Holger S.

From Ischgl to Latsch in Italy – an Enduro Alpine Cross

Holger S.

From Ischgl to Latsch in Italy – an Enduro Alpine Cross

Mountain Biking Collection by Holger S.

Classic mountain bike alpine cross routes have a clear formula – following pretty paths ideally from the cool north of the Alps to the warm realms of the south. Optimally, the Transalp ends at a dreamlike lake like the picturesque Lake Garda. But this alpine cross is different. When enduro is part of the equation, then the route should be challenging and far from boring, avoiding long transfer stretches between the trails. Joking aside, in this Collection, I’d like to introduce you to a route that I’ve recommended to friends and acquaintances who have ridden several Transalps. They were looking for a new challenge with a maximum number of demanding trails packed into a multi-day Tour.

In six days you cover about 270 kilometers (167 miles) and over 8,000 vertical metres (26,240 feet). Look forward to more than 16,000 metres (52,490 feet) of downhill. You stand above 3,000 metres (9,842 feet) above sea level three times. High alpine trails, breathtaking scenery and action-packed descents await you on your adventure between Ischgl, a town in the Paznaun Valley in Austria, and Latsch, a commune in South Tyrol.

Of course, this Collection is considered a Transalp as you cross the main ridge of the Alps at Nauders, a municipality on Lake Reschen. The route takes you from the trails on the border ridge of Ischgl to the Engadine high alpine valley and on to the three-country enduro trails on the Reschen Pass. On the third day, you reach Bormio town from the Stelvio Pass on old military trails. From there, you ride to Santa Catarina resort on the Gavia Pass following a legendary freeride route that starts at an altitude of 3,000 metres (9,842 feet). The next day, the Passo Zebrù high-altitude trail awaits, surrounded by glaciers and taking you once again to an altitude where the air starts to thin. After an overnight stay above the Stelvio Pass with an imposing view of the Ortler massif, you start the day on the king of trails, the Goldsee Trail. The day ends on the other side of the Ortler at the Schaubachhütte mountain hut. The finale takes you over one of the highest snow-free passes in the Alps. From the Madritschjoch, one of the highest passes of the alps at 3,123 meters (10,250 feet), you join trails to Latsch in Vinschgau, which is located at 640 meters (2,099 feet) above sea level.

This multi-day Tour is an adventure. It is a physical and mental challenge for bikers who have already experienced alpine multi-day Tours. You can expect spectacular trails that require you to have solid control of your mountain bike. You use lifts and shuttle buses several times to optimise the ratio of uphill and downhill. I’ve left you tips in the comments of each of the respective stage descriptions.

Be aware that a multi-day Tour in high mountains brings with it certain risks. The weather can often change in an instant and route conditions are affected by numerous factors. Plan enough time reserves in case your original route plan has to be bypassed due to a landslide, snow, or even just because of forestry work. Please check the weather forecast daily and take into consideration tips from the locals when making your decisions. Enduro riding and mountain biking in general means: ride ‘by sight’. You should be able to adjust your riding style to defensive to ensure that you end each evening happy and overwhelmed with great memories, without injuries and any problems.

This Tour is designed for self-supported riders travelling with a rucksack. You can of course adapt the Tour to take advantage of one of the numerous luggage shuttle services in the region. Accommodation can be found in the stage towns or the recommended huts. I advise booking in advance. The best time to travel is in summer as the passes are largely free of snow between mid-July and mid-September. I have made suggestions in the respective stage descriptions on how to travel to and from this adventure and return from Latsch to the starting point in Ischgl.

I wish you an eventful Tour filled with awesome experiences.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    04:36
    31.4 mi
    6.8 mph
    4,575 ft
    9,150 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.

