Nigerpass
aka Passo Nigra

Nigerpass is really an alternate approach to Karerpass (Costalunga), which is the main traffic connection between the Bozen area, and the tourist area of val di Fassa. The Nigerpass road joins Karerpass 1 km east of its summit. From a cyclist's standpoint Nigerpass is more interesting than the Bozen side of Costalunga, because it has less traffic on a narrower road, is scenically more diverse, and has a more varied slope, including much steeper sections. Combined with Costalunga it also makes a great day ride form Bozen, delivering great views onto the Rosengarten peaks of the dolomites.


1.(00.0km,364m) START-END WEST: jct bikepath east of Prato al'Isarco - road to San Cipriano
2.(16.8km,1116m) San Cipriano
3.(23.5km,1688m) Nigerpass
4.(29.3km,1774m) TOP: point of highest altitude
5.(30.9km,1694m) Nigerpass joins Karerpass road, continues right, downhill
6.(43.8km,885m) Birchabruck
7.(55.7km,382m) START-END EAST: bike path through Karneid.


Approaches

From North. You can leave Bozen heading north on one of its many, excellent totally separate bicycle paths. This one follows the river Eisack (Isarco) north to Brixen. The path is a little hard to find at first, as it makes its way under the railway station and then follows the west side of the river. It later switches to the east side, following a small bike path art gallery. The "just for bicycles" road continues up Brenner Pass. The turnoff to Nigerpass is signed as direction Kaestelroth and Voels, at a point before you enter a tunnel. Best to ask for directions, and even then plan on getting lost.

Anyway, once on the road to Voels, the Eisack valley below becomes a deep cut in the green skin of the earth, with traffic routes of all kinds tunneling and coursing through its depths. The route to Nigerpass does not go through Kastelruth or Voels. But early signs don't mention villages on the Nigerpass route. Once in  Blumau, the Nigerpass road stays right and now becomes a whole different vantage point on villages hanging between sky and valley, all the most picturesque hills punctuated by church towers. From here the road traverses on a level and even looses a little altitude. Just below Sankt Cipriano the dolomite needles of the Rosengarten area become visible for the first time, and this low vantage point just might be the most impressive view along the entire route. Leaving Sankt Cipriano the coasting is over. The first sign promises 20% grade for 2 tornati and delivers them. After that the 14% seem like quite a relief. The count for the Kehren, tornati or switchbacks starts over with each sign, so for a total you have to count yourself. The road now enters a deep forest and the dolomite peaks move ever closer in the field of view above the road cut. The pass  is a relatively quiet place in the forest, even though it does have the obligatory summit restaurant. Dirt roads can take mountain bikers higher from here. But actually, the road does the same thing. It keeps on climbing after the pass. From 1690m, onwards below ski lifts to 1743m at the Frommeralm and 1774m at the Tscheiner Huette.

From South. (described downwards).It's just a short roll before the Nigerpass road joins the busier Karerpass road. Taking a right leads back down direction Bozen into the Eisack valley, not far from where the northern approach started. The upper descent is more tourist frequented, with bus loads of people wandering around the Karersee area. Continuing down through the busy tourist town of Welschnofen ... and then it's a thrill a second. It all starts with five or six short tunnels as a warm up, then an incised canyon where the walls hang over the road,  followed by a 1600 meter tunnel, which emerges on a small bridge, just to enter another 1200 meter tunnel, all strongly sloping downwards. Both are very well lit. If ascending on this side, trying to find this tunnel entrance from the Eisack valley for the first time can also be tricky. You have to leave the bike path, just after you see some water tunnels on the other side of the Eisack. Cross the road via a short bike bridge, then enter a large hole in the mountain. But the tunnels can also be bypassed over an abandoned old road. The turnoff is to the right over a barricade just before the first tunnel entrance. More on the Karerpass page.

Dayride with this pass as highest summit:

Nigerpass: Andrian (a few km west of Bozen) > Bozen > Blumau > Tires > Nigerpass > Welschnofen > Eggental > sp: 67 miles with 5800ft of climbing in 6:1 hours (VDO MC1.0 m4:9.5.29).
Notes: includes the usual 10 miles or so of scenic detours (including through Bozen), planned and otherwise.

The last day with different start and end points on this Extended Tour, ending in Andrian, is on page:
Penser Joch

Nigerpass
aka Passo Nigra

Highest Point:
1774m(1688m)
Western Approach:

from jct: bike path east of Prato al Isarco - road to San Cipriano (364m)
1410m 29.3km
Eastern Approach:

from bike path through Karneid (Cardano) (382m)
1392m 26.4km

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