The line of the Old Ponale Road stands out against the mountainside and is clearly visible from the beaches in Riva and Torbole. The Ponale trail is an icon of Garda Trentino, much loved by visitors and locals alike who never tire of the spectacular views it offers at every bend.
The Ponale Road was opened to road traffic at the end of the 80s with the opening of the new tunnel to Valle di Ledro which was subsequently turned into a cycle path in 2004.
The Ponale Road is famous not only for the unequalled panorama of the lake but also for the military installations you can see along the trail. When you come to the second and third tunnels you can see remains of the Tagliata del Ponale, imposing fortifications built by the Austro-Hungarians from 1860 onwards which consist of tunnels excavated into the rock and trenches which stretch from lake level to the outposts overlooking the current trail. Today the Tagliata complex is normally closed to the public for reasons of safety.
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The Ponale trail is an alpine trail for expert hikers which runs close to a rockyand impervious wall and should be treated with all the necessary attention and appropriateclothing. This trail is shared by hikers and bikers: it is recommended that both follow the respectivelanes. The route is not recommended for prams; dogs are allowed as long as they arekept on a leash.
Warning! The trail presents no technical difficulties but is prone to rock falls!
The information on this chart is subject to inevitable variations, so this means that none of the 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, the hiker is advised to check the conditions of the places, environment and weather before setting out.
From the hydroelectric power station of Riva del Garda, head south. The start of the trail is just before the tunnel, on the left. This trail winds sheer above the waters of the lake and there are breathtaking views at every bend.
The first part of the hike finishes at Belvedere (now a stop-off point for refreshments during the summer season). If you wish, you can finish the excursion here and head back the way you came to Riva.
Otherwise, you can choose to continue on up to the right towards Valle di Ledro and its lake or else head left until you come to Pregasina. Here you can stop off for something to eat and drink before heading back along the same trail or else by public transport (bus stop ist about 3 km from Pregasina).
Riva del Garda, the starting point of your hike, is connected to other towns in Garda Trentino by a number of urban and intercity bus lines.
To get back to where you started from, you can take the bus line Riva del Garda - Valle di Ledro, getting on at the bus stop in Pregasina junction along the main road SS240 (which you can get to after the Belvedere by heading up to the right along a series of switchback bends). Tickets can be bought on the bus.
For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes
Riva del Garda is easy to get to (about 18km) from the toll-booth Rovereto Sud - Lago di Garda Nord.
Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino
Free parking in Riva del Garda at the old hospital (via Rosmini) and the old cemetery (Viale D. Chiesa).
Pay parking at the Public Gardens Porta Orientale, Roman Baths, Viale Lutti (Ex Agraria), Monte Oro, shopping center Blue Garden.
You need to be wearing the right clothing and take the proper gear when you go hiking in the mountains. Even on relatively short easy outings make sure to take all you need so you don't run into trouble if things take an unexpected turn, for example a storm blows up or you have a sudden drop in energy levels.
What should you take when you go on a hike?
What you should have in your rucksack (for a day trip a 25/30L capacity should do):
Emergency telephone number: 112
Make sure you're wearing the right footwear for the trail and season. The going can get rough and rocky underfoot and a pair of hiking boots will protect you from sprains. When wet, a grassy slope, rocky slab or steep trail can be dangerous unless you are wearing the proper footwear.
... don't forget to bring your camera! You'll need it to capture the stunning views you come across all over Garda Trentino. And if you like, you can share your memories with us at #GardaTrentino.