Kaunertal glacier road is an alpine road climbing up the Kaunertal Glacier, at 2.750m (9,022 ft) above the sea level. It’s the fifth highest paved road in the Alps. It's one of the highest mountain roads of Europe. It covers 26 kilometres with a total of 29 bends and an altitude difference of 1,500 metres.
The road is located in the Landeck district in the Austrian state of Tyrol. It’s asphalted and runs along the edge of the Gepatsch reservoir. The road runs from the village of Feichten in the valley of the Kauner at 1.273m above sea level up the brink of the “perennial ice” at a level of 2.750m. It covers at total of 29 hairpin bends and an altitude difference of almost 1.500 m on a stretch of 26 km. At the end of the road, the new Karlesjoch cable railway takes you up to 3.108 m. The average gradient is 10% with maximum gradient 12%. Its elevation gain is about 1.500m, from 1.273m to 2.750m. It’s one of the scenic Austrian Alpine roads.
The road was built in 1980 to make the world of glaciers accessible to many people. With 180 turns, the road leads all the way to the base of the ski area at 2.750 m (9,020ft). The glacier road is open in June, July and August, from 7 am to 7.30 pm. In all other months, the road is open from 7 am to 5 pm.The road seems to leave the earth behind. It’s impressive for its engineering as for its stunning vistas. The toll is only charged to non-skiers! All skiers with a valid ski pass can use the toll road free of charge! Along the road, 29 information panels reveal details about the area’s nature, history and culture. Climbing up the mountain in 29 switchbacks, this cliff-hugging highway rises 1.500 meters.
Pic: Stefan Heinicke