Gigantic, fascinating – and fragile: the Latemar massif in the beautiful Eggen Valley not only boasts uniquely impressive hiking and biking trails – it is also an imposing presence. Here Sabine tells you more about this rocky giant!
The Latemar massif in the Eggen Valley
The history of the reef atoll of the Eggen Valley goes back 250 million years. What? Reefs in the midst of South Tyrol? Yes, indeed! The Eggen Valley Dolomites were once just that – keep your eyes open while hiking in the Rosengarten and Latemar ranges and you might just discover a fossil or two. :-) But now we turn our eyes to the fascinating giant of the Latemar, whose name – according to documents dating back to the 12th century – probably comes from the Old Ladin name “cresta de Lac-te-mara”, meaning “mountain ridge over the lake in the Kar” (i.e. above Lake Karer).
The fragile giant
The Latemar extends from the Val di Fiemme in Trentino to the western Dolomites in the Eggen Valley. Its highest point is the 2,842-metre high Diamantidi Tower. The pale, extremely brittle calcium rock of the Latemar is fascinating precisely because it changes so much year on year, thanks to the weather and other external influences. A geologist once told me that, due to its limestone strata, deep channels and fissures, no more than a small hill will one day remain of the Latemar: a beauty that is doomed to fade away.
Magical and secretive
The Latemar is particularly beautiful when seen from Lake Karer – especially in its surface, with the reef escarpments and strata faces reflected in the marvellously turquoise waters. Seen from this viewpoint, the Latemar massif is probably one of the most famous landscapes in the entire Dolomites. And, although it is one of South Tyrol’s most photographed mountains, the Latemar is one of the least explored in terms of tourism. This may well be due, among other things, to the very brittle rock that makes the mountain of little interest to climbers, for example, who prefer to tackle the neighbouring Rosengarten.
Adventures among spectacular scenery
Hiking on the Latemar is nevertheless always a rewarding experience – whether attempting the Latemar traverse from the Reiterjoch pass via the Latemar peak to the village of Carezza, or a walk along the well-known Labyrinth Trail, which also provides adventure for older children. The only huts serving refreshments on the Latemar are the Rifugio Torre di Pisa (the Latemar Hut) and the Rifugio Passo Feudo on its southern slopes. A day tour to the Latemar Hut is undoubtedly one of the finest and most popular routes in the Eggen Valley: spectacular panoramic views of the Dolomites can be enjoyed during the 740-metre ascent, culminating in the “Latemar.360°” observation deck. There is also the Latemarium, a vast and varied network of adventure and themed trails to help you expand your knowledge of the local fauna and flora, pastures and geology!
Once around the Latemar!
If you would prefer to set about the Latemar experience by bike, you can do that too! Take the gondola from Welschnofen up to the Frommer Alm, then ride on roads or trails over the Karer Pass to Moena and Predazzo in the Fassa Valley: keeping the Latemar always clearly in view, you reach the Baita Gardonè hut via the gondola then take the chairlift to the Passo Feudo at 2,200 metres, from where trails lead to the Ganischgeralm and Zischgalm huts. From the Reiterjoch pass, ride back via the Epircher Laner Alm to Obereggen, then on to Welschnofen.
Do you fancy a holiday at the foot of this fascinating rocky giant? :-) Take a look here to find out more about the private landlords of the Eggen Valley!
Yours from the heart, Sabine!
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