“A long climb is rewarded with a fun, technical ride around an alpine lake.
— Lost Justpastnowhere
For those who really like climbing (or for those willing to take a lift up), Lago Gabiet is a beautiful alpine lake in the shadow of the 4634 m (15,203 ft) Monte Rosa (only Mont Blanc is higher in the Alps). There's a fun, narrow, moderately technical singletrack that goes all the way around the lake. After that, you'll enjoy a very quick descent to the valley.
Because I'm a curmudgeon that believes awesome mountain bike trails should be earned, the ride is first described with the climb.
Find parking near the lift stations in the valley off the main road Strada Regionale SR43. Follow the GPS track to the Bèdemie
forest road which climbs to the hamlet of Bèdemie. At the intersection around 1.5 miles, continue to the right until you get to Bèdemie. From there, continue your climb to Punta Jolanda
. Try not to stop along the way too much to gawk at the scenery (or to catch your breath). At the end of this segment, you can congratulate (or curse) yourself for completing most of the climb. Then turn left onto the easier Chamola
forest road which ends near Lago Gabiet. Turn right when you reach the upper lift station for the Staffal-Gabiet bubble lift towards the lake.
The trail around the lake is your reward for the long climb. Starting from the intersection with the Ricka
Trail in the clockwise direction, you'll quickly cross over a snow-melt fed waterfall. The eastern side hugs the coast generally a few feet above the level of the lake until you reach the dam at the southern end. This section is generally narrow with a few rocks to dodge, but otherwise easy. At the western side of the dam, you'll have to go downhill towards the south a short distance before picking up the trail that heads towards the north on the western side of the lake.
The character of the western side around the lake is completely different from the eastern side. It is also narrow singletrack, but it is far more technical. From the dam, you'll climb steeply about 40 m (120 ft) dodging rocks along the way. On the left, you'll have the steep wall of the mountain and on the right a steep drop into the lake a few tens of meters below you. Do save the swimming for after you have completed the loop around the lake.
Once you've finished with the lake, take the Ricka
forest road back down to Staffal.
On the other hand, this climb is really difficult: very steep, long, sustained, and it starts and finishes at high altitude so don't listen to that guy. During most of July and August you can take the Staffal-Gabiet bubble lift to the top and during August, you can also take the Punta Jolanda lift on the weekends to the start of the Chamola