Bike trails that lead from palm trees in Merano and fruit meadows in the valley to rustic alpine pastures and high up to the glaciers: the Merano-Vinschgau biking region.
The number of MTB trails and the ongoing bike season make Merano a MTB paradise.Open MTB tours
Numerous mountain passes attract road cyclists to South Tyrol. The most beautiful Alpine passes provide endless metres of altitude.Open Road Bike Tours
In the Merano-Vinschgau biking region, mountain bikers are spoilt for choice: they can let off steam on both sides of the valley on marked and designated tours. Up the mountain, on the uphills, with modern cable cars including bike transport or with bike shuttles.
Recommended: the complete MTB trail map for download (3.9 MB)! Download it now to your smartphone and have it at hand when you're on the go.
The signposting of the single trails provides information about the technical difficulty levels, which range from S0 to S3.
S0: Single trail without any particular difficulties: flowing forest and meadow paths on natural ground with good grip or solid gravel. There are no obstacles such as steps, rocks or root passages. The gradient is gentle to moderate, curves are wide. Can be mastered without special riding techniques.
S1: smaller obstacles such as shallow roots and small stones are to be expected. Isolated water gullies and erosion damage are very often the reason for the increased level of difficulty. The subsoil is partly unconsolidated. The gradient is a maximum of 40%. Hairpin bends are not to be expected. Basic riding skills and constant attention are required. Obstacles can be rolled over.
S2: larger roots and stones, the ground is often not consolidated. Steps and flat stairs are to be expected. Often tight bends ahead, steep passages of up to 70 % are not uncommon. An advanced riding technique is necessary.
S3: Blocked single trails with many larger boulders and/or root passages. High steps, narrow hairpin bends and tricky diagonal rides often occur, relaxed rolling sections become rare. Slippery ground and loose scree are also frequent. Gradients of over 70% are not uncommon. Very good bike control and thus precise braking and good balance are required for this level of difficulty.
About every three weeks, the trails in Latsch are touched up so that riding fun is always safe. The following video shows how the trail doctors go about maintaining and shaping trails:
If you are looking for your mountain bike adventure in the Vinschgau Valley, the region of South Tyrol not only spoils you with an abundance of sunshine, but also with a lot of touring and trail treats. First and foremost, there is a variety of single trails, ranging from high-alpine and technically demanding courses to flowing trails, from beautiful natural trails to artificially created flow trails, on which you can taste unrestrained feelings of happiness in an inspiring setting.
Especially the light-flooded Sonnenberg, the part of the Ötztal Alps that stretches over 50 km between Partschins-Parcines and Mals-Malles and flanks the Vinschgau high alpine valley to the north, holds magnificently situated and created trails in store. The Sonnenberg or Montesole Trail has been named the most beautiful trail in the Alps by Bike Magazine. Reason enough for us to present the trail, which runs from St. Martin im Kofel over the Sonnenberg into the valley to Latsch. Of course, all kinds of useful riding technique tips for safe and playful cycling on challenging trails should not be missing.
On the single trail scale, the Sonnenberg trail achieves a 2. However, it also contains sections that can be rated a 3. This means that it is aimed at bikers who have an advanced riding technique and very good bike control and who, thanks to constant concentration and body tension, know exactly when well-measured braking or shifting of the body's centre of gravity is required. Nevertheless, even trailer-riding mountain bikers should take time for a pre-trail check of their hardware.
When checking the saddle, it is important to ensure that it is horizontal and thus provides optimum pressure distribution, to align it straight if necessary and to push it centrally over the seat post and thus into the optimum relationship to the pedal crank. The biker can test whether the correctly adjusted saddle is at the optimum height by sitting on his free-standing bike - supported by a wall or railing - and placing one leg with the heel on a pedal that is at the lowest point of the crank rotation. When the leg is fully extended in this position and the saddle height is correctly adjusted, the cockpit should be adjusted. To do this, shift and brake levers should be pushed relatively far - the larger the hands, the further - towards the centre of the handlebars so that the index fingers rest on the end of the brake levers, less force is needed for braking thanks to optimum leverage and the handlebars can be gripped properly with the remaining fingers.
