Lead photo: Mattia Bonavida
The Dolomites must be one of the best places to ride your bike on the planet. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, the mountains are simply stunning. More importantly they’re also home to an extensive network of well-built trails, with somethign to suit riders of all abilities. Kronplatz, in the South Tyrol region at the heart of the range, is a great jumping off point to to explore the region.
Back in the day, Kronplatz was thought of as not much more than a pleasantly picturesque connection road. Fortunately things have changed a lot since then – with the area undergoing some seriously impressive mountain bike-friendly developments.
Several kilometres of trails have been built in the last few years, transforming the place into one of Europe’s most interesting biking regions. Freeride, enduro, and downhill opportunities; this place has more than enough variety to keep even the fussiest bike rider happy.
The Kronplatz region is home to over 60km of tracks, mostly in the intermediate to expert bracket, and is renowned for the way it can throw up one amazing view after another in a seemingly never-ending run of amazing views.
“…one amazing view after another in a seemingly never-ending run of amazing views.”
While the bike parks in Kronplatz are well worth a visit, there are two enduro routes that are particular highlights. The first takes you through the Fanes – Senes – Braies Natural Park, starting in the picturesque village of San Vigilio di Marebbe and climbing up to a series of mountain huts. It’s a 55km loop with almost 2,000 metres of vertical and climbs that are as steep as 21%, so not for the faint-hearted. But if you’ve got a day to spare and strong legs, the views and the descents make it more than worth the effort.
The second route also starts in San Vigilio, but heads towards Armentara climbing over the Col de Locia and snaking through the spa town of San Cassiano. Again it’s a tricky route – 60 kilometres over a mixture of fire roads and single track that will take a day at least.