In Tyrol Austria, the Kaunertaler Gletscherpanoramastraße is the 5th highest paved road in the Alps! It was built in 1980 as a ski station road. Amazingly, it’s kept open 12 months a year. It’s a fantastic climb. Drool.
Where to start? It’s 38 kilometres from Prutz, and all good riding. 26 kilometres from the summit it becomes a toll road for cars (bikes are free). Beyond the toll, there are no more villages. I split the difference, starting roughly 31 kms from the summit. The long flat stretch on the profile below is beside a large dam/lake (see map at bottom).
It’s a wide, purpose-built ski station road in excellent condition. This is not a goat track ride. After the toll, the road turns up as it approaches the dam. Here you will see the first of 29 signed hairpins.
The lake (the Gepatsch Stausee) was fairly empty, common in the early season for high Alps dams. The route runs alongside it for several easy kilometres before the fun starts. From here, plenty of superb hairpins, great views, and eventually some snow.
Not surprisingly for a road this high, it’s not easy. There are plenty of very steep ramps, but the views help reduce the sting.
With plenty of far lower roads still not open in the Alps, I was expecting more snow. But it gets a lot of sun. Still, there were a few good snow walls:
Regardless, I loved this climb.
The summit is quite a busy place. There were still some skiers, a large restaurant, lots of parking, etc.
Me? I decided I deserved a beer. But only one as it is a very long way down.
A 3D Video:
One of the highest roads in the Alps. Numbered hairpins, beautiful scenery, alpine lake, snow, etc. Wooohooo.
Quiet / No Traffic