D915 is one of the most challenging roads in the world. Located in the Trabzon province, Turkey, the road is extreme, bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters unprotected by guardrails. It’s definitely not for anyone suffering from vertigo or a fear of landslides. Only the suicidal, the insane, or the paid-to-do-this should ever drive down. This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers.
The road links Of, a town in Trabzon Province in the Black Sea region, and Bayburt, a city in northeast Turkey lying on the Çoruh River. It has a length of 106 km and includes 29 steep hairpins. The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. It’s certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. It still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice.
Video suggested by Alp Mor
This road tests the skill, and courage, of any driver. There is little room for error on this road. It’s incredibly disorienting to look over the edge, or even just to see the valleys a couple thousand feet below you. It’s a mind numbing vertical drop of hundreds of meters so you might want to give it a miss on a windy day. Your wheels will be astounded at the wonderful views of the mountains spread out before you! They are terrible for drivers who are prone to vertigo.
The start and the end of the road are asphalted, but the central part is gravel. There are some narrow sections -scarcely wide enough for two cars- where if two vehicles have to pass each other, one might have to reverse for some kilometers of winding narrow road to get to a place wide enough to pass. The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both).
Pic: Yusuf Ipekci
The road climbs up an elevation of 2,035m above the sea level, at Soganli Dagi. The steep part is simply terrible. Curvy roads decending down the cliffs, often so narrow that you can not turn the first time… This tortuous route should not be attempted by those who don't know how to reverse or beginner drivers.
Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging. Fog and rain are very common and this track can get very muddy and slippery after rain making it challenging to get through. The most dangerous part of the road, in Derebaşı Tesisleri, is often covered by snow and fog.
This extreme gravel road was built in 1916 by Russian soldiers. This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. Parts of the road are routinely closed in wintertime due to snow blizzards and ice. The Bayburt highway is a working road used by locals driving every form of transport - from lorries to motorbikes.
The road is much more dangerous than the famous Death Road, in Bolivia, which has been bypassed by a new highway and is used only by tourists actually.
The most famous part of the road is located in Çaykara town. It’s around the Derebaşı Tesisleri zone. It has 13 incredible hairpins. It climbs from 1.712m above the sea level to 2.035m above the sea level in just 5.1km. The average percentage is 6.3%. The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities here. Don’t forget your camera!