    Without further ado, it goes straight into the adventure. The Silvrettabahn first takes you to the Idalp. There you climb into the chairlift of the Flimjochbahn and get to the border ridge on the Outer Viderjoch at 2,752 meters. The route now runs along the border between Switzerland and Austria to the Engadin, the Swiss part of the Upper Inn Valley.But first you have to breathe deeply and with cold limbs conquer the two steep ramps to the Greitspitz (2,872 meters). This is where the famous SchmugglerTrail begins, which partly follows the border on the mountain ridge. That is very spectacular - and it gets even better. On lonely high alpine trails you first get to the very little traveled Fuorcla da Val Gronda (2,752 meters) and finally to the Fimber Pass (2,608 meters). You will partly push or carry your bike (around 45 minutes on Val Gronda, another 30 minutes on the Fimber Pass). The trail on the Fimber Pass is legendary and incredibly long.In Griosch you should make a stop at the first hut at Doris and Chasper's. Delicious pasta with homemade pesto "Wilde Wiese" or the wonderful cakes give you strength again. You haven't tried spruce needle or alpine rose syrup often either. An alternative just a few minutes later, with a slightly more elegant ambience, is Hof Zuort, where you can find a slightly larger selection on the menu.As soon as you have left the small hamlet of Griosch, the trail plunges into a wonderful forest and follows a wild mountain stream, which you will cross twice over suspension bridges. Several times during the descent you will push your bike briefly up the slope. This is also the case after you have left the venerable Val Sinestra spa house behind you. A wonderful single trail leads as a high path further out of the narrow valley into the wide Inn valley near Ramosch. Time to take a deep breath. Along the Inn, it's a relaxed climb to the Schwarzsee and the Nauders trails. If you want to save yourself the altitude difference by then, you can jump on the bus in Ramosch, or at any other bus stop to Martina, and save yourself the approximately 750 altitude meters to Nauders am Reschenpass.On the three-country enduro trails on the Kleinmutzkopf near Nauders, a few beautiful flowy paths await you at the end of the day, which will bring you to the stage destination. With a beautiful view over the town, I often make a short stop at the Riatschhof mountain inn. You can find overnight accommodation in Nauders in the full range between basic and super luxurious.Note on arrival:
    Ideally, you have already arrived in Ischgl the day before and can start your enduro alpine cross today relaxed with the first lift. Before starting your adventure, I recommend that you arrange the day of arrival so that you arrive at your accommodation in the afternoon. You can take the train or park your car there as far as Landeck / Zams im Oberinntal. Now there are two options: you go by bike via Tobadill into the Paznaun Valley and follow the valley path to Ischgl. Or you use the post bus. This also transports bikes. If you travel to Ischgl with bags and packs and your car, you can already memorize the options for the return journey. From Landeck / Zams you proceed exactly the same, although I believe that you will safely take the bus.
    The well-known winter sports resort of Ischgl offers great overnight stays at bargain prices that you would dream of in winter. On top of that there is a guest card, which has a number of advantages. In addition to numerous other discounts, the Silvretta Card also gives you free use of the mountain railways including your mountain bike - even on the day of arrival (if you want to get to know the Vellil Trail, you should sit in the Silvrettabahn until 3 p.m. to get all the way up.)

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    Difficult
    04:14
    37.3 mi
    8.8 mph
    4,775 ft
    9,950 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.

