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Grödner Joch / Passo Gardena

The Gardena Pass is a mountain saddle that connects the two towns of Gardena near Selva and Corvara in the Gadertal.

Gardena Pass 2,121 m with Cir Peaks (2,592 m)
Gardena Pass 2,121 m with Cir Peaks (2,592 m)

The pass, built in 1915, is located at an altitude of just under 2,120 meters amidst idyllic alpine and alpine landscapes and has neither a toll nor a winter closure; only semi-trailers, trucks with trailers, and caravans are prohibited from driving here. The Grödner Joch is geographically located exactly between the mighty Sella stock in the south and the Cir peaks in the north, which also mark the gateway to the Puez-Geisler Nature Park.

The most beautiful way to experience the pass is probably early in the morning and coming from Corvara. Take your time for a coffee or a small breakfast on the sun terrace of the restaurant at the top of the pass - nowhere else on clear days do you have such a unique panoramic view of the fantastic backdrop of the surrounding Dolomites! The alpine road over the Grödner Joch is a little over 20 km long and has a maximum gradient of 11 percent uphill - downhill it is even 12.6. Together with the Sella and Pordoi Joch and the Passo Campolongo, the legendary Four Passes Route "Sella Ronda" around the Sella massif has been created here. In the winter months, the approximately 40 km long circuit can also be completed using a combination of ski lifts and slopes.

The Alpine crossing Grödner Joch remained undeveloped for quite a long time until a road was first built here in 1915 - during World War I - to transport supplies and reinforcements to the front. The German-Austrian troops were stationed at Arabba in the Ladin Buchenstein valley at that time. Their connection route ran by narrow-gauge railway from Bolzano through Val Gardena to Plan. From the transfer station there, it went on with a cable car over the Grödner Joch to Corvara and finally over the Passo Campolongo or the Sella and Pordoi Joch to the front.

For tourism, the Passo di Gardena only became interesting in the mid-20th century, and the first paved road was not built until 1960. Over time, a widespread network of hiking trails, via ferratas, ski slopes, and ski lifts was established on both sides of the pass. Between 1960 and 1990, a total of ten different long-distance hiking trails, the now popular "Dolomite High Routes," were created. At the Grödner Joch, the "Path of Legends and Myths" (No. 2) runs, a 185-kilometer route that can be completed in about two weeks. With increasing tourism, the corresponding infrastructure was also expanded, and numerous other accommodations, restaurants, and (souvenir) shops were built in addition to the former historical hospice.

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