Umbrail Pass

Umbrail Pass is an iconic Alpine road with 35 hairpin turns

Umbrail Pass is an international high mountain pass at 2.506m (8,221ft) above the sea level, located on the Swiss-Italian border. At this elevation the road to the summit is currently the highest paved road in Switzerland.

Where is Umbrail Pass?

Set high in the Alps, the road to the summit is paved. It was entirely asphalted in 2015, and links the Province of Sondrio in the Lombardy region of northern Italy and the Swiss canton of Graubünden. This pass is less known and therefore less busy but it is a fantastic ride and well worth exploring. The pass is named after the "Piz Umbrail", a nearby mountain peak. There's a simple but beautiful war monument on the righthand side.

Is Umbrail Pass open?

The pass links the little village of Giogo di Santa Maria in Val Müstair and the Stratada Statale 38 del Passo dello Stelvio. It’s totally closed from October to June. The road is closed to vehicles exceeding 18 tons of weight, 2.50 m of width and 10m of length.

Is Umbrail Pass difficult?

The pass has been featured in Giro d’Italia race. Starting at Sta Maria, the ascent is 13.2 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.126 meters. The average percentage is 8.5%. The maximum slope is 14.0%. The climb is spectacular, and the road features 35 hairpin turns. It’s, at times, quite narrow. The road is unprotected by guardrails and at places really dangerous with vertical drops of hundreds of meters very close to the asphalt. Take good care, especially if you are descending. The road is impressive. It's an almost one-sided pass. The ride from Santa Maria (north) offers a genuine alpine climb, whereas the southern slope is less than a kilometer long. The hairpins are very narrow and steep making it hard not to use both sides of the road and overtaking practically impossible. It isn't as bad as it sounds, as it's well-packed, but do take care in the wet. Watch out here for Swiss customs officers, they lurk around here to try and catch smugglers. On summary, it’s moderately difficult, but with some great high-Alpine scenery.
Pic: WJS


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