“Section III is a letdown from the first two sections, but it does descend all the way to your shuttle on the train.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This is the final segment of the regional MTB route signed as route 65 (Gotthardpass) with the ubiquitous red and yellow way-marking signs used throughout Switzerland. Gotthardpass Section I
actually traverses the pass from Andermatt to Airolo. Section II is probably the best segment overall passing through high alpine regions and several mountain lakes.
Section III is frankly somewhat of a letdown from the other two segments comprising multiple short segments interspersed with sections along the main highway down the valley. It does however descend almost continuously from its start at Passo del Lucomagno until it reaches Biasca.
In Biasca, there is a train station that you can use to get to wherever you need to be.
Need to Know
Both Andermatt and Airolo make nice bases to complete all three sections of this route; Andermatt is perhaps more picturesque. The Swiss railway makes convenient connections between Andermatt, Airolo, and Biasca.
Sections II and III can be done in a single day, especially if you take the Funicolare Piotta-Ritom (Cogwheel Railway) to save 785 m (2575 ft) of climbing at the start of Section II. Section III then is downhill all the way to Biasca.
You'll need to purchase a separate fare (half fare ticket or velo ticket) for the bike if you're using the train as a shuttle.
I've broken up section III from Gotthardpass Section II
because that is how the Swiss tourism authority has designed this route. However, Section III descends all the way to Biasca and but it isn't as compelling as the other two segments, so I'd recommend to do Sections II and III in one go so you can get back to the train and wherever you came from.
Section II starts in Olivone. After passing through town, a short diversion onto the forest road segment Olivone
allows you to bypass the busy Highway 416 for a short distance. After that, you join the highway for a mile before taking the Aquila
diversion, which is another forest road alternative to the main highway. After another mile on the main highway, you take the Acquarossa
segment. This includes a couple of forest road sections as well as a mile of singletrack that passes through a dense forest before reaching the highway again.
Another mile on the main highway then takes you to Semione
is a lightly-trafficked paved road passing on the other side of the Brenno del Lucomagno River through the town of Semione. There are two ancient churches and some castle ruins along this route to look out for.
At the end of Semione
, cross the main highway onto Pista Cicliable Fabbrica di Cemento (Cement Plant Bike Path)
, which has a cement plant to look out for. From the end of the bike path, you follow local roads through Biasca until you reach the train station to hopefully take you to your next adventure.