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Exploring Seceda in the Italian Dolomites

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The Italian Dolomites are home to some of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the world, including the super moody Seceda Mountain.

After spending two weeks in Italy I quickly realized I could spend months exploring the country. It’s so dense and packed with beautiful mountains, rich cultural centers and stunning coastline.

But during this trip we had only carved out about four days for exploring the Dolomites and I had to be working remotely in the evenings to keep up with my job back home.

This meant early mornings and late nights to ensure I’d have plenty of time during the day to explore everything on my hit list!

Man standing near ridge line at Seceda, Italy
Experiencing the moody haze at Seceda is no guarantee – you’ll have to watch the weather in advance

I had seen some incredible footage of the Seceda ridge line partially covered by clouds and knew I had to see this place for myself in person if I ever found myself in the area. So naturally we made time to squeeze in a day trip over to Seceda during our Dolomites trip!

In this post I’m going to cover everything you need to know to reach Seceda Mountain, how the weather will impact your experience, while covering a ton of useful information about the area along the way.

Also be sure to check out the video guide I created covering Seceda Mountain on YouTube. It includes tons of video I shot from our trip along with some drone footage which you won’t see on the blog post!

You’ll notice some links and advertisements from partner or affiliate sites throughout this post. I typically earn a small commission on any purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. If you check those out, great. If not, I’m still happy you’re here!

Where is Seceda Located?

Seceda Mountain is located in the Dolomites mountain range in South Tyrol, Italy. It is situated above the towns of Ortisei, St. Christina, and Selva in Val Gardena. The area is also referred to as the Puez-Odle Nature Park.

Seceda during cloudy conditions in Italy
On cloudy days the peak of Seceda can be obscured from view

During my visit we were staying in Cortina d’Ampezzo which serves as a popular home base for exploring Seceda and other popular destinations in the Italian Dolomites. From Cortina d’Ampezzo you can take the incredibly scenic 90 minute drive through Val Gardena to Ortisei.

How do I get to Seceda?

The easiest access point to reach Seceda Mountain is to utilize the cable car station in the town of Ortisei.

Seceda cable car station in the town of Ortisei
The cable car station in Ortisei that leads to Seceda

Once you reach the cable car station in Ortisei, you can take a gondola from Ortisei to Furnes, and from there, take the cable car to Seceda.

You’ll spend about 15-20 minutes riding on the two cable cars combined and a little bit longer waiting to change cars at the Furnes station. From the time you depart Ortisei you should reach your final destination in approximately 30 minutes.

Here’s a link to great deals available on hotels in Ortisei if you’re looking for accommodations there. Alternatively I’d suggest checking out accommodations in Cortina d’Ampezzo which also serves as a great home base for exploring the Dolomites.

What to expect when visiting Seceda Mountain

For my trip to Seceda we started the morning by leaving our Airbnb in Cortina d’Ampezzo and driving 90 minutes west to Ortisei. We checked the weather that morning which called for rain in Ortisei for most of the day.

However, conditions were partly cloudy in the early morning so we knew we’d have a weather window if we arrived right when the cable car station opened.

Church at Val Gardena Pass in the Italian Dolomites
Views of the stunning Val Gardena Pass during our drive back to Cortina d’Ampezzo

The drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo is incredibly scenic and will take you through the Val Gardena Pass. It was foggy in the morning so we didn’t stop on our way out, but conditions were better on the way back and I’d suggest making a stop at Val Gardena Pass to enjoy the area if you have time.

Once you make it to Ortisei you’ll want to head for the cable car station. There’s plenty of parking at the station especially if you arrive early in the morning. Since we skipped breakfast at our Airbnb to be ahead on timing, we grabbed a light breakfast at the cable car station before heading up.

You can purchase your tickets online in advance at the Seceda website which is always a good idea, but I also didn’t get the impression that tickets sell out easily. Cable cars come frequently so once we were ready to go we were quickly whisked up towards the Furnes station.

The cable car ride up is pleasantly scenic as you’ll hover above hillside homes and hiking trails on your way to the Furnes station where you’ll switch cars. There’s nothing complicated about the switch so you don’t have to worry about getting turned around.

If you have time there was a hiking path that leads away from the Furnes station which could be worth exploring. But we were intent on spending our time up at Seceda and knew the weather conditions would be deteriorating later that morning so we avoided any detours along the way.

Cable car heading up to Seceda Mountain
Haze on the day we visited meant the cable cars disappeared as they ascended to the Seceda station

Once you switch cars you’ll take an incredibly steep cable car up to the Seceda station. This ride was a bit more invigorating than the last given how much altitude you gain. On this particular day the cable cars seemed to disappear into the clouds which made for some really cool photographs.

After the ascent you’ll be at your final destination. The station at the top has a restaurant if you’re in need of any food or drinks during your visit so be sure to check that out. But since we had already eaten we started making our way for Seceda Mountain.

The great thing about Seceda is that you don’t have to be a hiker to get the full effect. Once you exit the station the mountain will already be in view, although for us the peak was obscured by clouds. The out and back distance to the viewing area is only about 1 mile (1.6 km) without any elevation gain.

Hazy conditions at Seceda Mountain
The actual peak of Seceda was completely obscured on the day we visited

As you work towards Seceda the mountain ridgeline to your left will eventually fade away and you’ll come to a steep overlook that allows you to look straight down into the cloudy abyss.

This is a great area to stop for photos with your group and to enjoy the views as you’ll be directly below Seceda’s prominent jagged peak!

Eventually the maintained trail towards Seceda will fade away and this makes for a great spot to spend your time hanging out. We spent about 45 minutes hanging out here enjoying the scenery and views before heading back to the cable car station.

