Link - by Avi Abrams

Also Read:
Part 1 - Roads in Bolivia, Russia + trek in China
Part 2 - Roads in China, Thailand, Italy
Part 3 - Roads in Nepal, Philippines
Part 4 - Roads in Alps, Slovenia, Norway

Crazy Routes in Andes, Albania & New Zealand

Necessity may dictate that you choose the "road less traveled", but for goodness sake, leave weaker-nerved passengers behind. They might experience life-changing (and underwear-changing) circumstances that they will never forget, or forgive.

(image credit: iceovarock, road in Ladakh, Tibet)

At least this road has railings:

One of the Chinese military roads to "boost the morale of their troops" - and here is how they navigate it:

Outside of military scares, our first pick among the seriously crooked roads today is

"Los Caracoles" Pass in Andes

Rodrigo L. van Lamoen tipped us about its existence and describes it in this way:
"It's a place in the mountain pass "Los Libertadores" that goes trough the Andes between Chile and Argentina. It's called "Los Caracoles" and is a series of very hard switchbacks on a very steep road, with no barriers and ice and snow present most of the year. Add the cargo trucks and double-decker tourist buses... and you get the idea. I've done that a couple times, once in a double-decker even, and it's quite an experience."

(images credit: nadaquehablar)

(images credit: Aci2.Graphic)

Here is the view from the bus window:
(click to enlarge)

(image credit: Cake D.)

Some trucks cut corners, that does not add to safety:

(image credit: Tony Canossa)

However, this road is maintained pretty regularly and does not have as morbid an accident-record as the following:

Tirana to Elbasan Road in Albania

This is a hairy route, very high, badly maintained with high volume of heavy truck traffic - count on these Albanian drivers to be dare-devils, too. Whatever pictures we could get, look pretty serious:
(click to enlarge)

(image credit: lizp0ts)

(images credit: Alban Klossi)

The cool thing about this road is that it leads to various interesting "rabbit trails" with ancient ruins at the end:

(images credit: Alban Klossi)

Some of the bridges there look pretty ancient too, and require some extra faith that they'll hold:

(images credit: Alban Klossi)

New Zealand Crazy Routes

The "Lord of the Rings" country contains the prettiest landscapes in the world and the hairiest roads to reach them. At least we got this impression after receiving a dozen tips from our readers to investigate and to cover some of this island's fearsome backroads. Here are a few examples:

Mount Hutt road (sent by Mick) -

Looks like a good Optimus Prime hangout:

It gets pretty interesting in foggy conditions (sheer drop less than a meter away) -

(image credit: Trevor van Aurich)

The Skippers Canyon Road near Queenstown:

Katie Laurence writes to us:
"This road is made from a very narrow cut in the middle of a sheer cliff face. The large tourist buses go along it, and it's so narrow that if two vehicles have to pass each other, one vehicle might have to reverse for anything up to 3 kilometres of winding narrow road to get to a place wide enough to pass. It is the SCARIEST road you could imagine..."

(images credit: David Wall Photography, exclusive permission)

and this is how it looks close up, with sheer drops just outside the single lane (with almost not enough space for tires) -

(images credit: David Wall Photography, exclusive permission)

This road still looks much the same as 100 years ago:

(images credit: Skippers canyon Adventures)

Another interesting road near Queenstown: leading up to the Remarkables -

(image credit: gijoelromulanhero)

Among other cliff-side roads of New Zealand we have to mention the Paikakariki road on the North Island - rewarding with awesome coastal views, but demanding driver's full attention at the same time. Otherwise the careless stray glance toward a pretty landscape may become the last thing you'll gaze upon, period. (images courtesy David Wall, exclusive permission)

The helicopter view reveals how spectacular the drive really is:

- Irimahuwheri Bay, Perpendicular Point (Paparoa National Park, West Coast, South Island)
- State Highway Six at Ten Mile Creek, north of Greymouth, West Coast, South Island

Milford Road in Upper Hollyford Valley (Fiordland National Park, South Island) is something else again, but not as dangerous to drive, barring avalanches:

(images credit: David Wall Photography)

Some other bad road predicaments:

This road in Sahara is totally beset by drifting dunes: they change location and are hard to get rid of, considering the desert is all around it:

(image via)

Potholes from hell:

(image credit: Roussos)

This is pretty extreme, I'd say:
(and almost certainly 'shopped)

(original unknown)


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the road from Raikot Bridge to Fairy Meadows in Northern Areas, Pakistan.

Definitely the most scariest road I ever drove on:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wao! I would not ever drive there.

PS: Do a search for "caracol" in Google Images and you'll notice why the "Los Caracoles" Pass is called so xD (I'm spanish and laughed when I saw the name)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been on Caracoles 4 times- it is crazy scary! (and btw a caracol is a snail, in Spanish. Hence the name.)

Blogger Code Red said...

There are definitely stretches along the White Rim Road through Canyonlands NP in Utah that compete with these road. Maybe not in terms of treachery over the entire length, but it's quite a remarkable thing. Here are two photos I took for reference: Photo 1 and Photo 2. I've actually posted quite a few images recently from my trips to the White Rim Road.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaaah. Or how about the Irohazaka Road in Nikko (Japan)? Not only does it look like this, they've got all the hairpins numbered and named, with little signs with flowers on them. A quite harrowing experience, and I wasn't even doing the driving.

