Puez – Odle/Geisler

The Puez – Odle/Geisler system covers an area of 7,930 hectares within the Province of Bolzano/Bozen and is entirely contained within the protected area of Parco Naturale Puez – Odle/Naturpark Puez – Geisler. It is made up of a relatively compact mountain chain surrounded by three delightful valleys: Val di Funes/Villnösser Tal to the North, Val Badia/Gadertal to the East and Val Gardena/Grödental to the South. The northern part of the system is dominated by two imposing massifs: Odle d’Eores/Aferer Geisler and Odle di Funes/Vilnösser Geisler. A high plateau occupies the southern face, at an altitude of 2,500m. Towering over the archetypical Alpine scenery of pasturelands and little lakes are Col de Puez (2,725m) and Col de la Sonè (2,634m). The highest peak of Odle d’Eores/Aferer Geisler chain is Sas de Putia (2,875m), while the Odle di Funes/Vilnösser Geisler chain is dominated by Sas Rigais (3,025m).

Protecting the environment

Designated a protected area in 1978 and extended in 1999 to its current size of 10,000 hectares, the Parco Naturale Puez – Odle /Naturpark Puez – Geisler is a veritable geological treasure trove, and the reason why it is often called “The Earth’s History Book”. The dazzling array of geological phenomena tells its story in terms that are plain to see, as do the landscapes, ranging from limestone plateaus to rolling pasturelands, from majestic peaks and dizzying rock walls to deep canyons and of course magical woodlands. The park abounds in high-mountain flora, with woodlands of Norway spruce, larch and Swiss pine and countless wild flowers, among them crocus, rhododendron, lady’s slipper orchids, Turk’s cap and tiger lilies, Alpine poppies, and edelweiss. The parkland fauna is also a showcase of Alpine wildlife, full of chamois, mountain goats, deer and marmots and birds such as eagle-owls, capercaillie, black grouse and many other rare species (www.provincia.bz.it).

For more information, visit www.dolomitiunesco.info

The Gardenacia Refuge is located on the Malga Stern pasture land which affords beautiful views of the Badia Valley, and it is particularly popular because it is the ideal starting point for climbs up Sassonger and Somamunt.

The Genova – Schlüter Refuge, built in 1898, is near the Poma Pass between Sass de Putia and the Odle Group. Its pretty position, at the meeting point of the Funes Valley and the Ladin valleys, makes the refuge an ideal starting point for easy walks and more difficult high altitude excursions as well as an ideal stop for mountain biking. It's a stage point along the Alta Via no. 2.

The Puez Refuge lies above the village of Colfosco, in a small grassy valley on the Puez plateau, looking onto the Gardena Valley. The refuge has been run by the Costa family for over 70 years and lies on the Alta Via no. 2 and no. 8. It is the ideal starting point for numerous excursions and climbs.

The Stevia Refuge is a small wooden building standing on a grassy terrace on the edge of the Stevia plateau in the Puez – Odle Natural Park. The refuge affords wonderful views over the Sella and Sassolungo Groups.