“Fabio Miniussi” Loop Trail Hike
Pale di San Martino | Agordino Dolomites
Hi Friends, welcome back on our blog for a brand-new adventure in the Heart of the Dolomites!
There are so many of you visiting our site these days, a real crowd! We do hope this represents a good indicator for the health status of tourism in our area, the Agordino UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, despite this season, overshadowed by Covid epidemic and from the consequent limitations. There are so many of you that July 2020 has recorded our absolute record in terms of visits since the beginning of this project; and this, in our own small way, can only give us enormous pleasure. Thank you very much for the love you give us and for the great feedback that you share with us, you’re amazing!
Today we deal again with the Pale di San Martino range (the Pala Group, the widest of the Dolomites’ systems). This time, however, we won’t speak of high-altitude routes and summits as in the previous article on the Croda Granda (if you missed it you can read it by clicking here), but rather of a very interesting ring trekking that has amazed us last weekend. As usual, we hope you’ll like our small article and that many of you will come to visit us to experience this marvelous dolomitic experience yourselves.
In this article we deal with the “Fabio Miniussi” Nature Trail, one of the most interesting 1-day hiking routes of the Agner Group (the “Giant of the Dolomites” and symbol of the Conca Agordina) in the Pale di San Martino mountain chain. The hike we’re going to tell you about doesn’t need a long introduction being already quite famous among the enthusiasts of the walks in the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site; so we won’t bother you with nothing more than a couple of words about the proposal and then we go with our report of our wonderful Sunday in the Heart of the Dolomites.
The Fabio Miniussi Nature Trail at the Pala delle Madonna (Mount Agner) is a middle-altitude mountain path that covers a wide area at the foot of the Agner Group in the Pale di San Martino, in the municipal area of Voltago Agordino. As the name suggests, the Miniussi Trail is a proposal of a high naturalistic interest; created in 1992 by a collaboration between the CAI sections of Monfalcone and Agordo, the Miniussi Nature Trail leads guests to explore a wide and marvelous area at the foot of the Pala Group, a place made of verdant Alpine pastures, vertical Dolomite walls and a lot of different floristic species to admire. All this, of course, is surrounded by the spectacle of the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site that surrounds the beautiful Conca Agordina. Since one of the highlights of this trail are the many flower species that can be found at the foot of the Agner, the ideal period of the year to experience this wonderful proposal is from Mid June to the end of July.
The Fabio Miniussi Nature Trail can be started at the Rifugio Scarpa – Gurekian; but since the trail develops itself almost naturally in a wonderful look hike, the starting point of the excursion can be freely decided by each single hiker. Because of this, we have decided to avoid describing trails we already wrote articles about in the past (as, for instance, the Col di Luna Hike) and to start our hike from a different place than Domadore. We have chosen the comfortable dirt road that connects the main road SP347 near the hamlet of Bertoi in Frassenè (Voltago Agordino) to Malga Agner de Fora, whose trail signs are clearly visible from the main road. This is, again, our arbitrary choice.
We left the car near the hamlet of Bertoi and started our hike on the nice (and steep) unpaved road that leads to the wonderful Malga Agner de Fora. The day was not perfectly sunny, as you can see from the pictures, but no thunderstorms were expected. It’s always important to check the weather forecast before embarking in any hike in the Dolomites!
After reaching Malga Agner, we bumped naturally into the trail signs of the Miniussi Trail, located a few meters above the malga. If you would have any doubt once you’ll reach this point, remember to take a good hiking map with you; this precaution really makes the difference in the mountains.
The Miniussi trail signs are anyway frequent and very well visible, and being this hike in the Dolomites very popular, it’s not difficult to find the right way. We crossed the ample and lush meadows that surround the bucolic Malga Agner; the wonderful sight offered by the imposing landscape of the Conca Agordina, the rustic and very looked after malga, the cows grazing, the wonderful sunlight filtering through the clouds and projecting on the jagged towers of the Pala Group contribute to give to this place that particular timeless charm that is always able to fascinate and enchant the guests of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s easy to understand why Frassenè was called the “Little Cortina”.