Blogger Bashkim Dudus said...

Wow, I've been at the Tirana - Elbasan path! It was very dangerous, and I'm one of those who just don't feel safe in a car. Some truck-drivers drove like crazy and we saw two accidents on the way!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last photo is shopped. There's not enough shadow on the left-hand railing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see Byrn's comment on the shadow. I do a lot of PS and can't find your reference.

Blogger Code Red said...

Agreed, I've being using PS for a decade and I can't find any evidence that the last image was tampered with. The shadows look healthy, other than the fact the image was taken with a medium-grade digital camera - or is highly compressed. I question Byrn's claim...

Blogger Unknown said...

One note about the Skipper's Canyon road: the tourist buses definitely DO NOT go on that road. I used to live nearby and have been on that road several times. It was put in during the gold rush in the 19th century and really has had little work done since then. The blue vehicles shown in the one picture are the biggest ones that go out there. With that said, I agree that it is an awesome and hair-raising road to be on!

Also in NZ, though not as dangerous as it once was, is the Rimutaka Road (or as the locals call it, Rima-puka Road) between Wellington and the Wairarapa valley. It's been widened lately but still has its share of bad accidents.

One more is the Cardrona Road between Wanaka and Queenstown, though this too has been redone (paved now) so it has lost a bit of its original "charm" ;-) . Still enough to make you hurl when making the final descent into Queenstown.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember driving on the AlCan Highway before it was paved. The road from Dawson Creek, BC to the border of Alaska was all gravel road. 1,300 miles of fun! haha!
I wish I had some pictures of the hot springs and the herd of Dall sheep. It was the experience of a lifetime for me!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Alps in Northern Italy are the scariest I've been over. No railings of course, but what really got me were the shrines at the hairpins in memory of the people who didn't make it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My two cents:

Main road, Pilon, Santiago de Cuba


Blogger Patrick is awesome/Patrick is evil said...

i went on los caracoles the day before yesterday... it's pretty tame even including the crazy driving at that spot. other parts along the road are less interesting but more dangerous.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Caracoles I consider it comparing to others a quite safe route, and I drive fast.
It is not the best but is much away of being a high risk route. Accidents are very unsusual.
The one is worst than others is the way to go up to other ski resorts like the way to Farellones/Valle Nevado. 36 kms (22.3 miles) of curves through a 2 way traffic very narrow road. http://www.caleuche.com/Chile/IMAGENES/MONTANAS/CaminoFarallones.jpg

Blogger The A of DNA said...

I laughed at the one with huge sand hill over it.. hilarious.

While taking a roadtrip in Costa Rica I found HORRIBLE roads.. took us hours to go just a few miles. SHEESH..

check out some of our roadtrips here
with awesome pictures:
(we're photographers)


Blogger Unknown said...

we drove down the Remarkables in heavy snowfall and were hugging the mountain so tightly that we crashed into a ditch. It's a terrifying road with sheer drops - that photo shows the safe part at the bottom as far as i can tell.

My heart skipped numerous beats driving up and down that mountain.

Blogger Unknown said...

The last photo from Part 5 is from Turkey. The truck is from a city called Van, one of the easternmost city in Turkey and is just south of Mount Ararat and west of Armenia. And no, that photo is not photoshopped. :) Turkish villagers are known to do some stupid stuff once in a while..

Blogger Unknown said...

wonderful posts...definitely enjoyed this....I have been on a pilgrimage to some deep Himalayan ranges from badrinath and kedarnath....definitely they were scarier and only prayers to God made me feel better as i canted some prayers through out my travel....My driver was an Army truck driver.... !!!

Anonymous Nathan Palairet said...

We do a Venturer Scout skiing trip to Mr Hutt every year. Last year the road was pretty icy and our chains kept breaking on the van (you can see the traffic we're holding up) I have to say, it is kinda scary if you have the handbrake and footbrake on, and you keep on sliding down. http://narf.co.nz/cgi/scout_photo/index.cgi?album=/Venturers/2009/Methven+2009&mode=viewpicture&picture=max_meth09.JPG and steep drop in foggy conditions? I think this one trumps it :P http://narf.co.nz/cgi/scout_photo/index.cgi?album=/Venturers/2009/Methven+2009&mode=viewpicture&picture=SANY0342.JPG you can just make out the drop on the right.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're ridht my friend-not even close to Albania-it's GREEK on every rock!!!!

Blogger Unknown said...

The "potholes from hell" pics are also from Japan -- the outcome of 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake, IIRC, the first time a Shikansen train ever derailed (no injuries). Earthquakes do tend to do funny things with the roads.

Anonymous Haseeb said...

Check following roads in Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan Province, and you'll forget the ones on this page:
1. Gilgit - Skardu road
2. Skardu - Deosai road
3. Sost - Misgar road
4. Jaglot - Astore road

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last photo taken in "Kuzgun Köyü, Giresun, Turkey". You can be sure that it's real.

40°53'0.61"N 38°51'48.33"E

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last photo taken in "Kuzgun Köyü, Giresun, TR". You can be sure that it's real.

40°53'0.66"N 38°51'47.71"E

Anonymous Webfoot Logger said...

I've seen people do things like that last one . . . on even less substantial bridges.

I've also seen potholes that would put those "potholes from hell" to shame . . .

One was only a meter in diameter, but at least five meters deep.


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