Best time to visit Switzerland

Susten Pass in Switzerland

One of the most scenic roads in Europe with bridges and tunnels

Best time: mid-June–October

Susten Pass
Susten Pass
Susten Pass
Susten Pass

Susten Pass (Passo del Susten) is located at an elevation of 2,224 m (7,297 ft) above the sea level in the Swiss Alps. The road over the pass, which was built in 1945, connects the Reuss Valley at the foot of Gotthard Mountain with the Hasli Valley in Bernese Highlands. The road starts in Wassen village in Canton Uri and runs all the way up to the summit and then down to Innertkirchen in Canton Bern. A 300-m tunnel goes under the pass.

From the western side, the Susten Pass ascent is about 28 km (17 mi) with an elevation gain of 1,600 m (5250 ft) and 5.8 % gradient. If you climb the pass from Wassen, the ascent is about 18 km (11 mi) with the elevation gain of about 1,295 m (4,250 ft) with 7.5 % gradient. Along the first section of the drive, you'll see boldly designed Gotthard line. At some point, the Sustenen Road enters Meien Valley where you can spot characteristic peaks of the Fünffingerstock. After several tight curves and climbs, the road runs through a short summit tunnel. Make sure to have a glimpse at the sweeping view over the Meien valley to the Sustenhorn right before you enter the tunnel.

Once you reach the Bernese side of the tunnel, you'll see Susten Hospiz above the road and a large parking lot. On the summit of Susten Pass enjoy the beautiful views of the Steinen Glacier on its south side and a stunning panorama of the Gadmen Valley. You can take a two-hour hike to the glacier starting from the trail head by the Hotel Steingletscher. Also don't forget to stop by Susten Hospiz, located above the Pass road. To learn more about the area, stop by historical Gadmen Village with its old architecture, then visit the village of Nessental, and take a hike to Engstlenalp and Lake Engstlen. From there you can take a cable car over the Jochpass to Lake Trübsee and Engelberg resort.

The pass is usually closed due to heavy snowfalls from November until the second week June, so the best time to drive along the Susten Pass road is from mid-June to October, weather permitting. It is also closed daily from 6 pm to 8 am. For the road closure updates with an interactive map, please check the MySwissAlps website.

Practical info

What are the two sides of Susten Pass and what are their unique features?

Connecting the Reuss Valley with the Hasli Valley, the Susten Pass comprises two sides. The western ascent is about 28 km long, with an elevation gain of 1,600 m and gradient measuring 5.8%. In contrast, the eastern climb from Wassen measures approximately 18 km with an elevation gain of about 1,295 m and a gradient of 7.5%. Along the road, visitors can marvel at the Gotthard line and panoramic views of the Gadmen Valley on the east side. Show more

What is the elevation gain and distance of Susten Pass ascent from the Wassen village?

The eastern ascent of the Susten Pass spans an approximate distance of 18 km, with a 1,295m elevation gain and gradient of 7.5%. The pass altitude is 2,224 m above sea level. Visitors will be treated to picturesque views as they drive along, including the Gotthard line, the Fünnfngerstock Peaks, and the stunning Steinen glacier on the south side. Visitors are required to drive through a summit tunnel before arriving at the Bernese side of the tunnel. Show more

When is the best time to visit Susten Pass, and why?

Visitors are advised to visit the Susten Pass scenic route between mid-June and October. The pass is usually closed between November and the second week of June, mainly due to heavy snowfall. The road is also closed every day from 6 pm to 8 am. During the summer months, visitors can appreciate the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding hills, gaze at the Steinen glacier and savor the Gadmen Valley's beautiful scenery. Show more

Where can I go hiking at Susten Pass and how long are the trails?

For visitors who enjoy hiking, the two-hour hike from the Hotel Steingletscher to the Steingletscher glacier is an excellent option. The Susten Pass region has the Alpine Pass route, which extends 325 km and traverses the Pass. The trail is split into 15 stages, with each taking 6-8 hours of walking. Visitors may opt for the trail to Engstlenalp and Lake Engstlen or Joch Pass, which offers the chance to spot wildlife, farm animals, and visit Engelberg resort and Lake Trübsee. Show more

What other nearby attractions can I visit when I'm at Susten Pass?

The area surrounding the Susten Pass is bustling with nearby attractions. Gadmen village and Nessental village offer visitors a chance to explore medieval architecture and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Hikers can embark on the Engstlenalp and Lake Engstlen Trail or take a ride on the Stöckalp Steam Train. For winter activities, visitors may opt to visit the Engelberg resort to experience snow sports and enjoy the panoramic views of the surroundings mountains during their stay. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin