Included in the "Great climbs of Trentino", Mount Velo is a must for all cycling enthusiasts, especially the gradient-mad. It stretches for almost 13 kilometres, mostly in the shade, to reach the Santa Barbara Pass at an altitude of 1170 metres. In 2002, it was the setting for a stage of the Giro d’Italia in which Cadel Evans lost the pink jersey.
This itinerary proposes the classic version with the descent from Val di Gresta towards Loppio. Among the other routes you’ll find another two versions, both tougher: one that maps out the return through the Lagarina Valley, and the other that adds on the climb to Mount Bondone.
From a technical standpoint, the climb has a very constant gradient of around 8.5%, with a few short sections exceeding 12%. The descent is very pleasant, as the roadway is wide and the traffic extremely quiet.
For more information on routes and bike services: rentals, workshops, shops and cycling friendly accommodation - APT Garda Trentino Tel. +39 0464 554444
Give your bike a regular checkup, especially if you've had it for years.
Be seen: you must wear a high vis jacket (or sash) in tunnels and on country roads after sunset.
Always wear your helmet.
Make sure your front and rear lights are working.
Put out your arm to give advance warning of your intention to change position and before you do anything, check there are no vehicles coming up behind you.
Don't use headphones or your mobile phone handsfree kit: you need all your concentration on the road!
Obey the road signs: stop at traffic lights and don't ride on the wrong side of the road.
If you are cycling in a group, always go in single file.
You've got a bell: use it to let pedestrians know you're there. Don't ride on footpaths. If you have to then get off and push your bike.
If there are cycle paths use them. It's your safety that's at stake and the rules of the road say you must.
Our route begins from the car park at the bridge, just outside the centre of Arco. We cross the bridge and at the roundabout keep right, following the signs for Rovereto. A few metres after the sign welcoming us to the Bolognano area, we turn left. At the stop sign, we push straight ahead and begin the uphill section leading to Mount Velo. A tough climb of almost 13 kilometres await us. Riding its many bends, one after another, we pass through the residential part of the Gazzi district, after which the turns are spaced further apart. Halfway up, after a very taxing section, we move into the Salve Regina area, where we can fill up our water bottles from a fountain on the left. Time to get back in the saddle. Now, woodland sections alternate with open sections, offering a view of the “busa”.
Once we reach the Velo area, the road flattens out for a short stretch. Having passed the houses, we return to climb through the wood for the last 2 kilometres that take us to the Santa Barbara Pass. Now the road descends towards Ronzo Chienis and we head in the direction of Riva. The downhill stretch is long, but fast and in a short time we reach Loppio. At the roundabout we turn right and shortly afterwards take the cycle path parallel to the main road.
Along this route, we can admire the riverbed of the Loppio lake, a basin drained in 1956 following the construction of the Adige-Garda tunnel that made the groundwater sink. Now we tackle the last challenge of the day, the brief climb to the San Giovanni Pass, before the descent towards Nago. At the end of the village we enter the “old Nago”, a quiet road that leads to Torbole. The road is very steep, and the panorama is ultra-photogenic.
We head towards Riva and just after the bridge over the river Sarca, we move onto the cycle path on the right, which takes us back to Arco.
The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda and Arco – are connected by several urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point or in the immediate surroundings.
For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes
You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service.
Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino
Free parking in Caneve (5 min. walk from the town centre).
More Pay parking: Foro Boario parking, via Caproni Maini (Car park near the bridge), Post office (Via Monache).
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 drop your energy levels. The unexpected things also make up a part of the fun!
Do not compare a road bike with a mountain bike. They are very different, especially in technical terms, and facing a hill with a road bike could be much more difficult than facing the same hill with a MTB. Therefore, remember to throughly evaluate the type of route you plan to do and the locations you plan to cross. Do not forget to consider the current season. Has it been raining? Attention: the paint of the crosswalk could be very slick.
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.