RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: Italy’s Stelvio Pass

Nov 08, 2014 View Comments by

RoadRUNNER's Bucket List Roads: Italy's Stelvio PassHaving the pleasure of traveling across the pond in late summer, I got to experiencing one of the most iconic paved roads in the world. The Stelvio is just one of the many pass roads experienced on Blue Rim’s Five-Country Tour. It’s the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in all of the Alps. It’s considered by many to be one of the most challenging and exhilarating motorcycle roads in the world to ride. Be sure to put this one on your bucket list!

Season: It’s generally open from June through September, but will be closed whenever weather conditions warrant.
Scenery: The scenery is drop-dead breathtaking, particularly on the northern face of the pass.
Curves: Approximately 60 hairpins, 48 alone on the much-photographed north face.
Traffic: Riders come from all over Europe, and the world, to experience the Stelvio. Traffic can be heavy, particularly on weekends. Don’t be surprised if you meet a tour bus on one or more of the exceedingly sharp hairpin curves.

Key Stats:  

  • Length: approximately 13 miles (21.5 kilometers)
  • Altitude at Pass: 9,080 feet (2,758 meters)
  • Elevation Gain: approximately 5,030 feet (1,533 meters)
  • Average Gradient: 7.6%
  • Maximum Gradient: 14.0%

Time Required: It depends on how many times a rider wants to ride the Stelvio and how long he or she wants to hangout with other like-minded riders at the peak; riding through without stopping can be accomplished in an an hour or less.
Technical Difficulty: Exceptionally challenging, it should be attempted only by highly skilled riders with extensive mountain riding experience. My recommendation is to ascend the south face of the mountain, which has milder gradients and fewer hairpins and descend the steeper north face, which allows more sweeping views of the most stunning scenery.


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