kids and families. About 40 mins away by car.
The Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is an easy hike in the Little Dolomites in the northern Italian region of the Veneto.
Within an easy reach from the cities of Vicenza, Padua, and Verona, the path offers splendid mountainous views and it curves and turns through lush forests and meadows dotted with wildflowers.
If you are looking for a family-friendly hike in the Veneto, the Sentiero dei Grandi Alberi is a great option. The above blog post outlines all the details that you’ll need to do this hike. I hope that you will find it useful and that you will fall in love with this hike just like I did.
More Helpful Links for Nature Walks, Fabulous Hikes and Unforgettable Day Trips in and around the Veneto, Italy
- 30 Days of Adventures in the Veneto, Italy – #30daysofadventures
- Top 15 Places to Visit in the Veneto, Italy – The Ultimate Guide
- Hiking in Italy – Practical Tips from an Experienced Hiker
- 20 Family-Friendly Walks and Hikes Up to an Hour and a Half from Vicenza, Italy – First Part
- 20 Family-Friendly Walks and Hikes Up to an Hour and a Half from Vicenza – Second Part
- Campo di Brenzone – A Great Day Trip to a Medieval Village in the Hills Above Lake Garda, Italy
- Parco delle Cascate and Molina – A Great Day Out in the Province of Verona
- Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona – Visiting Italy’s Church Suspended Between Heaven and Earth
- Six Hidden Corners Around Vicenza, Italy to Quickly Get in Touch with Nature When You Need It
- Grotte del Caglieron – Caves, Waterfalls, and Cheese – A Great Day Trip in the Veneto, Northern Italy
- Hiking in the Dolomites: Grotta Azzurra di Mel – A Beautiful Hike in the Veneto, Northern Italy
- Best 12 Towns to Visit around Lago di Garda – Italy’s Largest Lake
- 8 Most Beautiful Villages to Visit in the Veneto, Italy
- Paneveggio – Exploring the Violins’ Forest in the Dolomites, Italy
- Trentino, Italy – Castles, Hikes, and Alpacas – The Perfect 4-Day Itinerary (With or Without Kids)
- Lake Caldonazzo, Italy – 10 Things to Do Around Trentino’s Largest Lake
- Day Trips from Verona – 16 Destinations in Italy to Fall in Love with (With Travel Times and Train Tips)
- Day Trips from Padua, Italy – Over 25 Unmissable Destinations in the Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna
- Day Trips from Vicenza, Italy – Over 90 of the Best Destinations
- 11 of the Best Day Trips from Venice (With Lots of Photos, Travel Times and Italy Train Tips)
- Solo Travel – 43 No-Nonsense Safety Tips for Peace of Mind When You Travel Alone
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