Biking on this Trail is only allowed with a guide from the Bike School Bregenzerwald.
Johannes Larch has been living in the Bregenz Forest for ten years now, and if it wasn’t for his South Tyrolean accent one wouldn’t notice that he is not from Vorarlberg. It is obvious that he knows everyone here. As the founder and operator of the Bregenz Forest Bike School, he is the pivotal point when it comes to mountain biking. Together with the "Mountain Bike Holidays" hoteliers he takes care of the weekly programme and took us on the Signature Trail of the Bregenz Forest - the Diedamskopf Trail.
Variety and much more
The Diedamskopf, in 2,090 m above sea level, is not one of the most alpine mountains in the Allgäu Alps, but it offers an extensive panoramic view - from Nagelfluh and Ifen to the main ridge of the Alps. The Diedamskopf Trail starts next to the upper terminus, but the 70 altitude metres to the summit should be climbed in any case to let your eyes wander and your thoughts rest. The access to the trail is already very promising: the trail meanders constantly uphill and downhill in long, gentle curves along the slope. Sometimes steeper, sometimes flatter and counter-climbs can also be found. The curve radii vary just as much as the views to the surrounding mountains. The right word to describe the characteristic of the Diedamskopf Trail is probably variety – and yet it does not do it justice in its entirety.
It is the constantly changing perspectives that fascinate you. The sunlight refracts in numerous mountain silhouettes and creates various shades of grey - depending on the incidence of light and distance. Colour is added with the lush green of the alpine meadows, the blue of the sky and the white of the cotton grass. Johannes tells us about his dilemma: on the one hand he thinks it's great that bikes offer more and more, thus ensuring an easier access to challenging trails. On the other hand, he feels that many forget the moment, the experience and the surroundings, repeatedly taking the same downhill runs in order to put the focus on this activity alone. He is missing the appreciation of the experience as such, the pausing for a moment to enjoy the landscape, the opportunity to interact with other bikers and the gratitude to be able to discover something new behind every bend in the surrounding area. This is one of the reasons why the Diedamskopf railway takes mountain bikers from the intermediate terminus only when accompanied by the bike school – a sensible arrangement that does not exclude anyone and yet ensures good cooperation in a positive way.
Living in harmony with nature
At the end of the trail, we cross to the Mitterdiedamsalpe. Mountain cheese is made from hay milk here close to nature. Although new EU regulations have banned open fire from the cheese kitchen, it is still possible to get a direct insight into how cheese is made. It is a good feeling to know where the ingredients of your Brettljause come from. Highly recommended is a type of fresh goat's cheese, half made from cow's milk and half from goat's milk.
Invigorated, we ride downhill into the valley - there is more than just one exciting option here. Once arrived at the bottom, we cross the district of Rehmen with the old distillery, a historical wooden building, which almost archetypically represents the traditional architecture of Vorarlberg with its conservatories and wooden shingled facades. Next to the distillery is a new Vorarlberg modern building - this too is characterised by natural understatement, the use of regional materials and craftsmanship and clear lines. An exciting architecture adapted to the region’s traditions, which can be found in the Bregenz Forest both in private houses and commercial buildings.
At the end of the tour, we simply sit comfortably in front of the hotel. We look at the surrounding mountains, once again with great architecture behind us, and enjoy the pleasant understatement of the Bregenz Forest.