MTB around Canazei

The Fassa Valley in the heart of the Dolomites is well known and in a sense important to most alpinists. Most serious climbers sooner or later climb some peaks in the area.  The Violet  and Sella towers are highly after sought.

Elisabeth on Grohman Spitze

Canazei is a climbing and hiking resort. There are more climbing pictures on this site, and some albums with pictures from Canazei. Winter time there are plenty of ski slopes.

Mountainbiking is pretty rudimentary. We met a few Germans bombing down fire roads on heavy full suspended Cannondales. We also saw some local kids on MTBs who seemed to think they were some kind of Hells Angels. On the other hand, in 2002, there were rather few bikers, and the bike shops were not particularly well supplied. We had to go down to Morena to get a good new tire.

Unfortunately camping is extremely expensive. Even the tiniest mountain tent will be charged some 20 US$ per night.

Camping Marmolada

The whole valley is well tended and can be described as an alpine park. In July and August thousands of Italians come to climb and hike. In some spots one may find hundreds who are having pick nicks on the high meadows, singing, eating, drinking, the scene can be reminiscent of a crowded beach.

In July and August the mountains can be extremely crowded even on 2000 metres altitude. Though, it should be said, everyone seems to have a party and are very sociable. Canazei is most famous for its climbing. However, there are excellent possibilities for mountainbiking. There are plenty of high fire roads, which are closed to cars (except for those with special permission) and there is also some fine single track. Though the paths are not constructed with mountain biking in mind. Some are extremely difficult to negotiate by bike. Another factor, especially during high season, is that it can be extremely crowded. Then, it is better to cycle elsewhere, to search out some trails in some distant valley.

We did some shorter rides, up to Lago di Fedaia and the Violet Hut etc.,  and two epic rides in the mountains above Canazei. The Friedrich August Weg, and a circuit traversing the Nicoló Pass.


Friedrich August weg

The Friedrich August Weg is a rather exposed singletrack between the Zŕllinger Hut and the Sella Pass. Parts are so technical that there are a few metres one may have to carry the bikes. The path goes on over 2000 metres altitude under Sassopiato, Il Dente, and Grohman Spitze.


We went up via Campitello on a very steep road. Then through the beautiful Duron Valley on a fire road that gets smaller as one approaches the Duron Pass (2169). From the pass vi followed a singletrack on or close to the ridge to the Zŕllinger Hut.  We continued along the Friedrich Augst Weg, meeting quite a fw astonished hikers who did not expect cyclists up there, to the Sella Pass.


From the Sella Pass one freewheels on a serpentine road back down to Canazei. Pure joy!

Elisabeth at the Sella Pass

Nicoló Circuit

Up to the Contrin Hut is fire road. The lower section, as it climbs from the main valley is pretty steep. Then, it mellows out and goes htrough a high valley to the Contrin Hut. Beautiful views of Marmoladas south face. One of the Dolomite‘s most spectacular via ferratas goes up it west ridge, Via Ferrata della Marmolada.

As far as the Contrin Hut it is easy going. Beyond one follows a narrow and rocky singletrack. Cycling is reduced to less than 80 percent.

As one approaches the Nicoló Pass it gets easier. On the pass (2340) is a hut with restaurant. One can follow the ridgeline north for almost a kilometre towards Sas de Roses, before it get to rocky.

The descent from the Nicoló Pass is extremely steep. The first hundred metres are not bike able. Then, one comes down on the valley floor, and descends to  Meida and Pozza on a mountain road. Very fast at some points.

Back to Canazei one can go on separate bicycle routes along the valley floor.

The trail to Contrin Hut

On Nicoló Pass

Elisabeth on Nicoló Pass

Would we go back to Canazei? Yes, but not in a rush. Canazei is a friendly and beautiful place and there is nice flavour of  alpinism that we enjoy.