Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

12.1
FIETS
12.5 mi
DISTANCE
4,733 ft
GAINED
7.2 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

Cycling Passo dello Stelvio from Bormio - while the hairpins (tornanti) on this side lack the fame of the Prato side, this is an amazing, exceptional and Must Do bike climb.  
Average grade is 7.2% over 20 kilometers with 0 descent.  86% of the climb is at 5-10% grade and 2% is at 10-15%.  This is a remarkably steady climb.  The steepest 500 meters is 10.7%. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button above.
Roadway:  This is a two lane road with a center strip and no shoulder in excellent condition.

Traffic:  Depending on the season and time of day, this can be a busy road.  We have always done the climb in the early morning when there is minimal traffic.  However, this side of Passo Stelvio has much less traffic than the Prato (traditional) side. 

Tunnels:  There are several tunnels and a 250 meter avalanche gallery during the first 10 kilometers - bring taillights. 

Parking:  Public parking lot  900  meters from the climb start - MapStreet View;  Other parking options in Bormio - Google Parking in Bormio
Provisions:  The 2 spots along the route for beverages and/or a meal are - Bar Kiosk Nationalpark (Google Map + Reviews) at the waterfall and hairpin at kilometer 10.5 and the finish - although there are several options, on my three trips up Stelvio, I have always had 2 bratwursts at Ernstl's Bratwurst food stand at the finish - Google Map + Reviews. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
We consider Bormio to be one of the top bike climbing hubs in the world - see Bormio climb page at Bormio, Italy.  From Bormio, not only do you have access to one of the most famous bike climbs in the world in Passo dello Stelvio (Prato Allo Stelvio), but also 2 other unquestionably legendary bike climbs - Passo Di Gavia (Ponte di Legno) and Passo Mortirolo (Mazzo di Valtellina)

We have stayed in Bormio three times and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  There are many nice places to eat and stay in Bormio and many hiking opportunities in the area.  If you were blessed with 3 weeks to cycle in this area, we recommend a week each in Bormio, Monte Grappa, Italy (270 km / 4:30 hours southeast) and Dolomites, Italy (210 km / 4 hours east). 

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Jun 16, 2021
This side is amazing in it's own right. I love the diversity of the Bormio side. There are like 5 completely different sections to this climb. This is a bucket list climb.
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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Passo Dello Stelvio from Bormio

Ride 21.7 kilometers gaining 1,534 meters at 7.1% average grade.

This is not “the famous side”, but let there be no doubt, Stelvio from Bormio is an absolute Must Do!  If your legs can manage it, there is possibly no greater out-and-back In the World!  We really mean that.  On its own, Passo dello Stelvio from Bormio is the 15th ranked road bike climb in Italy (97 world) at a quite healthy 13.7 miles/22 kilometers, 4,950’/1,509m ascent at 6.8% average grade.  Throw in a Prato Backside and you end the day with 58.5 miles/94 kilometers, climbing 11,200’/3,415m.  Here is a MAP for this magnificent out-and-back.  It is clear, however, that this is the “unpopular” side, borne out by a comparison of the Strava Attempts comparatively: 9,371 for Prato versus 1,259 for Bormio as of 10/10/16.

We encounter a few old and scenic tunnels during the first part of the climb (bring flashing rear lights).

O.k., there are not as many switchbacks (only 38 versus the world renowned and famous 48 of Stelvio from Prato), but, hey, how often do you encounter 38 switchbacks on one climb?  Correct - almost never!

Hairpin 38 is leaving Bormio and Hairpin 1 is near the pass.

2 kilometers of tight hairpins from 11.6 to 13.6 km.

While there are only 38 on the Bormio side compared to the famous 48 from Prato, this route is a “must do” - Do not travel to Stelvio and miss this side of the ascent.

Near the top of the middle hairpins - km 13

Bormio is an incredible town and we believe we made a good choice staying there to stage for our 3 days in the Stelvio Area.  From Bormio, we are in striking distance of Passo Gavia and Passo Mortirolo, incredible must-do adventures on by their own right.  While Bormio is a town of only 4,000, it has every amenity you will need, even a high-end bike shop.  Of all things, I broke my seat (don’t ask!) during our 3 days there and to my surprise, there was a Trek store that had all manner of high end gear, equipment, tools, etc. that a serious cyclist would ever need.

Approaching the Sacrario militare dello Stelvio - WWI memorial

Resting up for the final push to the summit . . .

. . . then down to Prato and back up from the other side  👍🚲👍

We had planned this trip for over a year with Bormio/Stelvio as the figurative apex of the trip.  Stelvio had it all, the road history, Giro history, challenge and beauty like no other.  I remember clipping in and thinking, “Oh-my-gosh! I am really here - I am about to ride up Stelvio!” This was one of the greatest climbing days of my life and I hope that anyone reading this post has the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity - as the Nike quote says “Just Do It!”

The hairpins on Stelvio from Prato are the best in the world . . .

 

. . . but those from Bormio are a close second!

As we ascended and ultimately looked back on the Bormio side Stelvio switchbacks, I commented “Those are the greatest set of switchbacks I have ever experienced.  On the way back down, after Stelvio from Prato, I did modify that lofty acclaim to “Those are the second greatest set of switchbacks I have ever experienced.”  Seriously - #1 and #2 in the same ride - are you kidding me?!!!!

Cycling Passo dello Stelvio - aerial drone photo of pass

The pass from the Bormio side.

Cycling Passo dello Stelvio - PJAMM Cycling John Johnson and Bill Cappobianco at the Passo sign

     

Bike climb Passo dello Stelvio - John Johnson PJAMM Cycling at Bratwurst and food cart with bike at top of climb

There are NO shortages of photo opps on Stelvio!

There are 7 fantastic climbs within 20 miles of Bormio (Stelvio-Umbrail-Gavia-Mortirolo) - Link to Map of all 7 climbs