Once you arrive at the top, your heart races, your breathing spikes, and your chin hangs low as you suck in as much air as you can. You made it to the top of the world — there's nowhere higher for you now. As you gaze around, you take in the truly breathtaking view you worked hard to earn. The 6,500-feet-high (2,000 meters) mountain on which you stand is surrounded by mountain peaks that are at least as high and just as beautiful. You are right in the middle of the wonderful Alps, a rough, tough and fascinating mountain world.
Before you head here, just bear one thing in mind: The Alps have become a synonym for serious cycling for a reason. You won't cross them over a long weekend. Instead, some preparation is in order: The mountain world is beautiful but also really rough — over long distances you are far away from civilization and on your own. If you experience a mechanical error, you have to repair it yourself. If you hurt yourself, you need to know what to do. If you're physically finished for the day, you need a plan B.
An Alpine cross is always an adventure and a challenge — and no two rides are ever the same. You can expect passages that you can classify as rather "easy" and sometimes lead for a while along small mountain roads or wide gravel roads. But also expect narrow, exposed hiking trails, on which you have to push or carry your bike — which is simply part of it here. Especially the real mountain stages of this Alpine crossing, such as the Pfunderer Joch, Astjoch and Würzjoch, are really tough, while the start and finish stages are much easier to do.
But if you appropriately prepare, you will experience something special: The bikepacking experience of a lifetime.
Tips for a successful Alpine cross adventure
Check your bike thoroughly before departure. Something that's especially important and oft-forgotten are the brake pads. If they are already worn out, replace them in advance and take a replacement with you. Check the tires, too, including all screws (for example brake discs but also the spoke tension) and simply make sure that your bike starts the Tour mechanically flawlessly. Regarding the type of bike you should take, this is less important. Take a hardtail or full-suspension to keep comfortable throughout the ride — whichever you feel most confident on.
As every gram counts, only take as much with you as you need. We recommend the following items of clothing: Functional underwear, a normal summer outfit, a lightweight, wind-proof jacket, a functional rain jacket, long winter gloves, a cap or a buff, and changeable clothes for after the rides (warm fleece clothing if you are staying up in a hut).
Here we have good news for you: As you go, you'll pass numerous huts serving delicious Alpine fare. Just make sure you pack some energy bars for emergencies and be sure to carry enough water.
Less is more! After a short time you will hate a backpack that is too heavy or a full-bodied bikepacking bag. But it won't work without it. High-quality (and light) functional clothing saves a lot of weight. Also, instead of taking your SLR camera, maybe your smartphone will suffice.J Just remember: The lighter your luggage, the more pleasant the ride will be.
From Riva del Garda there is a bus service to Rovereto. From here you can get back to Mayrhofen in just over four hours. The trip includes an EC-connection, don’t forget to register your bike in advance.
Very important: Don't overdo it! Especially at the beginning of your ride and in the thin air of the 2000s you should slow down a bit. You also want to give your bike some air: Don't push it too hard here and cause a mechanical fault somewhere. Also, pushing is not something to be ashamed of here. If you think you can't pedal anymore — don't! Due to changing weather conditions in the mountains, the best time to go is between July and September. As ever, check in advance.
As mentioned at the beginning, crossing the Alps is a real adventure that requires a little preparation. But with our tips, maps and GPS routes, you'll be well prepared. Have fun on your unforgettable Alpine adventure!
The first leg of our crossing of the Alps starts directly with a long climb up the Pfitscher Joch. So strengthen yourself again with a hearty breakfast, before you leave the cozy Mayrhofen and make yourself in the wonderful, but rough mountains.In fact, the elevation profile of the first stage is very easy to remember: it goes uphill and downhill once. The ascent to Pfitscher Joch is more than 30 kilometers long. On the way you expect a lot of highlights, which make you forget the effort. You will enjoy wonderful views and are always surrounded by the impressive panorama of the mountains. About ten kilometers in front of the summit you can strengthen yourself in the cozy Dominikushütte and rest for the final spurt of the stage.At the top of the Pfitscher Joch the view is simply breathtaking. It is best to take some time here to enjoy the great panorama in peace. From here it goes to the stage destination St. Jakob only downhill. In the contemplative Tyrolean village you will find some comfortable accommodation with special biker offers.Tip: If you like it more rustic, you can also spend the night in the Pfitscher-Joch-Hütte, which is at the top of the Italian side of the Alpine crossing.
