The Swiss Alpine Bike Route #1 is an east-west 660km mountain biking tour. The pan Switzerland Bike Route is spread into 16 stages with a total vertical of 16,800m. The route is clearly signposted with the yellow square indicating Route #1. It combines forest roads, alpen cow paths, old Roman trails and singletracks through remote high mountain terrain.
While the Alpine Bike Route 1 can be easily bikepacked, there are several bike tour guide companies that can provide gear shuttle service between stages.
Here are descriptions of each of the stages from the east heading west:
Scuol to Tschierv Santa Maria (40km/1,172m) The first stage leads from Scuol along the boundaries of the Swiss National Park along to the little Alpine village of S-charl and over the Pass da Costainas (2,251m) into the Munstertal valley.
Tschierv to Livigno, Italy (40km/1,150m) The Val Mora valley is renowned for its magnificent mountain landscape and rich wildlife. At the Passo Val Mora (1,934m), the route crosses the border to Italy and leads on past Lago di S.Giacomo and Lago di Livigno, to the famous summer and winter sports resort of Livigno, Italy.
Livigno, Italy to St.Moritz (44km/1,100m) At a height of 2694 m, the Chaschauna pass is one of the highest obstacles on the Alpine Bike route. This is followed by a descent down to Oberengadin and on to S-chanf and a relaxing journey through the to St.Moritz.
St.Moritz to Bivio (37km/1,100m) The stretch along the magnificent Oberengadiner lakes is pure pleasure. The comfort, however, ends just before the MalojaPass (1,815m) where even the most experienced cyclists are sure to resort to walking with shouldered bikes by the time they reach the Pass da Sett (2,310m).
Bivio to Thusis-Summaprada (54km/1,150m) The valley stretch from Bivio down to Tiefencastel and Thusis (720m) offers plenty of opportunity to relax, a few challenging ascents not withstanding.
Thusis to Thalkirch (25km/1,974m) The next climb right after Thusis is the Glaspass (1,816m). The Safiental valley is home to the traditional Walserhaus buildings made from dark seasoned wood.
Thalkirch to Lumbrein (49km/1,850m) A varied route which first passes through the Tomulpass (2,412m), popular with cyclists, down to the Valsertal valley. In Vals, a visit to the thermal baths, built by a renowned architect Peter Zumthor, is a must. The route continues on to the Lumnezia Valley.
Lumbrein to Disentis (43km/1,050m) Today it's back to 2,000m above sea level, skirting the Piz Sezner towards Obersaxen. The region known as Surselva is one of the last remaining areas where Rhaeto-Romanic is spoken in day to day life. The abbey town of Disentis is enjoys a good reputation among gold washers too.
Disentis to Andermatt (44km/1,800m) The route branches off to the left shortly before the Oberalppass and leads on over the Maighelspass (2,422m) and through a technically very challenging descent to the Unteralptal valley and on to Andermatt. There is an alternative route by taking the Veloland Rhine Route across the Operalppass to Andermatt.
Andermatt to Meiringen (57km/1,600m) The spectacular obstacle for this day is the Sustenpass (2,255m) and the Steingletscher glacier. The MTB route leads upwards to the top of the pass, mostly away from the road. Before reaching Meiringen, a visit by foot to the Aare gorge is well worth the while.
Meiringen to Grindelwald (28km/1,400m) Today's route offers the very best the Alps have to offer: crossing the Grosse Scheidegg (1,961m) provides breathtaking views of the famous Bernese Oberland peaks of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. In between, the glacier village of Grindelwald invites you to stop over and recuperate.
Grindelwald to Interlaken (39km/1,188m) Take a sidetrip from Kleine Scheidegg (2,061m) to Jungfraujoch by rack railway. Then follows a downhill ride to Lauterbrunnen, requiring some technical skill.
Interlaken to Adelboden (63km/2,000m) A more comfortable stretch along the Thunersee lake with a panoramic section leading up to approximately 1,000m above sea level via Aeschi and along the Sundgraben to the Kiental valley and finally the Aengstligental valley and up to Adelboden.
Adelboden to Gstaad (44km/1100m) The Hahnenmoospass (1,951m), the magnificent Simmental valley, the Saanenmoser mountain pass and finally the resort of Gstaad, popular even with celebrities, all ensure that this is a relaxing stretch through the picture-perfect landscape of the Bernese Oberland, with no big obstacles to tackle.
Gstaad to Col des Mosses (45km/1,662m) The route reaches another challenging point between Saanen and Château d'Oex, providing cyclists with the opportunity to experience the world of the Alpine dairies and cheese production at close range in Pays d'Enhaut.
Col des Mosses to Aigle (30km/790m) The route leads on via Col des Mosses and Leysin to the Yvorne vineyards, ending in the little town of Aigle, renowned for its white wines and located very close to Lake Geneva.