Somewhere in the Italian Dolomites awaits a beautiful lake like no other. At the end of a two hour hike through the stunning mountainous landscape you will find Lago Di Sorapis; a lake with unbeleivable colour.
Yes, the water really is that colour; no Photoshop here. Why is it that colour? A very simple explanation actually, it’s due to the limestone which lines the bed of the lake, giving it the stunning blue colour and it’s milky appearance. Beautiful isn’t it?
Tempted to go for a dip? Be warned, the water is icy cold. You are about 2000m high in the mountains afterall. Which brings me on to the next part of this article – getting there.
Sorapis is not accessible by road, it’s roughly a two hour hike along trail 215 which you can find here:
It’s along SR48 delle Dolomiti, not far from Cortina d’Ampezzo, with space along the road to park, but on busy days it may be difficult to find space.
As I said before, you are in the mountains so pack some warmer clothes and waterproofs, even in the summer, as it can get a little chilly, and if it rains (like it did for us) it can get very cold! We didn’t quite realise how high up in the mountains this place was, and foolishly forgot to check the weather. It was only when it started to rain did I check the weather and discovered that thunderstorms were forecast all day, and coming from Ferrara in Italy at the beginning of June where the temperature was about 32C, we were dressed in shorts and t-shirts.* We were about 30 minutes into the hike at this point, and we had planned to come here months ago, so we weren’t going to turn back now, besides the rain wasn’t too bad at this point. Stubborn and determined to reach our destination we carried on.
*Without the rain, shorts and t-shirts would have been fine, as it was cool but perfect hiking temperature.
As I said before the hike itself takes about two hours depending on how fast you walk (it’s about 5km each way) with some tricky parts along the way, such as narrow paths and steep drops, but there are guide ropes to hold on to. I would also recommend wearing hiking boots as it can be a little slippery in places. There are also parts of the trail which have metal stairways built into the steeper parts of the trail. If you have a fear of heights I would take these factors into consideration. It was this reason that I decided not to bring my dog, because as we discovered in Bled, he does have a fear of heights. If you are unsure, you can actually walk along the trail ‘virtually’ using google maps, and view the entire trail in 360 degrees.
The rain eased off about half way, but it was only a tease, as no more than 20 minutes later we began to hear rumbles of thunder and rain began to fall again. The clouds behind us didn’t look very friendly and they were heading our way. We made a quick assessment and decided that whether we carried on or turned back we would still get caught in it. We knew there was a hostel near the lake, and we were already past half way, it made no sense for us to turn back, miss out on seeing the lake and get wet either way so we pressed on again, but picked up the pace a little.
The rain grew heavier but our destination grew closer; we passed some other hikers on their way back who said it was only another 15 minutes until the lake. With light at the end of the tunnel our spirits lifted and we marched on.
Only ten minutes later the lake revealed itself to us and what a sight it was. Cold and wet, we had made it. Relief, joy and awe struck us; it truly is a beautiful place. Unfortunately because of the rain, we couldn’t really spend long here and enjoy it as much as we would have liked, so we quickly took some snaps, dipped our hands into the water, and dashed to find shelter at the nearby hostel as thunder rumbled over head and the heavens opened, pelting us with hail.
With luck never in our favour, the hostel was closed, but we weren’t alone; other hikers were trying to take shelter by the side of the building. It wasn’t ideal but it kept us out of the direct rainfall. Why it was closed on a Friday in June I don’t know, but there would have been some very grateful hikers that day if it was!
Luckily, the rain passed and with the day growing late, we took our chance and headed back along the trail. The rain held off the whole way and we made it back to the car in around an hour and a half.
Lessons learned: Check weather, and bring appropriate clothing!
The trip hike to Sorapis was actually part of a two day trip we had planned, and our next stop was a hotel near the beautiful Lago Di Braies only 40 minutes away, which was a blessing for us, being tired, cold and wet. Needless to say the hot shower was bliss!