The world's most adventurous cycling passes

Road Cycling Collection by
komoot

Mountain passes are ladder-like challenges; they entice you ever upwards — stage by stage, hairpin bend after hairpin bend. With every pedal stroke, the summit creeps a little closer. Until you round the next bend and see the next climb staring back at you. Mountain passes blend happiness and suffering like no other road.

Not every mountain pass challenge is equal, however. Some are tough because of the elevation gain you'll be forced to conquer, others because of the steep ravines either side. Some will have you cycling through paper thin air seemingly void of oxygen, while others will confuse you with the number of hairpin bends you'll round. Have you already hit 15 of 20 bends? Or was that last one number 14?

Whatever challenges your mountain pass presents you with — be thankful. Face them head on, accept them, and defeat them. After all, that's why you're here, right? And don't forget, as soon as you hit the summit and stand atop your conquered mountain pass, the view Mother Nature will reward you with is something just for you: A spectacular panorama over the landscape for as far as the eye can see.

So, with that in mind, it's time to find your next mountain pass. To help you out, we've collected the best ones that can be found anywhere on our beautiful planet. Take a look below and find your next epic bike adventure. Just bear in mind that some of our passes cover gravel roads and are, therefore, more suited for cyclocross bikes/tires.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • 1
    © OSM

    Yungas Road / Death Road

    Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)

    The total of 69 kilometers long death road "La Carretera de los Yungas" in Bolivia is considered the most dangerous road in the world. Those who love the thrills, should not miss a bike ride between the city of La Paz and the town of Coroico.

    Admittedly, these days it's not the most dangerous road anymore, because a nearby highway has taken over most of the traffic, so there's less danger. The narrow road, which sometimes only leaves room for a car, climbs the mountain on green wooded slopes up to the 4,650-meter-high La Cumpre Pass. Curve after curve while looking into the deep canyons below.

    In the past, the road was really the "Black Widow" under the streets of this world. It is believed that up to 300 people died annually who traveled on this road. Dozens of cars have come over the road every year and plunged into the depths. Hence the alternative name "Death Road". No wonder then that ultimately had an alternative way. Thus it is now free for the cyclists of this world.

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  • 1
    © OSM

    Mineral Bottom Road

    Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)

    The road is a 25.7-kilometer trail in Grand County, Utah, which can be used all year round. In 2010 there was a flood and rock falls that partially erased the road. But repaired again you can tackle the path again today. There is little room for error here. When looking at the pictures alone, you can start to sweat. The road is only mobile when it is dry, when wet one has no chance here. But the road dries very fast and can be used for 1-2 hours after rain.

    The wide road leads constantly to the abyss of the Green River - spectacular and exciting at the same time. Why build such a road in the first place? Here drive also 4WD vehicles. The road is the only access to the western part of the White Rim Trail in Canyonland National Park - generally a wonderful region for outdoor hungry people!
    The view that keeps opening up on the Mineral Bottom Road is fantastic. Only always stay on the mountain side, in some places it goes next to the road namely several 100 meters in the depth!

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  • 1
    © OSM

    Colle Del Sommeiller

    Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)

    At 2,993 meters, the Colle del Sommeiller is one of the highest roads in Europe. At the beginning of the road there is a signpost that has many warnings and calls the road "marginali", which means "poor". The first 6 kilometers are more bad than good but at least asphalted. After that it gets rocky and really challenging. The good, the rise is surprisingly rarely really steep and really fun.

    Incidentally, the passport is named after the German chief engineer who coordinated the construction of the Frejus train tunnel, which also has its entrance at the start of the road. Originally the passport was called Col d'Ambin. At the highest point there is also a lake with a sign saying that it is the highest lake in the Alps. (We'll doubt it now.)

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  • 1
    © OSM

    Jacob's Ladder

    Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)

    Jacob's Ladder Road is a narrow, steep road that winds its way up Zig Zag into the Ben Lomond mountain range in Tasmania. The unpaved road is world famous for its hairpin bends that lead up to 1,570 feet. The road to Ben Lochmond turns only 14 kilometers on a good gravel road, before it goes up the curves really steep and spectacular. At the top you'll be rewarded with the dusty and rough driveway with a fantastic view of the road you've just climbed up to the Ben Lomond National Park.

