Gardenacia to San Cassiano via Santa Croce
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An easy walk or short chairlift to Badia, with another gondola up the other side, leads this hike - a beautiful, descending trail from a small chapel at Santa Croce to San Cassiano.
On this hike from Santa Croce to San Cassiano, the striking wall of the Sass dla Crusc mountain rises on your left, with the impressive panoramo of the Alta Badia region spread out before you.
To get to this hike from Gardenacia, you’ll first need to descend to Badia. You can walk the whole way, but it becomes a long day. There is also a chairlift down to la Villa that can speed the way, and another up from Badia. Take trail 11B from Gardenacia, about 20 minutes down to the lift (€ 6.30 one-way) to la Villa.
From la Villa, you’ll head to Badia. The Santa Croce lift is a 30 minute walk through town. Take a left on the main road toward Badia, then a right on Str S. Linert to cross the river (with a sign for S Croce) and up to the lift. It starts with a gondola and chairlift that whisks you over 2000 ft up to the top of treeline and close to the base of the impressive Sass della Crusc mountain. You want to go to la Crusc, the top station, and also the local Ladin name for Santa Croce (open 8:30-17:30, € 13.80 one-way).
At the top is a small chapel and a lively cafe, where you can sit for a drink or early lunch enjoying the views of the Alta Badia region. You can walk up, of course, if an easy day is not your thing, and there are a couple options. Aside from Santa Croce, there are no restaurants until you reach San Cassiano.
Rest stopsGardenacia hut
Ranch da André
Rifugio S. Croce
Tips and hints
If it rains... As with most hikes, the high, rocky stretches are not as nice in bad weather, but this is a pretty straightforward walk that is never far above treeline and would not be a bad choice. If the weather is really bad, you can skip the hike and take a bus from Badia to San Cassiano.
Optional downhill: First travel from Gardenacia to Badia. You can take the lift down and then bus or walk along the valley floor, or for a longer day, just start from the hut. Trail 5, and the trail is fine, it’s just not super interesting. Pleasant, through woods, meadows, ski area and farms. This should take about 1 hr 40 minutes down.
Optional uphill: You can take the lift up from Badia, and for an easy day you should.
The walk up to Santa Croce is nice. To walk, follow the road up past the lift on route 7A, you’ll be heading toward Armantara and Ranch da Andre. This follows small farm roads to a small collection of houses call Cialaruns, along the Roda de Armentana trail (the Armentara meadows). Quite steep at first, it mellows as you reach Ranch da Andre - a simple hut with a cozy interior and outstanding views from their terrace - a great place to stop for a drink and a good reason to come this way.
Leaving Andre, you’ll double back on trail 15a, a wide gravel trail through tidy, heavenly meadows backed by gigantic mountains. It's all quite dreamy, steadily uphill to Santa Croce. Even though this is a bit farther, it shouldn’t take too much longer than the direct ascent, perhaps 2½ hrs.
Santa Croce to San Cassiano: However you get there, you’ll want to linger at Santa Croce for a bit. Built in 1484 by Bishop Konrad from Bressanone, this is a popular pilgrimage destination. A hospice for pilgrims was added in 1718, which is now the restaurant. They have both outdoor seating and indoor in the traditional wooden Stube rooms of the ancient hospice. If you haven’t had the Tyrolean specialty Kaiserschmarren yet (a pancake and berry dessert), this is a good place to try it.
Crossing to the south from la Crusc to a collection of benches on a small ridge, start your descent to San Cassiano on trail 15. The trail is perhaps a bit too popular with mountain bikers at times, but generally not too crowded. You’ll begin to drop through the thin larch-pine forests with constant views. the mountains above you are gorgeous, the views of the valley are sweeping.
Soon you’ll pass trail 12a leading off to the left, but keep downhill on 15. There are a few minor interlacing trails, but the main one is typically clear. You’ll reach a clearing in the woods, cross through a gate, and come to a small farm road to the Rudiferia farm. Keep past Rudiferia, first on single track trail and soon again on farm road, for the final winding descent into San Cassiano, a fine little village with many nice bakeries and restaurants, as well as an interesting Cave Bear museum at the tourist office.
Book recommendations for this region:
Recommended maps for this region:
- 9 Waypoints
- 9 Waypoints
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