A classic tour of Garda Trentino: a satisfying ascent for the fit and well within the capacity of the battery of current e-bikes; treacherous, “old style” descent
Route 732. is an old style all mountain trail. The elevation gain is close to 1700 metres, with some of the climbs pretty tough, and long stretches on road. Along the almost 40 km of the trail, the scenery changes often and is definitely breathtaking but it is not a tour for everyone.
The mountain huts Nino Pernici and Malga Grassi are classic destinations for anyone familiar with Garda Trentino. The proposed descent is truly wild, either you love it or you hate it. The terrain is rocky, very rough and quite steep; for anyone who is not at their ease in this kind of terrain it could turn out to be a nightmare. From Campi onward, the track surface is much more stable and easy. The final part, on cement, has a gradient of more than 20% with a view over Riva and the upper lake that is simply impossible to describe. On this final stretch, you have to check your speed and make sure to use both brakes as needed, especially if wet and in the autumn.
ITRS - International Trail Rating System
The ITRS is an objective way to assess trails and routes from a biker’s perspective, evaluating four aspects:
Discover more about the ITRS system and check the classification of this tour in the photo gallery.
This information is subject to inevitable variations, so none of these indications are absolute. It is not entirely possible to avoid giving inexact or imprecise information, given how quickly environmental and weather conditions can change. For this reason, we decline any responsibility for changes which the user may encounter. In any case, it is advisable to check environment and weather conditions before setting out.
The trail starts out on the lake front in Riva del Garda, in front of the Garda Trentino tourist information office. Take the cycle path which leads along Viale della Liberazione towards the centre of Riva. Pass the imposing structure of the Rocca and Piazza III Novembre, coming to the main road Gardesana Occidentale at the harbour. From here, follow the main road to the south for a few hundred metres. Before you reach the first tunnel on the Gardesana, keep to the right and take a steep cobbled ramp which leads to the start of the famous Ponale Trail. This stretch of the route, on a dirt road, has an incomparable panorama.
Without any alternative trail suitable for a bike we come to the end of the dirt road at the Ponale Alto Belvedere snack bar. At the nearby junction, keep right in the direction of Lake Ledro. Before the tunnel, turn left to cross the valley and the torrent avoiding the main road. Once on the road leading to Pregasina, go to the right and then, before the bridge, take the little road on your left. The trail to follow to get to Lake Ledro is clear. Cycle through Prè and Molina as far as the lake.
Following the road and subsequent road signs, cycle along the left side of the lake until you come to Pieve at the far end. Here you cross the main road and head towards the centre of the village. Signposting in the narrow streets leads you to the left where you take a short stretch of cycle path. This takes you to the start of the peaceful Val di Concei. Keep on straight along the main road, heading up the valley. Cycle through Locca, Enguiso and, when you get near Lenzumo, take the road on the right leading to Bocca di Trat and Rifugio Nino Pernici.
On this stretch, the signposting is very clear, and in any case, one thing is certain; it’s all uphill, and plenty of it. After a long stretch on the road, as you near your destination, the road turns into a dirt track. When you come to the pass, you will find the mountain hut Rifugio Nino Pernici on your right, a historic destination for local mountain bike enthusiasts.
As an alternative to shorten the tour, instead of continuing to Rifugio Pernici, we can take the 732a. Variante Dos de Preghent Trail along the asphalt road from Lenzumo to Malga Trat and return to Locca along this route. If we choose this option, the ride from Locca back to Riva follows the same route we took in the first part of tour, only in the opposite direction.
From Bocca di Trat, the direction for the descent is clear, so head down the other side, in what, in certain stretches, feels like a steep stream of rocks. Once you get to the meadows of Malga Pranzo, turn right towards the nearby mountain hut Capanna Grassi, another popular destination with local bikers. Take a break it you like, then head down over the meadows of Malga Grassi to resume the descent. After the first stretch, nothing is going to surprise you anymore, but if you prefer to avoid one more treacherous stretch, you can go as far as the outskirts of Campi following the abandoned road that passes by Malga Pranzo. Before coming to the town centre, turn right. This takes you back to the famous Strada della Pinza; steep, but very stable compared with the previous stretches, then cemented on the final stretch.
However, if the previous stretch didn’t bother you and you want to continue on what was the race track for the “Adrenalina” competition (a downhill race which goes back to the origins of this discipline in this area), just follow the clear signposting from Capanna Grassi. Cross the wide meadows on an easy dirt road, head into the woods, cross the stream, and you come to a short stretch where you need to push your bike uphill. Once you are over the hill, your downhill adventure begins among the rocks. The few turn-offs are clearly marked and, once you have done the final stretch on cement, you pass in front of the church of San Rocco, continuing on to the start of the Pinza trail. From here on, you are on a dirt track once more, but it is stable and fairly easy. Mind your speed though because even though the trail is quite wide some stretches are very exposed. Take your time and enjoy the panorama on the last stretch which is almost entirely on cement. Your brakes will be red hot. At the end of the descent, you are practically at the entrance to the centre of Riva del Garda, your point of departure.
The main towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Arco, Torbole sul Garda, Nago – are connected by several urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point of tours or in the immediate surroundings.
You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service.
Parking near the former hospital (Via Rosmini) or the former cemetery (Viale Damiano Chiesa).
Paid parking: Terme Romane (Viale Roma), Vecchia stazione (Largo Medaglie d’Oro), Ex-agraria (Via Lutti), Area ex-Cattoi (Viale Rovereto).
Riding your bike requires specific clothing and equipment, even for relatively short and easy trips. It is always better to be prepared… e.g. for bad weather or a sudden drop in your energy levels. The unexpected things are part of the fun!
Remember to thoroughly evaluate the type of route you plan on doing, the locations you intend to cross and the current season. Has it been raining? Attention: The paths may be slippery and require more caution.
What do I need to bring on my bike tour?
It is always advised to let someone know where you plan to go and how long you expect to be.
Emergency telephone number 112.