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E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

21.06.24 09:02 255Text: NoMan (translated by AI)Photos: Erwin Haiden, Lukas SalzerHigh peaks, clear lakes. Combining enthusiasts and those who aim to be, will find ideal conditions in Paznaun for a sporty duet of cycling and hiking, with excellent cabins as transition stations. We have tested it on Hohe Köpfe and Berglisee.21.06.24 09:02 383

E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

21.06.24 09:02 383 NoMan (translated by AI) Erwin Haiden, Lukas Salzer
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High peaks, clear lakes. Combining enthusiasts and those who aim to be, will find ideal conditions in Paznaun for a sporty duet of cycling and hiking, with excellent cabins as transition stations. We have tested it on Hohe Köpfe and Berglisee.21.06.24 09:02 383

In Brüllersee, all hell breaks loose: Numerous tiny tadpoles wiggle through the shallow shore water; hundreds of already significantly larger ones make rapid progress with their strong tails and emerging legs, so fast that the human eye can barely follow them. Water striders dart like arrows over the crystal-clear water. Just above, two dragonflies perform their mating dance or fight fiercely, who knows for sure. And then a flat stone skims the water surface, once, twice, three times...
"Seven times!" I blurt out appreciatively, but disproportionately loud. For as much as life buzzes in and over the wet gem – absolute solitude and silence reign around it, and it's not really my place to break the latter. But seven bounces in "stone skipping" are simply record-worthy and elicit spontaneous expressions of respect – magnificent backdrop or not, retreat space or otherwise.

The one who casually sets such records is Patrick Zangerl, a hotelier and MTB guide in Ischgl, and aside from "stone skipping," he is quite a movement talent. His technical skills in the MTB sport, which he did not learn at a young age, prove this impressively.
And there, where he lets his throwing skills flash, killing time until the photographer catches up again, is the quiet, little-visited side of his homeland: the Verwall, the "border mountain range" between Tyrol and Vorarlberg.

 MTB Eldorado + Hiking Paradise = Ischgl Bike & Hike 

Paznaun: ideal for those who like to combine!
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

We are once again in Paznaun, using our visit to the 28th Ischgl Ironbike for a few additional kilometers and tours.
Borrowed Simplon Rapcon Pmax with potent Bosch CX support are the sports equipment of our choice. And Patrick Zangerl, head of the "guided riding" offer Bike Skull and lord over 35 beds, which he offers in the Klaushof either in rooms or apartments with breakfast option, is our companion on day one.

The aforementioned Brüllersee is just a few meters in elevation below the Hohe Köpfe, a 2,608 m high peak located slightly west of the Friedrichshafener Hütte. We beamed ourselves up to this Alpine club house, famous for its views and culinary delights, with the high-quality e-MTBs quite effortlessly. Then we switched or dismounted. The summit cross is reached with pure muscle power and without bikes.
Because Bike & Hike, as we heard from tourism association circles, is in the Silvretta Bike Arena a topographically obvious way to combine sporting interests: For the approach, ascent, and descent, please use the well-developed MTB tour network and choose from a variety of forest roads, paths, and trails depending on skill, condition, and interests. Where slopes are steep, routes exposed, and paths impassable, simply add a hike to reach the desired peak, mountain lake, or pass.
By the way, Ischgl would not be Ischgl if the tourism board did not professionally exploit this geographically obvious penalty kick - with numerous tour suggestions, specially designed bike depots aka bike racks, and a dedicated info page on their homepage.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

News 2024: Silva Trails and More

So far, so good. Only the weather had initially vehemently resisted the predicted dream conditions and spoiled the early morning with persistent drizzle. But eventually, the last hex key was used in Patrick's well-equipped bike garage for alleged adjustment work, and the most conscientious suspension setup was completed. Without any remaining excuses, we set off from the strategically conveniently located Klaushof at the end of Ischgl on Rossbodenweg towards Mathon.

