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5 Surprises along the Ötztal Cycle Trail

If you think you know the Ötztal like the back of your hand, you should put to the test the Ötztal Cycle Trail: I bet that there are still dozens of unknown corners and spots along the 50 kilometers! Here are 5 of the many highlights that surprised us while pedaling through the valley.

It is one of the most varied tours you can imagine - whether from north to south or vice versa. You can start the scenic Ötztal Cycle Trail from Haiming at the valley entrance and pedal your way up from 663 meters to Sölden at 1360 meters above sea level. Or you roll effortlessly in the opposite direction out of the valley until you finally reach the beautiful Apple Mile, where the Ötztal Cycle Trail merges with the Inntal Cycle Path. No matter from which side you approach it, you should plan enough time and leisure to enjoy the route - because there is really a lot to discover, admire and reflect.

1. Well hidden

In Ötztal you probably tend to look up into the sky - no wonder given the majestic mountain world. But also the valley floor deserves your attention: There are so many scenic highlights here and the Ötztal Cycle Trail is the best way to discover them all. The section near Köfels, for example, boasts an immensely idyllic Fairytale Forest with soft forest soil, leading along a babbling mountain brook - a perfect place to take a rest and restore energy. And who had eyes for the small Maria Schnee chapel or the old farmhouses around Umhausen, beautifully decorated with geranium?

Ötztal Cycle Trail

2. Loudly rushing

Ötztal Cycle Trail next to the Ötztaler Ache

The Ötztaler Ache mountain brook is the route's golden thread winding its way for many kilometers through the valley. You keep branching off, but you also keep coming back. 171 glaciers can be found in the drainage area of the Ache, which originates in Zwieselstein - between Sölden and Vent. It is "one of the few hydrologically uninfluenced mountain rivers in Tirol" and, in its natural state, a study object in itself. Following the waters so closely across all the valley terraces, you will realize how varied and exciting the river is. Tame and calm, roaring and wild. You pass the furious rapids for which kayakers come from all over the world, as well as lonely gravel banks where you can stretch your feet into the refreshing water.

3. Watched silently

In the wide open basin around Tumpen you should at least briefly stop at the impressive Engelswand rock wall. On these reddish granite rocks there are beautiful climbing routes of various difficulty levels. Simply sit down on the wide meadow and watch the skilled climbers on the rock wall. Top alpinists conquer the routes elegantly, children get in contact with climbing for the first time - and the atmosphere is pleasantly relaxed and nice.

Tumpen in Summer

4. Counted diligently

Ötztal Cycle Trail Bridge

How many bridges does the Ötztal Cycle Trail have? You can count them along the 52 kilometer long stretch, but with so much distraction and so many bridges it can be a quite difficult task. There are small wooden footbridges over mountain brooks and Ache river crossing points in rather 'harmless' places. But there is also the imposing Ferdinand Cycle Bridge - the 65 meter long arch made of 72 tons of steel spans the valley's river and was built especially for the cyclists.

5. Impressively instructed

In Lehn, a tranquil hamlet of Längenfeld, you will pass the Ötztal Museum District. Here you will find the Memory Archives, a carefully renovated building from the 15th century, with archive and library where researchers from near and far do their job. Next door you there is the Local Heritage & Outdoor Museum: The courtyard and building ensemble notably documents Ötztal's historical farming culture. A bit further down the valley you visit the Tower Museum in the middle of the village center in Oetz. The local Ötztal art lover Hans Jäger has collected over 5000 objects. Discover a variety of artist views of Ötztal valley - an exciting addition to all the insights and outlooks that you have gained while pedaling on the fabulous Cycle Trail.

Tower Museum in Oetz

HERE you will find all information details about the Ötztal Cycle Trail, the 4 stages, rest areas & e-bike charging stations as well as further expansion projects. In the following video (2018), Ötztal Tourismus project manager Isidor Grüner explains the construction of the imposing Ferdinand Cycle Bridge and the idea behind the valley-wide Cycle Trail.

Sissi Pärsch

Guest Author Sissi Pärsch

… is a freelance journalist writing for several magazine like “BIKE” and “Bergwelten” (in German) – therefore she is a regular guest in Ötztal.

“Something I can tell you about Ötztal: it is 67 kilometers long, ascending from its entrance to the rear end with its majestic mountain peaks above 3000 meters altitude. And this valley will never stop surprising me with new and spectacular insights and outlooks.”