Karakoram Highway, Pakistan to China

Karakoram Highway

The Karakoram Highway, a branch of the ancient Silk Road, is the highest border crossing in the world and one of the few routes, paved or not, that crosses the Himalayas. At an elevation of 15,397 feet, it connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range. Over the course of its 800-mile stretch between Kashgar and Islamabad, you’re bound to see many of the highest peaks and longest glaciers (outside the Polar Regions) on Earth.

Karakoram Map

You’ll also ride over the Khunjerab, the highest paved mountain pass in the world, where you just might encounter yaks, snow leopards, outlandish jingle art trucks and surly border guards. One tourist website advises intrepid visitors to travel only by day and to “keep going.” Sounds like a lovely, cold, potentially dangerous and downright epic ride. Count us in.

PHOTO: Horizons Unlimited; map, Wikipedia.