Gavia Pass, or Passo del Gavia in Italian, is an Alpine pass located at an altitude of 2,618 meters above sea level and connects Val di Gavia with upper Valle Camonica. A true mecca for cycling enthusiasts, Gavia Pass owes its success to the Giro d'Italia, as it represents one of the historic climbs of the race.
At the passing point between the two valleys, we find the Arnaldo Berni refuge, located at 2541 meters, where one can enjoy a good hot beverage while admiring the splendid Alpine landscape.
The immersion in nature, steep switchbacks, and towering mountains make Gavia Pass unique and characteristic.
Gavia Pass on a motorcycle
Gavia Pass has a total length of 16.7 kilometers, from Bivio Tonale to the summit. The average gradient is 7.9%, while the total elevation gain is 1,322 meters. The road, SS300, is banned for vehicles weighing over 3.5 tons and with a height over 2.8 meters at all times of the year.
This allows for long stretches of road without heavy vehicles. The length, curves, expansive views, and the low presence of cars and heavy vehicles make the passage of Gavia Pass magnificent for motorcyclists.
Gavia Pass on a bike
The bike climb to Passo del Gavia, starting from the Bormio/Santa Caterina side, begins at the valley's altitude, about 1200 meters, and climbs for 26 km, with very challenging sections, up to the pass located at 2,618 meters.
The absence of heavy vehicles and the passage of few cars make this road perfect for challenging oneself and reaching Val Camonica.
The pass is well-known and famous thanks to the Giro d'Italia. The first time the race passed through Gavia Pass was in 1960, won by the Luxembourgish Charly Gaul. The race of June 5, 1988 is extremely famous. The fourteenth stage ran from Chiesa Valmalenco to Bormio. Incredibly, it started snowing at the top of the pass, and, of course, almost no team was prepared for such an eventuality. The cyclists arrived at the summit of the pass chilled and covered in snow.
Opening of the pass
Gavia Pass is only open between June and September. In the remaining months, snowfall at altitude is numerous and quite frequent. Opening and closing dates are never fixed. For example, in 2019, the pass was opened at the beginning of June, while in 2020, it was opened at the end of May.
Before planning a trip, it is advisable to check the official opening and closing dates.