The Route of the Three Mountain Passes is a circular itinerary of 130 km that crosses by car the alpine region of Berner Oberland, across the passes of Susten, Furka and Grimsel. Here you can enjoy panoramic views over mountains of more than 4.000 m. of height, some glaciers, forests, little rivers and lakes.
We started the route in Innertkirchen and we went first to Sustenpass, then to Furkapass and finally we finished in Grimselpass. However the route can be made in any direction. Right after Furkapass you can find the highly recommended visit to the Rhone Glacier that we talked about before.
We followed the route in this particular way because (if the weather allowed us) we wanted to go at the end of the day to Eggishorn viewpoint (2926 m high), where you can enjoy an amazing view of Alestsch glacier, the biggest one in the Alps (23 km long) and also declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Sadly, this time we hadn’t the chance to do it, but we could see later Aletsch Glacier from Jungfrau, in other excursion.
We started our walk from Innertkirchen to Sustenpass. We crossed Nessental Plateau, left behind Aare River Gorge and passed through Gadmen Forest. There are some bridges and curves with spectacular views, like Himmelrank (Paradise Curve) or Gschletter.
After arriving to Susten Pass (2224 m high) we left the car in the parking area, in front of a restaurant, in order to calmly watch the mountains, lakes and glaciers that surrounded us, like Sustenpitz, Klein Sustenhorn or Stein Glacier (Steingletscher).
We passed through a tunnel to continue our route to Furkapass. We went down by Sustentrass, a road carved in stone which passes through several tunnels, until arriving to Wassen. We also passed by Andermatt and Hospental until we arrived to Furkastrasse. We were surrounded during the entire route by huge mountains like the so-called Fünffingerstöcke (The Five Fingers), valleys like Reuss (the river that passes through Lucerne) and little water falls and rivers.
We finally arrived to Furka Pass (2431 m high), from where you can see the great Galenstock (3586 m). We didn’t stop much time there because we knew that just a few curves away we’d find the Rhone Glacier, which we wanted to visit.
The entrance is located by Belvedere hotel. Between the hotel and the souvenir shop there is a parking area with spectacular sights over the valley. Besides the glacier you can see an ice cave manually digged that you shouldn’t pass. Nontheless we wrote about every detail of this visit on the previous post about the Rhone Glacier.
After visiting the glacier and the ice cave we continued the route to the third and last mountain pass of this excursion. We could see more water falls and little rivers from the ice melting of the glacier, until we arrived to Grimsel Pass (2165 m high) which marks the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais.
Then we began the last descent, when we saw little lakes with water of different colours, like Grimselsee and Totensee, and the great Räterichbodensee Dike with the Grimsel Hospiz Hotel on a hill by one of its shores. Far away you can also see the Finsteraarhorn (4.274 m), the highest point of the Alps in Bern.
After some curves, rivers and little glaciers and moraines, we went back to Innertkirchen, the starting and ending point of this spectacular route through the passes, glaciers and mountains of the Alps.
Note: Thinking of doing a high mountain route of more than 100 km in only one day can “frighten” some people, but the actual state and the width of the Swiss roads has no comparison with other countries: wide lanes, perfect pavement and many places where you can stop you car in order to take photographs of the landscapes.
That said, it’s true that sometimes you can find a sharp curve. But we only had to stop one time to let pass a bus which came in the opposite direction. We also recommend to begin your route soon and to take the time you need to admire the landscape and take photos.
Starting point: If you are near Interlaken or Brienz and Thun Lakes, the best place to start this route is Innertkirchen.
– Sustenpass: 46.729301, 8.446618
– Furkapass: 46.572602, 8.415049
– Grimselpass: 46.561147, 8.33701