Super Alpine

SwissPasses

Coming in 2022 ...

Introduction

Mountain passes come in all shapes and sizes and have been traversed by all possible means. Crossing the Alps used to be an epic struggle against nature, often with loss of life, but over the years the Alps became increasingly easier to transit thanks, in part, to conquering armies such as Napoleon’s, who brought trails, tracks and later roads.

At the heart of the Alps, Switzerland is one of the most diverse countries in Europe thanks to its formation of people from different valleys, speaking different languages with different cultures. It was a mountain pass that brought together the communities that became Switzerland. The Saint Gotthard pass was created in 1220 and the lucrative trade with the Mediterranean that came from it saw the local farmers join together to exploit this opportunity. It was in August 1291 that the first three cantons joined together and the Helvetic Confederation (still the official name of Switzerland) was formed.

Today the 26 cantons that make up Switzerland are home to over 90 road passes, 50 of which are over 1200m in elevation - this is in addition to the many trail and rail passes. Many of the higher road passes also have a rail or tunnel alternative and plenty of others feature road covers to limit disruption by snow. The higher sections of many of today's passes remain only as remnants of the past, with hostels used by ancient travellers becoming abandoned or converted into trinket shops or museums.

Many of the passes with strategic locations have hidden military installations, underground bunkers for planes and tank traps designed either to repel the Germans during the World Wars or the Russians during the cold war. Some of these installations are still in use today and others have been repurposed to such diverse activities as museums, server farms and even giant safes.

In modern-day Switzerland, some of the passes are still used for trade but increasingly they are now only used for leisure and sport. Thankfully the challenge of getting from one valley to another, and from one country to another, is an ongoing fascination for some.

To climb a peak is to make an expedition, but to cross a pass is to travel ... You leave one area behind and you enter another; you come down amongst new people and into fresh surroundings. You shut out all that was familiar yesterday and open up another world
William Conway
Swiss Passes

Swiss passes above 1500m

A list of paved mountain passes above 1500m where both ends of the pass are connected to the Swiss/Italian/French road network.

Sort by clicking the title

Pass Elevation Canton
Umbrail 2501m Graubünden / Italy
Nufenen 2478m Valais / Ticino
Grand St. Bernard 2469m Valais / Italy
Furka 2427m Valais
Flüela 2383m Graubünden
Bernina 2328m Graubünden
Albula 2315m Graubünden
Livigno 2315m Graubünden / Italy
Julier 2284m Graubünden
Susten 2224m Bern / Uri
Grimsel 2165m Valais
Fuorn 2149m Graubünden
Splügen 2117m Graubünden / Italy
Gotthard 2106m Uri / Ticino
San Bernardino 2065m Graubünden / Ticino
Moosalp 2048m Valais
Oberalp 2044m Uri / Graubünden
Simplon 2008m Valais / Italy
Grosse Scheidegg 1961m Bern
Klausen 1948m Uri / Glarus
Lukmanier 1914m Graubünden / Ticino
Maloja 1815m Graubünden / Italy
Col de la Croix 1778m Vaud
Pierre du Moëllé 1661m Vaud
Mittelberg 1633m Vaud / Bern
Wolfgang 1631m Graubünden
Glaubenbühl 1611m Lucerne / Obwalden
Gurnigel 1608m Bern
Les Agites 1569m Vaud
Pragel 1550m Schwyz / Glarus
Lenzerheide 1549m Graubünden
Schwarzenbühl 1547m Bern
Col du Pillon 1546m Vaud
Glaubenberg 1543m Lucerne / Obwalden
Col de Forclaz 1527m Valais / France
Jaun 1509m Fribourg / Bern