Alternative to the Gardena valley tour with a visit to the Sankt Jakob church, the oldest church in the valley. It dates from the 17th century and features frescoes on the south façade well worth seeing. The second part of the tour takes place on gloriously secluded secondary roads and woodland trails with surprisingly funny trails between Insom and Annatal (Anna valley). There the guest house Annatal, an idyllic stop for refreshments in a stunning location, is waiting for thirsty bikers.
It starts at the tourism association in St. Ulrich. You now ride uphill for just under ten kilometres on a steady moderate even climb. The route follows the course of the Gardena valley tour via St. Christina as far as Wolkenstein and where it is allowed it uses the former railway line that is very pleasant to cycle along.
From the centre of Wolkenstein it gets momentarily a little steeper until you reach the mouth of the Langental that is already in the Puez-Geisler nature park. Whoever wants to can extend the tour with a detour into the upper Langental (s. variations). At the car park in the Langental the tour takes a south-westerly turn. Still above the main road the tour leads via La Pozza to the valley station of the Col Raiser cable car.
The most beautiful part of the tour begins here. Via the secluded hamlet of Insom you go in the direction of Sankt Jakob, still somewhat above and away from the hustle and bustle of the valley. The trail becomes ever narrower and gives a lot of pleasure well before reaching the church.
The small church of Sankt Jakob with its distinctive tower, its contemplative cemetery and its lovely frescoes is located in a stunning spot overlooking the valley. Bikers enjoy this on the spacious sunbathing lawn next to the church with a view that stretches as far as the Plattkofel, Langkofel and the Sella mountain range. There then follow three kilometres of sheer riding fun on the narrow woodland trail leading to the Annatal. Still in woodland handkerchief-wide trails alternate with wide woodland trails, switchbacks and small wooden bridges and make you wish it would stay like this forever.
Unfortunately, the trails end at the Pauli mountain cabin. It is only a few metres still to the well-tended Annatal mountain cabin, the ideal stop for refreshments on this tour. Tables in the shade or sun loungers in the sun invite you to relax to the full. Or you can cool your heated feet in the stream behind the sunbathing lawn.
After refreshments you roll along, almost only downhill, past the valley station of the Seceda cable car back to the centre of St. Ulrich.