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From the Zugspitze to Lake Como – MTB Transalp Lake Como

Holger S.

From the Zugspitze to Lake Como – MTB Transalp Lake Como

Mountain Biking Collection by Holger S.

8

Tours

38:20 h

295 mi

40,675 ft

Many passionate mountain bikers dream of crossing the Alps from north to south on a mountain bike – just as the first daredevils took on this adventure decades ago. A lot has happened since the pioneering days of the Alpine cross. Many regions have developed trails and improved the infrastructure for bikers. This means there are great variations that were unknown to the pioneers of their steel hardtails with no suspension.

I would like to show you a Transalp that deviates from the classic routes. It starts at the foot of the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, and ends at Lake Como after seven stages. You experience a route that integrates some classic alpine cross routes and also combines them with numerous exciting variations and spectacular trails. In total 475 kilometres (295 miles) and around 11,600 metres (38,000 feet) of elevation gain lie ahead of you.

The Wetterstein massif and its 2,962-metre (9,717 feet) Zugspitze, the highest peak in the mountain group, characterises the first stage. It offers only a few trails but has ample impressive views. This changes on the second morning after hopping on your saddle from a mountain hut. You ride along the famous Blindsee Trail to the Fern Pass and further into the Inn Valley. Varied trails lead you to the town of Ischgl in Paznaun Valley where the high alpine trail adventure really begins.

Over the following days, you discover lonely paths and dreamlike landscapes with views over the Stilfser Joch National Park and the Swiss National Park. The endless trails will both challenge you and fill you with excitement whilst the steep climbs may make you curse.

From the Scuol holiday area in the Engadine Alpine valley in Switzerland, you ride to the town of Livigno in the Italian Alps and on to the snow-capped glaciers of the Bernina massif and its 4,049-metre (13,284 feet) Piz Bernina, the only 4,000-metre (13,123 feet) peak in the Eastern Alps.
At the Upper Engadine lakes near St. Moritz, a Swiss high Alpine resort town, phenomenal trails await – the type that grace the covers of mountain bike magazines.

After the Maloja Pass in Bergell on the southern side of the Alps, the picture changes completely. With its deep green chestnut forests and rugged granite rock faces, simplicity and originality characterise the imposing valley. Chiavenna is the first town in Italy that welcomes you with a Mediterranean climate. Shortly before you reach your destination, the route takes another turn and brings you to a small mountain village situated in a remote, lonely valley without any road connections – like no other place in Europe. The way there is even more fascinating and unique. 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) long, the Tracciolino Trail leads through 22 tunnels that are up to 400 metres (1,312 feet) long, situated 700 metres (2,296 feet) above the valley. With a view of Lake Como, this trail leads you to the village of Codera. The final day brings you to Lake Como with almost no ascents.

Requirements

I recommend this route if you want to experience a Transalp with as many trails as possible, without taking mountain lifts. As you can see from the route data, you need to be in very good physical condition.

On the suggested routes you mainly follow single trails, unpaved roads, gravel roads and side roads with little traffic. The high alpine terrain requires appropriate riding skills. However, you don't have to be an enduro pro. The most difficult trail sections are rated S2 on the single trail scale (up to S3 in exceptional cases). As a rule, however, the requirements are much lower and there is a lot of flow feeling. Basic equipment including knee and elbow pads are recommended. On some sections, you’ll have to push or carry your bike. You can find more information about this in the Tour descriptions.

Overnight stay

The Tour is designed for self-catering cyclists who are travelling with a rucksack or bike-packing equipment. The latter is of course only recommended if you can handle it on challenging trails. You will find accommodation in the stage towns or in the recommended huts en route.

Travel time

The best time to travel is in summer. The passes are usually snow-free between mid-June and the end of September.

In August, almost all of Italy is on holiday. If you don’t plan to sleep in the outdoors, I recommend booking your accommodation in advance regardless of when you travel and especially in the Italian regions (Livigno and Colico) in August.

How to get there

Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mittenwald are easy to reach by public transport. with direct train connections to Germany and Austria. There are also long-distance bus lines to both towns.

The return journey from Lake Como is not quite so easy. The return journey by train is awkward with many changes and a journey time of more than 10 hours. It is easier to book a shuttle, for example: bikeshuttle.at/de/alp (information in German language).

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Transalp Comer See – Traumhafte Trails und faszinierende Landschaften

265 mi

39,825 ft

42,175 ft

Last updated: May 23, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    04:56
    33.2 mi
    6.7 mph
    6,175 ft
    2,775 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    An alpine cross is a great sporting and mental challenge. For this reason, the first stage begins for you with a lot of panorama and scenic highlights. The adrenaline output is still limited and you can acclimatise super.

    

    

    Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a perfect starting point for many classic Transalp tours

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    by Holger S.

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  • Difficult
    05:03
    36.8 mi
    7.3 mph
    5,800 ft
    3,100 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Similar to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald is also a classic among the Transalp starting locations. The Bike Transalp Challenge has even started here several times.

    

    

    Mittenwald is a little quieter and more manageable than Garmisch. Bikers with alpine cross experience often know the routes on the west

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    by Holger S.

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  • Difficult
    06:11
    53.3 mi
    8.6 mph
    6,050 ft
    7,250 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Today starts with a highlight that has filled numerous pages in mountain bike magazines for years.

    

    

    The Blindsee Trail offers a fantastic panorama of the eponymous deep blue lake at the end of the descent. If you want to enjoy the panorama, take the time to stand still. The trail demands your full concentration

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    by Holger S.

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  • Difficult
    04:10
    29.8 mi
    7.2 mph
    4,500 ft
    7,525 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    With the third stage you are right in the middle of a high alpine mountain bike adventure. You start the day with a lift ride to the Ischgl border ridge. Try to start as early as possible. The day's stage will demand a lot from you despite the clear route data.

    

    

    The Silvrettabahn first takes you to the

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    by Holger S.

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  • Difficult
    05:11
    31.4 mi
    6.0 mph
    5,250 ft
    5,250 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The high alpine adventure continues. The day begins with a ride uphill through the kitschy beautiful landscape of the Val S-charl. The rushing brook flows next to you and cows graze in the lush green alpine meadows. Woods of fragrant Swiss stone pines - called here in the Engadin in Romansh stone pines

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    by Holger S.

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  • Difficult
    05:35
    41.5 mi
    7.4 mph
    5,875 ft
    5,900 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The high alpine highlights of your alpine cross line up again today, like the links of your bicycle chain.

    

    

    A varied mix of bike paths and single trails leads you to Passo Forcola di Livigno. The morning temperatures of Livigno, which is 1,800 meters above sea level, are often very cool, which is why you

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  • Difficult
    05:17
    50.5 mi
    9.6 mph
    5,225 ft
    8,550 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Üblicherweise enden Transalp Touren nach der Abfahrt vom Malojapass durchs Bergell noch am gleichen Tag am Ufer des Comer Sees. Das könntest du natürlich tun. Ab Verceia am Lago di Mezzola würdest du, wie in der siebten und letzten Etappe beschrieben, der Radroute nach Colico folgen. Viel besser ist

    by Holger S.

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  • Difficult
    01:58
    18.3 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,775 ft
    3,725 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The day begins as spectacularly as it ended. You leave the Val Codera the same way as you reached it the day before. The Tracciolino Trail brings you back to the access road to Verceia with a completely new perspective. There you have the choice between the old Mulatteria or the mountain road known from

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    by Holger S.

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    295 mi
  • Duration
    38:20 h
  • Elevation
    40,675 ft

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From the Zugspitze to Lake Como – MTB Transalp Lake Como

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