The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Neelum Valley Road
Neelum Valley Road is the name of a spectacular and dangerous high mountain road located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in the western portion of the larger Kashmir region, in Pakistan, running parallel to Kaghan Valley and the Indian border.
How long is the Neelum Valley Road?
The challenging road is mostly unpaved. It’s 149 km (92.58 miles) long, running from Muzaffarabad (the capital and largest city of Azad Kashmir) to Kel, a village in Neelum Valley, at 2.097 meters above the sea level. Kel has an army base and a hospital. Plus there is also phone service available if you want to place a call; and shops to purchase amenities. The route is dangerous.
Do you need a 4x4 to drive the Neelum Valley Road?
To complete this real adventure, a 4x4 vehicle is required because of the dirt tracks left behind as a result of the catastrophic earthquake of 2005. The road conditions in winter are extreme. The road is usually blocked due to heavy snowfalls and it is very difficult to reach upper parts of the valley. There are also land slidings, which cause that visitors suffer from very cold weather and also food shortage problem when they are stuck on the road. After Kel, the lack of proper roads means that the journey further on can only be performed by 4WD vehicles. From Keran to Kel road condition is not well and not suitable for low floor vehicles.
Is the Neelum Valley Road worth it?
Tucked away in the Neelam Valley (also spelled Neelum Valley), the road is jeepable in fair weather. Neelum valley is the name given to the areas surrounding the Neelum River. It’s one of Pakistan’s most enchanting tourist destinations, featuring a land of blue waters, panoramic valleys and breathtaking greenery, home to God’s manifestations of beauty in nature. Those who have set foot on this land call it ‘Heaven on Earth’.
Pic: Zohaib Shikrani