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Famous Mountain Passes Of The World

Updated on October 22, 2011

A mountain pass is defined as a path between two mountain peaks. Geographically speaking a mountain pass is a saddle point between two areas of higher elevations and makes a path for crossing between the chains of mountains.

The Significance Of Mountain Passes

Mountains usually act as barriers between the borders of two countries or cities, the mountain passes between the mountain ranges allow an access for from part of the land to the other.

Over the centuries the mountain passes have been used by the traders and various for travel and trade. Even today, these mountain passes are used for such purposes. Many of the mountain passes break the barriers between two countries making the passage clear for the travelers.

The Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass

The top of the mountain pass is a flat top therefore usually roads and railway tracks are built on them. Some of the passes are broad and large enough for towns and small stations to be built on them as well.

Following are some famous mountain passes of the world:

The Khyber Pass

Khyber Pass is the mountain pass that links the country Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not only does it connect the two countries but is also is a passage from the South Asia to the Central Asia. The altitude of the pass is almost 1070 m and stretches between the two countries at the length of 1027m.

An old photo of The Khyber Pass
An old photo of The Khyber Pass
Great St.Bernards Pass as viewed from South.
Great St.Bernards Pass as viewed from South.


The Khyber Pass has played a significant role in the history of South Asia. For centuries it has been a trade route between the two parts of the continents, not only that, but this pass has also been the route for invaders towards India.

It was the Khyber Pass through which the Aryans entered India, using this pass the great Mahmud of Ghaznavid entered India. The first Mughal king Babar also invaded India through this pass. 

The Great St.Bernard’s Pass

The great St Bernard’s pass is present in the western Alps located in Switzerland and Italy. It runs northeast south west through the Valais Alps and has an elevation of approximately 2469 m.

The road on the pass joins the Martigny on the upper Rhone river present in the Canton of  Valais in Switzerland to the Aosta, presnt in the Aosta valley in Italy, hence joining the two countries. 

Great St.Bernards Pass
Great St.Bernards Pass


The St. Bernard’s pass is the most ancient pass in the western Alps. Its first appearance in the history is shown during the Celtic period. In 390 BC the Celtic tribes namely Boii and Lingones used this pass as a road to invade Italy.

This pass also has played an important role during the Roman period. It was used at various occasions as a route to Italy. In 1800 it also became a route for the Napoleon’s army to invade Italy.

Khardung La Pass
Khardung La Pass
Army man at the Khardung La Pass
Army man at the Khardung La Pass

The Khardung La Pass

The Khardung la’s pass is located at the Ladakh range of the Himalayan ranges present in Jammu and Kashmir, India.

It is situated 35 km north to Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir and is a gateway to the valleys of Shyok and Nubra.

The elevation of this pass is approximately 5359 m. There had been an error in the Guinness book of world which stated it as the highest pass of the world.

However it was proved wrong and now based on various researches made, it stands at the elevation of 5359 m.

Strategically the Khardung La’s pass is an important pass for India. Essential supplies are carried to Siachen which is located at the Nubra valley.

The pass lies above the Caravan route from Leh to Kashgar in China.                  


The Khardung La’s pass was officially built in 1976 and was opened for motor vehicles in 1988. In past it has played a part in the trade between China and India. During the World War 2 an attempt was made to travel material to China through this route.

The Stelvio Pass
The Stelvio Pass

The Stelvio Pass

The Stelvio pass is Located in the Eastern Alps at Italy. Elevated at the height of 2757m it is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest of the Alps. it is present north of Bormio in the province of Sondrio and south of Stilfs in the province of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy.

Above the pass are the “three language peaks”. The peaks are so named because it is believed that it was where the Italian, Roman and German languages met.

Greenery at The Stelvio Pass
Greenery at The Stelvio Pass


The road on the Pass was built in 1820 by the Austrian Empire to connect a former province of Austria Lombardia to the rest of Austria.

After 1919 due to the expansion of Italy the pass lost its strategic importance. During the First World War there were fierce battles on the areas of snow and ice of the pass.

The Karakoram Pass
The Karakoram Pass

The Karakoram Pass

The Karakoram pass is located in the Karakoram Ranges between China and India. It is present on the Jammu and Kashmir border of India and the Xingjiang region of China.

The elevation of the pass is approximately 5540m.


This high altitude pass has been the ancient route of Caravans. It is considered to be a highly dangerous pass mainly due to its high altitude.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Detroit Mountain was the hub of many community's teanegers, it was a place where many friendships started and became nurtured. I hope in the near future, as my 7yr-old child grows up in this area, that he can experiance the same as I did! We just moved near the area from Steamboat Springs, Co., and I could say, Detroit Mountain is by far, a better Family Experiance !

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nice but many other important passes are missing

    • profile image 

      8 years ago from upstate, NY

      It's hard to imagine drivable roads at 5500 meters elevation or even being able to breath well at that height. Its also interesting how these natural barriers had shaped the destinies of many nations. Great read! WBA

    • Kamran100 profile image


      8 years ago

      this is very informative and interesting hub, well done bro!

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks! :)

    • agusfanani profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      A very interesting hub.


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