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Big loops in Italy’s little Tibet – Livigno by mountain bike

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Big loops in Italy’s little Tibet – Livigno by mountain bike

Mountain Biking Collection by Nicola Amadini

5

Tours

31:21 h

178 mi

28,625 ft

This Collection includes five circular itineraries that start and finish in Livigno. Each is an unforgettable ride in the Italian Alps along the Swiss border. You immerse yourself in breathtaking landscapes – provided you can make it up the climbs.

Mountains reflecting onto the Cancano lakes, Carosello 3000 mountain, the remains of the Torri di Fraele, Val Federia’s views and countless alpine lakes in pastures – these are just some of the unique places you'll pass while rolling on your mountain bike.

Located 1,800 metres (5,905 ft) above sea level, Livigno is also known as ‘little Tibet’. A plateau in the heart of the Rhaetian Alps, the area shares some surprising common features with these Himalayan lands such as geomorphological characteristics and year-round cold temperatures. The region’s beauty, however, is heart-warming.

Speaking of temperatures, the proposed Tours take place between 2,000 and 3,000 metres (6,500 and 9,800 ft). You cross passes like the Passo della Forcala and Passo di Valle alpisella that, depending on snowfall, may be closed during winter.

To be on the safe side, I suggest exploring these Tours between May and November. Don’t forget to check if the passes are open before you venture outdoors, especially during the winter months.

You find refreshment stops along all the Tours. Welcoming refuges and mountain huts, typical of Alta Valtellina, invite you to replenish your energy reserves and refill your water bottle, ready to face the most demanding slopes.

If you can, travel to Livigno sustainably: by bike or public transport. The nearest station is Tirano, around 70 kilometres (43 mi) away. Frequent connections run from Milan (Central Station and Porta Garibaldi Station) daily. The trains usually coincide with the Perego bus line to Bormio and Livigno.

If you can’t avoid driving, travel through Lecco and Bormio and cross the Foscagno Pass to Livigno. Make sure you have snow chains if you drive between November and April.

These Tours are designed for experienced riders who can stay on their saddle and keep smiling for several hours. They are for lovers of steep climbs and the taste of sweat and conquest.

Considering the significant elevation gain, I recommend riding a mountain bike. You will be able to face the climbs more easily without giving up the joys of the descent.

If you have legs of steel and an iron will, you will fall madly in love with these places, forgiving them for your frozen fingers and burning calves.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: I Laghi di Cancano to le Torri di Fraele – big loops in Italy’s little Tibet

    Difficult
    07:03
    44.7 mi
    6.3 mph
    5,600 ft
    5,600 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.

    This is an almost completely off-road loop: just outside the town of Livigno, you will leave the asphalt behind to immerse yourself in uncontaminated and wild environments.

    

    Ready Set Go! From the center of Livigno, take a fantastic climb that climbs up to Val Alpisella, a small alpine valley included

    translated byView Original

    by Nicola Amadini

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  • Difficult
    09:06
    48.8 mi
    5.4 mph
    8,150 ft
    8,125 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.

    This loop also starts from Livigno and begins with the steep climb that leads to the Passo di Valle Alpisella, breathtaking in all senses. You are running around in the Stelvio National Park, where the Adda, one of the most important rivers in Lombardy, is born.

    

    From the 2,285 meters of the Pass, a descent

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    by Nicola Amadini

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  • Difficult
    04:51
    25.0 mi
    5.2 mph
    5,325 ft
    5,325 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    From the center of Livigno head towards the panoramic Val Federia, until you take the climb towards the Cassana Pass (in dialect: Pass da Casciàna) on the Italian-Swiss border. The climb is very hard, with slopes greater than 20%, dirt road, no mercy: only the most trained, skilled and resistant mountain

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    by Nicola Amadini

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  • Difficult
    06:17
    36.1 mi
    5.7 mph
    5,675 ft
    5,650 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.

    Leave the center of Livigno behind and rely on the safe dirt cycle paths that lead to the Passo della Forcola (2,314 m a.s.l.) on the border with Switzerland, running parallel to the driveway that from Via Tresenda becomes Via Forcola and connects Livigno to Poschiavo. "Fòrcola" derives from "forca

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    by Nicola Amadini

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  • Difficult
    04:04
    23.2 mi
    5.7 mph
    3,875 ft
    3,875 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This Tour guides you from Livigno along the forest road that runs through the Val delle Mine. Proceed alongside tall larch and fir trees to the Alpe Mine farmhouse, an excellent refreshment point.

    

    After catching your breath, continue on one of the most characteristic and iconic trails in the Livigno area

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    by Nicola Amadini

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    178 mi
  • Duration
    31:21 h
  • Elevation
    28,625 ft

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Big loops in Italy’s little Tibet – Livigno by mountain bike

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