The Grimsel is a Swiss high mountain pass, 2,165 m above sea level, connecting the Haslital (upper valley of the Aar river, in Bernese Highland) to the Rhone Valley, in Valais. It is situated near the source of the Rhone River.


The 2165-metre-high Grimsel Pass connects Innertkirchen in the Haslital (Bernese Oberland) with Gletsch, high up in the Gomsertal in the Upper Valais.

The pass, generally north-south oriented, is on the watershed between the Rhine and the Rhone. To the north it runs from the upper Aare Valley and to the south from Gletsch at the foot of the Rhone Glacier, which is also the starting point for the Furka Pass.

On the north side, the access road to the pass passes several reservoirs, including the Grimselsee, which extends the Unteraargletscher, a glacier that runs along the border with Valais near the Finsteraarhorn.

The route was only opened in 1894 and is only passable during the summer months, as are most passes in the Alps.

At the top of the pass, the small Totensee (Lake of the Dead) is lined with a few restaurants that offer a welcome stopover, with large car parks where motorhomes and caravans are welcome for a small fee of CHF10.00.

On the south side, you soon reach the village of Gletsch, overlooked by the Rhone Glacier, from where you can either descend into the Goms valley leading to Brig or tackle the Furka Pass, which joins the Gotthard route near Andermatt, from where one can reach Altdorf and central Switzerland to the north, Bellinzona and Ticino to the south over the Gotthard Pass and Disentis and Graub√ľnden to the east over the Oberalp Pass.

As on most passes, caution is advised: these roads are a paradise for motorcyclists, and some of them are sometimes reckless...

This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
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