The Lukmanierpass connects the northern canton Grisons (Graubuenden) and the southern canton of Ticino, the cantonal border runs right across the pass summit. Starting from the village Disentis in the Upper Rhine valley, the pass runs straight to the south down to Biasca in Ticino. In Disentis the traveler has the choice either to take a right across the Oberalp Pass and canton Uri or to continue straight on across the Lukmanier.
We leave Disentis and the famous abbey Saint Martin founded around the year 750, the oldest Benedictine monastery in Switzerland and slowly meander on the pass road interspersed with concrete slabs through small tunnels to the cliff canyon into the direction of the village Medel. The road runs unspectacular in Val Medel valley steadily uphill and is interrupted only by very few wide carving curves or a few serpentines.
Smaller towns with wooden Walser houses and censures are passed before we pass a few miles before we reach the summit the lake Lai da Sontga Maria. On the south side, just behind the hospice you’ll find the associated chapel and the statue of holy Mary. At the level of the dam the pass road leads through an avalanche gallery which can be frozen even up in the early summer in the final section. So CAUTION!
The hospice on the summit has a lovely sun terrace with wind protection and excellent local food specialities for a good price quality ratio, but at this altitude you should always use suntan lotion with the correspondingly high UV-factor. Otherwise you will participate in the red nose competition very soon. Towards south the pass road leads down to Santa Maria Valley. We follow the road through sparse pine forests to the basin of the valley that opens up near the village Olivone. From now on, again winding roads promise lots of fun. Based on a well developed road with several serpentines we screw us down to Olivone.
In Olivone you should not miss a sidestep. Just before you enter the small village Olivone, a small road exits to the right leading through Camperio and a tunnel up to the Lago di Luzzone. After a steep uphill of 12% you will reach a beautiful little street and the the dam with the lake.
From Olivone on southward we are welcomed by the typical landscape of the Ticino. Up to the tops of the surounding mountains wooded slopes through which the road takes us unspectacular south. But wait! It is worth to take a right at about Ludiano. Several small Grottas invite you to a delicious Italian lunch. A Grotta is a cave that has a small Italian restaurant built in. You definitely should not miss that experience.
The pass road then hits Biasca at a roundabout. From there you can take a right and continue your trip on the old Saint Gotthard pass road through Faido to Airolo or straight onto the highway and through Biasca to the south. When you choose the south option, the route can be planned back to Grisons across the San Bernardino pass, or can be continued across the Monte Ceneri pass, along the Italian Lakes north towards Spluegen Pass and Maloja Pass. So you have multiple options available.