    Don't even get used to starting a lift ride every day. But today you can do it again, apart from the short warm-up to the Bergkastelbahn valley station. Because at an altitude of 2,500 meters you can expect a flowing start to the day with the Zirmtrail. We continue on the Almtrail and the Plamorttrail to the bunkers and tank traps on the beautiful Plamort plateau. The “Poserfelsen” is located near the entrance to the bunker trail, which finally leads down to the Reschensee with a lot of noise. You have a mandatory photo session on this one. The view of the Reschensee and the Ortler in the background is extremely impressive. Apropos Ortler - the mighty 3,904 meter high mountain king with its imposing glaciers and the venerable entourage such as Königsspitze, Monte Zebru or Cevedale will always be with you in the coming days.But first you have to concentrate on the ingeniously designed enduro trails on Lake Reschen. You are now in South Tyrol. After you've left the rough bunker trail and the Etsch trail behind you, it's off towards Schöneben. Either you use the mountain railway or you crank through the beautiful Rojental to the mountain station. On the Upper Spintrail and the Gorftrail it is relatively flowing for local conditions on beautiful natural forest stretches to St. Valentin, where the final ascent (or the last lift ride) of the day to the Haideralm awaits you. For the last time there is a wonderful view of Lake Reschensee and the Nauderer Mountains. The Haideralmtrail is the most demanding descent of the three-country enduro trails and a real challenge, especially when it is wet. For this reason, I recommended the Plattweg Trail combined with the Lower Spintrail. Here too there is joy. As you have already noticed, many of the trails on Lake Reschen are not typically bike parks, but are designed very naturally. So also the Plattwegtrail, which requires an active driving style in order to get into the flow.At the end of the day, it goes from the Haidersee to the Vinschgau. You follow the cycle path to the picturesque town of Glurns, where you will find numerous accommodations. Organize the bike shuttle for the next day, which will take you to the Stelvio Pass in the morning for the start of the next stage. The sooner the better!Note on mountain railways and tickets:A day ticket for the lifts of the cross-border three-country enduro trails (3-laenderendurotrails.com/bergbahnen-und-tickets) is recommended if you want to ride the trails several times or if you want to plan something more flexible than I can for you Suggested route. If you follow the suggested route, you only need the ticket for the Bergkastelbahn plus Zirmbahn. In Schöneben and on the Haideralmbahn, the ascent is planned on your own. With the lift ticket you would have the opportunity to get the most out of trail descents.

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  • Difficult
    03:51
    32.1 mi
    8.4 mph
    8,425 ft
    11,700 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 day begins with a shuttle ride to the Stilfser Joch at 2,757 meters. It is best to organize the shuttle at least one day before the planned tour with Doris from Bikeshuttle.it (bikeshuttle.it/de/kontakt.html).From the top of the pass it goes straight up to the Dreisprachenspitze and the Rifugio Garibaldi. Treat yourself to another espresso to wake up, if the steep ramp wasn't enough for it. The panorama is huge. From here you can see the Ortler massif in large-screen format in all of its sublime, imposing appearance. You can already get to know the landlord, because tomorrow you will spend the night in the spectacularly located hut.The day starts with the flowing trilingual trail that follows an old military road to the Umbrail Pass. From there a wonderful single trail climbs up to the Bocchetta di Forcola pass. Except for a few short sections and the last steep hairpin bends before the top of the pass, the path is completely manageable. Relics from the First World War await you here again in the form of crumbled positions and ruins of military buildings. A nice trail descends for a short time, only to climb again briefly to the next crossing, the Bocchetta di Pedenolo. The high alpine environment is barren and impresses with the variety of rocks and colors. Comparisons to the Andes or regions in the Himalayas are not far-fetched.From the Bocchetta di Pedenolo, a trail leads you into the Val Forcola and further near the Laghi di Cancano. The breathtaking backdrop of the Pedenolo-Alp is stunning. In the distance you can see Monte Sobretta with its shiny glaciers. Be careful not to run over marmots. There are so many of them here. From the rugged rock backdrop it goes over wide meadow paths, which in turn have military origins, to a steep mountain flank, on which the path hugs in many bends. Once you have reached the valley floor, you roll on a rough gravel path towards Bormio, where you already have a touch of Mediterranean feeling.The historic city center is well worth a visit. There are restaurants and ice cream parlors - great for strengthening yourself for the second part of the day. The lift takes you in two stages to the Bormio3000 mountain station at 3,012 meters. The Bormio3000 freeride trail also begins here. It is one of the most famous, but also most notorious, runs in the Alta Rezzia region. The trail for has been optimized for bikers, but you should definitely not expect a leisurely tour. You should bring solid driving technique and a good portion of fitness reserves with you. The closest you can compare the descent with the one from the Fimber Pass, including the spectacularly beautiful high alpine landscape.In Santa Catarina you finally reach the goal of a huge stage. There are several accommodations available in the village that are specially geared towards the needs of mountain bikers.

