The ancient larches in the rear Val d’Ultimo valley near the “lahnersäge” visitor centre, are estimated to be 850 years old.
At the "lahnersäge" visitor centre of the Stelvio National Park in Santa Geltrude, you follow the signpost "Urlärchen" and reach three well-known conifers after about 30 minutes walk. These are three European Larches, which are located at 1,425 m a.s.l. and are greening every year anew.
When in the Thirties the fourth larch fell, it was examined and the age was estimated at more than 2,000 years due to its annual rings. Also before, the larches in the Val d'Ultimo valley were important, because they were resource for the typical roofing shingles in the area. Since the valuation the larches became very famous. In 1979 they were protected and stabilised. Today the ancient larches are a popular excursion destination and a Natural World Heritage site.
In 2004 the trees were newly valued, different methods of measurement were used. On the basis of these new findings, the larches are about 850 years old. The highest of the three trees is 36.5 m high and has a withered tree top, a consequence of a thunderbolt. One of the two other larches is about as high and with a perimeter of 8.34 m the thickest one. The third larch has a hole in its trunk and burst long time ago at 6 m height. The ancient larches - "Ultner Urlärchen" in German, "Larici secolari della Val d'Ultimo" in Italian - are also important shelter for numerous animals, as bats and marten. Also the Passiria Valley offers some ancient trees, the Plata larches.
In the cold months of the year, the Ancient Larch Trees are accessible during a winter hike.