Prato Piazza, Plätwiese in German, is an open and large grassy meadow plateau that lies at the heart of the Natural Park Fanes – Sennes and Braies, at 2,000 mt. altitude.
Reaching it is not difficult, but the hike I propose to you is a loop trail that needs anyway a little training and sure footing on the return path from Prato Piazza, that in some places is quite steeply. The loop trail starts and end at Carbonin/Schluderbach , located halfway between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Dobbiaco/Toblach.If you come from Cortina d’Ampezzo on Route 51 “Allemagna” to Dobbiaco / Toblach, leave your car 2 kilometres after Cimabanche Pass (1,530 mt.), just before reaching Carbonin (small parking area on the right, 1,451 mt.). On your left starts a large muletrack built by Austro-Hungarian army during the World War I. This territory in fact was not Italian at that time. The muletrack was a strategic way to the Sperrwerk Plätzwiese, the fort situated on the top of Prato Piazza. The fort still exist today.
The muletrack (path n°37) proceed in a little boring way with regular turns, but often you can shortcut by the woods. In about 2 hrs you reach the top of the plateau and and the Vallandro Hut (2,040 mt.). The Prato Piazza, Plätwiese grassy meadow plateau is wonderful and reflect perfectly what you can expect from an Alpine pasture enviroment. Many cows graze freely in a large area, and a trail connects in about 15 minutes the Vallandro Hut to the Ponticello Hotel, on the other side of the grassy meadow plateau. The Hotel is approachable also by car from Pustertal, so I suggest not to reach it but to take a shortcut on your left (small path) and to go trough the grass until the wood on the other side. Here you can take the path n°18 that quickly goes down into the Valle dei Canope (Canope Valley). The first stretch is quite steep on gravel path, so be careful. After this, the path becomes easy and and pleasantly goes down into the woods. In about 1,5 hrs you will reach a fork. Take the left way that in 10 minutes takes you again on the Road 51 Allemagna. Continuing along the road, in about 10 minutes you will reach the parking area where you started the hike.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Parking area on the Road 51 Allemagna near Carbonin (20′ from Cortina d’Ampezzo/15′ from Dobbiaco/Toblach)|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Recommended not after 10:00 AM. In high season not after 8:30/9:00 AM to avoid tourists.|
|LENGHT OF HIKE||Approximately 5-6 hrs.|
|WEAR||Comfortable athletic clothing (according with the weather), hiking boots, hat, rain jacket and sunscreen. Rope and carabiner recommended for a short but overhanging piece of path.|
|ELEVATION GAIN||+600 mt.|
|DANGEROUS POINTS||Caution must be used, especially with bad weather conditions, in a short but steep piece of path.|
|SEASON||From June to September|
|HIGH SEASON||Expecially in July and August, this trek is full of hikers and mountainbikers coming to admire the plateau. If you can avoid this period or start the trek very early in the morning to appreciate it better.|
<em>Road 51 Allemagna/Carbonin</em>, Ready to Start
Vallandro Hut, path 37
Prato Piazza-<em>Plätwiese </em>plateau
Valle dei Canope, path 18
<em>Road 51 Allemagna/Carbonin</em>, End of the Hike
If you do not see the track, try expand it in full screen mode.