Ironbikers know this farm road running above the valley floor and the Trisanna in the opposite direction, where their course takes a bit of the "top round" variant, over the high trail.
We were familiar with the pleasantly flat option for rolling in from last year's tour to the Neue Heilbronner Hütte. And indeed, the recently admired purple flowers, lush meadows, and sharp church steeples did not take long to appear again.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Unlike last time, we now turned off shortly after Mathon and headed uphill at the striking Lourdes Chapel in Valzur.
If the complaint from the state environmental advocacy had not delayed the project, we would have insisted on a detour to the new Trailpark Galtür at this point. However, there was nothing to miss – the Silva Trails are only opening their gates this summer.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Trailpark Galtür? You read that right. Starting July 14, 2024, the health resort at the end of the valley will become a new MTB hotspot for families, beginners, and also advanced riders. The centerpiece of the Silva Trails is a 6.67 kilometer long path with flowy curves and some Northshore elements, leading downhill from the Alpkogelbahn mountain station in the difficulty range from S0 to S2. With the destination Faulbrunn Alm, an additional 1.4 kilometer long trail with difficulty levels from S0 to S3 complements the initial offerings. Three more trails are in planning.
To prepare for the downhill fun, there is a practice area at the valley station with elements rated from S0 to S3, as well as an 800 m² large pump track.

  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

As if the innovations were not enough, starting from the 2024 season, two challenging high-mountain trails will bring fresh air to the Silvretta Bike Arena, which will also carry the name "Samnaun" in its title. Those who conclude from this nominal extension that the new additions specifically traverse the border area to Switzerland are correct.
A hefty 1,330 meters of descent between the Flimjochbahn mountain station and the middle station of the Silvretta cable car are offered by the 16.3 kilometers long Vesil Trail. And with the same start but aiming for the Heidelberger Hut, the Fimba Trail (12.8 km), which also courageously leads uphill in sections, awaits. Both pass over the Greitspitze (2,872 m) as the highest point, and both are classified in the red difficulty range S2 to S3.
The overall counter advances to a proud 88.8 trail kilometers with these additions, which can be enjoyed across eleven lines of all difficulty levels. More trails are already planned for the summer of 2025.

  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

 2024 new: Trailpark Galtür, Vesil Trail, Fimba Trail 

The Silvretta Bike Arena Ischgl/Samnaun is growing!
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Friedrichshafen Hut – High Heads

But I digress, actually Bike & Hike was our topic. Well, that happens when e-bikes simplify the upcoming 750 meters of altitude so much that there is always air and energy left for chatting and gossiping!
Just in time with reaching the tree line, the weather finally started to follow the forecast and the sun came out – just in time to put the fantastic mountain scenery, into which we had gradually worked our way, in the right light: to the right a spike and long moat, to the left a still rain-wet glistening peak and soon the whole ridge. Here a chamois, there a marmot, and over there, isn't that even ibex? Patrick's trained eye of the certified, but currently inactive hunter, revealed to us many a special insight into the wonders of nature.
Then the Jamtalferner glacier came into view, and of course, we tried to spot traces of last year's rockfall on the Fluchthorn, but in vain.

Finally, the clouds cleared completely and in front of us amazed city dwellers, everything that makes up the Paznaun was set up – also down the valley towards Kappl, and especially looking east, where the imposing lift facilities of the Silvretta Ski-Arena cling to the slopes of the Samnaun group. Even the Silvretta reservoir was briefly visible as a turquoise line in the seemingly endless undulating sea of rocks. And from above, the Friedrichshafen Hut also greeted us with its stone walls and turquoise-and-white-striped shutters.
For now, we still left the inviting ensemble on our right and pedaled over the now flat forest road a bit closer to the Muttenjoch, until the route, marked as 502A (which, by the way, also leads to the Neue Heilbronner Hut), crossed the Pachtlbach and turned right to become a hiking trail.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Our Simplons were therefore not parked as luxuriously and securely as in the bike depot intended for this purpose at the Friedrichshafen Hut. This would save us a one and a half kilometer gravel track march on the way back.
As soon as the E-MTBs were parked and locked, real life caught up with us again: Just about 2,300 meters above sea level and soon steep inclines of 30, 40, even almost 50% – this brutally strains the flatland lungs and leg muscles, especially when a former paraglider, then XC racer, road bike marathon rider, and now tennis player sets the pace!

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

The High Heads initially showed no mercy. We had avoided the steepest part of its southern slope by staying on the path to Muttenjoch for the time being. But with the right turn onto Georg-Prasser-Weg (No. 515) at 2,435 meters, the grace period for getting used to the different movement was definitely over.
There are only 100 meters of elevation that grow somewhat steeply from this intersection; then the slope levels off into a stone basin that houses the aforementioned Brüllersee. But these 100 meters of elevation were tough, especially since the sun was now really heating up, the wind that was still quite noticeable on the forest road seemed to have settled, and the ground was not the most stable due to countless, coarse boulders, rolling stones, and slippery gravel.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Up here, surrounded by Glatter Berg, Vertinesberg, and Vertineskopf, the Verwall Mountains did not seem particularly charming. At first glance, they appeared to be merely a brittle accumulation of gneiss and slate, stacking up in endless, fine layers and a variety of sparkles.
But even this seemingly lifeless and colorless rock, upon closer inspection, had its lichens that grew on it in bright green, its grasses that sprouted from it, its flowers that found just enough soil in the crevices to serve as a source of nourishment.

