Driving the lethal Shimshal Valley Road in Pakistan

By dangerousroads

Shimshal Valley Road is a terrifying mountain drive located in Pakistan that tests both the skills of drivers and the endurance of their vehicles.

Shimshal Valley Road


Where is the Shimshal Valley Road?

The road is located in Gojal, Hunza–Nagar District, in the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly known as Northern Areas) region of Pakistan.

Where does Shimshal Valley Road start and end?

It is 35 miles (56km) long and links the Karakoram Highway at Passu (at an elevation of 2.485m) to Shimshal, a beautiful village located in Gojal, Hunza-Nagar District, at an altitude of 3.113m (10,213ft) above sea level. It’s the highest settlement in the Hunza Valley of Pakistan and serves as the bordering village connecting the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan with China.

When was the Shimshal Valley Road built?

This is some serious driving, and the journey is extremely dangerous. The road runs along the fearsome gorges of the Shimshal River, a gigantic canyon at a height of more than 2000 m. The road was inaccessible by motor vehicle until October 2003 when construction began. The construction of the non-metallic Jeep-able road started in 1985 and was completed in 2003. Eighteen years (1985-2003) of handwork finally became successful due to hard work, dedication, and self-help. Until then, it was very difficult to access the village, requiring crossing three high passes (about 5,000 m) on a three-day hard and dangerous trip.

Is the Shimshal Valley Road dangerous?

The road is pretty steep, and a 4WD vehicle and an experienced driver are recommended. It’s advisable not to travel this road in severe weather conditions, as it remains covered by snow seven to eight months of the year. For half of the way, the road is on a man-made ledge hundreds of feet above the river, on the near-vertical side of the gorge. Crossing some scary wooden bridges is necessary. The drivers moving passengers and luggage daily from Passu to Shimshal, covering a distance of 60 kilometers, are highly skilled, but they still drive very carefully to avoid any calamity. If the vehicle goes off the road, fatalities are imminent.
Pic: Francesco Corbisiero