Hiking to Rifugio Val di Fumo - one of the best hikes in Trentino region in Italy

Val di Fumo – Spectacular Hike in Trentino, Italy

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Hiking in Val di Fumo (aka The Valley of Smoke) was one of the highlights of our trip to the Trentino region in Italy. I already mentioned it in our post of all the amazing things we did in Trentino with kids, but this area is so beautiful that I think it deserves a dedicated article.

Val di Fumo is one of the most fascinating mountain valleys in Trentino. Known to few and visited mostly by the locals, this is a true hidden gem of the Italian mountains. Val di Fumo is just as impressive as the most iconic mountain destinations in Switzerland with an added bonus of much fewer people.

So here it is – travel inspiration and practical information for hiking to Rifugio Val di Fumo in Trentino, Italy. I hope that this post will inspire you to visit this beautiful and little known region. Find out!

READ ALSO: Best Hikes in the Italian Dolomites

Hiking to Rifugio Val di Fumo - one of the best hikes of Trentino region in Italy

Val di Fumo

Val di Fumo is an extremely picturesque mountain valley in the Adamello Brenta Nature Park in Northern Italy. It’s part of a bigger Daone Valley known for countless waterfalls in summer and ice climbing in winter.

Val di Fumo is characterized by the picture-perfect Alpine scenery with snowcapped mountains, wildflowers, mountain streams, and cows grazing in green meadows… it’s like walking inside a postcard. 

Valley of Smoke gets its name because it’s often covered in the clouds, but the clouds can part just as quickly as they came. When we arrived, the whole area was grey and we thought we wouldn’t see much. We started this hike with sweaters and rain jackets… Just half an hour later the clouds were gone and it was warm enough for a t-shirt.

The hike was already nice, but blue skies gave color to the landscape and turned it into the most beautiful painting. I find it difficult to describe this magical place as words don’t do it justice. It’s a simple beauty of nature at its best.

Valley of Smoke covered by clouds - Val Daone Italy
Valley of Smoke was covered in the clouds when we started the hike
Lago di Malga Bissina along Val di Fumo hike - one of the best hikes in Trentino region in Italy
Lago di Malga Bissina as we saw it at the end of the hike, after the mist had lifted

The 3463m Caro Alto mountain offers a fantastic backdrop to this already impressive scenery. This area is also completely different than the nearby famous Dolomite mountains – it’s less steep and much greener.

Val di Fumo looks more like Tirol in Austria or the Berner Oberland region in Switzerland than any other place I know in Italy.

Spectacular mountain scenery at Val di Fumo in Italy
Spectacular mountain scenery at Val di Fumo

Adamello Brenta Nature Park is home to some wildlife, such as Roe deer, chamois (goat-antelope), marmots, wild rabbits, and even eagles. The rivers and the lakes are known for trout and Arctic Char.

The chances of running into any wildlife aren’t big, however, especially if you are hiking with noisy kids as we did. The only animals we got to see were cows, horses, mountain goats, and a dog.

Val di Fumo is a starting point for a big number of hikes and you could hike in this area for days. However, the easiest, most rewarding, and the most popular day hike is to Rifugio Val di Fumo. This is the hike described in this article. Read on!

Family-friendly hike at Val di Fumo in Trentino Italy
We had to share the hiking trails with the cows

How to get to Val di Fumo

Val di Fumo is part of Daone valley that can be reached by a mountain road via Praso village. Follow signs for Val Daone and drive more than 20 km till the road stops at the big dam of Lago di Malga Bissina.

Just driving to the far end of the seemingly endless Daone valley feels like you’re leaving civilization behind you. It’s a journey deep into the mountains. At the end of the road, you reach the Bissina Dam where you’ll see a car parking area and a small café. You really can’t go wrong. Here you can see the exact location of the car parking for this hike on the map

Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Val di Fumo is located in between extremely popular tourist destinations like Madonna di Campiglio, Lago d’Idro, and Lake Garda. To give you an idea, the starting point of the hike is just 1,5 hr drive from Riva del Garda.

Oh, and don’t worry about the road. It’s a bit narrow just as most other roads in the mountains, but easily doable (in summer). Furthermore, even in the middle of summer when we visited, there were hardly any other cars on this road.

Lago di Malga Bissina dam in Daone Valley in Trentino region in Italy
Bissina Dam and Lago di Malga Bissina – the starting point of Val di Fumo hike

Hiking to Rifugio Val di Fumo – what to expect

Val di Fumo hike is a relatively easy hike with little elevation and is, therefore, something everyone in reasonable physical condition should be able to do. It’s a family-friendly hike, also doable for families with young children (from +- 4 years and up).

Hiking to Rifugio Val di Fumo with kids - easy but very rewarding hike in Trentino Italy
Even the first part of the hike along the flat gravel road is really scenic

The hike starts at the Bissina Dam from where you follow a narrow service road along the left (western) side of Lago di Malga Bissina. The scenery here is already very nice and you pass quite a few waterfalls and mountain streams.

Small waterfall along Val di Fumo hike in Italy
Small waterfall near Lago di Malga Bissina

At Malga Breguzoo, the road changes into a mountain trail. From there the views just get better and better with every step that you take.

