The abandoned old road to Gavia Pass

By dangerousroads

Old Gavia Road is a short section of the famous climb to the Passo di Gavia. It’s an old road near the abyss. It’s now quite washed out with large stones and in places where the railing was missing, it had been replaced with strings. Despite the fact that there is a driving ban, the barriers on both sides have disappeared.

Old Gavia Road


How long is the old road to Gavia Pass?

Located in the Lombardy region, on the northern part of Italy, the old road is 500 meters long. It was bypassed by one of the most famous tunnels in the Alps, to the south of the pass. The gradient along this bypass is pretty steep. The elevation gain is 39 meters, and the average percentage is 7.8%. There’s a memorial for a military truck that fell off the road in 1954 killing 20 or so young soldiers. Collapsed cliff roads replaced by tunnels are a fairly common thing in the Alps, but they are usually fenced off, and this one is open.

Is the old road to Gavia Pass unpaved?

The surface of this short section is simply terrible. It’s gravel, so imagine riding up that in a blizzard. It has unbelievable cliff views. It’s one of the coolest experiences of the Gavia. Currently, the road is blocked on both sides because in the past a lot of motorbike and 4×4 drivers wanted to feel some adrenaline. Police decided that this is too dangerous and blocked the road. Even passing by this road block with a bicycle is difficult but one can do a short walk which is for sure worth it.

Is the old road to Gavia Pass challenging?

Police are very rarely present and there are remains of guardrails. So if you are a very experienced driver, you can try this piece of road. It’s recommended to take a walk first and then decide afterward if you really want to try it. Do not try if you do not have off-road tires on. You need to have enough ground clearance because this part of the road is abandoned and has not been maintained for many years.

The old road was bypassed by a tunnel

Located 3 km from the top, the tunnel that bypassed the old section is truly terrifying. Dark, steep, gravelly, scary. The tunnel is long and very dark: unlit and essentially pitched black inside. The darkness is disorienting, and the tunnel is pitched at a 9% grade. Both combine to make the thru passage a memorable experience. Sometimes the tunnel is a trap of the local police because there is often a speed limit of 30 km/h which is naturally often ignored by motorbikes. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a radar control at the beginning of the lower side of the tunnel – which can be quite expensive.
Pic: enduroman
Road suggested by: Michael Spannlang