  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Between the steep section and Brüllersee, the ground finally became marshy. A small stream flows through the basin; bizarre moss cushions, pretty little flowers, and squishy soil everywhere. Then another short march through rocky terrain, a simple climb through boulders and cliffs, and we are at the top, at an altitude of 2,608 meters, at the summit of Hohe Köpfe, facing a 360° panorama that is second to none.
As much as life bustles a few meters below, at Brüllersee, it slows down sustainably here in the face of the summit cross and all the other mountains. Were it not for the wind whistling over the ridge and tugging at our soon donned jackets, it would be completely silent. No trace of other people anyway.

Information

Ischgl, surrounded by the mountain groups Silvretta, Samnaun, and Verwall located in the far west of Tyrol, is considered a place of contrasts to us - a MTB destination that offers an extremely high quality level in the summer, not least due to its overpowering winter tourism, yet shows a gentler, sometimes untouched side.
Mountain biking guests not only benefit from the excellent cuisine, the top range of hotels, and the all-inclusive Silvretta Card Premium. The mountains and side valleys of Paznaun also offer an enormously extensive and varied range of tours that master all the variations of our beautiful sport - trained mountain and hiking guides as well as bike guides are happy to help in selecting. The focus this time was on (E-)Bike & Hike. The routes described above – and many more – can be found (including all relevant regional information) with GPS data and detailed descriptions on the interactive tour portal at www.ischgl.com.

Travel Time:
The lifts, which also serve as ascents for bikers and hikers in the summer, reach up to an altitude of nearly 2,900 m, with the cabins located only slightly lower. Accordingly, the season is short. The cable cars usually start their summer operation at the end of June, as do the cabins. And by mid-September, the high season is already over. On the lower southern slopes of the Verwall group, tours can be realized from June to October.

Dining and Accommodation Tips:
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

A good place to talk about the tricks and quirks of windward and leeward, and to understand why it's bad to fly on the wrong side with a paraglider – and why it's advisable to switch sports afterward. A good place also for a genuine summit log entry and for a survey of where the paths here might lead in summer and winter. Just this much: the possibilities are nearly endless.
In the meantime, our stomachs make it quite clear to us that they do not want to live on high altitude air and summit love alone. So we prefer to quickly make our descent, rather than planning future tours, and then swiftly head to our rest stop.

  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Long-standing pilgrimage site on the culinary Way of St. James, the Friedrichshafen Hut has also earned a solid reputation as a mountain guesthouse with the finest cuisine, apart from this specialty conceived by Paznaun gourmet chefs. The fact that there is a wooden sun terrace at the front with simply stunning views of the Silvretta mountains and the Samnaun group jutting out, and a small bathing lake at the back enabling deluxe mountain wellness, makes it even better.
And the fact that there is a signed trail variant from the hut that directly cuts through the zigzag of the forest road downhill adds the icing on the cake – but only for technically skilled bikers. Everyone else will probably struggle with the tricky natural trail at S3 level.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

 Pulled Piglet with Potato and Cabbage 

The Dish of the Culinary Camino 2023. This year there's "Apricot Dumplings - Apricot Sorbet | Salted Caramel"
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

With cheese dumpling soup, pulled pork, spicy mountain crepes, and of course Kaiserschmarrn, we try to provide our bodies with the necessary energy for the upcoming descent. Because, of course, we at least want to try the trail variant. And my flesh would be willing, but my spirit is weak.
Bike & Hike, my mind seems to automatically associate that with pleasure cycling, cruising along, racking up miles. The fact that I should now suddenly bump down narrow, rocky paths that are steep, curvy, and rooty after the first, simpler meters, doesn't quite get into my head, and consequently not into my movements either.

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

 Cool side effect of the intersecting downhill variants: Behind every turn, I can watch the guys doing tricks. 

