Starting at the Information Point of the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Nature Park, take track n° 10, which runs on the level though the forest, following the river Ru de Fanes. A magical botanical itinerary has been installed along the track, created with the help of children at the Montessori School in Cortina. You will see various informative panels showing the names of plants, shrubs and flowers, with many interesting facts. This lovely section of the valley has a particularly rich flora, with 28 species of shrubs, 14 types of tree and as many as 15 different species of orchids, which include the rare, protected lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), the most beautiful Italian orchid, as well as the fly orchid (Ophrys muscifera) and the white adder’s mouth (Malaxis monophyllos).
After half an hour you will reach an intersection, at which you turn right. Just a few minutes later you will reach the beautiful clearing Pian de Loa, where there is a small hut with a wooden water fountain (“brento” in the Ampezzo). This is an ideal location for a pleasant, refreshing break, in the sunshine or shaded by the trees around the clearing. From here, go back to the end of the clearing and turn right following the signs for “Belvedere sulle Cascate di Fanes” (Fanes waterfall belvedere), until you cross the Ponte Outo bridge over the river Boite. The many pools, rapids and waterfalls along the river Rio Fanes are exceptionally beautiful. Then go uphill on the right following the sign for the “sentiero dei Canyon e delle Cascate” (canyons and waterfalls path) until you reach the viewpoint that provides a splendid panorama over the lower Fanes waterfalls, one of the falls with the tallest drop and highest flow rate in the Dolomites. The belvedere is a location of incredible beauty offering an exceptional view of the majestic waterfall. In spring, the falls are particularly impressive, due to the high flow of water from the melting snow. To return to the starting point, we recommend taking the same route as for the outward trip.
By bus: You have two options to arrive to Pian de Loa. You can take the orange bus n° 1 from the bus station in the centre of Cortina to the information office of the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Nature Park in Fiames and from there walk to the starting point of the botanical path in 30-40 minutes. As an alternative you can take the bus to Dobbiaco operated by the company SAD and stop at the bus stop St. Hubertus. From there you can take track n° 10 and connect to the botanical path, skipping the first part.
By car: From the centre of Cortina d’Ampezzo, take the road towards Dobbiaco, and a short distance after the hamlet Fiames, turn left following the sign for “Pian de Loa” and drive to the parking area near the Nature Park’s Information Point.