Alta Via No. 2 is a 185-kilometer hike crossing the Dolomites from north to south starting in Bressanone and ending in Feltre while never dropping below 1,400 meters. Its highest point is Piz Boè in the Sella Group, which reaches 3,000 meters at its peak.
This long-distance trail is generally divided into 12 or 14 sections, not including days of rest, but it can be organized differently according to one's own preference. Some hike it from shelter to shelter, while some others use a tent and stop wherever they like.
However, water is not always easy to find along the trail, especially during years when droughts cause a major lack of water in some areas of the Dolomites. Therefore, stocking up water at the shelters is highly advisable in conjunction with the use of a water filter.
It is most definitely one of the most beautiful long-distance hikes of the Dolomites and of the Alps in general. It crosses seven different groups of mountains: Plose, Odle, Puez, Sella, Marmolada, Pale di San Martino and Bellunesi, allowing an incredibly panoramic and absolutely stunning experience of the Dolomites.
The itinerary is also characterized by some short via ferrata (Italian for "iron road," characterized by iron ladders bolted into the rock) and many different variations that were added during the years to either make the trail more panoramic or easier. It's also characterized by steep saddles and downhills. Endurance is a must.
Food on the trail can be found at the shelters and in the three villages that are crossed by the Alta Via: Malga Ciapela, Passo San Pellegrino and Passo Cereda. Some of the stops can be shortened through public transportation and cable cars. However, the classic Alta Via No. 2 is meant to be hiked from beginning to end.
The stop going from Passo Cereda to Rifugio Boz follows a different trail because of landslides. Ask for more information at the local hotels, where they should have an alternative map for you.
Some sections are rather packed with tourists, while some others guarantee you solitude and silence. The overall experience is absolutely a must and truly one of the best and most interesting ways to explore the Dolomites.