The trail

This great plateau is the most alluring aspect of the Abruzzo mountains. These huge intra-mountain plains roll on for as far as the eye can see. Biking through Campo Imperatore, which is also known as ‘Little Tibet’ for the way it mirrors the endless plains of the Asian steppe, is a memorable experience. The Campo Imperatore plateau, which is 27 km in length and an average of 8km in width, lies at over 2000 metres above sea level and is adjacent to the highest peak of the Apennines, the Corno Grande. With approximately 300km of trails, the Gran Sasso National Park is a treasure trove for mountainbikers.

Apart from Campo Imperatore, you will also bike through other dramatic plains, like the Altavalle del Voltigno, and the saffron plains of Navelli. You will also pass through the medieval ruins of villages like Rocca Calascio, Castel del Monte and Santo Stefano di Sessanio, some of which, unfortunately, have been hit in previous years by earthquakes.

Crossing the Gran Sasso d’Italia offers a fun, challenging and rewarding MTB classic, known by locals as La Traversata del Gran Sasso. Gran Sasso is the giant of the Apennines. You will first bike 1200 metres up to Rifugio Campo Imperatore, where Mussolini was briefly imprisoned in 1943 before his dramatic rescue by German paratroopers. This climb is rated as one of the most scenic of the 2000+ metre climbs in Italy. A short hike and bike section on the ridge will bring you to the top of Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi, with amazing views of the Gran Sasso Mountain, the Campo Imperatore plain and Val Maone. Then the fun part really starts, down through the superb Val Maone, and further to Prati di Tivo. From there you will descend along a beautiful forest path to Isola Gran Sasso.

Riding surface

Riding here is varied, from 4X4 trails to technical singletracks to sections of tarmac. The traversata is a beautiful downhill ride, technical but not too demanding, with some hike and bike sections.

Average mileage

The first stage has something for everyone. After the 20km downhill, you can take the cable car to the top, take a half day rest, and do some short walks around Gran Sasso. Or you can take the challenge and climb either around 31km (approximately 1250 metres up) or about 66km (2051m up).

Officially recognized travel agency

VVR registration nr. 9733