The “Giovanni Barbara” via ferrata is suitable for everyone, from beginners to families, and it is ideal for getting a taste of the world of hiking and trying an easy via ferrata, in absolute safety. The circuit around the Fanes waterfalls enables you to see the power of nature and the impetuous flow of water from close up: with bridges and ascents along the rock faces, you can admire another of Cortina’s many facets. The route is entirely to the north of Cortina, in the magical Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites.
Starting from the Pian de Loa car park, which is about 3 km from Hotel Fiames, follow the signs and take track n° 10-401 which leads you into the forest, entering the valley Valle di Fanes. Pass the sign for the bridge Ponte Outo on your left, and carry on along the track for about an hour until you reach the incredible viewpoint that enables you to see the waterfall in all its majestic beauty from above. From here, follow the winding track that brings you to the stony river-bed, until you reach the river Rio Fanes; stay on the left and follow the river upstream until you reach the steps along the narrow gully between the rocks.
After this you reach the most exciting part of the entire route: walking underneath the first waterfall! The power of the water is spectacular, and you can feel and hear it even while you are approaching. The path enables you to go behind the cascading water and admire the majestic power of nature. For this reason it is essential to use the ferrata kit, because the path is wet and slippery. You should also have a waterproof coat.
The route then takes you up the other side of the gully with metal cables. Take care in this section, because other hikers may be proceeding in the opposite direction, and crossing one another may be a complicated operation at some points.
Then take the dirt track and return to Pian De Loa.
If you wish to complete the entire circuit of the via ferrata, you have to take the track about 250 m from the benches, leading to the right bank of the river, Rio Fanes. After the bridge, go back along the track that you used to go down into the gully, and then follow the path that you took on the outwards section. We recommend visiting the viewpoint offered by the Ponte Outo bridge, where you can see the canyon that has been created by the river Fanes: an impressive chasm 80 metres deep that will take your breath away. Once you have completed the circuit of via ferratas, return to the Pian de Loa car park following the path taken on the outwards section.