The Passo Campolongo, from the ski resort of Corvara, is not a particularly difficult climb when compared against the many peaks of the Dolomites region.
Rising to an altitude of 1,875 metres it is probably best known as being the first climb of the Maratona dles Dolomites granfondo. It’s also a common feature of the Giro d’Italia, which has passed the Campolongo no less than 14 times, usually on its way to the bigger mountains in the area.
The Campolongo is considered by many as the perfect training climb, as the relatively shallow slopes encourage uphill repetition. It’s also an excellent place to practice descending skills. In essence it’s a useful warm up ride before you progress to tackle some of the bigger and more well-known Dolomitean peaks.
The unusual aspect of the Campolongo is the actual terrain. Most passes in the Dolomites have flat or virtually flat hairpin bends with the elevation kicking up on the straights. However, the Campolongo is the opposite, with severe hairpins and straights that aren’t that steep!
So, take note, from the Corvara side, there are 13 hairpins on this pass!
Our preferred route over the Campolongo is the one the Maratona takes, from Corvara to Arraba and that’s what this article is based on. However, for completeness, we’ve also included some brief information on the route you ride it for the classic Sella Ronda route.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
Highlights of the Passo Campolongo
The Campolongo is often described as an enchanting climb that welcomes newcomers to cycling in the Dolomites. It’s a perfect place to practice your climbing and descending skills and also serves as a taster for less experienced riders as to what lies ahead in terms of some of the more challenging climbs in the area.
After cresting the summit, you are rewarded by a descent into Arraba that is short, steep and fast as you plunge down the mountain to the foot of the Passo Pordoi.
Passo Campolongo route info
Corvara to Arabba
Starting at the roundabout outside the Hotel Col Alto in Corvara, you make your way south and through the bustling ski resort, towards higher ground. At this point in the distance you can just make out the snow topped peaks as they gently rise above the dense hillside forests that surround this area.
After a little less than a kilometre, as you leave the last of the hotel and apartment buildings, you pass under a metal framed bridge and will see the road sign marking the official start to the pass. The Alta Badia valley then opens up before you as you settle into the climb and leave Corvara behind you in the valley bottom (see banner photo).
It’s fair to say that the next two kilometres are hairpin laden, as you negotiate a total of 11 before you reach the Alta Badia Golf Club. This is the hardest part of the climb as you grind your way around the switchbacks. As you leave each hairpin and get to the flattish straights you will feel that you are still actually climbing as your legs will be aching from the last steep switchback. So, make a mental note to recover sufficiently before the next bend!
Look out for a water fountain on the flat stretch of road as you pass by the golf club.
The road then straightens out and apart from the last two hairpins where the road ramps up again it’s a pleasant ride as the tree line starts to disappear beneath you and the horizon becomes dominated by the giant, rugged peaks.
The last kilometre is fairly flat, and as you reach the top of the climb, you will see the Hotel and Bar Monte Cherz on the left should you need any refreshments. Unlike other Dolomites climbs, there are no huge views to greet you, just pleasant meadows and a gaggle of buildings.
From the summit it’s all downhill and very fast with a handful of hairpins thrown in for good measure. Try to soak in the views as you descend down to Arraba because it affords some spectacular views of the high mountains in the South Tyrol area.
Route: Arraba to Corvara
The Passo Campolongo is climbed in an anti-clockwise direction on the Sellaronda loop from Arabba.
It is a short climb of 4 kilometres with an average gradient of 7% covering 274 metres of vertical ascent. There are just 6 hairpins on this side of the mountain, with a maximum gradient of 12%.
There are some spectacular views over the high mountains.
Here’s the relevant Strava segment.
Café Patisserie Gelateria is located opposite the Hotel Col Alto at the start of the climb in Arraba village centre.
Hotel and Bar Monte Cherz is situated at the top of the climb.
Corvara is probably the best place to stay if you want to climb the Campolongo. It’s primarily a ski resort, so expect to find a wealth of rustic looking Alpine chalets rather than boutique hotels.
There is a good selection of hotels and apartments within the village and as you would expect in a ski resort ample restaurants, shops and bars.
Check out our Dolomites guide for more information.
Check out our tips for cycling in the Dolomites before you leave home.
While not specific to this Pass, it’s worth mentioning that as with most mountainous cycling areas, when cycling in the Dolomites, it’s vitally important to have a planned route before you head out. Whilst it’s great to start out whilst fresh and climb a couple of the big passes, you always need to know how to get back to base!
In the Dolomites, sometimes the only way is to retrace your steps or take a longer loop back – you may be faced with a few thousand vertical miles of elevation in order to do this if you’ve not planned properly!
History on the Passo Campolongo
The first gravel path over the Campolongo Pass, allowing access to Corvara, was built at the end of the 1600s. The location of this is now unknown.
Today’s 3.5m wide road, connecting Arabba and Corvara, was built between 1898 and 1900. The road was of huge commercial importance at that time.
The first hotel for guests on the Campolongo road was opened in 1904.
Other useful information
Campologo Strava segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/9981241
Maratona dles Dolomites climb number 1 & 5 (Corvara to Arabba)
Sella Ronda climb number 4 (Arabba to Gardena) assuming starting in Corvara and going anti-clockwise
Don’t miss our main guide to cycling in the Dolomites – you’ll find loads of information to help you plan your trip and links to all our other Dolomites cycling guides, including Passo Sella, Gardena, Pordoi, Falzarego/Valparola, Giau and Fedaia.
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