Once the perfect seating position and cockpit adjustment have been ensured, you can set off - equipped with elbow protectors, shin and knee combinations and a helmet.
Those who want to get to St. Martin im Kofel can first use the Vinschgau cycle path that leads from Latsch in the direction of Meran and after about three and a half kilometres to Kastelbell. In the centre of the village you cross the main road at the traffic lights and follow the road towards Merano. Past chestnut groves, an asphalt road leads uphill on a fairly steep incline to Köstenplon. From there, the road continues on a somewhat flatter stretch, past the farms of Trumsberg. Once you have followed the road and its countless hairpin bends all the way to St. Martin im Kofel, you will have overcome more than 1,100 metres in altitude over a distance of 11 kilometres and will be rewarded with a fantastic panoramic view all the way to the Texel Group near Merano and the glacier region of the Martell Valley.
Downhill-oriented bikers, however, can avoid the strenuous uphill on tar. The cable car that runs from the valley station in Latsch to the mountain station in St. Martin (you should find out about the regulations for taking bicycles with you beforehand) covers the difference in altitude in 8 minutes and thus helps to save energy and sweat for the crisp single trail downhill.
After arriving on the Sonnenberg-Monte Sole, it is soon a case of tearing yourself away from the large panoramic cinema and plunging into the actual experience with your fully.
The Montesole Trail, which flows into the valley alongside the Tschilli Trail, the Annenberg Easy Trail and the Latscher Panorama Trail, begins when you ride back a short distance on the switchbacked asphalt and leave the pitch to the right following the clearly visible signs. Here, at the latest, it is important to lower the saddle if necessary and - as soon as you no longer have to pedal - to assume the basic position and thus sit on the bike with slightly bent arms and legs and bring the body's centre of gravity above the pedals. In this way, the arm and leg position can be quickly adapted to the changing surface and any impact can be absorbed while keeping the upper body calm. The first section is a somewhat wider path with loose scree that is only moderately steep and still plenty unspectacular, leading past slopes and through lower stands of shrubs and trees.
After two crossings of the road, the Sonnenberg Trail shows what challenges it has to offer. Now you have to make sure that you look far enough ahead to be able to assess the surmountability of obstacles before you reach them. Through the dust-dry pine forest, which you leave every now and then to soak up the sun on steep meadow and rocky slopes, you head downhill on paths that are sometimes barely wider than tyres, extremely blocked, steep and rooty. On this section, the brake fingers should rest on the levers of the front and rear brakes, ready to pull. If braking is required - for example when circling around one of the hairpin bends in the forest - the wheels need to be braked evenly in order to avoid locking up (for those who are looking for even more action, there are also some jetties and jump ramps in the forest).
Once you have reached the road to Ratschill after about 200 metres of altitude difference and follow it to the left up to the signposted junction with the next section of the trail, the trail turns into a smoother, only rarely blocked section that offers a lot of fun. Another 200 metres in altitude later, you leave the thinning forest in the direction of Annaberger Böden. In this flowing section, where the narrow paths flow through meadows and shrubbery, you partly use trails 7 and 5.
Trail tolerance: As a pedalling guest in the Vinschgau Valley, you now know that you should exercise "trail tolerance", which allows bikers and hikers to use the trails equally and leaves the route exclusively to hikers between 10 am and 2 pm.
The trail leads through the Annaberg soils with a magnificent view to the suspension bridge. After crossing it, you should turn left. Then the trail follows the 5er hiking trail, which leads past the "Stoanamandln", the little stone men, to Tiss. On the way back to Latsch, you roll comfortably over the asphalt again.
After about three hours of touring, you have plenty of adrenaline in your blood and the most beautiful trail in the Alps (according to Bike Magazine) in your logbook. What more could you want?
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