Karakoram Highway

Karakoram Highway


Take on the legendary Karakoram Highway tour as you climb toward the stunning panoramas of Fairy Meadows and the ancient mountain kingdoms of the Hunza Valley. Once part of the Silk Road, the Karakoram Highway traverses three of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges,  connecting Northern Pakistan to the remote Xinjiang region of China.  Prepare to rewrite popular stereotypes of this often misunderstood country as you gain an entirely new perception of the land and its people.

Start  Islamabad

Finish  Islamabad

Trip Length  12 days

Max Elevation  4600 Meters

Group Size  Min 1, Max 12

Physical Rating  Moderate

Available Trip Options

Fixed Departures: September 22 – October 3, 2024

Karakoram Highway Tour Highlights

  • Tour the legendary Karakoram Highway, passing through a land made famous by its looming snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and pristine alpine lakes.
  • Meet the residents of the Hunza Valley who have sustained life for centuries in this barren and often unforgiving landscape. 
  • Spend the night in a remote mountain lodge at Fairy Meadows in the shadow of Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest peak on the planet.
  • Visit one of the highest border crossings in the world as you travel by jeep to the Kunjerbad pass on the China – Pakistan border.
  • Enjoy legendary Pakistani hospitality as you experience the intriguing culture and traditions in the valleys of Gilgit Baltistan, only recently connected to the rest of the world by road.

Trip Leaders


Jonathan’s mission is connecting you with local trip leaders who will make your once-in-a-lifetime adventure a reality. Jonathan has spent the last ...

  • Michigan, USA

Photographer, trekking guide, and writer, Salim is most at home when showing guests around the Hunza Valley which he calls home. If you manage to ...

  • Hunza Valley, Pakistan

Is this trip for me?

  • This itinerary includes a short three-hour trek to the Fairy Meadows cabins, and porters are available to carry your backpack for a small fee.  Anyone who is able to comfortably hike for three hours on a well-traveled path will be able to participate in this itinerary
  • The Karakoram Highway tour includes an optional day hike to Nanga Parbat base camp, and there will be an option to either spend the day exploring the Fairy Meadows around the cabin, or trek to Nanga Parbat base camp.
  • The best times of year for the Karakoram Highway tour are April and May or September and October. The Fairy Meadows road and Karakoram Highway near the China border are closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall, so if traveling to Pakistan during the winter we suggest exploring the Indus Valley on our Punjab and Sindh itinerary.


Karakoram Highway Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Islamabad

  • Arrive at the Islamabad airport on the first day of your Karakoram Highway Tour, where a member of the Untraversed team will be waiting to greet you upon arrival. Your trip leader will hold a meeting at 3 p.m. in the hotel, followed by dinner at a restaurant overlooking the city. Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is a planned city built from the ground up as the nation’s capital, and set to the background of picturesque green hills to the north of the city.

Day 2 Islamabad - Naran

  • Start your Karakoram Highway tour in the morning by private transportation, as you climb through winding roads toward the snow-capped peaks ahead. Reach Naran by evening, and spend the night in a hotel here at the top of the Kaghan Valley, just short of Babusar Top.

Note:  The route through Naran crosses the high-elevation Babusar pass.  In the event that Babusar Top is closed due to weather, we will travel via an alternate route to reach Raikot.

Day 3 Naran -  Raikot

  • Continue the breathtaking drive as you climb towards Babusar Top, and take in the stunning views from the pass at 4100 meters. In the evening reach Raikot Bridge, which spans the headwaters of the mighty Indus River along the Karakoram Highway.  Spend the night in a hotel at the gateway to Nanga Parbat, and rest well for the journey to Nanga Parbat and Fairy Meadows in the morning.  There will be secure storage at the hotel for any gear not needed for the trek to Fairy Meadows.

Day 4 Raikot - Fairy Meadows

  • Continue your Karakoram Highway tour with a side trip via jeep to the trailhead for your trek to Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat. Hang on tight for one of the most epic and scenic rides in Pakistan, as the track winds its way through switchbacks towards the start of the hiking trail. A three-hour hike follows the jeep ride, with iconic cabins awaiting you at Fairy Meadows along with a spectacular view of Nanga Parbat and the surrounding peaks. 