TIP: You could bike the 3,5 km to Malga Breguzzo and only hike the last (and the most scenic) part. If you come here with little kids, you could also cover this first part of the hike with a stroller.

After you pass Malga Breguzzo, follow the trail #240 and later #222 to Rifugio Val di Fumo – this mountain hut is your final destination. Pretty soon, just before the wooden bridge, you’ll see a beautiful little waterfall. Make sure to stop here – it’s one of the nicest places of this hike!

Waterfall and wildflowers along Val di Fumo hike in Italy
Scenery along the Val di Fumo hike

While you are busy admiring the scenery, make sure to check the signs for the right path. The road splits here and you can choose to walk on the left or on the ride side of the Chiese river. Both trails should lead you to the same place, but a local guide recommended to choose the trail on the left (and all the other people we met were doing the same).

So if you do the same as we did, there is no need to cross that picturesque bridge, unless for some beautiful pictures, of course.

From here on you’ll be hiking inside a postcard-like scenery. The landscape is really that beautiful and no pictures do justice to this place. It’s a lush green valley surrounded by high mountains; we never knew that a place like this existed in Italy. This just proves once again how incredibly diverse this country is. I’ve said it many times already – no matter which part of Itay you visit, it will blow your mind. This country is simply amazing!

Hiking in Val di Fumo is like walking in the most beautiful painting - it's one of the most beautiful hikes in Trentino Italy
Val di Fumo

After a bit more than an hour hiking, we saw Rifugio Val di Fumo in the distance. It’s located somewhat higher than the rest of the trail, so the last part requires some uphill walking. However, it’s such a short part and the scenery is so nice that before you even realize that you’re climbing, you already reach the mountain hut.

Rifugio Val di Fumo - Shelter of the Valley of Smoke in Trentino Italy
Rifugio Val di Fumo

Rifugio Val di Fumo – Shelter Valley of Smoke

Opened back in the 1960’s Rifugio Val di Fumo (Shelter of the Valley of Smoke or Val di Fumo mountain hut) is a simple mountain hut surrounded by the most spectacular landscape.

If you come here at the beginning of summer, you might be lucky to see this valley transform into a colorful flower garden. We visited in July and there were still quite some flowers in bloom around the hut. It’s also here that we saw some cute mountain goats.

Mountain goats near Rifugio Val di Fumo - Italy
Mountain goats near Rifugio Val di Fumo

Val di Fumo mountain shelter is a place where multi-day hikers can stay for a night.

There are many hiking paths in this area, all quite demanding but extremely rewarding with magnificent views. The further you go, the more chance you have to run into some wildlife, mostly chamois and ibex.

So if you are fit and have more time to spare, you may want to explore this area a bit deeper. For us, our hike stopped here.

Stunning scenery at Rifugio Val di Fumo - one of the most beautiful mountain valleys of Trentino region in Italy
View from Rifugio Val di Fumo

There is a small restaurant at Rifugio Val di Fumo that also caters to day visitors. They have to fly-in or carry their supplies, so the menu is a bit limited, but the food was absolutely delicious.

Normally, we would pack a picnic for a day trip like this, but we opted to have lunch there and it was such a special experience to eat a home-made traditional local meal in a real mountain hut. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Even if you aren’t planning to have lunch here, you can still get some cake or a drink and enjoy the scenery before you head back.

READ ALSO: Traditional Italian Food by Region

Polenta e cinghiale - polenta with a wild boar stew and mushrooms - traditional dish in Trentino region in Italy
Polenta e cinghiale – polenta with a wild boar stew and mushrooms – traditional dish in the Trentino region

TIP: There is a horse stable at Malga di Fumo, just near Rifugio Val di Fumo. It’s only 5 minutes walk, over a wooden bridge to the other side of the river.

We were planning to go horseback riding here, but they told us it was too early in the season and the horses weren’t ready (don’t ask me why). From late July through August you should be able to do some horse riding here or back down in Daone Valley. It’s best to ask the locals about the specific location as it seems to vary depending on when you come.

Combine hiking with some horse riding and visiting Val di Fumo makes for a wonderful summer day trip in the Trentino region!

Horses at a stable of Malga Val di Fumo, Trentino Italy
Horses at Malga Val di Fumo – horseback riding in this scenery must be an unforgettable experience

Val di Fumo hike practical information

  • The starting point is at the parking lot of Lago di Malga Bissina. The hike ends at the Refugio Val di Fumo. Here you can see the hike on the map (don’t mind the distance – it’s a bit shorter in reality).
  • Val di Fumo hike is not circular – you go to Val di Fumo mountain hut and back the same way. You can choose to take a different path for a small part of the hike between Malga Breguzzo and Rifugio Val di Fumo (see the picture below – the hiking trail is indicated in yellow).
  • Hiking distance is about 5,5 km one way (so 10-11 km total). It takes about 1,5-2 hours each way.
  • Elevation change is less than 200 m. You’ll be hiking at an altitude of around 1800-1900 m.
  • There are restaurants and bathroom facilities at both ends of the trail.
  • Make sure to take plenty of drinking water with you.
  • Hiking shoes are a must. Even in summer, you should take a light sweater and a rain jacket
  • A big part of the hike goes through a valley with no shade whatsoever, so sun protection is a must.
Map of Rifugio Val di Fumo hike in Val Daone, Trentino in Italy
Rifugio Val di Fumo hike is indicated in yellow

So, this was our experience hiking to Rifugio Val di Fumo – one of the most beautiful hikes in the Trentino region in Italy.

