The Scariest Roads In The World
1 Skippers Canyon Road
Skippers Canyon Road is a 16.5-mile-long highway in New Zealand. It took seven years to construct and was completed in 1890. It’s unpaved, narrow, has steep cliffs, and has no guardrails. What’s more is that many sections of the road are the same today as they were when they were first built.
As such, it’s easy to see how dangerous this road is. In fact, it’s so dangerous that it claims hundreds of lives every year. Not only that, but insurance companies won’t honor the claims of anyone who drives it—which, today, mostly includes tour buses and adventure companies.
2 Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a 42-mile road located on the Hawaiian island of Maui. It has blind corners, hairpin turns, big hills, 54 one-lane bridges, 600 sharp turns, a slick surface due to frequent rain, and falling rocks!
Additionally, the road is very narrow—so narrow, in fact, that drivers often have to pull over to let other cars pass. And here’s something else: an article published by MapQuest says that much of the road’s scenery “is a sheer drop over the cliff into the ocean below.” One driver who has traveled the road likened it to a roller coaster ride.
3 Pikes Peak Highway
Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile paved toll road that goes through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to the summit of Pikes Peak. Reaching from 7,400 feet above sea level to 14,115 feet in a short stretch of mountain terrain, it’s one of the highest roads in the U.S. As a result, you can expect altitude sickness if you dare to travel this highway.
According to law firm Rector Stuzynski LLC, many of the turns toward the top of the mountain have steep cliffs and no guardrails. Additionally, the descent back down the mountain is so steep that there’s a mandatory brake temperature checkpoint halfway down!
4 Zojila Pass
Located at an altitude of 11,650 feet, Zojila (also written as Zoji La) Pass is a vital link between Kashmir Valley and Ladakh in India. The road is usually closed during the winter due to dangerous driving conditions, which include high winds and heavy snowfall.
The road is dangerous even when it’s sunny outside. That’s because Zojila Pass is narrow, its drops are steep, and there are no protective barriers. Consequently, the road is often littered with crashed cars, overturned buses, and livestock.
Adding the word “pass” after Zoji La is redundant because the word “la” in Tibetan means “mountain pass.”
5 Stelvio Pass
Located in northern Italy, Stelvio Pass is a nearly 29-mile mountain road that’s 9,045 feet above sea level. It’s the second-highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. It has several extremely dangerous turns (48 hairpin bends, to be exact), low concrete barriers, and very steep inclines.
As such, drivers are cautioned about driving on the road during the winter because snow and ice easily build up on the surface. Several accidents have already taken place on the road, particularly among people who underestimate the road’s difficulty.
Stelvio Pass was built by the Austrian Empire between 1820 and 1825 to connect the province of Lombardy—which was in Austria then, but is now in Italy—with the rest of the country.
6 99-Bend Road to Heaven
Located in Tianmen Mountain National Park in central China, 99-Bend Road to Heaven is a 6.8-mile-long road with a maximum elevation of 3,855 feet. According to WanderWisdom, the road gets its name from its 99 extremely dangerous hairpin turns constructed hundreds of feet in the air. The road is also full of sheer drops and has no protective barriers.
As you probably guessed, 99-Bend Road to Heaven is very treacherous. This is especially true in inclement weather. Something else that makes this road treacherous is the fact that it’s located in a part of the world that’s under constant threat of earthquakes.
7 Bayburt-Of Road D915
Bayburt-Of Road D915 is located on the boundary of the Black Sea region in the northeast portion of Turkey. It is 66 miles long, has 29 hairpin bends, and has no safety railings to keep your car from plunging hundreds of feet below. As such, parts of the road are closed off to the public during the winter to prevent such accidents from happening.
The northern section of the road, known as Derebaşı Turns, is the most iconic part. It has 13 hairpin bends ranging from 5,617 feet above sea level to 6,677 feet above sea level in just three miles. Additionally, it has a steep grade up to 10 percent.
8 Dalton Highway
Built in 1974 as a supply route for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, Dalton Highway is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. For one thing, it’s icy. Anyone who lives in an area where there’s ice and snow knows the dangers of driving in these slick conditions.
Another thing that makes this 413-mile-long road so dangerous is that it’s isolated. In fact, it’s one of the world’s most isolated roads. According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, “it’s the longest stretch of road in North America without roadside services of any kind.” What’s more is that large sections of the highway have fallen into disrepair.
Since Dalton Highway is so incredibly isolated, it’s extremely difficult for first responders to get to accident scenes in time. Therefore, the road is responsible for numerous fatalities every year.
9 California State Highway 1
California’s Highway 1 is one of the state’s most beautiful and most dangerous roads. It’s beautiful because of the redwood trees, wildlife, unspoiled coastline, and panoramic ocean views. It’s dangerous because of all the twists and turns and because of all the debris that can end up on the roadway during storms.
Trees, gravel, mud, large rocks, and entire hillsides can slide onto the roadway during a storm. To make matters worse, tow trucks, should you need one after you encounter debris on the road, can take an hour or more to arrive. Additionally, cell phone service is unavailable in most areas of Highway 1.
Another danger is the steep cliffs. In fact, several cars have plunged over the side into the ocean after crashing on the highway. This has led to many fatalities over the years.
10 Atlantic Road
Considered to be one of the 10 most extreme roads in the world, the Atlantic Road (or the Atlantic Ocean Road) is a series of bridges, causeways and viaducts that connects Averøy, a municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway, with the mainland. Construction of the road took nearly six years to complete.
