4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
The climb from Bormio to the Cancano Lakes is notoriously tough.
The average gradient of the slope is 6.9%, the maximum gradient is 8.5%, and the vertical gain is almost 800 m.
Originally a mountain bike trail, the track up to the lakes has now been paved over and become very popular for road bikers.
Around Cancano Lakes you definitely need a mountain bike, and if you want more, there are many fun and challenging mountain bike trails branching off of the main lake circuit.
Beginning in Bormio, head in the direction of Fior d’Alpe via the SS 301.
The start of the ride is relatively easy-going, with the real climb beginning with a series of hairpin bends that take you over the Valdidentro area.
You will come to a couple of narrow tunnels through the mountains before hitting a picnic area and the Fraele Towers, two ancient military towers on the edge of the Cancano plateau.
The next part of the ride around the lakes is one of the most popular trails in the area and one for all mountain bikers.
It's around a 20km circular tour and it's pretty much flat the whole way around.
You also have the option of making the trail shorter by cutting across the dam which divides the two artificial lakes of Cancano and San Giacomo.
You will probably want to spend as much time up at the lakes as possible though because they are absolutely sublime.
The bright blue waters of the lakes combined with the giant circle of mountains protruding directly out of them create a fantastically beautiful scene.
The area is also very peaceful as traffic is banned from most of the lakeside and the only people around are hikers and mountain bikers.
Once finished at the lakes, head back down to Bormio on the route you climbed up.
It's a fantastic knuckle-whitening descent with sweeping views over the Valdidentro area.