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    Difficult
    03:12
    21.4 mi
    6.7 mph
    4,550 ft
    6,325 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.

    After using the lift yesterday to cross the 3,000 mark, I recommend that you skip the shuttle for the first ascent today. The path through the valleys Valle dei Forni and the subsequent Valle di Cedec are not a walk in the park, but on the way you can enjoy an incomparable mountain panorama with a view of the glacier. It's not like a bumpy ride locked in an off-road vehicle.At the Pizzini hut you can strengthen yourself after the arduous uphill. Then it goes on a hiking trail to the transition to Val Zebrù at 3,004 meters. Everything is mobile up to the hut. From now on you will have to push or carry your bike for the last 300 meters in altitude. What awaits you then is one of the great enduro highlights of the Alps: From Passo Zebrù it is initially steep and partly blocked, but for technically confident bikers it is easy to ride up to the eye of a needle. With one hand on the wire rope and one hand on the bike you conquer a passage of about a hundred meters. After that, it becomes much more fluid to ride: If you haven't been able to drive much up to this passage, then you can now look forward to a great high-alpine trail that gives you the flow feeling.At the rustic and comfortably simple Rifugio Campo you can take a deep breath, process the overwhelming impressions and reduce the adrenaline of the descent. You leave the Val Zebrù at the foot of the Königsspitze and the eponymous Monte Zebrù towards Bormio on gravel paths and a few beautiful trails.If you are extremely motivated, you can crank up from Bormio to the Stilfser Joch. That is about 21 kilometers and 1,550 meters in altitude. The alternative is the post bus line from Bormio to the pass or a shuttle service. You can find information here:
    fahrplanfelder.ch/fileadmin/fap_pdf_fields/2021/90.821.pdf
    bormiobike.it/de-Shuttleservice.aspx
    The goal of today's stage is the Rifugio Garibaldi on the Dreisprachenspitze. The imposing location across from the Ortler is reason enough for an overnight stay. In addition, there is the super nice staff and the cosiness of the hut when it gets quiet in the evening. On the morning of the fifth stage you are the first on the Goldseetrail and don't have to worry about the temporary closure of the path.You can find information about the hut here: rifugiogaribaldi.it

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    Difficult
    03:58
    23.9 mi
    6.0 mph
    6,000 ft
    6,775 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.

    You have already got to know getting up early on your Alpencross in the past few days. After a wonderful sunrise at 2,842 meters and breakfast, you should be on your bike by eight o'clock at the latest. The Goldseeweg is closed to mountain bikers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The entrance is right in front of the door.One of the most spectacular and longest trails in the region, if not the entire Alps, awaits you. After I gave you numerous tips for the last stages, which should encourage caution and deliberation, they are up to date again today. The trail begins with a nice flowy, slightly falling slope, but also exposed. But soon it will be rougher. Scree lies on the way, there are steps and switchbacks. Some exposed spots require a solid command of the bike. Only a few bikers ride the trail without having pushed passages. Take your time and enjoy the overwhelming view.The Goldseeweg ends at the Furkelhütte, but not the trails. The descent to Stilfs collects a total of almost 350 meters in altitude. The longest ascent awaits you after a short gravel descent from the Furkelhütte towards Obere Stilfser Alm on the Almenweg. The rocky, rugged, high-alpine character of the paths and the surrounding area is now giving way to deep green alpine meadows and a gigantic view of the Vinschgau and the main Alpine ridge. A beautiful trail finally leads down to the Obere Stilfser Alm. Breakfast here is sure to be burned long ago. Good thing, because the food at the hut is at least as great as the location. Perhaps the enthusiastic appetite is also due to the euphoria after the brilliant trails in the morning. Try it. In any case, you still need plenty of energy for the rest of the day's stage.On the Almenweg you will reach the Lichtenberger Almen on further beautiful, quite technical trails to Stilfs and Stilfser Bridge. This is where the lowest point of the day's stage is on the road to the Stilfser Joch. Now it goes on gravel roads and quiet stretches of road to Sulden am Ortler. If you have the time and leisure, pay a visit to the Messner Mountain Museum “Ortles”. The famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner breeds a herd of cute yaks in the direct vicinity of the museum, which is dedicated to the topic of ice cream.The valley station of the cable car is located at the end of Sulden. From here you can also see the ramp that leads to today's stage destination, the Schaubachhütte at 2,581 meters. If you crank up on your own, then the Madritschjoch (3,123 meters), which you have on the plan tomorrow as your first destination for the day after breakfast, would be the second three-thousand-meter peak that you can tackle without the assistance of a lift.

