Col de la Schlucht, the best road in Vosges

col de la schlucht
Col de la Schlucht

Col de la Schlucht is a mountain pass road in the Vosges mountains in France. The road is well known by tourists and especially cyclists. In fact, it is one of the main passes of the Vosges mountains

Where is the Col de la Schlucht ?

Col de la Schlucht road is located in the Vosges mountains in the northeast of France. On the west side it links the historical region of Lorraine and on the east side links the historical region of Alsace.

You can situate the road to Col de la Schlucht on the map below:

Enlarge the map

Facts about the mountain pass:

The road is two lines paved route in very good condition. The overall average gradient is about 4%.

The landscapes are amazing there and the drive to the pass is very impressive. In fact, Col de la Schlucht is one of the most shot spots in the Vosges mountains.

Located at an altitude of 1139 meters (3736 ft), the Col de la Schlucht connects the Lorraine valleys of Meurthe and Vologne with the Alsatian valley of Fecht, a tributary of the Ill river. The sources of Meurthe and Fecht originate near the mountain pass. The first flow on the heights between the Collet and the Schlucht, the Fecht appears on the Alsatian side to the south of Trois-Fours. Gérardmer and Munster are respectively fifteen (9 miles) and eighteen (11 miles) kilometers on either side of the pass, crossed by the D417 road.

Col de la Schlucht
Col de la Schlucht


The name comes from the German word die Schlucht meaning “the throat”.

The too-steep profile of the Alsatian slope meant that this passage was neglected in favor of the Hohneck. It was only a mountain path.

Indeed, the first road was created between 1842 and 1869. It linked the valley of the Fecht and Colmar to the valley of the Lakes and Gérardmer.

The changes made at the end of the 19th century reversed the trend. From 1871 to 1918, the mountain pass was a strategic border post between France and Germany. During this period, two electric tram lines were opened: the first, in 1904 on the Gérardmer – Retournemer – the Schlucht – the Hohneck route, and the second, with a rack, in 1907 on the Munster – the Schlucht route. If the second disappeared because of the war in 1914, the first was exploited until 1939.

A real road was built during the 1st world war in August 1914. Indeed, it is one of the crossing points of the Route des Crêtes created by the French army. Demilitarized, it was opened to the public and to traffic after 1920.

Winter sports developed early in this area. A winter sports championship, including skiing, tobogganing, and bobsleighing was organized in 1910.

How to get to Col de Schlucht?

The nearest city is Colmar which is about 35 kilometers (21 miles). From there, take the D417 road until you arrive at a parking lot.

You can situate the itinerary on this map:

Things to do near the mountain pass:

From the Col de la Schlucht you can do a lot of activities. Indeed it is a very touristy place in all seasons.

Also, from the summit, there are departures for famous hiking trails (rock trail, GR5), a summer toboggan, and winter activities (cross-country and ski resort).

You can also easily find food and accommodation. If you like water activities, you can go to Xonrupt Lake located next door.

In order to fully enjoy the area, you can find many accommodations near the mountain pass, for example in Xonrupt Longemer. There are plenty of possibilities from a luxury lodge to a classic hotel or a camping.

A video of the journey:

You can have a preview of the climb by watching this Youtube video:

Is the Col de la Schlucht road open?

Generally, the road is open all year round, although, the road can be closed because of weather conditions. Indeed, there can be some heavy snowfall in the winter.

We suggest you come early in the morning to enjoy the road. In fact, it can be quite busy during the high season and if you want to avoid the crowd you should come as we said early in the morning or avoid the weekends.

So, if you want to drive an amazing road in the Vosges mountains you should definitely drive through the col de la Schlucht. You will easily find some food and accommodations at the pass. You can include this road to a road trip in France. It is a must-do, maybe not like the Verdon Gorges but the road is really impressive!

Picture credit: By Christian Amet – Own work, CC BY 2.5,

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