Fairy Meadows Road is a spectacular and dangerous high mountain track with a length of 16,2km, located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The gravel road is completely unmaintained, there are no guardrails to protect you, and it gets so narrow that near the end you’ll have to cover the last section by walking or biking. Drivers must remain cautious as the pass has been known to claim the lives of careless drivers.
This trail, one of the most dangerous in the world, starts on the Karakoram Highway and ends in the village of Tato, near Fairy Meadows, a picturesque destination at an altitude of about 3,300 meters above the sea level. It’s a treacherous high altitude, unstable and narrow mountain road. Getting to Fairy Meadows is a huge risk that prevents many from enjoying the view. The most dangerous part of the road involves a narrow 6-mile ascend on an unpaved and uneven road. There are no barriers to prevent a vehicle from falling off the cliff to a fiery death. The road is no wider than a standard Jeep Wrangler and there’s plenty of through traffic. One false move and it’s a very long drop.
The gravel road has not undergone any repair since it was built by the ethnic villagers of the Nanga Parbat Mountain hundreds of years ago which makes it one of the dangerous roads on this list. The road was built by the local people, and is therefore a private toll road. It’s steep and just the width of the jeep, with unstable gravel road hacked out of the barren hills.
Fairy Meadows is the launching point for trekkers who wants to climb the the Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world and second in Pakistan after K2. The first part of the road can be driven by a 4x4 vehicle, but the concluding sections, all the way to Fairy Meadows, needs to be traversed by foot or by a bicycle owing to the congested narrow lane.
This road is closed in winter, and is accessible only in summer. Anytime can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow. June and July are the best months to visit this place. This drive is only recommended for the people who are serious mountain lovers and have strong nerves. In 2013 the road was ranked as the second deadliest highway in the world, because of its ‘treacherous high altitude, unstable and narrow mountain roads. Avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous cue to frequent patches of ice. It’s an unforgettable experience. Starting high in the Himalayas near the Indus river, the steep and bumpy rocky road swirls up almost 8000 feet on its horrifying 10 km path which surely can be called "Road of Death". One subtle mistake can lead you to a disastrous outcome.
The road is an unforgettable experience. It’s winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice.This drive is only recommended for the people who are serious mountain lovers and have strong nerves. This is a stunning place for photographers and nature lovers. But this road is definitely not for the faint of heart, so, if you want to go there - bring a lot of courage with you!
Pic: Javed Azam