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    Difficult
    03:23
    27.2 mi
    8.0 mph
    3,725 ft
    10,125 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 sixth and final stage begins with an ascent of 550 meters through a lunar landscape characterized by gray rock. The entire route up to the Madritschjoch at 3,123 meters is rarely free of snow. Nevertheless, the transition to the Martell Valley is considered to be the highest snow-free transition in the Alps that can be made by bike. If that is not enough reason to undertake the effort of the climb. But it gets much better: The descent has nothing to do with the desert of rubble and rubble on the Sulden side of the pass. The Madritschtal opens wide and soon gives a view of the glaciated Zufallspitze (3,757 meters) and the Monte Cevedale (3,769 meters), on the southwest side of which you will find the Valle di Cedec with the driveway to the Passo Zebrù.The trail into the Madritschtal is again easy to compare with the trail on the Fimber Pass. The beginning is a technical driving challenge. Loose scree, hairpin bends and steepness require you to control your bike safely. After that it becomes more and more flowing and in parts you can let it run properly. Shortly before the Zufallhütte, it is then blocked again before you carry the bike up to the hut. At the hut there is a great place to take a break with a view of the glacier. If you made quick progress the day before, then the hut is a great alternative for overnight stays (zufallhuette.com).The trail is far from over at the hut. Along the Plimabach, some demanding sections of the route to the banks of the Zufritt reservoir are on the way. You finally leave the Martell Valley on a mix of trails, bike paths and short stretches of road. The little detour over the Sonnenberg has it all again. At the Steinwandhof you can stop again and try the super Kaiserschmarrn or circle back down to the valley directly through the steep serpentine trail.Before the valley opens towards Etschtal, you branch off onto a Waalweg, which is also open to mountain bikers. With a view of the castles of Morter and the apple orchards that cover the valley floor like a patchwork quilt, you reach the ascent to the trail finale of your Enduro-Transalp. The “4 to 13 Trail” is known for its technical demands. From the planned entry into the 13er hiking trail, you could crank up to the Latscher Alm to enjoy the entire length of the trail. I think after six days of alpine cross with the enduro and many ingenious trails, a worthy descent has been found here that will eventually lead you to Latsch.If you came to the start of the stage by public transport, the return journey is quite easy. You roll the 26 kilometers comfortably on the Adige Valley Cycle Path to Merano and enjoy the beautiful city there. Of course, the Vinschgerbahn also works. In Merano you have a connection to long-distance transport at the train station. For example, you can be in Innsbruck within three hours (don't forget to reserve your bike).To get back to the starting point in Landeck or Ischgl, there is the possibility at Latsch train station to take the Vinschgerbahn to the final stop in Mals. There you get on the Postbus (line 273) to Nauders. In Nauders you change again and take the Postbus (line 210) to Landeck / Zams, where you have a connection to long-distance transport. As an alternative to bus and train, you can return to the starting point with one of the numerous shuttle providers in the region.The following providers are recommended:
    bikeshuttle.it
    prenner.it/de/bikeshuttle
    zionreisen.eu
    bikeshuttle.at/de/bike-shuttle.html

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    173 mi
  • Duration
    23:14 h
  • Elevation
    32,100 ft
Holger S.

From Ischgl to Latsch in Italy – an Enduro Alpine Cross