Situated at the base of Pakistan’s 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat, 9th highest mountain in the world and second in Pakistan after K2, Fairy Meadows is a picturesque destination.This road to Tato on the way to Fairy Meadows was built by the local people, and is therefore a private toll road. The road is steep and just the width of the jeep. Getting to Fairy Meadows, however, is not such an attractive experience. Part of the trip involves surviving a 6-mile, hour-long drive on an unstable gravel road hacked out of the barren hills.
From Raikot Bridge to the village of Tato, this ‘road’ offers all the insane features of a typical mountainside dirt trail. It’s narrow, unpaved, steep, and of course there aren’t any guardrails to prevent your car from rolling down into the gorge. You can’t even drive it all the way to Fairy Meadows; the last section has to be covered by bicycle or on foot.
This gravel road was built by the villagers and goes to the top of the mountain, during 16 miles. Fairy Meadows has been a source of enchantment since long for back packers, climbers, wildlife researchers, photographers, painters & geologists, besides nature lovers. The pine forests skirting Fairy Meadows are perhaps one of the virgin forests in the north of Pakistan, and are home to a number of species of birds and wildlife. The site overlooks the Raikot Glacier and provides a majestic view of the North Face of Nanga Parbat, commonly known as the Raikot Face.
Fairy Meadows is one of the most dangerous road in the world. Despite the fact it is a high risk road, people indulge in photography and trekking and enjoying the beauty of mother nature. Sharp turns are a peculiar characteristic of this pass. Not all of the road can be covered by a heavy vehicle. The concluding sections needs to be traversed by foot or by a bicycle owing to the congested narrow lane.
The place is closed in the winters due to heavy snowfall and is accessible only in the summers. June-July is the best time to visit this place.
This infamous road is tightly hairpinned and bumped, an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. The road includes some steep sections, without market central lines, is very narrow, barely wide enough for 2 cars at the same time and it has not protections or guardrails. The surface of the road is gravel and sand, and chains or snow tyres can be required anytime.
The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Exercise extreme caution when passing on-coming traffic, over-taking and around corners.
Avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous in winter due to frequent patches of ice. Conditions can change quickly and be harsh.
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. All primitve dirt roads may be rocky with areas or soft gravel or sand that makes travel unsafe for sedans or RVs. Some road sections may require a high clearance 4WD vehicle, in four-wheel-drive, driven by a driver experienced in 4WD drive techniques to drive the road without getting stuck.
If you dare take the risk and travel along this dusty and bumpy route, then make sure to be driven by someone who has experience of the road. Staying on track here takes oodles of concentration. There's sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy.
The road bad conditions, with extremely large pot holes could potentially pop a tire, crack a rim, or screw up your cars allignment.
The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. In any case, driving 4WD is recommended due to uneven surface. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and can easily get muddy if it rains making it challenging to get through.
Although it can be a reasonably easy drive in favourable conditions it also has the potential to be a very difficult track and at times impassable after wet weather. It is very important to check rainfall in this area before setting off and make sure you are well prepared for the trip.
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