Kaiserjäger - single trail
Length: 7 km
Altitude metres: 750 altitude metres
Recommended bike: All mountain
Biking technique: ●●●○○
Biking fun: ●●●●○
Best time for travel: March - November
Possibility for a stop: Refugio Serot
Daniele Acler is an athlete. You notice this the minute you see him. He welcomes us at the family-run Hotel Cristallo in Levico. The maps of the region are spread out in a special biker lounge. Daniele doesn’t use many words - we know the important bits after ten sentences: family background (he is the sporty one of four brothers), the history and advantages of our residence for the coming days and the highlights of the region - and the main topic: the Kaiserjäger single trail tour.
We start directly after breakfast the next morning. It’s going to be hot again today and you will get burnt by the sun on the ascent if you leave too late. From Levico, we roll through the plain in direction Caldonazo for a short time to the start of the ascent. We did ask Daniele for an alternative route to the road. But he insisted on taking the Kaiserjägerstraße: “It’s part of the tour!“, he says. We are a bit disappointed though that, as a local, he will not recommend an alternative route. I don’t like roads! Checking the map, we also cannot find any other reasonable alternative. The rugged rock face which drops from the plain in direction Caldonazo is so steep that it is hard to imagine where a road or trails are supposed to be running here. Still debating and pedalling uphill, the view all of sudden opens in direction Lago di Caldonazzo.
The road is now close to the rock and gets narrower and narrower. Tunnels blasted into the mountain lead to more fantastic views. Crazy, building a road here! We are fascinated.
After around 700 altitude metres, we reach the pass and leave the road. The old military road is now a gravel road. The road leads wave-like through dense mixed forests to the small villages of Slaghenauﬁ and Lanzino. Ruins of derelict military buildings and war cemeteries line the route. How strange! We couldn’t imagine a more peaceful landscape. Approaching the small villages, we look forward to the promised trail back into the valley. The first short and diverse trail passages and gravel paths lead to the entrance of the Kaiserjäger single trail. Artworks modelled on the organic shapes of nature line the wayside.
The gravel path ends abruptly. Finally! The trail! I can hardly contain my joy and Franzi is just as happy. Th beautifully flowy trail meanders through the forest until the view opens to the valley. Lago di Caldonazzo is 700 vertical metres below us. We are fascinated by the view and the ingenious route! The trail is flowy and snuggles against the mountain. A few root passages and terraces spice up the experience. But you shouldn’t go too fast here. A drop could appear right after the next curve: thus, stay focused! The flow is interrupted at one point. Steps and a small bridge lead through a passage where erosion has heavily damaged the trail. But then the flow continues and meanders playfully through rocks and forests. The trees literally cling to the steep face. After a short while, the trail gets wider. We now can look far into the Valsugana. The rock face where we are right now confines the valley just like a giant wall. We recognise the Cima Vezzena; 1.400 metres deep is the drop of the rock at its northern flank.
It gets hotter and hotter on the trail into the valley and the trail gets even wider. The route downhill leads on coarse gravel through many bends. A few nice trails interrupt the route again and again and all of a sudden we are back at the road. Grinning from ear to ear and looking forward to a yummy ice cream and a dive into Lago di Levico, we roll sweat-trenched back to Levico.