Sustenpass history comes even from the 17th century as it was used for mule training purposes, but the real value of this mountain pass Swiss people saw when Napoleon took over control of another mountain pass next to Italy: Simplon pass. Back in the beginning of 19th century the construction of Sustenpass began and now it’s one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Switzerland. Only generals of Swiss army could say it’s strategical value, but it definitely has a lot of touristic value 🙂
Where is Sustenpass
Sustenpass is in the central Switzerland in the canton of Bern, few hundred meters from the border of Uri canton. It is really not that far from Andermatt, but a bigger city close to it would be Lucerne (80 kilometers away). Sustenpass actually is not that far from highway as well: just 19 kilometers from E35 – it is one of the directions to get up there.
If talking about bigger cities and airports, Sustenpass is:
just 118 kilometers from Zürich,
179 kilometers from Basel,
276 kilometers from Geneva.
So if you land in Zürich, it is just couple of hours by car.
How to get to Sustenpass
There is no train connection in Sustenpass, meaning that there’s no train station on the top, but that is no problem, the last kilometers you can cover with buses.
There are couple of ways to go there by public transport: you can choose to go to Meiringen train station and take one bus up to Sustenpass, but this trip is a bit long: around 4 hours if you begin in Zürich. Or you can go to Erstfeld and take a bus to Wassen (it is right next to the highway) and then take another bus which will take you to the top of Sustenpass. Of course, there are some more options and varieties of the public transport, so always be sure to check them all out here: Swiss trains and buses connections. Check all the latest prices and time schedules there, so you don’t miss anything.
Once you come to Sustenpass by bus, be aware of all the schedules when you should go back. You don’t want to miss your last bus up there, because then you will have to walk down all the way and it can take several hours. I would save all the bus schedules in my phone 🙂 Just to be safe.
Now, to reach Sustenpass by car is much easier. You just need to put Sustenpass on your GPS and go there, easy like that.
You can actually reach Sustenpass by car from two directions: from the highway, near Wassen and from Interkirchen. From Interkirchen it’s a bit slower as to reach Interkirchen you will have to go for quite some time through mountains. So the fastest road is to reach Wassen and then just go up the last 19 kilometers.
The ride up to Sustenpass is really really beautiful as a very big valley opens up and you drive on the edge of the mountain. On the way you will see quite many resting places, restaurants, Swiss Alps cheese places and so on. It’s a really fun alpine drive. I would highly recommend going up from one side, and going down the other way, so you will double your Sustenpass experience.
Once you are on the top of Sustenpass, there’s a very huge parking lot, so don’t worry, there will be place for everyone. As well, there’s a very nice restaurant where you can rest and have a lunch.
What to do in Sustenpass
As said before, if you don’t have too much time on Sustenpass, I just recommend having a lunch or coffee in the Sustenpass restaurant and just enjoy the mountains, but if you have more time, you should definitely do some hiking.
There are actually quite many places to visit around and even a few Swiss mountain huts where you could spend the night.
Actually, there’s one hotel right on the Sustenpass called Berggasthaus Sustenpass Hospiz. So if you don’t want to hike far away and just walk around a bit, you can always come back to this hotel and spend a night there. Check all of it’s information here: Berggasthaus Sustenpass Hospiz. The location of hotel is amazing and it has pretty decent prices: from 45 CHF (if you want to sleep with more people in a room) to 90 CHF. Keeping in mind the location of the hotel, I think the prices are really good. Even breakfast is included. Just be aware that no good big shops are around, so have some food with you for the evening (or you can eat in the local restaurant).
Now, if you want more adventure, I would highly suggest these options:
hike to Tierberglihütte or Sustlihütte; there are even more a bit further destinations like Trift hut 2520m, Section Bern SAC. Bet the first mentioned huts are quite close to Sustenpass.
One thing you must visit in Sustenpass if you are hiking is the Steinsee and Steingletscher. It’s a very cool looking lake in the middle of the mountains and a real glacier. Steinsee is actually on the way if you choose to go to Tierberglihütte. The glacier itself is not big, around 4 km, but come on, it’s a real glacier. I hope it won’t melt for real in next 10 years. Right next to the glacier there’s hotel and restaurant as well. So full service if you wish.
Ok, so Tierberglihütte is around 8 kilometers from Sustenpass parking and it should take you around 3 hours to get there. It’s a pretty decent hike as elevation gain will be almost 900 meters (you will have to go down in the beginning a bit). That is not that easy, so be ready to push yourself. Tierberglihütte is at 2795 meters altitude. Check out all the prices and reservation possibilities of this Swiss hut on their website: Tierberglihütte information. The hut is not open on winter, so check all the opening dates.
The location of this hut is completely insane, the views are amazing. And if, when you reached it, still have some power, you can even hike/mountaineer a bit more around it. There are destinations like Sustenhorn or Gwächtenhorn, but be aware that these places are hard to reach, you may need all the mountaineering equipment and be physically fit to do it.
The other hut which is pretty close to Sustenpass is Sustlihütte. It is just 4 kilometers from Sustenpass and the elevation of Sustlihütte is almost the same as Sustenpass: 2257 m. So it is much easier to get there. The hut has 69 places, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find a place there, but always make reservation before you go there. Summer is pretty busy time for the mountain huts. The hut is open from June till October. You can get a sleep there in winter in a winter room, but please check out their official website for the latest information: Sustlihütte information.
If you don’t wish to spend a night in a hut, still, Swiss huts is a very nice destination point: you come up there, can have a rest, eat your lunch, by a coffee or soup (if they are in service) and just continue your hike further. As well, mountain huts is a perfect photo shoot place 🙂
Sustenpass opening dates
As all mountain passes this high, they are not open all year round. Once it is open, usually it is a very pleasant alpine drive, roads are clean, dry, nothing to worry about. Once it starts to snow and it gets impossible to clean it and it becomes dangerous, they simply close it till Spring.
Sustenpass is usally open from the end of Spring till mid/end of the Autumn. Winters are off.
So, you must always check the latest information about it’s opening (especially if you come not in summer), otherwise you will have to go back. The roads are closed and impossible to get there. All the information about opening of the Sustenpass on daily basis you can see here: Swiss mountain passes. Simply check the Sustenpass and see if it is open. If there are any restrictions, check those out as well, as it may be closed at night, in the evening and so on.
As well, you can check out the Sustenpass webcam to see the latest weather conditions up there. It gives a very good indication of what is up there.
I never recommend going up on to mountain pass if it is foggy. Once it’s foggy, you will see almost nothing around, just maybe next building or next car, nothing else. It can get dangerous to hike in such conditions as well. I would avoid fog as it kills all the mountain enjoyment vibes.
I can really recommend Sustenpass as a weekend/one day destinations. It has all you wish for in a mountain pass: amazing hiking routes, Swiss huts, restaurants, good roads, mountain lakes and even a small glacier. What else could you ask for in the mountains?
Be aware, that the best time to go there is summer and you can enjoy all the views around and will not miss anything.
I must mention as well, that not so far from Sustenpass, are some other great mountain passes (if you have time to continue your trip): Furka Pass, Grimsel Pass, Gotthard Pass, Oberalp pass. Have a great time in the mountains!
If you have any questions about Sustenpass, let me know, I will do my best to help you:)