The World's 12 Most Dangerous Roads

Staff Writer
Adventure is around literally every corner when you take these wild rides
Flickr/Mikel Pierre

Bolivia's famed "Death Road" remains deadly, despite its budding reputation as a tourist destination for downhill cyclists.

As outdoorspeople with adventurous spirits, we're all pretty familiar with hairy driving situations. After all, many of our favorite playgrounds—whitewater rapids, surf breaks, backcountry campsites, even ski resorts—are in remote or hard-to-access places. They are down high-clearance 4WD tracks, at the bottom of steep gorges or, in winter, on the far side of avalanche-prone mountain passes.

Slideshow: 12 Scary Roads

In fact, many of what we consider the most dangerous roads are in mountains. Want to go climbing, snowboarding or whitewater kayaking? Chances are, you're headed into those great big, unavoidable wrinkles in the earth's topography. Modern road construction technology, including tunnels, guardrails, retaining walls and switchbacks (a hazard in their own right), help eliminate some of the most hazardous conditions. Still, in less developed places—the remote Andes and Himalayas, for example—unprotected, cliff-hugging roads are still a reality. And, in the end, no technology can account for the freak storms and dangerous conditions on 10,000-plus-foot mountain passes.

For these situations, we have rock-steady off-road adventure vehicles. These are powerful trucks and SUVs that can seemingly drive over any obstacle, power through any swollen stream or snowdrift, and then winch themselves out on the off chance that they get stuck.

PHOTOS: 12 roads for the brave and/or crazy

In some cases, though, it's more that just topography that makes a road dangerous. Some pass through war-torn countries, others are plagued by bandits and still more of our favorite adventure destinations are just too far North, where the roads are a frozen mess three-quarters of the year and a muddy quagmire the for the rest.

The controlled environments of our vehicles—especially when contrasted against the unforgiving environments of the great outdoors—all too often give us a false sense of security. These roads are here to remind you that you're never really in control. But that's half of what makes it an adventure.

Join us for a white-knuckle ride on 12 of the world's scariest roads that traverse adventurous destinations from Alaska to Afghanistan. By the time you're done, perhaps you'll consider flying.


Still want to drive? Check out our list of the Best Adventure Vehicles of 2013: