Karer Pass / Passo di Costalunga

Key information: Karer Pass / Passo di Costalunga

  • A day traverse over (or return walk to) the Karer Pass, Passo di Costalunga, in Italy's spectacular Dolomites. 
  • This walk could be wonderfully extended using any one of a number of stunning Dolomite routes. 

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating85
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest8
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating85
  • Note: Negs: don't get 'away'

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Day or less
  • Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,745m
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate



The following is Elizabeth Warren's piece on walking here, which was an entry we much enjoyed for our 2011 Travel Writing Competition. Thank you, Elizabeth, for bringing this walk to our attention!

The Gatecrasher

The day had all clouded up, it would rain again that afternoon. I stood by the great bronze eagle - the Christomannos Denkmal high above the Karer Pass in the Dolomites - and decided it was best to go no further.

Turning back and walking down the way I had come, I thought perhaps there was time to have an Orangina at the Paolina Hutte. When I got there a party with an enormous St Bernard dog, not on a lead, was sitting drinking at one of the tables. I decided to wait for my drink until I got down to the top of the pass and continued down the path under ever increasing cloud.

While I was sitting outside a café at the Passhohe the party with the St Bernard dog came down and disappeared either into a car or the Hotel Savoy, but the dog however remained ambling about the road.

It began to rain. Hastily I got up and started on down the Dolomite Road. Immediately the St Bernard trotted off jauntily down the road beside me. A few minutes later he was very nearly run over by some motorcycles coming up the pass, he only just escaped by rolling down the bank at the side of the road in a ball.

I left the road taking the short cut to the Hotel Latemar. The dog picked himself up and followed me down it 'til we came to the Latemar, there he turned into the back premises. Thank goodness; perhaps he lives there I thought. I was continuing down the next stretch of the short cut when "Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle" the brute came bounding along after me, a small cowbell on his collar ringing merrily.

Presently we reached the Café Hubertus and the St Bernard hurried off to the back yard. It was now raining quite heavily but here the path entered the Karer Wald and the trees gave some shelter. The dog did not seem to be following, perhaps he did live at the Hubertus. But no, erelong "Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle" and along he came bounding and proceeded to lead the way through the forest oblivious of the steadily falling rain.

I was staying at the Hotel Alpenrose, near the beautiful old church of St Joseph at the Karer See, which is a good half hour's walk from the summit of the pass, and which is situated on the opposite side of the Dolomite Road from the Karer Wald. As I turned out of the forest to cross the road the St Bernard ran ahead of me straight into the middle of the road and was immediately nearly run over by a car driving recklessly fast down the pass. Fortunately there was nothing coming the other way and the driver just managed to avoid him by swerving to the wrong side of the road. As he did so his passenger put his head out of the window and yelled abuse in Italian at both me and the dog; it was equally lost on both of us - he was evidently a German speaking dog.

The rain had stopped and the sun was breaking through the cloud. It was a Saturday afternoon and there was a great wedding reception taking place at the Hotel Alpenrose. Tail swinging, bell ringing, the St Bernard marched joyously into the garden where 150 guests were drinking champagne.

I hurried into the hotel, closing the door behind me, and found Frau Moser; apologetically I said, "There is an enormous lost St Bernard dog outside, he has followed me all the way from the top of the pass".

"Oh that is Kim. He's not lost" she said, "He comes from the Moser Alm and he follows everybody".

How did he know that there was a wedding that day?

See our Dolomites page for detailed practical information and other options for walking in the area.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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