If you visit the forest roads around Innsbruck on a May afternoon, you’d be forgiven for thinking that half the population were out riding their bikes. Touring to work across the Alpine pastures is a popular pursuit for many locals – and, no doubt, the motivation to shed a few pounds after winter also has something to do with it!
In recent weeks, I’ve been exploring with my bike, pushing my physical limits and riding up to the snow line. At this time of year, there’s little snow in the valleys and on south-facing slopes but you can still find some on the mountains’ northern sides or in avalanche paths under 1,500-metres above sea level.
I’m going to tell you about three of my favourite tours, all of which are all possible at this time of year:
1. Innsbruck – Rechenhof – Rumer Alm – Arzler Alm – Innsbruck
This local tour has always been one of my favourites. It leads from Innsbruck, over the Mühlau to Rechenhof Inn, where you can enjoy the Zillertal’s excellent local beer. After this, the forest path leads to the Rumer Alm pasture hut before guiding you along the Mühlauer River to Arzler Alm pasture and back to Innsbruck.
Essentials: 15km, 700m of altitude, suitable for intermediates.
Highlights: Musical entertainment on Rumer Alm; traditional Tirol cuisine at Arzler Alm; stunning views of Innsbruck and the Stubai Alps.
2. Landeck – Fliess (along the Via Claudia Augusta Roman road)
From the centre of Landeck, this tour takes you past Landeck castle and begins with a short uphill along a forest road. The route continues along the Via Claudia Augusta Roman road (partially singletrack), passing stone walls and meadows to reach the picturesque hamlet of Fliess. Ride back along the same route.
Essentials: 14km, 300m of altitude, suitable for intermediates.
Highlights: Beautiful flower meadows around Fliess; Roman cart tracks on the bike route.
3. Kufstein – Kaindlhütte
From Kufstein, this route runs along a forest road, across the Duxer Alm pasture to the Brentenjoch saddle. From here, you follow a gentle route to Kaindl hut, at the foot of Scheffauers Mountain (Wilder Kaiser region). Return along the same route.
Essentials: 20km, 900m of altitude, suitable for intermediates.
Highlights: The welcoming hosts and decent accommodation at Kaindl hut, fantastic scenery in the Wilder Kaiser region, views of Kufstein and the Inn Valley.