Day 5 Day Hike to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

  • Set out on a day hike towards Nanga Parbat Base Camp, as the picturesque forests gradually transition into stunning glaciers. After passing Beyal Camp the trail becomes steep and rocky as you gain elevation, but the views from base camp await you at the end! After savoring the views, return to your Fairy Meadows cabin for one last night in this surreal setting.

Day 6 Fairy Meadows - Lower Hunza Valley

  • Hike back down to meet the jeep in the morning, and then travel back down the Fairy Meadows jeep track towards the Karakoram Highway. Continue up the highway past Gilgit and on into the Hunza Valley. The Hunza Valley is one of our favorite spots on our Pakistan itineraries. The valley is an excellent example of the unique culture of the Gilgit Baltistan Region, cut off from the rest of Pakistan to the south for centuries prior to the construction of the Karakoram Highway. Spend the night in Karimabad, looking over the picturesque fields stretching along the river below.

Day 7 Lower Hunza Valley - Gulmit

  • If the weather is clear, take an early morning drive up to Eagles Nest for a stunning view of the Hunza Valley and the surrounding peaks, and then continue up the valley to the quaint village of Gulmit, to spend the night there at a local guesthouse. Meet your welcoming hosts, sample local dishes served in traditional Pakistani style, and learn about the pleasantly slow-paced lifestyle of families that trace their heritage back generations in this valley so far removed from the rest of the world.

Day 8 Day trip to the China Border

  • Set out for the Khunjerab Pass and the border crossing with China, the highest point on your Karakoram highway tour, and one of the highest border crossings on the planet. On the way be sure to stop to check out the epic Hussaini hanging bridge, and (optionally) try to walk across it if you are up to the challenge! Pass the towering cathedral-shaped rock formations known locally as the “Passu Cones,” and keep your eyes peeled for marco polo sheep and ibex as you reach higher elevations. Pass herds of yacks being grazed on the barren slopes of the surrounding mountains, and be sure to take the ultimate selfie with the border guards at 4600 meters! Return via the Karakoram Highway to the Gulmit homestay for the night.

Day 9  Gulmit - Naran

  • Continue down the Karakoram Highway, tracing the headwaters of the Indus River as you leave the Hunza Valley. Climb the winding road over Babusar Top and on to your hotel for the night at Naran. Note: In the event of Babusar Pass being closed due to snow this itinerary will travel via an alternate route back to Islamabad.

Day 10 Naran - Islamabad

  • Continue on from Naran through the scenic Kaghan Valley as you pass through pleasant fields and villages. Spend the evening in Islamabad resting from the epic Karakoram Highway adventure that you just completed, or explore the local cuisine in the vibrant markets of the capital.

Day 11 Islamabad and Rawalpindi

  • Travel down to Rawalpindi’s bustling Raja Bazar with your local trip leader, and witness one of the most lively retail settings in the subcontinent. Try your hand at bartering in the markets, or take in the scene from afar if you aren’t feeling up to the adventure. Spend one last night in Islamabad.

Day 12 Departure

  • You are free to book your departing flight for any time, and there are no activities planned for the last day of your Karakoram Highway Tour. If you are interested in extending your adventure, reach out to the Untraversed team to extend your adventure with a trip to Lahore, with its vibrant sufi tradition and stunning Mughal-era architecture.


Included in the Karakoram Highway Tour price:

  • All accommodation, including private cabins while at Fairy Meadows
  • All ground transportation via private vehicle
  • All meals during the trip
  • English-speaking local trip leader

Not included:

  • Flights to and from Islamabad
  • Travel insurance, which is a requirement for the trip
  • Visa

Book a Private Trip

Do none of the above group tour dates work for your schedule?  Are you wanting to book a private trip for yourself or a group of friends?  Reach out to us today to book this itinerary as a private trip.  Our staff will work with you to craft your custom once in a lifetime adventure!

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