Unique nature in the Ötztal, a challenging trail and the crossing of the second highest mountain range in Austria, the Ötztal Alps, are offered on this Bikepacking Transalp route.
The Tyrolean Ötztal fully corresponds to the common cliché of high mountains, an enchanting mountain landscape including alpine panorama, pretty mountain farming villages and winter sports areas dominated by tourism. Where the valley ends, the Ötztal Alps rise. These are, after the Großglockner, the second highest mountains in Austria.
This article includes
✅ The complete Bikepacking Transalp route as komoot tour for download (below).
✅ The complete tour as YouTube video – right here next 😉
✅ My complete tour report as a detailed route description and with lots of great photos.
Bikepacking Transalp – YouTube Video
The start is at the foot of the Ötztal: at the settlement Ötztal-Bahnhof. The route then takes you on and off the Ötztal cycle path through the green valley. Offered are grandiose scenery and sleepy mountain farming villages. Now and then the path leads into the terrain and onto technically demanding trails. The crowning glory is then the crossing of the Ötztal Alps with a really spectacular view over the mountain landscape.
The community of Sölden offers a particularly challenging mountain bike trail along the Ötztaler Ache (mountain river) – more about this below and on the linked komoot trail and also in the video. Many parts of the trail I could ride well on my gravel bike – FYI, I had my Bombtrack Beyond 1 with 2.1 inch wide tires included. Some of the sections I had to push and carry as well. Overall, the entire route is super suitable as a gravel bike tour.
Bikepacking Transalp Route
The Bikepacking Transalp Route is a 2 day tour. At the end of day 1 you reach the Hochjoch Hospiz. This mountain hut offers a perfect view over the Ötztal Alps. In summer, the hut is catered and sleeping facilities are offered. In winter there is still a winter shelter open.
Day 1: Ötztal Cycle Path incl. some gravel passages and a challenging trail in the community of Sölden. The ideal Gravel Bike Tour! Hike through the Rofental valley to the Schutzhütte Hochjoch Hospiz at 2413 meters.
The map of the Bikepacking Transalp Route shows you the whole two-day tour of the Transalp by bike. The interactive map can be zoomed and you can download the GPX file directly.
Day 2: The Ötztal bike path is long behind us 🙂 The crossing of the Ötztal Alps to just behind the Italian border (South Tyrol) to the Shelter Schöne Aussicht – Rifugio Bella Vista – this is on the agenda for day 2. From an altitude of 2413 metres, the challenge is to climb to an altitude of 2842 metres – in technically very demanding terrain. On day 2 there are first some tricky climbing passages a few hundred meters down to a mountain stream. After the mountain stream, the trail continues along the slope of the Rofenberg to the Schöne Aussicht shelter.
Bikepacking Transalp Route described in detail
Ötztal cycle path incl. Gravel and trails
The Bikepacking Transalp Route starts in the settlement Ötztal near Haiming (the Ötztal cycle path starts in Haiming). The ride on the Ötztal cycle path itself is approximately 52 kilometres long. This involves ascending from 663 metres in altitude to as much as 1360 metres in Sölden.
Highlights and stages on the Ötztal Cycle Path are the following communities:
Scenically, the Ötztal Cycle Path is beautiful: You get to know nature up close and personal and the ride is a superlative experience. All the way to Sölden you roll mainly on asphalt and gravel. The Ötztal cycle path with the route variants I have built in results in the ideal Gravel Bike Tour. There is also the one or other steep climb where pushing is most definitely required 😉 Even if the legs are strong enough: There are some steep climbs where the tires have no traction anymore.
In the community of Sölden there is then a turnoff onto a mountain bike trail, which should definitely be taken. It is a black mountain bike trail. That’s what it says on a sign just before the trail. Of course I rode exactly this trail and it is also part of the Bikepacking Transalp route, which you can find above on the map and as GPX file.
At Vent in the Ötztal the bike tour is over for the time being and it starts a mountain hiking tour through the Rofental. The mountain hike starts in Vent: first you leave the village in a southerly direction along a wide footpath.
Now you reach Rofen and are at the foot of the Rofnerschlucht gorge. There are some sturdy wooden fences here. There I recommend to connect the bike, do the hike and then return to the bike the next day.
