Just before Carbonin (coming from the south now) is a fontana on your left and a gravel road with sign listing hiking destinations. I headed upward and immediately shifted to the small ring. This was definitely harder than the bike path, though never steep enough to make you get off and walk. There were some hikers and some road runners, then later halfway up a mountain biker passed me. Just before the end of the climb 4 or 5 other mountain bikers caught up with me. The road is actually a good surface considering the location, with several hundred meters of pavement here and there in the mid-section. It works out to about 520 meters elevation gain in 6.5km at 8% average gradient.
At the end of climb is Rifugio Vallandro (1912m) and a long level dirt road flanking a huge meadowy hanging valley. The surrounding peaks are mind-boggling. I descended via the paved road to the north, which is quite fun on a mountain bike because you can sit up and see everything. Near the bottom is a turn off for Lago di Baries with more eye-popping scenery. At the bottom you reach a wonderful long paved bike path, Via Pusteria, which runs for many miles across Alto Adige (Italy's best biking area, IMO). I rode back to Dobbiaco and drove home via Passo Monte Croce Comelico to avoid the Cortina gridlock. Got to come back here.
|Gruppo del Cristallo (3221m) reflected in Lago di Landro|
|Close up Monte Cristallo|
|From near Rifugio Vallandro: Cristallo, Tofana|
|Mountains to south from different angle|
|Croda Rossa from Prato Piazza|
|Croda Rossa different angle|
|Blurry but beautiful butterfly that landed on my handlebars |
while waiting for descent red light to change