Furkajoch

Highest Point:
1761m
Eastern Approach:  
from Au (791m) 970m 18km
Western Approach:  
from Rankweil (502m) 1259m 22km
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Sometimes lower is better. The Furkajoch does not reach the large rocky expanses over 2000 meters, as the passes in the central alps do. This is a greener landscape. But it is just as sculpted and maybe even richer in colors, forms and textures - and best of all, it tends to have much less traffic. This pass is located on the very northern edge of the alps in the Bregenzer Wald area.

Approaches

From East.  B200 climbs steadily starting at a lowpoint between Alberschwende and Egg (east of Dornkirch). A completely paved bikepath, most of the time completely separated from the road, starts in Egg and goes as far as Au. Especially nice is the section below Au, passing through the valley-alm (a sort of ancient, semi permanent herding village) of Enge. The bike path and the village are separated by a river from the busy B200 road. Au is also the junction between Furkajoch and Hochtannbergpass. The climb up Furkajoch starts steeply. Turning around the church of Au lies at the center of the panorama for at least half an hour. It is the foreground to a forested hill, that is shaped like a coin stuck in the sand. Immediately behind this hill, limestone cliffs tower up into the sky. The road gradually climbs into a high valley. A long gallery tunnel comes into view, leading to a pass top. This is the top of Faschinajoch. The road to Furkajoch branches off to the right, passing through Damuels, all services available, including skiing in the winter. The road climbs above treeline and the top is still 5km away. A panorama to the south into the "Grosses Walsertal" opens up, as well as peaks in the Hochtannbergpass area. These are the best views on the road. The top contains a small primitive restaurant of sorts. A plaque informs that this pass has been used at least since the 14th century, when the Latensertal on the west side was settled. An old summit shelter, dating back several hundred years, has been deconstructed with the construction of the current road.

 

From West. (described downwards) The road traverses straight down the valley heading south east. The switchback, visible immediately below from the pass, is really an access road to a village. The middle part of the descent is a one way road with turn outs, without being labeled as such. It contains a few unsigned, sharp turns that merit extra attention, especially in oncoming traffic. In Innterlatens the road becomes a regular two way road and the peaks on the other side of the Rhein valley become visible. Two half km long tunnels are separated only by a few meters of daylight. An old abandoned road with sharp dropoffs and plenty of rocks on the road can be used to ride around the second tunnel. The last part of the descent is in heavy traffic and full of switchbacks and houses, descending into the town of Rankweil.

 

 

Dayride

A loop ride starting near Egg ->Mellau ->Au ->Furkajoch ->Rankweil ->Goetzis ->Dornbirn ->Egg measured 73 miles with 6000ft of climbing in 6:3 hours, including about 8 miles due to two wrong turns. The return ride in the Rhein valley has heavy traffic on the roads, but the ride is almost exclusively on bike lanes or paths (m3:9.7.10). There is also a substantial climb after Dornbirn back into the Bergenzer Wald area, on B200, this time without a bike path and also in heavy traffic.

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