MTB around Lago di Garda

Lago di Garda is a true MTB-paradise. There are plenty of trails, altitude differences can be close to 2000 metres on some runs. Most of the riding leans towards downhill. There are plenty of heavy downhill rigs with lots of suspension travel that can hardly be pedalled up the mountain. At times we felt completely out of place with our lean hard tails. We preferred to cycle up too.



Unloading a shuttle on Tremalzo 
Unloading a shuttle on Tremalzo

Many bikers take a shuttle to the top of Tremalzo in the morning and then coast down. There are several excellent bike shops. Almost every conceivable component is available. Half decent full suspension bikes can be rented. These shops run the shuttles, and also have some excellent mechanics. 

Getting ready to coast down to Riva 


Getting ready to coast back down to Riva


Riva and Torbole sul Garda are two small towns at the Garda Lake’s northern shore that are geared towards mountainbiking and windsurfing. The windsurfers form their own community and they are so important locally that sun bathers are instructed not to be in their way on the beach. When there is no wind the lake is empty. Then, when the wind comes, there can be hundreds of sails within ten minutes. 
Our camping place had a special section for wind surfers and mountainbikers. 
Ghetto for windsurfers and mountainbikers 
Ghetto for windsurfers and mountainbikers

There are several areas around Laga di Garda that offer splendid mountainbiking. The trails are well described, though most descriptions are apparently in German or Italian. There is also a number of www-sites dedicated to MTB around Riva and Torbole: Garda 2002 (in Swedish, splendid photos) Tremalzo Classic, Tremalzo Traum (in German), Oliver Hankes Radlhomepage (German), Tremalzo Tagestourbeschreibung (German),  Garda Trails (German). Sites with general MTB-info are Paola Pezzo‘s Moutainbike in Trentino, and Mondo Alpino 100% MTB, both offer route descriptions. Mondo Alpino has a clickable map. A Google search will yield countless other sites. There is a two volume MTB-guide, Moser Bike Guide, Vol., 1 & 2., which details most routes. However, it is in German.
MTB map of Lago di Garda 



Classsic Tremalzo

Tremalzo is the most frequently biked trail. Most of it is biking on ancient military roads with rough lose gravel. The lower section of it has some fine singletrack, winding on a traverse to Passo Notta and Passo Rochetta before it descends some splendid switchbacks. The last bits goes on ancient partly collapsed roads through an area which is officially closed with fences etc. As everyone seems to bike there it seems the closure seems to denote that you bike on your own risk there and can not hold the local government (or anyone else) responsible for any accidents. The closed area has to be passed. There is no way to bike either up or down on Tremalzo from Riva without crossing it. 


 Molina — Segala hut

A shorter version, with more single track and less fire road, is to ascend steep fire road from Lago di Ledro and join the route from Tremalzo between the Bandera hut and the Segala hut. It is a steep ascent, so steep that on some sections one has to make a point of keeping the front wheel on the ground. Once one has reached the ridge line one has long sections of fine single track heading back to Riva.




Ancient military road on Tremalzo  


Tremalzo, ancient military road
Fine singletrack 
A section with fine singletrack


Riva and Torbole sul Garda 
Approaching Riva the route clings to rocks



Bocca di Trat

The finest route we did was by a traverse following the ridge line on fine, though partly exposed, singletrack from Bocca di Trat to Cima d´Oro, consistently maintaining a respectable altitude with marvellous views, till we reached an extremely rutted fire road that brought us down on switchbacks to Campi.
Bocca di Trat
High traverse
Half overgrown singletrack


Half overgrown singletrack


Bike Xtreme

The scariest trail we did was an extreme variation of Tremalzo, known as Bike Xtreme. We biked up first via Lago di Ledro. Then, close to the Segala hut, we turned right along a barely bike able path down to Limone. The upper section goes in sharp, rutted switchbacks full of foot ball sized lose rocks, roots, drops, ledges, etc. And, it is pretty steep. With a full suspension rig and plenty of armoury for protection it might be fun. We were just plain scared. Approximately half way down one joins another path which is paved with small stones. Then one brakes, so the rims glow, down to Limone. 


Segala hut 
Segala hut, various refreshments are available and you pay as much as you feel like
Cycling down to Limone bike xtreme route 
Lago di Garda from the route down to Limone

Approching Limone


Elisabeth on cobble stone path

Campi — Riva route

One frequently ridden route goes from the small village of Campi in the mountains above Riva. One goes through the village and finds a highly rutted trail that leads down to Riva. There are plenty of lose stones and rocks the first kilometres. Later one comes down on a narrow winding steep cobbled road to Riva. 

Dossa Spirano

Dossa Spirano is a trail on the easter slopes of the lake. One climbs up from Torbole towards M Altissimo di Negro. The route climgs steeply till one reaches a radio transmission station. Thus far it is mostly paved road. From then on one follows a fire road till one gets to a turn where a trail turns off down the valley. The trail is a mule track from the first world war. It goes in rutted technically demanding switchbacks down to Malcèsine. 



Riva and Torbole from the slopes of M Altissimo
Riva and Torbole from the slopes of M Altissimo
Having a swim after a good ride


To sum up Torbole was splendid. We did some really fine rides. Would we go back? Yes, but preferably with full suspension bikes and some body armoury. To really enjoy Garda which is so down hill oriented one needs more protection than just a helmet. So one can let go without exceptional risks. On the other hand the ice cream is so fantastic that we would go back to Torbole any day just for the ice cream.