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Col du Sanetsch – Legendary Mountain Passes

Cycling · Valais
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  • Col du Sanetsch
    / Col du Sanetsch
    Photo: David Carlier, Valais
  • / Col du Sanetsch
    Photo: Alain Rumpf, Valais
  • / Cyclists, Sanetsch pass
    Photo: David Carlier, Valais/Wallis Promotion - David Carlier
  • / Cyclists, Sanetsch pass
    Photo: David Carlier, Valais/Wallis Promotion - David Carlier
  • / Cyclists, Sanetsch pass
    Photo: David Carlier, Valais/Wallis Promotion - David Carlier
  • / Mountain lake on the Sanetsch Pass
    Photo: Linda Photo, Valais
m 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 20 15 10 5 km Restaurant Hôtel Restaurant du Sanetsch Châteauneuf-Conthey
This climb is one of the finest and most demanding in Valais. Starting in the Rhône Valley and culminating at 2,200 metres, this is an ascent that demands respect!
Distance 24.2 km
2:30 h
1,814 m
75 m
Covering a total altitude difference of 1,800 metres, the Col du Sanetsch route is without doubt the most demanding climb in Valais. From the valley, you first cycle through the vineyards of the municipality of Savièse, then the larch and spruce forests of the municipality of Conthey, before passing through alpine pastures and finally reaching the magnificent Tsanfleuron glacier. At each bend, the road reveals another surprise, including rock faces, waterfalls and snow-capped peaks, as more and more stunning landscapes come into view. The route gradually takes you through narrow, shady gorges lined with cool, fragrant forests. After a few brief but welcome level sections, the climb picks up again with even more gusto, offering a view of the now-distant Rhône Valley. Once you've tackled a few hairpin bends and passed by a waterfall, you’ll gradually find yourself in a landscape of alpine meadows. Cycle through a tunnel carved into the rock and your determination will be rewarded with a close-up view of the limestone pavements of the Tsanfleuron glacier.

Author’s recommendation

From the Col du Sanetsch, head to Gsteig via a short cable car journey that makes for a unique and thrilling experience, then return to central Valais via the Col du Pillon with the wind at your back.
Highest point
Col du Sanetsch, 2,253 m
Lowest point
Conthey, 512 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Strictly respect the Swiss traffic rules. Please note that you are running the tour at your own risk and all liability is refused. Please be considerate to plants and animals. For your own safety, wear an helmet every time you ride a bike.Emergency numbers: 144 Ambulance / 117 Police / 1414 Helicopter Rescue (Rega).

Tips and hints

More information: 


Conthey (514 m)
2'590'163E 1'120'091N
46.232184, 7.311134
46°13'55.9"N 7°18'40.1"E
32T 369775 5121231


Col du Sanetsch

Turn-by-turn directions

The suggested route for climbing the Col du Sanetsch starts in Conthey and passes through the villages of Vuisse and Chandolin (Savièse) to avoid the traffic on the road through Erde (Conthey). Starting from Conthey, cross the bridge that leads to the left side of the Morge valley and follow the signs to the villages of Vuisse and Chandolin, then continue in the direction of the Col du Sanetsch. After a brief descent of one kilometre, climb towards the Pont du Diable to reach the Erde-Sanetsch road, which you follow all the way up to the summit of the Col du Sanetsch. There are Valais cycle signs throughout this legendary climb.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


Regional trains on the Simplon Railway to Châteauneuf-Conthey or PostBus from Sion to Conthey.

Getting there

Take the A9 motorway, then exit 25 to Conthey.


Parking available in the shopping area of Conthey.


2'590'163E 1'120'091N
46.232184, 7.311134
46°13'55.9"N 7°18'40.1"E
32T 369775 5121231
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Sion has brochures and information material about road cycling in the region.

Brochures: Road Cycling Map

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo Maps 1:25'000: 1306 Sion / 1286 St-Léonard


We recommend: bike in excellent working order, helmet, gloves and bell, clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof), food and drink.

Basic Equipment for Bike Riding

  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling gloves
  • Sturdy, comfortable and preferably waterproof footwear
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket)
  • Sunglasses
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass

Technical Equipment for Bike Riding

  • Air pump or CO2 pump including cartridges
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Replacement inner tube
  • Tire levers
  • Chain tool
  • Hex keys
  • Phone / device holder as required  
  • Bike lock as required
  • Where applicable, the bike must meet requirements for road use by having a bell, front and rear lamps and spoke reflectors
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

Questions and answers

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Photos from others

24.2 km
2:30 h
1,814 m
75 m
Public-transport-friendly Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Cableway ascent/descent Linear route Insider tip


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