About Cascate del Pisciadu
The Cascate del Pisciadu (or Cascate del Pisciadù; Pisciadu Waterfalls) was one of the waterfalls we targeted in our return trip to the Dolomites area of Northern Italy in the Summer of 2018. It was a tall, multi-tiered waterfall without much literature concerning its height (I’ve seen 80m thrown around).
On its own, the waterfall was thin and light-flowing. It probably wouldn’t be much to go out of the way for. However, what was notable about this waterfall was its location. It sat smack in the heart of the Dolomites where this waterfall was actually in the grooves of one of the region’s signature massifs.It also helped that the waterfall was close to Colfosco (Calfosch), which also happened to be one of the highest towns in the Alta Badia Region of the Italian Dolomites. So we had the perfect waterfalling excuse to explore this part of Northern Italy that we would have otherwise overlooked.
When we made our visit, we were able to see the waterfall from the twisty road going through Colfosco. That compelled us to find a trailhead and seek out a closer look at the falls. While there were several ways to visit the waterfall, the nearest trailhead was at a car park for a restaurant by a hairpin turn (I believe the restaurant was called Ristorante Bar Mesoles; see directions below).
I actually did the hike a little further away at the Colfosco Adventure Park so our daughter could play in the obstacle courses there while I partook in the hike to get close to the Cascate del Pisciadu. Doing the hike this way (along Trail 28) meant that I wound up spending nearly two hours on the trail, which was at least two or three times as long as starting the trail from the trailheads closer to the main part of town (namely from Luianta via Trail 650).
From the Colfosco Adventure Park, I followed the signs saying “tru dles cascades”, which led me for about five minutes towards a separate trail that descended towards a bridge crossing the Sodlisia Stream. On the other side of the bridge, I went right and followed the signs, which at this point suggested that the falls was another 50 minutes away. The footpath was wide and gently undulated though was generally uphill.Along the way, there were rest benches, gorgeous views across the valley towards the Dolomite massifs backing Colfosco and the neighboring towns, and even some surprise seasonal cascades tumbling off of the nearby massifs towering over the trail. Eventually, I made it to a grassy clearing that was popular with people chillaxing and having picnics. There was also a squat toilet outhouse as well as some trail junctions.
It was here that the shorter path from Colfosco would join up with the last remaining climb up to the Cascate del Pisciadu, which was clearly visible at this point. There was a spur trail climbing up another five minutes towards the base of one of the drops of the Cascate del Pisciadu. While the trail was closed during my visit (probably due to the threat of a rockfall), it didn’t stop numerous people from going up anyways.
Once at the base of the falls, I was only able to see a couple of its mostly twisting and hidden tiers, which made the viewing experience a little underwhelming. It seemed like I was able to see more of the waterfall the further away I was from it. However, I was able to look across the valley for a commanding view of the Dolomite Massifs all around the valley in addition to getting a little spray from the Cascate del Pisciadu itself.
After having my fill, I returned the way I came, which was primarily downhill most of the way.
The Cascate del Pisciadu was near the town of Colfosco. Since we were based in Selva di Val Gardena, I’ll describe the driving directions from there. For driving directions from more farflung locations, I’d use an app like Google Maps using Colfosco or Corvara as one of the destinations. However, I do ahve to warn you that the roads in the Dolomites are very narrow and twisty, and unless you’re a confident driver who knows these roads well, the driving is going to be slow.
So from the center of the busy town of Val Gardena, we would drive southeast on the SS242 for about 5km before turning left onto the SS243. Then, we’d follow the SS243 into the town of Colfosco.
Shortly after the big “Calfosch” sign, there was a pullout on the right (about 11km from the SS242/SS243 junction), where we stopped the car and got a nice view towards Cascate del Pisciadu backed by the Dolomite Massif. The picture you see at the top of this page came from that spot.
Continuing the drive for another 600m, we arrived at the Ristorante Mesoles, where there was a wide car park. There was a road-turned-hiking-trail (Strada Rönn), which led down to the picnic area before the Cascate del Pisciadu, and I’d imagine this was the closest car park. However, I’m not sure if public parking was allowed here.
So continuing the drive further east, we’d enter the small town of Colfosco, where we could try to score a parking spot (Hotel Luianta was one such place) where a 20 minute walk would also lead to the picnic area before the Cascate del Pisciadu.
We wound up driving even further than that as we continued another 2km from the hairpin turn at the Ristorante Mesoles towards the spacious car park at the Colfosco Adventure Park. This car park was a pay and display lot taking coins only.
Overall, this drive took us about a pretty solid hour even though distance-wise, it was only about 18km to get from the Val Gardena center to the Colfosco Adventure Park. That kind of tells you how narrow and winding the roads are here.
For context, Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein) was about 20km (about an hour drive) west of Corvara in Badia, about 22km (over an hour drive) north of Canazei, 43km (over an hour drive) east of Bolzano (Bozen), and 72km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest from Brunico (Bruneck), Italy.
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