Camping on Seceda – 2519m High in the Dolomites
Mount Seceda is one of the most iconic ridge lines in the Dolomites. Located at the foot of Parco Naturale Cisles-Odle, the Dolomites are part of the UNESCO World Heritage, Seceda peak is a photographer’s dream. It is crazy dramatic with a sheer drop to the valley below and panoramic views of the Dolomites mountain range. You can visit Seceda during the day thanks to a comfortable cable car ride back & forth. However, the real thrill is spending the night up the 2519m and experiencing a magnificent sunset and sublime sunrise at the top. We went camping on Seceda in August during our Eurotrip on a budget and had truly amazing experience.
High in the Dolomites -Camping on Seceda
↬ IMPORTANT : The first thing we have to bring your attention to, is the fact that wild camping in prohibited anywhere in the Dolomites. Therefor staying for the night up the Seceda mountain is technically illegal. However, there is a “silent agreement” between explorers & photographers and rangers from the area. As long as you set your camp after sunset, pack up everything before sunrise, DO NOT LEAVE ANY TRASH and leave the spot as you were never there- they won’t bother you. In fact, it’s became such a popular thing with experienced hikers and photographers, that there are around dozen tents each night in the summer. When we camped on top of Seceda in August 2020, there were 9 other tents in the same spot.
Cable car or hiking
There are 2 ways of getting to the summit. You can either hike or take the cable car.
Funivie Seceda in Ortisei is a combination of 2 cable cars that will take you nearly all the way up. From there you will have roughly 5-10 min walk to the summit. The ticket for this Funivie is the most expensive one you’ll buy in the Dolomites. A return ticket costs 36 EUR pp (25 EUR one way). The first car up is at 8.30 AM, the last return at 5.30 PM.
Col Raiser cable car will take you 1/2 of the way. From here you will have another 2h or so of hiking. It’s a great option if you are a beginner hiker. The views are spectacular and the difficulty of this trail is moderate. A return ticket costs 21 EUR pp (15 EUR one way). The first car up is at 8.30 AM, the last return at 5.00 PM.
If you are fit, love an adventure and don’t have a heavy backpack, then you can choose to hike all the way up. The starting point of the hike is Col Raiser cable car parking. Follow the trail towards Almhotel and from there choose the path going towards Rifugio Fermeda. Afterwards you will see the Seceda cable car station – your final destination located just few steps from the best viewpoint. The hike is hard, 17km return with a lot of elevation. It will take you about 4h on the way up.
Camping on top of Seceda
Because of our heavy with camping gear backpacks, we decided to take the Funivie cable car all the way up to Seceda. We took one of the last cable cars that day, around 5PM.
Immediately after arriving at the top, our jaws dropped in the disbelief of the spectacular scenery we found ourselves in. The 360 degrees panorama were phenomenal and the dramatic view on Mount Seceda was the cherry on top.
As we still had few hours until sunset we decided to explore the area before choosing a place to set our tent. We took a path to the left and walked to the edge of the mountain where we found a metal ring with the names of all of the surrounding peaks. Off the path behind the ring we spotted a little filed with purple flowers and decided to take few pictures here.
↬ Note : Right here there is a flat spot hidden behind the mountain with the great views on Seceda. You could choose to camp here if the place isn’t already taken.
As the sun was slowly setting we decided it was time to find a camping spot. To our surprise we found many others waiting to do the same on a flat grass area, behind the ski station. We picked a spot, on the front line, dropped our backpacks and just enjoyed the spectacular views. Unfortunately, there were clouds and we couldn’t see properly the sunset that evening.
Setting up the tent
Nobody unpacked their tents until at least 8PM. Once we opened ours, everyone followed and before the sun set completely there were 9 tents at the top of Seceda Mountain.
We prepared our simple dinner (ravioli with broth) thanks to the small gas bottle and cooking utilities we brought with us. We also made some hot tea for later. It was incredibly cold and even with all the layers we had with us, we were still shivering. Once it got totally dark, we crawled inside our sleeping bags and closed the tent.
During the night the temperature fell down to 2 degrees. We were woken up at 4AM by loud voices coming from other tents. The morning was spectacular. Dawn brought beautiful colours and fog covered the peaks. When the sun finally gazed from behind the mountains, the rays slowly warmed up the valley. It was one of the most awe-inspiring moments we’ve ever experienced. The sky went through 50 shades of pink and this is the memory we have of camping in Seceda, the incredible colours.
Everyone packed up their belongings before the clock striked 6AM. We boiled water for coffee, had our breakfast pastry and watched the day come up. Most people left by 7AM, we imagine they started their descent on foot.
As we had our return ticket for the cable car, we had to hanged out until 8.30AM when the first car was going to come up.
We walked back to the cable car station and discovered that the door to the hall were open. The heaters were on and we used the bathroom to change and refresh ourselves. As the sun was getting stronger it quickly became warm enough that we could walk around with shirts only.
We took some more pictures at the top of Seceda. There was nobody there except of us and few photographers who were also waiting for the cable car down. The whole experience seemed like the most beautiful dream.
What to take for overnight camping?
- Small, light tent.
- Warm sleeping bag, inflatable pillow
- Sleeping pad or mats
- Small gas bottle, light weight pot, plastic cutlery and a bowl
- Thermos bottle (you can put hot water in and use it as thermos)
- First aid kit, heating patches
- Food, snacks, coffee/tea
- At least 2l of water per person
- Hiking boots, comfortable hiking outfit
- Extra clothing layers : warm hat, gloves, socks, scarf, warm jacket, leggings, rain jackets
- Basic cosmetics (face wipes, tooth brush etc)
- Camera gear, drone
- Ear plugs in case you have loud people next to you …
What to wear
Weather in the mountains in the summer can be tricky. One moment, it’s sunny and super warm, next you can get caught in a thunderstorm. We suggest you to choose comfortable clothing for the hike (or cable car) like leggings and a top for girls, hiking shorts and t-shirt for guys. Wear proper hiking boots. Make sure to have rain jackets whenever you hike in the mountains. Take sunglasses and sunblock, as well as a hat.
When to go?
The summer months are definitely the best to go camping on top of Seceda. The temperatures are higher and days longer.
Make sure to check the weather prediction before your hike. We strongly advise against hiking and staying overnight on top of the mountain when it’s raining or storm is approaching.
REMEMBER : always stay safe. If you are already on top of Seceda and weather drastically changes, if you don’t feel safe anymore, walk down to the nearest shelter. The one closest to the top of Seceda is Baita Sofie– apx 10 min walking.