Ponale Road, one of the most beautiful biking and hiking paths in the world

Ponale road is an old mule track built in the first half of the nineteenth century. It goes up the valley of the Ponale stream and was made as a connection between Riva del Garda and the villages of the Val di Ledro. For more than a century, it served automobile traffic. In the second half of the 1990s, it was definitively closed, until its reopening in 2004 as a path for cyclists and hikers. It’s often elevated among the most beautiful in the world.

Do you know this trail that connected Alto Garda and Ledro for a century and a half, then becoming an opportunity for wonderfully breathtaking views? Don’t miss this article that will give you historical insights and ideas for future excursions in Trento province!


A bit of history …

It was the idea of ​​a man of another time who had the foresight and perseverance to cultivate his dream until he saw it almost entirely realized just before he died. We are talking about the commercial agent of Bezzecca, Giacomo Cis, who dedicated a great part of his life to the project of making this connection along the sheer walls of Monte Oro and Rocchetta, which took the Val di Ledro out of its isolation. For a century and a half, this road did its job perfectly and sustained the levels of traffic of the time. With the later massive rise in car ownership, the road was no longer in sufficient. A tunnel was then installed in 1994 and the Ponale road was retired, until it got second life with transformation into a mountain track for bicyclists and hikers.


The route was inaugurated in 2004 and has an incredible charm thanks to the breathtaking views around every curve over the lake. In just a few years, the pride of all of Trent province has become the incredible emotions it leaves in the hearts of those who travel it. The itinerary starts from Riva del Garda, near the hydroelectric power station. Shortly afterwards, the real Ponale route begins on a well maintained dirt road to the right. The constant but not excessively steep ascent must be interspersed with stops, so as not to miss the views overlooking the lake. The panorama extends over the entire north of Lake Garda, with an evocative opening onto the wonderful mountain chain of Mount Baldo and Mount Stivo.

The view is dazzling because of the beauty of the landscape and the colorful shades of the lake below; its contours and the light reflected on its waters craft brush strokes that Alfred Dürer’s watercolors recreated.

The must in the middle of the climb is to enjoy a coffee or a refreshing drink at Ponale Alto Belvedere. The beautiful terrace just above the bar gives the drink a taste of infinity. Unmissable! Continue towards Pregasina, and for the more daring, we recommend going as far as Punta Larici, where you are amazed by the miracles of nature that open before you. The route is also perfectly suitable for e-bikes.

From their official website on May 5, 2020:

Total passages starting from 13 April 2019, 98,944 walkers and 299,467 cyclists (Total: 398,411)

Tips and tricks

Before the other stunning Trento province track,”Lake Garda Cycle Path”, from Riva del Garda to Limone is extended, you can add the existing part to other beautiful routes starting from Limone by bicycle or on foot. The most recommended is the ravine that climbs from Gargnano to Tremosine. At the inauguration in 1913, Churchill called this road the eighth wonder of the world. In a few kilometers nestled in the rock between tunnels, spectacular views and gorges elevate you to the picturesque village of Tremosine, a natural terrace overlooking the lake. In Tremosine, treat yourself to a moment of relaxation on the “Terrace of the Thrill”, suspended 350 meters above lake level and providing an incredibly spectacular and breathtaking view.


* By subscribing to the newsletter, you consent to the processing of personal data pursuant to EU Regulation no. 2016/679, GDPR, 25 May 2018

Some historical images kindly sent to us by the Giacomo Cis Onlus Committee. Thank you so much for helping us better remember our past.

The following two tabs change content below.
Manager di Ostello Città di Rovereto e da sempre appassionato delle Cose Belle di Rovereto e del Trentino Alto Adige. Amo escursioni in famiglia e, più impegnative, con amici in alta montagna. Scrivimi e avrai consigli, suggerimenti e proposte interessanti!

Leave a comment