The High Life: Rifugio Lagazuoi, Italy

Climb to a view over all of the Dolomites.

In 1965, Ugo Pompanin decided to abandon his job at a butcher shop and pursue a labor of love in the mountains. The result is this hikers’ castle, perched at 9,029 feet on Mt. Lagazuoi. Best plan: Reach it on night two of a north-to-south traverse of the 75-mile Alta Via 1. On the eight- or nine-day trip, you’ll cross sheer cliffs with the help of via ferrata, trace lush valleys choked with poppies, and wake to Dolomites views like this one. 

Season July-September

Map/guide Tabacco maps 03, 015, 024, 025, and 031 ($13 each;; Dolomites Trekking, by Henry Stedman ($23;

Get there
Begin at Lago di Braies; finish at Belluno. 

Cost/info 60 euros/person/night for room with meals; reserve three months in advance;