I love bikepacking and trips that last several days. The feeling of just riding and riding and not having to return to the starting point on the same day is exciting, and at the same time opens up many new options. It feels like you can keep on riding almost for ever, to cross mountains and then find yourself in different valleys. I was over the moon when I heard about the new “Alpine Circle Bike Tour” in the Grisons.
The idea is as simple as it is sophisticated: thanks to the ideal link between the route and public transport and the ability to extend the day trips, there is something here for both trail-biking beginners as well as experienced bikers. What interested me as a mother with a 15 month old daughter and a partner who is just as much of a bike enthusiast as me, was whether we could set out as a family on a tour lasting several days and enjoy it.
The Alpine Circle Bike Tour was just the thing to make this ambition possible. We could ride together along certain sections and take the post bus or train to complete other sections with our daughter. Sometimes we split up, with just one parent enjoying the wind in their face as they rode along. The Grisons is home to some of the world’s best bike trails and also offers fabulous landscapes which made this adventure all the more enjoyable for us.
Day 1 – Glaciers and vanilla ice-cream in St. Moritz
It can’t be a coincidence that there is a pump track next to Pontresina station and the youth hostel. I warm up with a few circuits while my daughter Romy, who will travel with me on today’s tour, builds sand castles in the beach volley ball court. After the warm-up the route takes me on narrow tracks to the Morteratsch glacier, sometimes on gravel and sometimes on a trail. A very beautiful view. The trail sections are not really difficult but are narrow and only manageable with a single-axle child’s trailer. On the way down to the youth hostel in St. Moritz we stop off for an ice-cream at the stunning Stazersee. I call that a successful start.
Day 2 – 1000 metres of uphill flow over the Scalettapass
As the day starts rainy and cool, we reschedule. Romy will not accompany me for the first kilometres along the Inn. Soon I turn off anyway and screw my way up over 1000 steep, but with the necessary fitness almost flowing metres of altitude to the Scalettapass. The higher I get, the calmer it gets. The trail leads me through beautiful high valleys with rushing mountain rivers and across green meadows.
The mountain peaks are covered by mist. I don’t mind as the tricky descent on the wet stones demands all my concentration and brings a smile to my face even in this weather. Once I arrive in Davos I look back once again and my smile becomes even broader. Crossing from one valley to the next like this is something special and represents a real bike adventure for me.
Day 3 – truly epic – over the 40km long Alps Epic Trail
I have also selected the “expert’s variant” for today as there is no way I can miss the opportunity to ride the legendary Alps Epic Trail. I therefore gladly pedal up the additional 600 metre gain in altitude as this summer, the cable car to the Jakobshorn only goes as far as the middle station. I seem to be the only person to have had this idea and I appear to be the only biker for miles around. I enjoy the stillness and magic to the full. The trail is very variable and long. It snakes along the mountainside and seems endless. It feels like an age before the River Landwasser comes into view. The sight is a real spectacle. The trail follows the track of the Rhätische Bahn. The route takes me though gorges and tunnels and across spectacular viaducts.
Day 4 – Through the fabulous Rhine Gorge
The morning of the fourth day is more relaxed in terms of cycling and leads through small villages and along panoramic paths – from Lenzerheide down to Reichenau. On this section you could easily take the child’s trailer with you. But Romy didn’t want to come along. She was too busy with the baby goats in the garden of the neighbour, the super nice youth hostel in Valbella.
From Reichenau, the route leads above the Rhine Gorge to Valendas. Be sure to take a break at the viewing platform shortly before Versam and let your eyes wander over the gorge. It is rightly called the Swiss Grand Canyon. In the evening I fall into my Jugi bed in the wellnessHostel3000 in Laax, overjoyed. What a stylish hostel – quasi youth hostel 2.0.
Day 5 – Trail cooldown to Chur
The next morning we enjoy our breakfast of Birchermüesli behind a picture window. The bathing lakes in Flims are worth a visit. If you have the time you should take a break by the Caumasee on your last day to look back over your tour. Fortunately today’s tour is an easy downhill ride to Chur. The final sections along the Rhine in particular are incredible fun. A great finale!
The Alpine Circle Bike Tour is a great opportunity for everyone who still have little experience of tours lasting several days and who don’t want to waste time on what would otherwise be time-consuming planning. The tour is also suitable for groups and families with different proficiency levels, or for everyone who likes easy and not too demanding bike trails. There is something for everyone here. I look forward to riding the trails in a few year with Romy.