If you are looking for more ideas of things to do in this beautiful part of Italy, please check the following articles as well:

And here you can find more inspiration with some of our favorite hikes and lakes in the Italian mountains:

TIP: For more information on other popular tourist destinations in Italy, please also check our Italy travel guide.

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it for future reference and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

Best hiking in Trentino Italy - Rifugio Val di Fumo hike


  1. Hi Jurga
    Can you suggest a way to get to this trek without hiring a car ?
    We will be staying in Riva is there a bus route or some other option?

    1. Author

      Hi Mary, I’m not sure 100%, but I don’t think there is a bus going up there. I haven’t seen any information about there being one and all I can find is that people drive there by car. I also see no bus stops in the area on Google Maps, so I’m afraid that it’s not really an option.
      I just checked the RentalCars website and I see that you can rent a car in Riva del Garda and the prices are very reasonable. Even in high season, it costs about 40-50 EUR for a car for a day. So maybe that’s a better option and if you rent a car for a few days, you can explore more of the beautiful mountains and lakes nearby.

  2. Dear Jurga,
    Due to your fascinating post, we made a trip to Val di Fumo last week. I couldn’t stand not to write you because this was the crown of our one week stay around lake Garda. It is fully comparable to the spectacular view I had at my Grand Canyon trip 30 years ago.
    I really appreciate your tips and your blog.
    Best regards,
    Zsolti (Hungary)

    1. Author

      Hi Zsolti, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this feedback and share your experience. Happy to hear that you enjoyed Val di Fumo as much as we did!
      Happy travels and maybe you’ll find more inspiration for your future trips on our blog as well!

  3. Ciao Jurga! I am staying in Verona for 6-weeks with a programme of Road Scholar during which we study Italian. I want to make the most of the area so I would take a day or two to do Lake Garda and include this beautiful hike to the Val do Fumo. what do you think might be the best way to do it taking both those areas over two or three days from Verona?

    1. Author

      Hi Jeanne, if you mean that you’re staying there now, then I’m not even sure if you can still hike at Val di Fumo. If the roads are still ok and there is no snow in the mountains, then I’d say go there sooner rather than later. The best way to get there is to rent a car and it’s probably best to make a day trip of it.
      Lake Garda, you can visit any time. If you are traveling by public transport, then find which town would be the easiest to get to from Verona and then stay there for a weekend. You can take a boat between different towns and see several towns each day. If you are looking for more info for visiting Lake Garda, please take a look at our guide to the best places to visit in Lake Garda and also Lake Garda itinerary suggestions.

  4. Hi Jurga
    I was fascinated by the post about your hike to Rifugio Val di fumo,The pictures are droolworthy.My husband and I are a couple in our fifties with no major mobility issues and we would love to do this hike.We are planning a day trip from Riva del Garda and are going to be there at probably the same time that you did the trip – 3rd or 4th of July. Can you recommend a good car rental from Riva. Did you use an automatic car? Will it be terribly hot at the Adamello Brenta Park at that time of the year??
    Sorry for so many questions but this is our first trip to Lake Garda and we have decided to break away from our group to do this trip so we are understandably a little apprehensive.
    Pritha Sharan

    1. Author

      Hello Pritha, we visited Italy with our own car from Belgium, so we never had to rent one. When we rent cars abroad, we usually use Rental Cars – they find and compare the best car rental deals for variety of destinations wolrdwide. I see that they also show one supplier in Riva del Garda, but it looks to me that the prices there are quite expensive for Italy standards – probably because there is no competition there. But to answer your question, yes, it’s definitely possible. You can see which cars are available for your travel dates and usually there are at least a few automatic models available.
      As for the weather, you really never know. It wasn’t hot at all when we visited and we started this hike wearing sweaters and rain jackets. When the sun came out, it was warm enough for a t-shirt, but not too hot. Once again, you never know. In general, it’s very hot in Italy in July, but in the mountains it’s usually just nice and warm.
      Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!

      1. Hi Jurga
        Thanks so much for your detailed reply.I am surprised this valley has not yet been discovered by the crowds..I found your pictures absolutely gorgeous and you say that the pictures do not do justice to the place.
        I will consider renting a car from Riva if I manage to convince my husband to go.Will post a trip report later if we do.
        Thanks again.I loved going through your posts .

  5. What a beautiful hike this must be! The best part is that the trail doesn’t look very difficult, but the reward (the sceneries) is breathtaking! It must be great that your entire family loves to travel and hike together.

    1. Author

      It’s indeed one of those perfect hikes – it’s easy and yet very rewarding. We loved it.
      Happy travels, Agness!

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