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Fai Della Pagnella to Molveno

· 1 review · Hiking route · Altopiano della Paganella
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  • Trento
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
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An undulating walk on shady forest paths from the high village of Fai Della Paganella to the quaint lakeside town of Molveno.

Distance 15.4 km
6:30 h
814 m
953 m
1,783 m
833 m

The morning transfer will drop you off in the village of Fai Della Paganella.  Follow a path through the forest, with views through the trees to Trento below in the valley, to reach the smaller village of Santel. Here the day’s ascent begins, and continues through the shady forest to Malga di Zambana, before traversing the hillside and finally descending steeply towards the green-blue lakes of Molveno. 

Author’s recommendation

Make sure to stop at Malga di Zambana for refreshments or to eat your picnic – the view of the jagged ridgeline on the other side of the valley is spectacular. 

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Catherine Allan
Update: November 11, 2022
Highest point
1,783 m
Lowest point
833 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Safety information

Today’s route covers a large variety of underfoot terrain.  Please take extra care when the path goes over a rock outcrop, tree roots, or down steep slopes. 

The trail is a multi use trail and can have mountain bikers on it, please be respectful when they pass. 

Poles are highly recommended for support. There are a couple of unavoidable short sections beside roads, usually there is a pavement, but occasionally not – please take care and make sure to look in the right direction for the traffic (driving on the right side of the road). 

Tips and hints

There is only one restaurant along the way at the highest point on the route (Malga di Zambana) so we recommend bringing snacks and lunch for a picnic in case the restaurant is closed.  Lunch food can be picked up from the Co-op supermarket in Fai Della Paganella or in Trento before you leave in the morning.  Once you have arrived in Molveno there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, gelaterias to choose from for your evening meal, and refreshments. 

Taxi Transfer

You will be collected from your accommodation in Trento at 0900 ad transferred to the Tourist Informtion office in Fai Della Paganella to begin the walk.  

Transfer company: Signori Si Parte      

Telephone number (office / cell): 0461857057 / 003357041295  


The town of Trento is a busy hub nestled on the lower slopes of the Brenta Dolomites.  Before leaving to start your walking trip take time to explore the town and it's historical sights.  

Visit Trentino: 


Fai Della Paganella Tourist Information (990 m)
46.177713, 11.069198
46°10'39.8"N 11°04'09.1"E
32T 659707 5115874


Molveno town centre

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – Your driver for the transfer from Trento will drop you off outside the Tourist Office in Fai Della Paganella.  With your back to the building TURN LEFT onto the road (Via Frazione Villa) and follow the pavement with the small car park on your left. Continue STRAIGHT ON and ascend on the main street out of the village. 

0.40 km – After passing Hotel Belvedere on your left BEAR RIGHT to ascend as the road splits following the cobbled pavement.

0.60 km – TURN LEFT following the road around at the end of Via Degli Alpia. On this small section of quiet road there is no pavement – please beware of traffic. The road curves left, then right and begins to descend. 

0.80 km – Look out for a small set of 3 steps going up to the right.  BEAR RIGHT off the road and climb the steps onto the narrow path through the trees. 

0.85 km – The path joins another path traversing the hillside at a signpost for Santel (0.15) TURN LEFT here and follow the path as it traverses the steep slope.  Keep an eye out for the fantastic views of the mountains and the town of Trento in the valley on your left.  There will be hand railing where the drop-off on the left is particularly sheer. 

1.50 km – Descend the steps to the roadside; ahead is a large varnished wooden villa. TURN RIGHT to enter the village of Santel pass a small chapel on your right, and follow the road around to the left (for a short section there is no pavement). 

1.60 km – BEAR LEFT on the ascending ramp (on the left side of the road), keep the hand railing on your right.  Soon you will pass a small signpost for: Santel (1033m). 

1.80 km – Cross over the mountain bike tracks.  Take care sometimes there is a jump very close to the path here so take extra care and look up the hill to check if any bikers are descending the route – give them right of way and be very cautious.  Follow the track around the side of the hill and pass under the chairlifts.  Follow the red and white stripe markers painted on the trees and rocks (these will be found throughout the entire route today). 

2.20 km – Ignore the descending track on the right and BEAR LEFT uphill. 

2.40 km – Continue to follow the track to the left of the large derelict building.  Shortly you will come to a T-junction with a signposted spot height for Ex Colonia Alpina (1109m) TURN RIGHT here.

2.70 km – BEAR LEFT on a concrete path signposted for Rifugio Meriz (3.0) and ascend to the left. 

3.0 km – TURN RIGHT as a narrow path joins from the left.  Follow the signpost for Rifugio Meriz (2.7). 

3.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON uphill at signpost for Rifugio Meriz (2.2) on the concrete path.

3.40 km – BEAR LEFT uphill to the left of the cabin on a vague grassy track.  Keep to the left of this clearing and to the dirt path left of the corridor through the trees. Follow the red and white stripe painted markers on the trees and rocks up the dirt path. 

3.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON at the signpost for Rifugio Meriz (1.8) and continue to follow the red and white markers. 

4.40 km – At the signpost for Malga di Zambana (route 610B) TURN LEFT ignoring the vague paths straight on and downhill. 

4.50 km – The path dissects a track; continue STRAIGHT ON following the red and white markers and signpost for Malga di Zambana.  Continue ascending and ignore the wide dirt on the left, and ignore it again as it dissects the path slightly further on. 

