The Aurina Valley is the biggest side valley of the better-known Puster Valley, or Val Pusteria, in South Tyrol. One of the most unspoilt regions of Alto Adige, the Aurina Valley is surrounded by more than 80 summits that stretch up to 3,000 meters.
The northern ridgeline marks the border with the Zillertal Alps, creating the ideal two-stage ride that links these two spectacular valleys and gives mountain bikers the opportunity to stray off the beaten track and discover the rugged landscape of the region.
The route for this ride over to the other side of the valley has to link in the Passo del Cane/Hundskehljoch (2,557 meters), which is the only passage suitable for mountain bikers.
Along these ancient paved paths, surrounded by meadows of heather and vibrant azaleas, there are impressive views of the ‘Vedrette di Ries’ and every single rider will surely fall for the area’s charm – no matter how many times you visit.
Before starting the descent, it’s wise to take a peek at the mountain’s book, which you’ll find located in the drawers of the cross. It’s an opportunity to write a few personal thoughts well, and leave your own mark on this historic pass.
While the beginning of the descent to Mayrhofen is very technical and difficult, doing little to mitigate the climb, these difficulties cease after the river ford at 1850 meters (in the Malga Mitterhutten), from where forest roads will lead you back towards the valley.
The second stage takes you to Ginzling and we can climb the Zampser Bach to Lake Schlegeisspeicher at 1,782 meters, which is one of the five artificial lakes in the Zillertal Valley. A long uphill path leads to ‘Passo di Vizze’ (2,276 meters), which doubles as the border crossing between Austria and Italy.
Here you should save your strength and choose the roadway instead of the singletrack; from ‘Val di Vizze’ you’ll start the last long ascent up to the ‘Passo di Fundres’ at 2,568 meters. As it’s all downhill from here, the descent begins on singletrack trails, then dips onto a forest road and finally leads you all the way to Vandoies, 1,800 meters farther down, on tarmacked roads. From here, the train is a great option if you want to return to the starting point in comfort.
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