Another great detour would be to hike down into the valley. There are a ton of hiking and mountain bike paths that snake through the hillside below. In the winter this is a popular skiing area but during the summer it transforms into a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

Can I reach Seceda without hiking?

While there is plenty of beautiful hiking in the area, it is possible to reach the summit of Seceda mountain without much hiking at all. The easiest way to reach the summit of Seceda mountain is by taking the Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda cable car from Ortisei in Val Gardena.

From the cable car station at the top, it’s only a short 10-minute walk to the summit lookout point. This is a great option for those who have limited time or no desire to do a lot of hiking.

Cable car ascending to Seceda station
The hazy conditions started to clear once we were ready to head back down

If you’re doing any longer hikes during your travels through the Dolomites be sure to check out my complete day hike check list. It covers everything you’ll need for a full day of hiking to ensure you don’t forget to pack anything for your trip!

How do I see clouds along the Seceda ridge line?

Depending on weather conditions you may have an opportunity to see clouds form against the ridge line that leads up to Seceda Mountain.

We were fortunate enough to view this dramatic weather phenomena during our visit. Keep in mind that there is a bit of a tradeoff here, since cloudy conditions will likely leave the prominent peak of Seceda obscured from view like during our visit.

In turn, you’ll have the opportunity to see the jagged ridge line disappear into a foggy abyss which is a unique experience you’re unlikely to see elsewhere.

Ideally you’ll visit during a partly cloudy day that will allow a combination of viewing Seceda’s peak while also seeing clouds obscure the view looking down the ridge line.

Check the weather and time your visit accordingly (whether you prefer a clear day or cloudy skies). Here’s a link to a Seceda webcam that will show you what the current conditions look like.

How much is the cable car to Seceda in the Dolomites?

When we visited Seceda the cable car cost us around 40 euro per person for roundtrip tickets. This includes the connection at the Fernes station.

Seceda cable car at Ortisei, Italy
The cable car system makes this mountain peak extremely accessible

For updated pricing and the ability to purchase tickets online check out the cable car operators website.

Keep in mind that the summer season cable cars operate from late May to early November while there is a separate process for visiting the area to ski in the winter.

How long does it take to visit Seceda?

You’ll first need to budget time for reaching Ortisei unless you’re staying in the area. Cortina d’Ampezzo served as our home base for exploring the Dolomites on this trip so we had a 3 hour roundtrip drive to Ortisei and back.

From there the cable car will require about 30 minutes of travel time in each direction. That put our total logistics time at four hours.

You can spend as little or as much time as you’d like enjoying the Seceda area once you reach the top. But for simply walking out to the cliff and enjoying the views I’d suggest anywhere from one to two hours.

You could easily spend an afternoon here if you wanted to enjoy lunch at the restaurant or hike down into the valley below.

Is there food available at Seceda?

The two easiest food options you’ll have along the way are at the cable car station in Ortisei before you start traveling up to Seceda or at the mountain restaurant located in the station where you exit near the top.

I’d recommend either having lunch at the mountain restaurant near the top or back in Ortisei once you’re finished since there will be significantly more restaurant options when you make it back to town. The food at the first cable car station will work in a pinch, but is nothing to write home about.

What is the best time of year to visit Seceda?

If you’re visiting Seceda to experience the stunning views you’ll want to visit outside of winter season when skiing dominates the area. The summer season cable car schedule runs from late May through early October while ski season runs from January to March.

Powerful image of Seceda ridge line in cloudy conditions
The ridge line that leads up to Seceda’s peak is extremely imposing

For warmer and drier weather I’d recommend visiting Seceda from late June to early September.

When we visited the Dolomites in early June we had to frequently dodge late spring showers across the region.

If you’re flexible on your itinerary, you can use the tactic we employed which was to map our activities based on which destination had the best weather forecast on a given day. Weather tends to change rapidly in the mountains so this can be a useful trick to get the most out of your time in the Dolomites.

Be mindful that other popular activities in the Dolomites like the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike won’t be fully accessible if you visit too early in the season. The access road leading to the trailhead opened on our last day in the region and we narrowly missed out on seeing the Three Peaks altogether!

What is the best time of day to visit Seceda?

You’ll have a difficult time visiting Seceda for sunrise or sunset if you’re relying on the cable car, which most visitors will be. If you want to minimize crowds I’d recommend catching one of the first cable cars up to the top.

Alternatively you could avoid crowds by being one of the last people to visit but you’ll have to be extra careful not to miss the last cable car back down to Ortisei.

My recommendation would be to time your visit with the weather forecast. Clear skies will give you the best chance to see Seceda’s prominent jagged peak. Alternatively, visiting during a cloudy time of day can create epic views along the ridge line but may obscure the peak.

Check out these activities available in the area

Looking for more ways to fill out your trip itinerary? Be sure to check out the list of activities below from GetYourGuide.

Is visiting Seceda dangerous?

Once you reach the final cable car destination at Seceda you’ll be able to follow the hiking trail towards the base of the peak and along the ridge line. There will be places along the way that allow you to peer over the steep mountain ridge so it’s important that exercise care when taking in these views.

If you’re visiting with young children you’ll want to be extra mindful of them when approaching the ridge line since there isn’t really anything keeping you from the steep drop offs.

You might even spot some more adventurous visitors climbing out onto the exposed rock for dramatic photo ops. Not my cup of tea and you shouldn’t try that at home either unless you’re really experienced with scrambling on rock.

I hope this guide serves you well in planning your visit to Seceda in the Dolomites of Italy!

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