- Tremalzo classic -

Mountainbikers' Mekka.
Trentino / Italy


Tremalzo trail map
Tremalzo Trail:

Length 70 km
Uphill climb 1700 m
Downhill trial 500 m
Lowest point 65 m
Highest point 1750 m
Length 50 km



Due to frequent rock slides, the old spectacular road from Riva to Pregasina (strada Ponale) is more and more in danger. Rocks fallen on are not removed, sections of road broken away not renewed: One day will come and the road will be history.
Instead, the "new tunnel" (see map) is not advised for cycling: It is very long, steep and polluted by heavy traffic.



Riva harbour / porto di Riva del Garda

Every Muslim has to travel to Mekka once in his live. Every MTB addicted has to bike the Tremalzo. That is a law.
Not that I am the one who follows those trends, but in this case, it is really worth it. Have a look in a German mountainbike Magazine, you'll see many pictures taken in that area...
The real biker stayed in the "Campeggio Zoo" in Arco. That was a cheap camp ground once for those "no-money" freaks. But it is now "modernized", and prices & people are changing... Arco is a small village 5km north of Riva (photo), far enough from those Riva/Torbole campgrounds with their stressed business men from Germany forming cool wind-surfer populations. Go there if at least a Mercedes or BMW is your own.

Hint for non Europeans:
Riva is at the northern end of the Lago di Garda. The Garda Lake is located in northern Italy, only 70 meters above Sea level, but it is 340m deep. The climate is mild (Palms, olive and lemon trees), even if the upper part of the lake is surrounded by mountains 2000 meters high. Sports climbers, mountainbikers, windsurfers and gourmets find their different paradises here.



It was a hot summer day, when I picked my bike and left my friends with their destroyed fingers alone at the "zoo" campground. I was the only biker our group, the others were climbers only. It is very hard to convince them to bike. Because muscles in the legs are useless ballast for sports climbers. That gives me a good excuse for climbing half a degree below their rating....

So, it was already 10am, when I left. Followed the road to Riva, where its harbor is shown in the first photo. I followed the coastline for 500meters, then the old road to the Valle Ledro. A barrier has to be passed since the road is closed to traffic which is diverted through a long new tunnel deep inside the mountain. On the calm old road, you don't even feel that you bike uphill all the times. Even the most ambitious biker will stop here and there, the whole thing is one endless vista point.


mountainbiking in the dark

Follow your way through tunnels, hair pin curves... On the right image, on will see the northern end of the Garda Lake. During summer, hundreds of windsurfers roar across the lake. The mountains with their big walls form a sort of funnel, so that wind is particularly strong in that part of the lake. Also thanks to that wind, temperatures remain human even in August.

The road climbs steadily for 2,5 km, until it turns into the Ledro valley were it joins the heavy traffic Road No.240.



I followed this Road No. 240 to the Ledro Lake, then to the Lago Ampola. After 23km road, I finally took the road (12km) that goes up to the Tremalzo pass, at 1665Meters.
1600 Meters of gain were done. I was done too, so my stomach decided to order a big "spaghetti al sugo" plate in the restaurant on the pass. The photo shows how the plate looked like, 2 seconds after the waiter brought it. The compulsory CASIO ALT6000 watch on the left.
Spaghetti, some white bread, (no) wine, and this view...


WWI Tremalzo trail

That's the "Tremalzo": Here begins the gravel trail (Sentiero 422). Another 100 Meter of gain, then this endless downhill...
The roads here were build during WW I, when we Europeans were as stupid as some eastern countries are now.
During 1914-1918 thousands of soldiers lost their lives in an useless war. The mountains have been transformed to an immense fortress, with an impressive infrastructure.
At least, today we can give free rain to our hobby on those dynamite trails.



WWI Tremalzo trail

This was stuff for full suspension bikes. They went faster. What a shame, they overtook me. But they used their cars to drive up to the pass. A big :-(((((( to them.
It was quite hot now, so I enjoyed to ride fast through those short tunnels with their chilly air. The trail is very easy to ride, there are absolutely no difficulties.



Lago di Garda from Rochetta

After following the WW I trail (above image) from 1750m downto around 1350m, the trail trais still continued for several kilometers at this height, allowing happy views over the lake through hazily hot sommer air.



Then the rather wide tralis became more narrow and what followed (down from Rocchetta Pass) was a rather easy, but steep, harmonic and smooth single trail with some minor trial secions included. For more elaborated trials, look for the sentiero 601 on the other side of the lake that leads to Torbole. The 601 is not just another trail, it is a wonderful trial laboratory. Difficult sometimes, with enough of height difference. Trial is something completely different from simple downhill. Trial takes place in your brain. It's a meditation. Everyone can ride fast. But trial is a bit more.


After the trial section, I came through Pregasina, a little village built on the steep hillside, 450 meters above the lake. Fountain-stop. Pregasina can be reached directly by using the road from Riva, described at the beginning. Sometimes, I came up there here in the late afternoon, after a climbing day, only to relax.
A German Garda lover has bought the restaurant on the piazza, I was too late. But I'll have my guest house in Arco sometime or other...



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Created: January 28, 1996
Updated: May 9, 2001