We strongly believe that the Passo Giau is the most beautiful Dolomites pass in the Dolomite Alps. This beauty refers at one side to the road layout seen through the eyes of a motorcyclist, and on the other side to the outstanding and indescribable landscape with terrific views into the Dolomites mountain world.. I don’t know why, but I like the ride up from Cortina d'Ampezzo best, which is the Northeast entry point onto the Passo Giau pass road. The end point is located Southwest near the village Selva di Cadore, where it ends in an intersection with multiple choices. This intersection combines the pass road of the Passo di Falzarego from north to west and from the Passo di Fedaja to the Passo Cereda from the south passing by the famous Lago di Alleghe.
If you would like to ride the so called “Classical Tour” you will start in Canazei in Val di Fassa valley, ride across the Passo di Fedaja then uphill across the Passo di Falzarego towards Cortina d'Ampezzo, two miles before you reach Cortina d’Ampezzo you take a right up over the Passo di Giau, then down to Lago di Alleghe, pass by the lake then take a right up to the Passo Cereda, or turn left over the Passo Duran - no matter what you choose, you have plenty of opportunities with many curves and a great landscape.
Leaving Cortina d'Ampezzo direction towards West, following the designation Falzarego Pass, the road winds up a small hill through a few serpentines and you can enjoy a panoramic view into the valley. You will reach a small plateau where you then need to take a left up to the Passo Giau. From now on, the road swings up smoothly in wide curves through sparse forest and then after a few miles the road changes into serpentines, the forest becomes more dense and you sometimes will have a slope of 17%. The serpentines are clearly laid out with good overview, good road surface with enough grip and it is fun to swing uphill. After 2/3 of the pass road you reach the timber line and the view opens up to the mountains, surrounded by meadows and cows. From here you can spot the different mountain chains like the Corda da Lago (2.716m).
Reaching the pass summit and a clear view without fog you will the be able to enjoy one of the most terrific views in the Dolomite Alps. If you look to the West, to the Marmolada, you will see its glaciers and a bit to the left the famous the Sella massif. With a view to the East you will see the peaks on Passo di Falzarego an the Three Pinnacles. An outstanding overview. At the pass summit itself you will find a small chapel next to a restaurant with a gift shop and an old bike on a pedestal invites bikers to come in and spend some Euros for drinks and food. “bikers are welcome”.
The southwest ramp of the Passo di Giau is very curvy, with some 14% incline. Again, passing meadows and some hostels in the valley you will swing downhill through narrow serpentines. Several avalanche shelters protect the middle section of the road that passes now light mixed forest. Shortly before you reach the village Selva di Cadore a cross-road gives you then two alternatives. When you take a right over the bridge you will reach the Passo di Fedaja and Passo di Falzarego. When you take a left through the small village, you will ride down to Lake Alleghe, Forcola Staulanza or Passo di Cereda.
Every time when we reach that point, we have to take the same amount of time for the decision – should we go left or right? To the right will lead us to a wonderful panoramic view point high above the valley with view to the Marmolada massif, to the left leads down into the valley but with great curves and a beautiful scenic canyon. There is no alternative, honestly, the Passo di Giau must be visited multiple times to catch all impressions. If you choose the way to the left through Selva di Cadore down into the valley, don’t miss the right bent at the entrance of the village. But only one thing is certain, the way to the is shorter.