Passo Giau, a high mountain pass in the province of Belluno, is a popular destination for hikers and photographers who choose to explore Dolomite’s wonders. The main reason is often Lage Federa, one of the most beautiful lakes this mountain range has to offer. This easy-to-medium 11-kilometer hiking route will give you all the amazing sights you can handle, and more, but before you join us, check out the hiking map and other details below.
Golden yellow shining larch forest frames a picturesque mountain lake. Behind it some snow glitters on the mountains. A truly dream motif presents itself to photographers with a bit of weather luck at Lago Federa (Lake Federa) at autumn time. The mountain lake near Cortina d’Ampezzo is popular with visitors, but quite quiet during the photographically exciting autumn season.
It is considered one of the most beautiful mountain lakes and is fed by underground springs. Mountain photographers like to combine the hike there with the well-known landscape structure at Passo Giau. On the south side of the road pass you walk a few steps and find a wonderful panoramic view of the south face of the Averau peak and the giants behind it around the Tofana di Rozes.
If you are lucky, you will catch a brilliant sunset for an impressive light show on the rock face.
While the Man of Mondeval can be admired in the museum in Selva Di Cadore, we ask ourselves: were the people in the Stone Age also here because of the magnificent beauty of this area? If so, they certainly didn’t think about landscape photography at sunset.
Directions for your Passo Giau adventure
From Passo di Giau follow trail 436 over the Giauscharte. From there, first slightly downhill along a hiking trail to the Mondeval plateau. Then slightly uphill to the Forcella Ambrizolla (col, 2277m). From there continue downhill over some scree to the Palmieri Hut/Refuge Croda de Lago and Lake Federa.
Now proceed along the shore of the lake and finally 4km and 400 meters of altitude (path n. 434, later n. 437 towards Ponte de Rucurto) on a picturesque trail through larch forest to the pass road to the parking lot Pian Del Pantan. By bus back to the starting point.
Photo tips for Passo Giau and Lake Federa that will make your Instagram pop
This tour links the popular photo spots at Passo Giau and Lake Federa. At Passo Giau there are several small ponds that we can use as foreground elements in our pictures. The photo locations here are particularly suitable at golden or blue hour, when Monte Averau (Mount Averau) is illuminated.
Tip: Place slightly elevated to the road and the use of the wide-angle lens to take long exposures of the passing cars work especially well with the beautifully curved pass road. There are several suitable spots at Lake Federa.
From the north shore of the lake it is possible to take a picture of the peak Becco di Mezzodì reflected in the water (nature protection: please stay on the paths). The most beautiful motifs can be taken here in autumn, when, from around mid-October, a little snow nestles against the colorful splendor of the larch forest.
Mountain Moments Photo Workshops provide Photo Tours for everybody, Alpine Experience for beginners and intermediate-level photographers with 3 to 6-hour routes, as well as Summit Experience for more advanced photographers and hikers. We have private workshops and group classes.
Information on how to reach Cortina d’Ampezzo
How to get there by car: Take the A22 Brennero freeway to the Bressanone/Brixen-Pustertal exit, continue on the main road towards Cortina d’Ampezzo over the Falzarego Pass as far as Pocol. From there follow to the top of the Giau Pass. Due to different starting and ending points, public transport is recommended.
How to get there by public transport: Various train connections to Brenner. Take the regional train via Fortezza to Dobbiaco. From there with the regional bus (445) to Cortina. Continue with the Dolomitibus to Pass di Giau.
Hike difficulty level: easy – medium
Duration/distance: 4.0h, 11.5km
Highest/lowest point: 2355m/1694m
Refreshment stop: Passo Giau, Palmieri hut/Rifugio Croda de Lago
Start/finish: Passo di Giau (coordinates: geogr. 46.482591, 12.053802), Pian Del Pantan (coordinates: geogr. 46.505900, 12.078813)
Tips: Research the bus schedule in advance. If you only want to photograph Lake Federa, start the tour in the opposite direction. From the parking lot/bus stop Pian del Pantan follow the signs towards Croda da Lago (walking time 1.5 hours) to the lake.
The most beautiful photo spots and hikes in the Dolomites – experience this hiking tour and 29 other exceptional trips in the Dolomites now.Fancy more hikes in the mountains – and beautiful photos? Get out into nature! Experience the best hikes and locations with our new book: Alps – Photo and Hiking Guide. The 90 best Photo Locations and 30 most panoramic Hikes.
Here we have compiled the most beautiful locations and photo opportunities. 30 hikes with 90 photo spots are selected and described in such a way that you can easily experience these wonderful landscapes for yourself – including GPS tracks and hiking map and all other information.
You can take a closer look at the ebook here– – why not give it as a gift to someone you want to visit and photograph these places with!
Of course, you will find all the information about this hike in the ebook. After registering, you will also receive the GPS track, so you are on the safe side and won’t get lost and will find all photo locations easily.
Hi, i am Marius, i love exploring the mountains and nature. Friends say, i know the mountains better than most locals, but actually i get lost all the time while photographing ;). Read more about the Mountain Moments Team.