A little above the main village of St. Michael | Eppan, the little Gleif Church, which perches atop Kalvarienberg, immediately catches the eye. The view is surprisingly expansive and the church stands on one of the most beautiful glacially polished rocks in the Bozen area.
From the town hall square of St. Michael | Eppan, the route passes the yellow primary school building and the Raiffeisenhalle. From there, the well signposted trail winds pleasantly through deciduous forest and vineyards up Gleif hill. This part of the walk takes around half an hour.
After exploring the various glacially polished rocks and striations, as well as the Devil’s Chair, which is situated a little further back (a largish dent carved out by the melt water from the glaciers over the millennia), the route follows the access road to Gleif Church (Gleifkirche) in the direction of Moos-Schulthaus Castle. Further south, on the bend, the signposted hiking trail No. 15 branches off to the right. The famous ice holes (“Eislöcher”) are reached after half an hour on this steep track through the forest. It is really striking how even on a hot summer’s day the vegetation and air can change abruptly and almost make you shiver. At an altitude of 500 metres (1640 ft) above sea level plants grow here that can normally only be found above 1,200 metres (3940 ft). This phenomenon can be explained by the nature of the terrain, as the area around the ice holes features porphyry rubble masses. Warm air flows in through the upper openings of the porphyry blocks, cools on the rocks and then re-emerges lower down as ice cold air. After a long visit, continue on trail No. 15 as far as Mendelstrasse. Following this road downhill for approx. 500 metres (1640 ft) you will then follow Andreas-Hofer-Strasse until you reach the new settlements of Upper (Obere) and Lower (Untere) Gand. A pedestrian promenade leads to the left past the cultural centre and school back to the starting point in the centre.
Tip: Alternatively you can shorten the tour by walking from the ice holes to the Stroblhof, from where it its only a short walk to the village centre.