Nufenenpass (Passo della Novena)

Nufenenpass, one of the highest paved roads of Switzerland

Nufenen Pass (Passo della Novena in Italian) is a high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps, situated at an elevation of 2.478m (8,130ft) above the sea level. The pass road from Ulrichen in canton of Valais leads to the Bedretto valley in the canton of Ticino, linking Brig to Airolo. At this elevation it's one of the highest paved roads of the country. 

From Ulrichen, the road is flat the first 800m; then the slope reaches quickly 9%. The road is very wide, with some hairpins. The pass is of relatively recent construction, having been opened to traffic only since September 1969. To the east of the top of the pass is the source of the Ticino River. Towards the north is a spectacular view of the Bernese Alps, notably the Finsteraarhorn while there is a view over the Gries Glacier to the south. The road over the pass is open from July to October, but closed daily from 18.00 to 08.00h.

After about 3km, the slope becomes easier (there are even some parts descending) and the road is much more straight, no more turns. The slope becomes harder (8%) till crossing a bridge on the river; on the right bank. From this point, the conjunction of a hard slope (9-10%) and some very long piece of straight road is hard. The valley becomes narrow and narrow, and you can see nearly all the remaining road to the top: a concentrate of hairpins which can be seen if your head can be raised high enough. The last part is a sequence of hairpins, sometimes very near from each other. The slope in the last turn seems very steep; the top is just behind.

The ascent from Airolo is 14 miles at an average of 5.5%. From Ulrichen the ascent is 8.5 miles at an average of 8.5%. After the pass, the other side goes into the Italian part of Switzerland so there was an Italian Col sign (Passo dell Novena) on the other side along with the German Col sign. 
Pic: Danko Cimbri


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