The Susten Pass links the Reuss Valley at the foot of the Gotthard Mountain with the Hasli Valley in the Bernese Oberland, and the village of Wassen in Canton Uri with Innertkirchen in Canton Bern. The Susten Pass road was only opened in 1945 and is the first pass road to be purpose-built for vehicular traffic.
The architecturally spectacular Susten Road mainly serves tourism and is therefore one of the last to be cleared of snow, often remaining closed from the beginning of November until June. The route begins in Wassen on the Gotthard axis, where it negotiates the jagged estuary gorge of the Meienreuss River via several tunnels. At the beginning one sees the Swiss Federal Railway’s (SBB) boldly designed Gotthard line, which runs through several switchback tunnels to overcome the steep climb. At the head of the valley the Sustenen Road leads to Meien Valley, where the characteristic peaks of the Fünffingerstock come into view. Near the rear of the valley, the road climbs again in several tight curves to the top of the Pass in the short summit tunnel. Shortly before the tunnel, a sweeping view extends over the vast basin of the Meien valley to the Sustenhorn.
On the Bernese side of the tunnel, a large parking lot and the Susten Hospiz, located a few meters above the Pass road, invites you to rest awhile. During the ride through the valley the stunning panorama of the Gadmen Valley and the Steinen Glacier comes into view. During the two-hour hike on the glacier trail one can glean interesting information from the thematic markers. The starting point is the Hotel Steingletscher on the Pass road.
With occasionally tight curves, the road leads down to Gadmen Village with its beautiful old houses. After the village of Nessental, a tiny road on the right hand side climbs to Engstligennalp, and to the mountain lake of the same name. This is the starting point of a popular hiking tour, which includes a spectacular cable car ride over the Jochpass to Lake Trübsee and further on in the direction of the holiday resort of Engelberg in Central Switzerland.
Near Innertkirchen the Susten Pass road meets the Grimsel Pass road. At this juncture we recommend an excursion to the Aare Gorge that breaks through a mighty rock wall - a vestige of the Ice Age. Over thousands of years, the waters of the young Aare River pushed deeper and deeper through the rock until the spectacular canyon was created.
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