a highway, as in a mountainous area, having many hairpin curves.
Railroads. a zigzag track arrangement for climbing a steep grade.
British, roller coaster.
verb (used without object)
(of a road, railroad track, etc.) to progress through a series of hairpin curves; zigzag: The road switchbacks up the mountain.

1860–65, Americanism; switch + back2

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
switchback (ˈswɪtʃˌbæk)
1.  a mountain road, railway, or track which rises and falls sharply many times or a sharp rise and fall on such a road, railway, or track
2.  another word (esp Brit) for big dipper

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
The effect has been to create a switchback in the public finances, injecting
  extra demand into the economy.
Carved down their face were sharp-angled switchback grooves.
The driveway to that house was two hundred yards long and included a switchback.
In the crook of a switchback was a spring, upwelling and dark-tinted among
  creepers and weeds.
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