September 12, 2008 / 11:04 AM / 9 years ago

Travel Picks: World's scariest roads

4 Min Read

<p>A bus and a truck meet head-on in a near collision common to the North Yungas highway, a narrow, unpaved lane connecting La Paz to the Amazon Basin with a reputation as one of Bolivia's most dangerous rides, in this 1997 file photo.Rickey Rogers</p>

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Locals give them names such as the "Road of Death" and the "Road of Bones" -- streets where just one small miscalculation can lead to disaster.

Travel Web site Travel + Leisure (here) takes a look at 10 of the world's scariest roads. This list is not endorsed by Reuters. 1. North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Location: Between La Paz and the town of Coroico In running as the most dangerous road on the planet, the North Yungas Road - aka the "Road of Death" - stretches some 40 mountain-hugging miles, as narrow as 10 feet in spots and with 1,000-foot drops straight to a rainforest below.

2. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China

Location: China's Taihang Mountains In 1972, villagers in a remote area of the Taihang Mountains chiseled a 3/4-mile-long tunnel through a mountain for access to the outside world. Today, the route -- 15 feet high and 12 feet wide -- is a tight squeeze for vehicles, twisting past 30 "windows", which provide views off the precipice.

3. Halsema Highway, Philippines

Location: Island of Luzon

Like many under-maintained mountain roads, landslides are a hazard on the Halsema Highway, where big stones and debris tumble from peaks and along with the cloud forests comes mist that can ruin visibility. Many sections remain unpaved.

4. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan to China

Location: Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan

The world's highest paved road, the Karakoram Highway winds through the mountains at an altitude above 16,000 feet, eventually connecting to China. It's a popular tourist route, with motorists stopping to view K2. Drivers can easily suffer altitude sickness.

5. Kolyma Highway, Russia

Location: Russian Far East and Siberia

Actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman crossed this 1,200-mile route, nicknamed the "Road of Bones", on a round-the-world motorcycle trip in 2004. Built in the Stalin era, the Road of Bones gets its name from labor camp inmates and other workers who died during construction. In winter, motorists drive across frozen rivers instead of ferries.

<p>Undated aerial photo of Wilderness Road to Selva Blue Lodge, Bolivia between Santa Ana and Selva Blue wilderness lodge. The 100-mile jungle labyrinth is a 20-foot-wide gravel track that shrinks to a grassy two-track and crosses log bridges over rushing Amazonian tributaries.Handout</p>

6. Canning Stock Route, Australia

Location: Through the vast deserts of Western Australia

Cattlemen 100 years ago pushed this 1,100-mile route through the desert, digging more than 50 wells along its length. Recreational 4WD convoys can now cross the desolation with the aid of fuel drops, forging endless sand and sun-baked earth to traverse one of the least habitable places on the planet.

7. Graciosa Trail, Brazil

Location: In the mountains above Morretes

<p>Undated handout photo of the North Yungas Road, Bolivia between La Paz and the town of Coroico. In running as the most dangerous road on the planet, the North Yungas Road - aka the "Road of Death" - stretches some 40 mountain-hugging miles, as narrow as 10 feet in spots and with 1,000-foot drops straight to a rainforest below.Handout</p>

This old mule route winds through a rainforest and crosses moss-covered bridges. Cobblestones pave parts of its length, it's slippery and dangerous at the sharp turns, and hydrangea plants push in to line the lush lane with blue flowers.

8. Trans-Sahara Highway, Africa

Location: Algiers, Algeria to Lagos, Nigeria

From pavement to sand, the 2,800-mile Trans-Sahara Highway traverses three countries -- Algeria, Niger, and Nigeria -- and journeys through the largest sand desert on earth. Fuel and water are unavailable for much of its sun-scorched length, and sand storms some years move immense drifts, blocking the route.

9. The Stilwell Road, India and Myanmar

Location: Jungle route from Ledo, India into Myanmar

Built during World War Two at the cost of thousands of lives, the Stilwell Road (aka The Ledo Road) climbs mountain passes, snakes through the jungle, and crosses more than 100 rivers and streams in its 1,079-mile length. Constructed as a supply route by Western Allies, the road today is returning to jungle, little used and inaccessible for much of its length in Myanmar.

10. Wilderness Road to Selva Blue Lodge, Bolivia

Location: Between Santa Ana and Selva Blue wilderness lodge

The 100-mile jungle labyrinth is a 20-foot-wide gravel track that shrinks to a grassy two-track and crosses log bridges over rushing Amazonian tributaries.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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