Hiking from Gasthof Steinegger to the Ice Holes

Hiking to a remarkable natural phenomenon at the foot of the Ganda mountain.

Our hike starts at the parking space of the Steinegger tavern. The weather is not too fine, but from time to time the sun shines through the clouds. Today we’ve decided to walk to the ice holes, in order to reach this remarkable natural phenomenon, follow the trail n° 7A. The forested trail stretches across the forest at the foot of the Monte Ganda. We are surrounded by beeches and fir trees, but also foliage trees line the path. It is April and the little forest flowers at the edge of the the trail as well as the first buds are put forth.

By continuing on trail n°7A we reach a crossing, where we keep right and follow the signs to the ice holes. A path slightly downwards takes us to the next crossing, where the trail n° 15 leads to the natural phenomenon. Already in this place we can see porphyry rocks and a panel informs us that now we are in one of the protected biotopes, in which the ice holes of Appiano are located.

A freshening cool welcomes us, in the hallows among the huge stone blocks, there is snow. Also ice pinnacles can be admired in these caves. On a 200 m long and 40 m wide surface area, the astonishing natural phenomenon can be seen. Between the rock towers and in the hallows, there is a constant air-stream, as the warm air circulates in these intermediate spaces. This warm air enters the hallows, is cooled down among the stones and exits the hallows in the depth as cool air. For this reason, in the lower part the temperature is between 0 and 5 degrees. After having observed this phenomenon at close quarters, we continue our hike and start our way back by following the path n° 15 and further on 7A, which make us reach our starting point, the Steinegger tavern.

Our tip: this hike is particularly recommendable in summer season, as then you can clearly notice the drops of temperature. By the way, thanks to the special climatic conditions, this area boasts a merely high alpine vegetation that normally starts growing at 1,200 m asl.

Author: ED

Please note: If you would like to do this walk, inform yourselves about the current hiking conditions on the spot.

Starting point: parking space Gasthof Steinegger, Appiano Monte
Path: Gasthof Steinegger - ice holes
Path number: 7A and 15
Walking time: about 1 1/4 hours
Altitude: about 500 m asl
Experienced: April 2010
Family-friendly? Yes, absolutely. A great discovery journey for kids who can play between the porphyry rocks. The trail is, however not suitable for buggies, as there are stones, steps and narrow places.
Further information: for further information don’t hesitate to ask your host

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