Bike Ride With Epic Views

The mountain village of Sölden is set in the beautiful Austrian Tyrol and is the perfect base for exploring the Ötztal Alps. In the winter the area is popular with skiers and regularly hosts the first World Cup races of the season, but in the summer, alongside the many hiking trails there is the mountain bike project; ‘Bike Republic Sölden’. This is a network of natural biking trails, ecologically built lines, endurance routes and pump tracks that Russell and Ned love to explore but for me, it was a slightly tamer family bike ride that we went on together that was one of the best.

Having packed up and left Camping Sölden we were heading northwards to join the A12 before venturing across the border into Switzerland. Passing through the village of Lägenfeld we spotted a small and winding mountain road that looked as though it may lead somewhere interesting. Always ones for following our noses we turned off of the main road and drove up the steep switchbacks until we reached Gries and it was here that the road literally stopped. Parking up we walked around the hamlet and discovered a rough track that seemed to follow the course of the river flowing from further up the valley. With the sun shining and nowhere to rush off to we unloaded the bikes and cycled along the track and it was beautiful!

Moustache lundi electric bike by Fischbach stream

Now I should confess at this point that I enjoy the ease of having an electric bike…. It is a Moustache Lundi bike and is an urban bike designed for road and track use and although the track we were following quickly changed from a gentle climb through the lower pastureland and meadows to a steep uphill mountain climb my bike coped brilliantly! Every time I pass a very fit and focussed mountain-biker I always hover between feeling somewhat embarrassed and just a little smug, but the pleasure I get from cycling to places I would probably never get to on a standard bike keeps me pedalling and this ride was no exception.

The track we were following ran through the idyllic Sulztal Valley at the foot of the Breiter Grießkogel and took us from 1,200 metres to 2,134. For much of the route we were cycling by the side of the Fischbach stream, and just as we reached a wooden bridge that crossed over to the other side, we stopped to stay hello to some of the friendly local cows.

Mountain Cow

Looking around us, we noticed movement between the rocks on the opposite bank. Keeping very still we watched and waited, and the movement returned; it was a marmot! I think the marmot was probably watching us as closely as we were watching him, and once he had gone about his business he let out a high pitched whistle and then disappeared.


Mountain cow

Following the final steep ascent through the upper Sulztalalm we reached the charming Amberger Hütte and this was just the icing on the cake of a fantastic day. The original hut was built in 1888 and then bordered the edge of Sulztal Glacier. Today the hut sits in the Hochalm meadows in a narrow section of the valley with views extending to the glaciers on the Daunkogel.

Views from Amberger Hütte towards Sulztal Glacier

Sitting out on the terrace of the hut we enjoyed a traditional Alpine lunch, including the most delicious homemade Strüdel and vanilla sauce, washed down of course with a couple of glasses of Schnapps.

We have always had the tendency to sit and watch the world go by and on this occasion a herd of alpine cows were being brought down from the upper meadows, past the hut and on to the stream. Listening to their bells, stroking those that wandered up to the hut to say hello and watching the dynamics of the herd unfold against this truly breath-taking backdrop was simply perfect.

View from Amberger Hütte towards Sulztal Glacier - Haibike and Moustache Lundi

The route back down to Gries was the same as the one that we had followed on the way up but just ever so slightly quicker! Freewheeling down the steep tracks whether you are on an electric bike or not, well you just can’t beat that feeling.


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