... and maybe try it again themselves next time

After two failed attempts, I give up and switch to the conveniently intersecting forest road. A cool side effect of this intertwined route: behind every bend, I can watch the guys doing tricks... and maybe even try it myself next time.
"Crunchy," is Patrick's verdict on the current trail condition. And that means something, because the man is not only a certified MTB instructor and bike park guide, but also a bona fide world champion, as: winner of the Masters 2 category at the E-Bike World Championships for everyone held in Ischgl since 2021 E-Bike-WM for Everyone.

  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Bonus Track: Mountain Lake

Actually, our annual Ischgl report would be concluded with this. The Ironbike preparations and program points kept our photographer too busy to complete another tour. However, the foot soldiers still had time, and so we let NoSane toil alone the next day and rappelled down for a second bike-hiking combo tour.
The target was clear, at least when our contacts at the Ischgl – Paznaun tourism board had titled the suggestion as an "Insta-Hotspot". The editor in me secretly hoped in the Silvretta for a counterbalance to the almost surreal calm we had experienced in the Verwall – except during the cabin stop. The hobby photographer in Lukas wanted to know whether he would manage to capture the better image of the moment by bypassing or diving right into the crowds of influencers. Thus, we set off to Berglisee.

To get straight to the point: crowds: none. Instagrammers: also none.
Indeed, we met some bipeds and quadrupeds at the crystal-clear water at the base of a semi-circle of nearly three-thousanders – Berglerkopf, Blauer Kopf, Zirmli – near Mathon. Overall, however, they were indeed countable on two hands and engaged (with one exception) in rather sparse use of mobile phone cameras.
The picturesque Berglisee in the wildly romantic alpine area Innerbergli can be reached via – Ironbikers will nod knowingly again – the Lareintal and the same-named Alpe. Right there, after another approach over Mathon, this time however on the Trisanna southern bank, and a deeply relaxed 400-meter elevation climb, we parked our bikes in the bike depot.

 Crowds of people: none to be found. Instagrammers: likewise 

All good at the supposed influencer hotspot Berglisee
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

For the muscular switch from pedaling to walking, there was at least a half, flat kilometer left. After crossing the Lareinbach stream with a view of the Fluchthorn Glacier, the eastern slope of this impressively untouched high valley - no internet, no mobile reception, no huts, just pure nature - presented itself even steeper.
The herbaceous ground cover on the treeless mountain flank made it clear: those who come just a bit earlier in the year wander through a sea of alpine roses and blueberries. Later, red-orange colored larches certainly form a magnificent backdrop. Currently, numerous flowers and herbs lined our path, of whose names or certainly manifold uses we botanical ignoramuses had no clue whatsoever.
Following the steep slope, the path became pleasantly undulating. Not for nothing were we on the Paznaun High Trail. Wonderfully gnarled, sky-old Swiss stone pines told of winds and weathers in the varied ups and downs, until finally after a good hour the idyllically nestled in humpy alpine soil, extensive scree slopes and rugged peaks, Berglisee was reached.

  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl
  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

We recommend, by the way, taking the left turn after about two kilometers to Inner Bergli (and after another 500 m, turning right to the lake) and saving the roughly 500 meters shorter Direttissima for the way back. In this way, one approaches the turquoise jewel more gradually, more dramatically impressive: first little bridges and footpaths and even lovely flower meadows, then a quaint shepherd's hut with a drinking water fountain, sun benches, and a deeply grounding view into the Verwall, and finally the gurgling, bubbling waterways and basins, which are located north of the Berglisee and which - already in the sight of the stone semicircle that surrounds it - tune one fantastically into this power place of Mother Nature.

  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

Tables, benches, and even barbecue spots on the adjoining meadow to the west would have allowed for a grand mountain picnic in truly remarkable scenery.
However, with the announced change in weather already pressing in from Montafon and Switzerland, we preferred to make our way down and satiate our hunger in the relative safety of the Larein Alpe, which, by the way, will also be part of the Culinary Paznaun in 2024 with Asian pork knuckle with Spätzle.

Could we have discovered and experienced all this by mountain bike, not just on foot? No way.
Has Ischgl managed once again, with these alpine duathlons, these mixes of relaxed ascents, impressive retreats, and recommendable places to stop, as well as, if desired, challenging descents, to surprise and convince us? Definitely.
Will we return in the hope of discovering another facet, another offering, with which we would not generally associate the winter ski hotspot, according to all circulating prejudices? Absolutely!

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  • E-Bike & Hike around IschglE-Bike & Hike around Ischgl

 Could we have discovered and experienced all this by mountain bike, not on foot? No way. 

Bike & Hike Opens New Opportunities
  • E-Bike & Hike around Ischgl