The dangerous Fairy Meadows Road: one false move and it’s a very long drop
Fairy Meadows Road is the name of a spectacular and dangerous high mountain track located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The unpaved 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.
How long is Fairy Meadows Road?
Tucked away in the Fairy Meadows National Park, the road is totally unpaved. It’s 16km long (9,94 miles) long running north-south from the infamous Karakoram Highway to the village of Tato, near Fairy Meadows, a picturesque destination at an altitude of about 3,300 meters above the sea level
Is Fairy Meadows Road Safe?
It’s said to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Getting to Fairy Meadows is a huge risk that prevents many from enjoying the view. In 2013 the road was ranked as the second deadliest highway in the world, because it's a 'treacherous high altitude, unstable and narrow mountain road'. 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 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.
When was the Fairy Meadows Road built?
The unpaved 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 world’s most dangerous roads. The road was built by Brigadier M. Aslam Khan (M.C, H.J, F.K), First Commander Gilgit Scouts and 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. 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.
Is the Fairy Meadows Road open?
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. Fairy Meadows is the launching point for trekkers who wants to climb the Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world and second in Pakistan after K2. 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