The ascent to the Pala della Madonna in this phase (from Malga Agner on) winds on a quite easy hiking path; trail signs are always easy to be found as you go on the Miniussi trail. The itinerary leaded us rapidly at high altitudes, practically straight; but nothing too challenging for the average hiker.
As we moved on, we had several chances to stop to admire one of the most interesting features of the Miniussi Trail: the great variety and the enchanting colors of the flowers that grows at the foot of Mount Agner.
Flowers grows everywhere in this season on the grazing lands as well as on the steep slopes of the Pala della Madonna; as said above, the ideal period of the year to admire this wonder of nature is the late Spring and the beginning of the Summer season; but this trail is also a marvelous autumnal proposal.
Once we reached the base of the Pala della Madonna, nearby the avalanche barriers of Mount Agner, we rested there for a while, admiring the view on the Conca Agordina and the several Dolomite peaks of the Agordino and Valbelluna. Our pause was made more delightful from a nice sunlight that finally comes out stronger and warmer.
After a short lunch break, we went on the Miniussi trail, practically without any remarkable altitude gap, towards the Rifugio Scarpa – Gurekian. The path is always very easy in this part, but capable of thrilling at the same time, with the astonishing beauty of the natural context.
The lush and colorful nature contrasts with the paleness of the Agner walls, forming that renowned color play that makes the landscape of the Dolomites unique and inimitable. We saw the Rifugio Scarpa – Gurekian popping out the hills more than once, in its beautiful and sunny position. In the background, the several Dolomites systems of the area: the Pala Group, the Vette Feltrine, the Dolomiti Bellunesi, the Civetta – Moiazza – Pelsa Group, the peaks of the Marmolada Group. This is really a wonderful hike despite its technical ease.
Once we reached the Rifugio Scarpa – Gurekian, we had a good beer with Mark, the manager of the place and renowned Mountain Guide of the Dolomites, under a warm Summer sun. Rifugio Scarpa is always a guarantee of quality and fun. Many other guests were enjoying the day at the rifugio or the many trails of the Agner area, despite, as has been said, all the difficulties of the season.
After the short break, we took the path in front of the nearby Malga Losch that led us back to Malga Agner de Fora. This second trail, that allowed us to close our loop hike, goes basically along the Miniussi trail, but some meters downstream. We also enjoyed a nice walk in nature with beautiful landscapes on the Conca Agordina, and we reached Malga Agner very quickly. From the malga, we went back to the starting point of our excursion on the same dirt road we took in the morning.
It took almost 6 hours for us to complete this loop hike; this, of course, including a lot of breaks and with a relaxed walking pace. It is possible, of course, to start the ring excursion from Rifugio Scarpa – Gurekian, and clockwise the trail is definitely easier (we did it counterclockwise this time). But you can choose it freely, the enjoyment of the proposal is in no way affected by the sense you will choose.
Besides being very interesting from a naturalistic point of view, the Fabio Miniussi Nature Trail is very valid for the views it offers (with plenty of Dolomitic mountain groups to see) and for the great enjoyment of the hiking features of the trail itself. This is a very valid proposal for guests looking for an enchanting and fulfilling hike in the Dolomites outside the mass-tourism destinations of the Pale Mountains. The proximity to the Rifugio Scarpa Gurekian ensures comfort and entertainment for those who want to try this path; in addition of being a very kind and a perfect host, Marco is a great expert of the area and in general of the Dolomites, from all points of view (hiking, climbing, mountaineering in general, etc.). Qualified Mountain Guide with a remarkable curriculum, Mark is the ideal person to give you indications about the things to do and to see in the Dolomite area. He has invested a lot in the rifugio, rekindling its reputation after a couple of disastrous management. Go to visit the rifugio and it won’t let you down!
As always, we invite you to leave a comment below if you like to share with us your experiences in the Dolomites or if you like to let us know what you think about the article and the blog. We also remind you that we have a brand-new Facebook page (click here) that you can like to be always informed about our new articles and pages.
If you like to delve into some of the topics we talked about in this article, you find the list of the main entries here below. Our Team wishes you wonderful Summer holidays; we’ll see each other very soon for other stories and adventures from the Heart of the Dolomites – Stay tuned!
Tel. +39 339 7003447
Tel. +39 339 7003447
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