There were several reasons to choose the Albula Pass for rounding off our 2004 cycling tour. It offered a nice break on the return-journey, it is one of the classic and most scenic passes in the Swiss Alps, and it gave the opportunity to have a closer look at the world-famous Albula Bahn.
The Albula Pass, constructed in 1865, was at that time the most important north-south connection in Graubünden. Nowadays most of the traffic from Chur to Sankt Moritz uses the Julier Pass, which is a blessing for cyclists who prefer the more attractive Albula Pass. For the communities in the Albula valley the economic decline caused by the opening of the Julier Pass was compensated by the completion of the Albula Bahn in 1903,
The Albula Bahn is a unique masterpiece of railway engineering. The 1000 mm narrow gauge track climbs from Tiefencastel (887m), via Bergün (1372 m) to Preda (1788 m), where it enters an almost 6 km long tunnel towards Samedan and St. Moritz. Especially the section from Bergün to Preda is spectacular, with its four loop tunnels and four viaducts that cross the Albula valley. Details and photos are given on the Albula Bahn page.
The Albula Pass road and Bahn
offer an excellent opportunity to combine the pleasures of cycling
and traveling by the well-organised Rhätische Bahn, the company
that runs most of the rail connections in Graubünden. We
climbed the north slope of the Albula Pass, being by far the most
scenic ascend, descended on the other side to Samedan, and took
the train back to Tiefencastel. A lovely day trip to round off
our 12 days holiday.
Profile and more images.
The gradient profile of the Albula Pass (north slope) has been made by Ward Oud in Matlab, based on the read out of his Ciclomaster HAC 4 cycle computer. Click here to download a more detailed version in pfd format (12 k).