Here already an impression of the Rofnerschlucht:
Hiking and crossing the Ötztal Alps
The moderately difficult hiking tour can be started from Vent at the edge of the Ötztal. The valley hike leads from Vent, through the impressive Rofner Gorge first to the Hochjoch Hospiz (2413 m) and then up to the Schöne Aussicht refuge (2842 m, Bella Vista).
Both refuges are catered for in summer and then also offer overnight accommodation. The Hochjoch Hospiz also has a winter shelter (in which I spent the night). Overnight accommodation at the refuge Schöne Aussicht in winter you please check yourself (Homepage Schöne Aussicht).
Once you have arrived here, you have already crossed the border to Italy and are now in South Tyrol.
Safety note: I strongly recommend that you leave your bike here and chain it up. With the bike in the luggage the medium-difficulty hiking tour becomes a high-risk climbing tour, because: Along the Rofen valley, a narrow mountain path later leads towards the Italian border. First to the Hochjoch Hospitz refuge (still doable by bike but actually a hiking trail) and then to the Bellavista mountain refuge (very difficult to do by bike).
Exactly where the video begins is a good place to plug in your bike:
Bicycle connected? Good – off we go on the valley hike:
This part of the route surpasses the Ötztal in terms of natural impressions but is actually a pure hiking route. So please really leave the bike in Vent. One can then undertake a day hike first to the Hochjoch Hospitz and then to the Bella Vista refuge. Both huts offer overnight accommodation. When you arrive at the Bella Vista refuge right on the Italian border, you can hike back and pick up your bike again.
First you hike through the impressive Rofner Gorge. Then you reach the Hochjochhospiz at 2413 meters. Here you can enjoy the view, take a break or as I did, even spend the night. In summer, the Hochjochhospiz is catered for and in winter, at least, there is still an open winter shelter.
A steel cable is stretched here in several places and it’s really going downhill. Rumour has it that one or the other enduro rider has already raced down the mountain here (that’s what someone said in a YouTube comment – whether it’s true?) but the spot is really only something for the very daring experts and full professionals!
On foot and without a bike, the section is moderately difficult and you can hike down just fine – using the steel cable, of course.
From the Hochjochhospiz, the mountain trail leads into a valley: there, the Hintereisbach can be crossed via a bridge. Over numerous hairpin bends, you then climb again upwards on the hiking trail until you reach the Hochjochfernertal.
From here, the hiking trail leads along the slope of the Rofenberg. Almost straight ahead and steadily slightly ascending, the hiking trail leads in the direction of the Schutzhaus Schöne Aussicht at 2842 meters.
This section of the path on the slope is also moderately difficult and can be done well without a bike, if you are sure-footed and only carry a rucksack.
Having arrived at the Schöne Aussicht refuge, you are already in Italy. Here it is worth taking a break to enjoy the mountain panorama and to strengthen yourself at the catered hut. Please do not rely on the hospitality: In October, when I was there, the hut was still open and catered. It is possible that there will be no catering in the off-season.
Arrived at the highest point of the tour, there are several options:
- Turn around and hike back to Vent to retrieve the locked bike. This takes about 4 to 6 hours
- Take the cable car down into the valley
- Daredevils can hike or ski down to the valley. However, the ski trail is, once again, not an easy gravel bike tour. For the slope you should have at least plus tires on your bike. Only then could you go all the way down. Please be very careful here too!
Note: The last slope of the ski slope is extremely steep and also has very loose gravel underground. If you have made it up to here by bike, you should get off and push at the latest now. MTB tires with a width around 2.1 inches lose control on the loose ground.
Once you have reached the bottom, the tour can continue, for example, via: Schnalstal, Vinschgau, past Lake Reschen over the Reschen Pass, along the Inn River, via Landeck and then to Lake Constance.
So I wanted to continue the tour quite relaxed. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate at the beginning of October: In Italy it had continuous rain and it became very cold. Therefore I drove to Landeck and took the train home from there.
What do you think of the Bikepacking Transalp Route in this article? You have questions about the tour presented here? Write me your comment – I like to answer 😉
Check out the overview page for even more gravel bike tours and suggested bikepacking routes and events.