One of the most evocative and scenic on Lake Garda.
The Ponale trail attracts athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and hiking lovers from all over Europe, to enjoy the wonderful backdrops of the northernmost tip of Italy’s biggest lake.
Once this trail was the only connecting route between Lake Garda and another fascinating (from an historical and hydrogeological point of view) lake basin: Lake Ledro. The two bodies of fresh water are in fact linked by a creek which gives the name to this trail: Ponale.
Easy and not very steep, this trail starts from downtown Riva del Garda and go past the hydroelectric plant along the coastline. After a short distance, it turns from paved to dirty road with rocky faces and some tunnels. The visitor is in this way thrusted out a breathtaking backdrop with cliff edges and coves, white stone contrasting with the deep blue colour of Garda waters.
Since 2004 this trail has been reopened for hikers and mountain-biking enthusiasts coming from all over Europe for its peculiarities, both natural and historical.
The whole Alto Garda area was a defensive key point on the Austro-Hungarian south-western quadrant; dating back to the 19th century, the Tagliata del Ponale is a forth-generation stronghold: armored and bomb-proof forts completely dug in the stone and built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to defend the boundary lines. Its tunnels (closed to the public except for some special occasions) and long steps lead you to the lake level where the soldiers could control the “enemies” coming and in this way defended the fort through the embrasures.
Once at the Ponale Alto Belvedere you will have a wonderful view in front of you and even catch sight of the Ponale waterfalls (30-meter high). Here you can also stop for a break at the near bar. Once restored, you can decide if going up towards Ledro Valley or on towards Pregasina. Crossing a deep cleft where the Ponale creek flows on, you will reach the big statue dedicated to “Regina Mundi”.
The itinerary to the waterfall can be easily walked with regular hiking shoes and comfortable clothes. The bike lovers can enjoy a not very steep scenic trail. Remember to pay attention to hikers, mainly while going down and during high season months (spring-summer).
History, picturesque landscapes, shimmering rocks along an old mule track hiking over the jagged faces of Mount Oro and Rocchetta: the Ponale trail is definitely one of Europe’s most fascinating routes.