CatinAccio Mountains

Last Updated on November 12, 2023

The Catinaccio Mountains along the König Laurin Tour. Trail 552 sign indicates 1 hr and 10 minutes between the Kölner Hutte and Paolina Hutte.

Catinaccio is a mountain near Carezza, Trentino, Italy.  It does not come up on Google search for scenic hikes. It is both a shame and a blessing as the hike offers sweeping vistas of the mountain ranges and valleys on one side and the towering mountain peaks on the other side.  This blog talks about the hike between two huts that are located on the heels of the Catinaccio mountains.  It is not a long or difficult hike either between Paolina Hutte and Kölner Hutte.  The total round trip distance between the two refuges is about 7.6 kilometers with about 200 meters of elevation gain.

We found this hike by just looking at an illustrated map at Lake Carezza.  The map showed the two refugees at the heels of the mountain and connected by a trail.  One refuge is reachable by chairlift while the other cable car.  We thought to ourselves that the hike between the two refuges would be good as it is high in elevation and right under the towering peaks.  We were more than surprised at how beautiful the hike was as it reminded us of the Hochkönig hike we did in Austria.

Here we describe the hike and what we did so you may have an idea if this adventure appeals to you. We strongly recommend the hike as the reward to effort ratio is fairly high.  We almost guarantee that you would not regret it.

König Laurin Tour

The hike between the huts  is part of the König Laurin Tour .  The tour is approximately 21.5 kilometers long and includes:

  • The hike from Kölner Hutte to Paolina Hutte, 
  • A ride down on the Paolina Chairlift, 
  • A hike to and around Lake Carezza,
  • A hike to the Tachein Chairflift, and
  • Riding the Tachein Chairlift and Konig Laurin II cable car to Kölner Hutte.
Map of König Laurin Tour. The hike described here is denoted by the white A in the red circle.

What we did is we drove to the Lake Carezza parking lot and walked around the lake while admiring its colors and the mountain behind.  Then we just drove to the Paolina chairlift to begin the adventure.

If you do not have a rental car, public transportation buses do make a stop at both Lake Carezza and the Paolina chairlift.

Where to Start the Hike

You can start the hike from either Paolina Hutte or Kölner Hutte.  Kölner Hutte sits at a higher elevation than Paolina Hutte.  Either way, you will have to tackle about 200 meters of elevation gain in the last half kilometer going to Kölner Hutte. 

If you have a rental car, you can start the hike from either hut.  But if you are taking public transportation, your only option is to take the Paolina chairlift to take you to Paolina Hutte as there is no bus stop in front of the cable car to Kölner Hutte.

Going up to Paolina Hutte on the chairlift

We started our hike from Paolina Hutte mainly because we wanted to have a downhill hike on the return leg.

Paolina Chairlift Operating Times and Cost

The chairlift starts at 8:30 AM and stops at 5:30 PM.  The cost is 22 Euros round trip.  The ride time is no more than 15 minutes.  Parking is free and the parking lot is big.

The Trail

The trail is not wide in some places especially if you start out at Paolina Hutte.  We had to move to the side sometimes to make way for the hikers going the other way.  Take trail number 552 and head east or to the other end of the mountain.

The trail is a good trail when it comes to footing.  Although there are some rocks and pebbles on the trail, it was not treacherous despite having a drop off on one side.  There are some places where we did have to walk over large rocks but those were few.

The trail is fairly level from Paolina Hutte to Kölner Hutte until the last half kilometer.  Then it is a steep incline and most of the elevation gain occurs here.

Towering peaks along the narrow trail
View of mountain range on return to Paolina Hutte

The Scenery

We faced the Catinaccio mountain as soon as we boarded the Paolina chairlift.  Up at the refuge’s outdoor dining area, we sat on a couple of lounge chairs and admired the view of the Latemar mountain and the valley in front of it.  To the left and right of the Latemar are more mountains.

View from Paolina Hutte

The hike towards Kölner Hutte initially goes through some trees.  The view over our left shoulder gets occasionally obscured by the trees.  The looming peaks of the Catinaccio are also sometimes hidden as the trail winds its way at the base of a mountain.  Eventually, the trail opens up and we do not know where to focus our attention.  Over to our left is the green valley below and four mountain ranges beyond it.  In front of us are more mountain ranges and the west face of the Catinaccio. And over our right shoulder are the towering peaks of the Catinaccio.  It is just difficult to describe the sense of awe and pictures do not even show half of the beauty that was all around us.

Valley view along the hike to Kölner Hutte. You can see at least three mountain ranges.
The Cantinaccio looming over the trail on the way to Kölner Hutte


Paolina Hutte and Kölner Hutte are both located at the heels of the Catinaccio mountain.  There is a trail that connects the two huts and is part of a larger trail that is called the König Laurin Tour.

Most people hike between the huts as the views are spectacular.  On one side is the vast valley and mountain ranges.  On the other side are the towering peaks of the Catinaccio.  

Paolina Hutte can be easily reached by getting on a chairlift.  Fortunately, there is a bus stop not far from the chairlift.  Kölner Hutte on the other hand can be reached by getting on a König Laurin II cable car.  However the cable car is far from the main highway and not served by any public bus.

The trail between the two rifugios is about 7.6 kilometers round trip (to and back). There is about a 200 meter elevation gain to get to Kölner Hutte if you start from Paolina Hutte.  Most of the elevation change occurs in the last half kilometer to Kölner Hutte. The trail sign indicates 1 hr and 10 minutes between the two huts. It took us that long on the return trip to Paolina Hutte on the return trip mainly because it was going downhill.

No matter which refuge you start from, you will be treated to wonderful views almost throughout the trail.  This is one of those hikes where the reward to effort ratio is high.  Just make sure you start out early in the day as you will need at least 3.75 hours for the round trip hike without stopping.  Or else you may find yourself missing the last Paolina chairlift ride down at 5:30 PM.