Stage two of our Alpine crossing starts in the cozy village of St. Jakob and leads you first across the road, later on a single trail slightly downhill along the Pfitscher Bach. So you can enter for the first few kilometers, before the Alps call for the next challenge.This listens to the name Pfunderer Joch and lures to over 2,500 meters altitude with magnificent views and thin air. If you get warmed up on the climb, you can probably cool yourself up in the snow at the top. Until then, you are busy with the approximately eight-kilometer trail, which is sometimes really steep. He has parts to offer with 20 percent increase and more - there is no shame in pushing a piece. On the contrary: Then you finally have time to marvel at the beautiful mountains in peace.The view on the Pfunderer yoke is legendary and a great souvenir panorama photo is actually mandatory. What follows is pure enjoyment. From now on it's just downhill. The biggest challenge will be to concentrate on the trail despite the misty view in the picturesque Weitenberg valley. On the way, there is a break on the idyllic Weitenbergalm. There you can marvel at the mountains in peace, treat yourself to a high-energy piece of mountain cheese from the in-house cheese factory and then freshly fortified on the descent to Ehrenburg. Over the 1000-Soelen place perched his castle, which unfortunately you can only look from the outside. Instead, you can choose whether you want to eat rustic on the farm, in the cozy inn or in the upper four-star hotel. Ehrenburg is not big, but has something to offer for different tastes.Ehrenburg is connected to the rail network via the Pustertal Railway, so that you could start a shortened Alpine Cross with train arrival and departure from here as well.
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From the Puster Valley the route takes you today in the Dolomites. It goes from Ehrenburg directly to the point: The first eleven kilometers lead you partly steeply uphill to Astjoch at 2,200 meters altitude. You drive mainly on beautiful singletrack with a wonderful mountain panorama. It's about 1,300 meters to overcome - so take it easy and if it gets too steep, just push. Many have already done that!Just before the summit you reach the Walder Alm, which is perfect for a short break. Here you will find delicious food and drinks, so that you have enough power for the last few meters that lead you to the Astjoch, where you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. The thickest chunks you have done: The rest of this stage runs without long ascents or descents at an altitude of around 2,000 meters.Up here you are always accompanied by the great view and in regular intervals there is a small bonus. For example, a sparkling mountain lake or one of five huts on this tour. So there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in the culinary delights of South Tyrol. But leave some space for the hearty treats of today's stage destination, the Almgasthof Würzjoch.In the heart of the South Tyrolean Dolomites lies the small Alpine Pass, the Würzjoch, and the rustic mountain inn "Ütia de Börz" at an altitude of around 2,000 meters. Here you can fortify yourself and refer to your bed, which beats at around 50 euros. By the way, there are no alternatives up here. But that's not bad, because a stage destination could not be much more idyllic. Information about the Almgasthof can be found here: wuerzjoch.com
As idyllic as the day begins on the top of the Würzjoch, it will also end. We can tell in advance, because today's stage will lead you to a refuge in the mountains, which will make your bed for the night. Since both huts are managed and pamper you with sumptuous breakfast and dinner, you do not need to worry about your food, because even on the way there are plenty of possibilities to stop in or to fill up the provisions in huts and in some villages.Today, almost 2,600 vertical meters are distributed over almost 50 kilometers. That means: It's going uphill a lot, but it will be just as beautiful, because the prospects that the 2,000's offer you at this stage are simply priceless. But let's go first with the downhill to St. Magdalena, which is interrupted again and again by a few quite demanding climbs. Nevertheless, it is a delightful start to the day, which you can crown with a small break in the cozy Dolomite village. Rest a bit, because it goes on sporty.Now it's up to the Innraschötz at over 2,300 meters altitude. More than 1,000 vertical meters on predominantly easy singletrack are waiting for you - so take it easy and if it is a bit steeper, push rather. When you arrive at the top, a flowing single trail leads you to Raschötzhütte, where you can take a break with a panoramic view. The following descent down to the winter sports resort of Ortisei is pure enjoyment.After a short breather follows the second climb of the day. From Ortisei you first follow a scenic trail along the Gardena stream before the route branches off to the south and slowly but surely leads you up to the idyllic Alpe di Siusi. At the very top, the Plattkofelhütte awaits you with hearty dinners and cozy rooms. And of course with a priceless 360-degree view of the mountains, which you can fully enjoy until sunset.