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  • 1
    © OSM

    Dizin Road

    Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)

    This pass is a unique paved road that leads up to Dizin - Iran's largest ski resort. It is part of Road 425 and leads up to 3,200 meters above sea level. Yes, the oxygen gets thin here, the slope is hard. The road itself is very good. The last 6 kilometers of the road are 17 steep "hairpin bends" curves, which demand you everything again. Due to the altitude, the weather is unpredictable. There is a lot of snow here and that regularly leads to avalanches. The Iranians are not so sure about it and just let it happen. But you can always be very well informed about the current situation, when the way is clear, nothing holds you back.

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  • 1
    © OSM

    Gata Loops

    Road Cycling Highlight (Segment)

    The Gata Loops in Ladakh, India. 21 turns that will take you up to the 4,937 meter Nakeela La Pass. It is part of the Manali-Leh Highway, a road that leads over 5 passes from Manali to Leh. The Gata loops themselves are 23 kilometers long and lead up 730 vertical meters.

    It is an asphalt road, but always has gravel sections. The weather in this region is unpredictable and landslides, snowfall and avalanches can be a problem at any time. Driving here is no small matter, extra hoses are required. Especially the height is reason enough to give you a medal after your "work", you deserve it!

    It is rumored that the street is haunted by the ghost of a tourist buried here. But do not worry, on the bike you are certainly faster than the spirit on foot. ;-)

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  • 2
    © OSM

    Col de Braus

    Road Cycling Highlight (Segment)

    The French Col de Braus is a small pass of the Alpes Maritimes, the so-called Maritime Alps, on the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, which form the border with Italy. The pass connects l'Escarène to the west with Sospel to the east. Perfect for big and small tours, it always offers a highlight. You could, for example, from Sospel on the Col de Turini on to L'Authion and Lantosque, over the Col de la Porte and Col St. Roch to L'Escarène and over the Col de Braus back to Sospel. Of course, you can make this route much shorter, for example, if you go down from Turini via Peira Cava to the Col de l'Orme and arrive via the small Col de l'Able practically on the Col de Braus above and only roll down to Sospel , By the way, the pass was already part of the Tour de France!
     
    Perhaps interesting additional information - under the mountain runs the almost 6-kilometer long railway tunnel of the Tendabahn - If you prefer the return journey would be relaxed.

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  • 53
    © OSM

    Sa Calobra

    Road Cycling Highlight (Segment)

    The climb from the village of Sa Calobra to the Coll dels Reis is one of the main reasons that leads cyclists to Mallorca. With an average gradient of seven percent, it goes up over ten kilometers. So Sa Calobra may not be as challenging as the Alps or the Pyrenees, but it is still an exceptional and beautiful climb. The 26 hairpin bends and the exciting downhill will make your heart beat faster. The first two kilometers are very easy and could quickly give you the impression that the entire route is easy. But after a few steeper sections, you'll quickly realize that you need to divide your powers. There's something else coming. After kilometer 7 comes the hardest part with a slope of ten percent! If your legs are already tired here - you will feel it.

    Caution is advised here in traffic but in Mallorca, motorists are usually very considerate when dealing with cyclists. And weather wise - at 30 degrees in the shade, you should of course think about it or provide enough water, because you can not fill up, until you have reached the top. The driveway definitely has a lot to offer. The perfect challenging road, the great view and the subsequent descent course. So come on and enjoy!

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    © OSM

    Sommet/Gipfel du Mont Ventoux

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The Mont Ventoux is a real challenge - not in vain is it always part of the Tour de France. The rise for the race starts in Saint-Estève at 536 meters altitude. Then it goes over 1376 meters over a distance of almost 16 kilometers, with a maximum gradient of almost 14% in the air.

    The harder option to get to the summit is the rise of Bédoin from the southwest. 1600 meters in altitude will be overcome over 21 kilometers - with an average gradient of 7.6%. For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, head up the mountain on the eastern side, 1150 vertical meters over 26 kilometers with an average gradient of 4.5%. Well, depending on what you consider simple. Incidentally, the Col des Tempêtes is a particularly well-known and beautiful section. Here the road runs along the ridge.

    Since 1951, Mont Ventoux has been part of the Tour de France 15 times and, together with de, Col du Galibier, the Col du Tourmalet and the ascent to L'Alpe d'Huez, belongs to their "sacred mountains". The Mont Ventoux is not only feared for its stark slope. The bare mountain offers neither protection from the sun nor from the wind. The weather is here delivered - for many, but only an additional incentive to conquer the track.

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