S217 Road: a chillout in high mountains
217 Provincial Road (S217) is the name of a very scenic drive located on the border between Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, in China.
The road is totally paved. It’s 315km (195 miles) long, running from Xiewuzhen (in Chindu County) to Manigangezhen (in Dêgê County). It’s long and arduous and crosses several mountain passes through remote areas (Ngamba La: 4.583m (15,036ft); Muri La: 4.569m (14,990ft) and Sala La: 4.459m (14,629ft) above the sea level), so you need to be prepared.
The road is steep, hitting a 16% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The drive is very scenic with classical nomads country all around and beautiful views into the Chola Mountains. The zone is prone to heavy mist and can be dangerous in low visibility conditions. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Drive over wide high plains with many nomads with yaks and horses.
Pic: Jaap Vinke