Today our route leaves South Tyrol and takes you to Trentin - we are slowly but surely approaching our destination, Lake Garda. But until then there is still a lot to do. Today, that means in numbers: 63.5 kilometers and 2,320 vertical meters. However, these are distributed much more evenly than was the case in the previous stages.After a short warm-up uphill with a short sliding passage, the route first leads across a section of the Friedrich-August-Weg. This is a relatively well-known hiking trail with a beautiful panorama and quite technical passages. Shortly thereafter, the track breaks off and brings you over a long, sometimes demanding downhill ride into the beautiful Fassa Valley.Along the river Avisio follows a longer flat passage on a cozy single trail or, if you want to save power, on the parallel bike path on the other side of the river. After this breather it goes uphill again. On the way to the Karerpass you take a singletrack, which runs more or less parallel to the road, which is well-known among racing cyclists.Have you reached the Karerpass, you can breathe first. Now follows a varied up and down, always just below the 2,000-meter boundary. You will always pass mountain passes that are very popular among racing cyclists and you will pass the one or other hut where you can strengthen yourself.At Jochgrimm, the longest descent of the day begins: About eight kilometers and almost 1,000 vertical meters - just to enjoy! Almost as long is the following driveway, which brings you to the stage goal on the Hornalm. The quaint cottage offers cozy accommodation and a delicious meal today so you can be ready for stage six tomorrow.
Instead of high-altitude seclusion, today's stage is marked by many cultural highlights and some beautiful cities with Italian flair. Today is not quite as much climbed, but the tour is almost 64 kilometers a bit longer.
The first 25 kilometers of the day tend to go downhill. Pure enjoyment, therefore, which is interrupted only occasionally by short ascents. Only the last part of the descent shortly before Cembra is a bit steeper. Here you can once again enjoy the speed before you roll in the cozy, wine-growing village in the Val di Cembra.
From now it goes uphill again. It should not be boring, because the track is lined with great views, idyllic lakes and always natural and cultural highlights that are worth at least a short break. Maybe you would like to spend some time here and there. It's worth it and the destination is within reach.
The last 20 kilometers are downhill. The destination is Caldonazzo and the lake of the same name. It is after Lake Garda the second largest lake in the province of Trento - so you can breathe a bit of sea air and look forward to tomorrow when you finish your crossing of the Alps on Lake Garda. But tonight you can enjoy the cozy place Caldonazzo. How about a real Italian pizza at sunset on the beach by the lake?
The last leg of a big tour is always something special. It's a strange mix of emotions. On the one hand, you're proud that you made it. And you're scared, because it was really exhausting. But there is always a bit of melancholy, because an incredibly beautiful adventure is over. So enjoy this last leg of your Alpine Cross once again and absorb the impressions that come your way. It's done right now!The last stage is also the longest. However, not so many altitude meters are waiting for you today, as in the difficult stages in the middle of the Alps. The route starts relatively relaxed and after the comparatively short climb up to Vigolo Vattaro follows a long descent and a 20-kilometer-long flat passage along the Adige River.Nevertheless, we still have a bit of a mountain for you today. From Rovereto is climbed. At twelve kilometers, you'll destroy another 1,100 vertical meters - at the top of the Rifugio Somator you can reward yourself and be happy that it's all downhill now to the finish line. By the time you pass the Arco sign, you know you've made it. And then he lies before you: Lake Garda! Along its shores you can fully enjoy the last few meters until you land in the middle of the beautiful old town of Riva, where pizza and ice cream are waiting for you.You did it! In seven days you have crossed the Alps on a mountain bike and collected countless impressions of the idyllic mountains, rustic huts and crystal-clear mountain lakes. Even if it's time to go home now - the memory of your Alpencross will stay forever!