MTB in Livigno
 
Livigno is a special place. It is a high valley in a distant corner of the Italian Alps. The valley drains into the basin of Engadin and Inn in Austria. Livigno has had special tax and customs priveleges since Napoleonic times. The town has a frontier ambience. There are only some 4700 inhabitants. Livigno feels like if it is built around one long street. Most shops sell tax-free merchandise and from the number of shops it seems a lot of people go there to buy perfume, cigarettes and chocolate. A large part of the valley has been drowned by an enormous water reservoire, an articficial lake.

Livigno is betting on mountain biking. There are quite a few designated MTB-trails. The tourist office supplies leaflets for guidance, and also have a website with MTB information, Livigno by Bike.There are some extraordinary bike shops. In fact the bikes shops had a very impressive stock, one had five or six Merlin titanium frames, the very latest and most expensive cannondales, etc. I did not see a better supplied shop even in San Francisco. It may have something to do with the tax priveleges. 

The camp site is well above the main market, and is friendly and by Italian standards cheap.

The weather was against us.  It is not any fun to cycle above 2000 metres when it is raining. But we managed to have one long fine ride and a short ride in the vicinity of Livigno.

 

 
The most commonly used trail is upp to the Val Alpisella Pass (2268) One goes out of town along the lake‘s southern shore, small road, and then up first on fire road then on tight technically demanding switchbacks to the Val Alpisella Pass 2268. A splendid ride.  There were many mountain bikers. 

From the Pass one can continue down on fire road down to Lago San Giacomo another lake. Then, one can go on fire roads across the watershed of the Ferecle Pass (1952) in a wide arid valley. A rough gravel road continues down the valley. When one approaches the Livigno Lake one crosses a bridge and then continues on beautiful singltrack that goes on a high partly exposed traverse some 40 or 50 m above the lake. In a few spots slides have gone down on the pass so one has to carry the bike. 

We turned around here when we came to a spot where we would have had to carry the bikes on steep scree 100 metres or so. It was not the difficulty in per se that made us turn around. The hour was getting late and we were not sure the weather would remain fine. As we were sitting there having a break two swiss girls came down from Alpe del Gallo.  

A circuit around Buffalora would be a splendid day though one would have to start early.  

As it were the weather changed on us. Returning to Livgno we were hit by  a heavy thunder storm and ice cold torrential rain with some hail. 



 
 



Would we go back to Livigno? Yes, absolutely, it is very mountain bike oriented place, lots of bike trails, and a friendly attitude. Had the weather been better we would definitely had stayed longer.