4.70 km – TURN RIGHT as the path joins the track. Follow the path uphill (keeping to the right) and continue to follow the red and white markers ahead on the narrow path.  [Shortly you will pass a signpost on your right down an overgrown path, ignore this.] Follow the path for 800m.

5.5 km – As the path splits BEAR LEFT and ascend further following the red and white markers.

5.60 km – TURN RIGHT onto a track at the T-junction with the path. Following the signpost for Malga di Zambana.  Continue through clearing then BEAR LEFT following another signpost for Malga di Zambana.

5.80 km – BEAR LEFT when the path splits and continue for 900m.

6.70 km – Emerge from the trees at Malga di Zambana.  There is a restaurant here – if it’s open and you would like refreshments you can turn left here away from the signpost uphill on the dirt path towards the restaurant.  Once you are ready to move on descend back to the signpost and follow the dirt path.  In 10m TURN RIGHT and follow the red and white markers downhill, steeply at first.

7.10 km – Descend into a clearing with gravel underfoot, cross the clearing to the signpost and continue STRAIGHT ON to descend following the signpost for Andalo. 

7.30 km – As you descend the dirt path some sections have become quite indistinct under the fallen pine needles – follow the red and white painted markers which are painted very frequently on trees and rocks to guide you downhill to continue STRAIGHT ON.  Take care of the slippery roots and rocks underfoot here!

7.70 km – Descend steeply to the track and TURN LEFT to follow the signpost to Andalo.  Shorty pass a rock face on your left hand side. 

7.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring a signpost down to Andalo. Then, as the track splits, BEAR RIGHT.

8.0 km – The path splits again, BEAR RIGHT downhill, there may be two boulders locking the higher track.  You will notice the chairlift station and other buildings in the large clearing (where a wide ski run passes through the trees in winter). In 300m TURN LEFT on the track in the centre of the ski run and walk toward the Pian Dosson (1456m) chairlift station. 

8.40 km – Directly in front of the chairlift station TURN LEFT and follow the path [***under construction at time of writing***] until you can TURN RIGHT under the chairlift.  BEAR LEFT on the level track under the chairlift wires (ignore track descending to the right). 

9.80 km – Cross over the ski slope (notice the snow cannons uphill), and continue STRAIGHT ON following the track and the red and white markers through the trees.  The track soon becomes grassy underfoot. 

10.10 km – With a ruined building on your right BEAR LEFT down a grassy path to a metal bar across the path.  Go around this and follow the signpost for Molveno on the descending path.  The path soon widens to a grassy track and passes and dark green wooden hide. 

10.40 km – The grassy track meets a wide gravel track on a bend.  TURN LEFT onto the gravel track following the signpost for Passo S. Giovanni. 

10.90 km – At the spot height for Aqua delle Scudelle (1396m) in the small clearing with wooden benches and 2 large boulders follow the clearing to the end and continue STRAIGHT ON following the signpost for Molveno. Pass through the open green metal bar across the path onto the track and continue STRAIGHT ON.

12.00 km – TURN RIGHT sharply at the signpost on the right and follow the path and the red and white markers as they descend through the forest. 

12.40 km – Follow the red and white markers and TURN LEFT to descend steeply on a dirt path (ignore the path straight ahead).  Continue STRAIGHT ON downhill (ignoring the path to the right).  Follow the red and white markers for 700m, taking care on the rocky and steep sections.

13.10km – Follow the path curves left near to a track (visible ahead). Continue to follow the Molveno signposts and the red and white markers for 600m.

13.70 km – The narrow path emerges onto a wide track, TURN LEFT following the signpost to Molveno. 

13.90 km – The track comes to a large gravelly clearing, keep left and BEAR LEFT down the track to the left of the wooden bench.

14.10 km – As the tracks splits BEAR RIGHT and descend following the signpost to Molveno. 

14.40 km – On reaching the edge of Molveno TURN LEFT onto the minor road and descend towards the main road with an excellent view of the lake.  Follow the road around to the right, and TURN RIGHT onto the pavement beside the main road

14.60 km – Cross the Rio Brior bridge over the lake and follow the road around to the left.  You are now on Via Nazionale, follow the road as it ascends.

15.40 km – You have reached the end point of the day’s walk in Molveno's town centre and on the left hand side of the road there are signposts to many hotels at a large junction.  After freshening up and finding your hotel you may wish to turn right here and follow Via Lungolago up to a clock tower and viewpoint, and further up to a variety of restaurants and shops. 


all notes on protected areas


46.177713, 11.069198
46°10'39.8"N 11°04'09.1"E
32T 659707 5115874
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


The weather in the mountains, as normal, can be very mixed so make sure to pack layers, and waterproofs for cooler, wet days.  For warmers days remember sunglasses, hat, and suncream for protection.  Normal hiking equipment in a 20-30 litre rucksack, and walking boots or sturdy walking shoes are needed.  Walking poles for the ascents and descents are highly recommended. 

Questions and answers

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Sarah Flynn
July 22, 2019 · Community
Great hike, completed July 2019. Bought a fresh made sandwich from the local supermarket (directions from the information centre at the bus drop off point) and ate it on the deck at the ski resort half way through the hike. Can eat the wild strawberries on the side of the track.
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Wild strawberries
Photo: Sarah Flynn, Community
FDP to Molveno
Photo: Sarah Flynn, Community

Photos from others

15.4 km
6:30 h
814 m
953 m
Highest point
1,783 m
Lowest point
833 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Linear route Fauna


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