You don’t hear this travel-related expression often anymore, but it used to be quite common. Safe roads are a thing of the present, as the past was filled with trails that could literally get you killed. But even to this day, there still are a few destinations you should stay away from. That is unless you’re an adventurer. If you’re curious what those are, read this article because it is never a bad idea to educate yourself.
Trans-Sahara Highway, Algiers
There’s a plan to build a network of highways across the African continent, to promote the much-needed economic development in the region, which frankly sounds like a fantastic idea. But it is still a plan, and it will take a few years until it becomes a dream come true.
That’s why the alternative route is the first road on our list. Traveling on the 2,800 mile-long partially sand covered route remains a daunting task. Not only are daytime temperatures scorching, but fuel and water are scarce along much of the way. Plus, with all the political turmoil in the region, it might not be a good idea to go on a solo expedition there.
Kolyma Federal Highway, Russian Federation
Another rather creepy road connects Magadan to Yakutsk. The 1,200-mile-long route is known in Europe and Russia as the “Road of Bones”. The story doesn’t end here. It was constructed between the 30s and the early 50s by thousands of convicts who were deliberately overworked and even starved to death, then buried beneath the road.
Over the years, it has fallen into a severe state of despair, as the Russian authorities have neglected it. The Kolyma road passes through some of the coldest inhabited places on Earth, with winter-time temperatures that drop to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At times, the way is frozen solid. To ride here you will need a very thick motorcycle adventure jacket.
Karakoram Highway, Pakistan to China
Sometimes this cool road is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World since it was built at 14,500 feet above sea level and, of course, under very rough conditions. Construction on the Karakoram Highway began in early 1966 and was completed in autumn 1979, although it wasn’t opened officially until 1986.
This dangerous piece of land covers more than half of a continent and, in some places, it follows the famous Silk Road. It cuts through the most mountainous region on Earth, and it is beset with hazards like rock falls, landslides, frequent avalanches, and even flooding. But despite that, it is one of the most profitable commercial routes in modern history. Needless to say, it is not suited even for the sturdiest and the most expensive road bike.
Pan American Highway, Alaska to Chile
The Pan American Highway or PAH for short is not dangerous in its entirety. But in some key places, you for sure risk your freedom and also your life by using the PAH as a way of reaching Chile from the US. That’s because a big chunk of the PAH winds through the sketchy parts of Mexico and Central America, where drug cartels make the rules.
And in the gorgeous Panamanian section of the road, you have increased chances of encountering FARC rebels, who often take hostages to hold for ransom. Anyway, the PAH is around 30,000 miles long, and if you want to ignore all the bad stuff that’s going on, the scenery along the way is going to take your breath away.
Halsema Highway, Philippines
This is the last road we are going to talk about for the moment. Although it is one of the most hazardous stretches of road on this planet, it is also one of the most scenic and rewarding too. It was ordered in the 1930s by a man who went by the name Eusebius Julius Halsema, who was weirdly enough from Ohio.
The highway snakes along the dangerous slopes of the Cordillera Central mountain range, in an area loaded with volcanic rock formations. The 7.8 earthquake that took place in 1990 destabilized and broke some stony layers apart, and as a result, drivers are under the constant threat of rock slides and death.