In 1990, Andi Heckmair and his friends dared to take on the adventure of crossing the Alps by mountain bike for the first time. The following year, they presented their ride to the general public in numerous magazines and even on television. Their journey became a sensation that kick-started a boom that continues to this day – something Andi and his buddies would have never expected.
Andi Heckmair's original idea was to create an Alpine Crossing away from the well-known road passes. The result was an adventurous Alpine Crossing between Oberstdorf municipality and Lake Garda that is still a classic that inspires numerous mountain bikers year after year. With many pushing and hike-a-bike passages, it is not one of the flowiest trails, but you experience spectacular landscapes, technical downhills and real challenges tracing the tracks of those who realised a dream.
In the years that followed, numerous routes were based on this original Transalp. The notorious and controversial long hike-a-bike passages like the one at Passo di Campo and lengthy road sections were improved upon. With the exception of a few minor changes, this Collection follows the original route of Andi Heckmair and the Transalp pioneers – rough edges included. Over the past 30 years, some routes have changed and the legality has become somewhat more complex over time. Cycling is now prohibited on some sections of the original route, for example. I’ve left information in the comments where this is the case. I only made adjustments where there are now good alternatives to avoid roads.
Even though the infrastructure, equipment and information have advanced since Heckmair’s first Alpine Crossing, this Transalp is still an adventure for which you should prepare carefully. This is a physical and mental challenge. Ideally, you should already have experience riding multi-day Tours in alpine terrain. I don’t recommend the Heckmair Route as your first Transalp. The trails are technically and physically demanding and require a solid command of your mountain bike – plus a willingness to push your bike.
The Tour is designed as a self-supported adventure for you and your rucksack. To be on the safe side, you should book accommodation in advance. After particularly strenuous stages, it’s nice not to have to spend a long time looking for a suitable hostel. Summer is the best time to travel. The passes are usually snow-free between July and mid-September.
It’s easy to travel to Oberstdorf by train. If you are travelling by car, consider booking accommodation for the day you arrive and ask if there are parking facilities.
Information on the official parking facilities for long-stay parking can be found here: oberstdorf.de/anreise-verkehr/parken.html.
The return journey by train from Lake Garda to Oberstdorf is a little more complicated. From your destination at Lake Garda, first take the bus or a bike shuttle to the station in Rovereto. The Eurocity (EC Verona - Munich) runs to Munich central station via Innsbruck. However, you need to reserve a space for your bike. In summer, the spaces for bicycles are snapped up quickly. Alternatively, there are some connections with several changes. The numerous bus or taxi companies that specialise in return transfers for Transalp cyclists are the most comfortable way to return to your car in Oberstdorf or reach a convenient train station for your journey home.
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The third stage is certainly one of the most beautiful on the Heckmair Transalp. From Klosters it is initially relatively steep uphill. If you have stayed at Schlappinsee, you will be happy about the few kilometers to warm up. On the mountain bike route 631 you ride with the morning sun on your face below the Gotschnagrat via Davos Laret, past the Schwarzsee to Davos Wolfgang, where you can see the deep blue Davosersee.