So, why is the Atlantic Road considered one of the 10 most extreme roads in the world? Well, according to an article published by The Globe and Mail, this is all due to the road’s close proximity to the sometimes stormy Norwegian Sea. During storms, cars are whipped by powerful wind gusts and pounded by giant waves that crash over the rocky shore.
11 Curvas De Huanchaca
This 6.1-mile road is located high in the Andes mountain range in Southern Peru. It’s cut out of rock, features 24 hairpin turns, and rises to nearly 3,000 feet! Curvas de Huanchaca is also very narrow (only wide enough for one car) and has no guardrails. It’s said to have sandy gravel terrain also, although one source said that the road has been recently paved.
And, in case you’re wondering what the name of the road means in English, curvas means “curves” or “bends,” and huanchaca is a Quechua word which means “the bridge of sorrows.” This road is definitely best traveled by experienced drivers only.
Located in Brazil, BR-319 is known for its poor construction. It’s riddled with potholes, it lacks drainage, and annual floods continually wash away rickety bridges. According to The Washington Post, its decay has left much of it impassable for years.
What’s more is that stretches of the highway are now being improved, which is leading to the destruction of the Amazon. “Scientists at the Federal University of Minas Gerais found in 2020 that paving the highway would quadruple deforestation here over the next three decades,” The Washington Post wrote.
“That would be the end of the forest,” Carlos Nobre, a climate scientist who focuses on the Amazon, told The Washington Post.
13 County Road NS 366
With its seemingly endless hills that come one right after another, many people compare Oklahoma’s County Road NS 366 to a roller coaster. In fact, residents often refer to it as “Roller Coaster Highway.” The funny thing is that County Road NS 366 seems to be worse than a roller coaster because travelers have been known to pull over on the shoulder because the road made them nauseous. It’s also made quite a few people vomit.
Country music station WBKR in Owensboro, KY, did a little digging around and found someone who works at a radio station in Tulsa. According to the worker, driving on County Road NS 366 “feels like being on the Screamin’ Demon at Kings Island.” Yeah, I think I’ll pass on this one.
14 Mexico’s Highway 150
You may be looking at this road and wondering just what the heck is going on. But, believe it or not, there is a method to all of this madness. You see, there are a series of tight switchbacks at two points along a 1,000-foot drop on this road. Vehicles are directed to change lanes on the straight sections by crossing in an X shape. This helps direct downhill traffic to the inside of the curves while directing uphill traffic to the outside, thereby keeping you and everyone else on the highway safe.
Ironically, the most dangerous thing about this road isn’t even all of the twists and turns. It’s the crimes committed against motorists and shippers. In response to the violence on the highway, the Mexican government unveiled several initiatives aimed at curbing theft and violence of cargo trucks and passenger cars across the country.
15 Baldwin Street
There are two things that make Dunedin, New Zealand’s Baldwin Street so dangerous. For one thing, it’s very steep. In fact, it’s the steepest street in the world. It slopes at a 19-degree angle. Can you imagine trying to drive up or down this street?
The other thing that makes Baldwin Street so scary and dangerous is the tourists. “Increasingly, inexperienced tourists attempt to drive all modes of transport, including campervans, large SUVs, motorbikes and rental cars of all descriptions, up the street,” resident Sharon Hyndman said at a Dunedin City Council meeting. “Once they reach the top, if they make it, there is no parking and very limited turning. It is not unusual to have four or five cars all vying for the turning space. There are often large groups of pedestrians congregated, making turning unsafe and difficult.”
Unfortunately, a young woman lost her life in 2001 after trying to wheelie-bin down the street. The 19-year-old, who was a student at Otago University, smashed into a parked trailer and passed instantly.
16 Lion’s Back
Lion’s Back is a famous sandstone ridge near Moab, Utah. Although it’s now private property, the road was once open to the public. But it wasn’t suitable for inexperienced drivers. Lion’s Back climbs several hundred feet up a steep slope, with a gradient of up to 65 degrees in some places! There’s also a 3-point turn at the top of the rock!
Unfortunately, many people either got hurt or lost their lives on this road. In fact, there was a video a few years back of a Chevy Blazer that lost its brakes and rolled down the hill. The accident was featured on several TV shows.
17 Guoliang Tunnel
This 0.75-mile tunnel in Guoliang, China, was dug through the side of a mountain. Its nickname is “the road that does not tolerate mistakes,” and it’s easy to see where that name came from.
The tunnel was dug by hand, so in many spots, the only thing keeping cars from plunging off the side of the mountain are some roughly carved pillars. Oh, but it gets worse. There are twists, turns and dips in unpredictable places, as well as bends with slippery blind spots. The road isn’t very wide either, which means you must slowly and carefully pass oncoming vehicles.
Still, the tunnel is a popular tourist attraction. As such, hotels and bridges have been built for hikers and travelers, although access to them isn’t always granted.
18 North Yungas Road
North Yungas Road, which connects Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, to the town of Coroico, is also known as “Death Road”—and for good reason. This 43-mile road has lots of landslides, cascades, fog, and cliffs with 2,000-foot drops. The road is also extremely narrow, with much of it not being wider than 10 feet. Additionally, North Yungas Road is lined with memorials for the some 300 drivers and cyclists who fly off the route and perish every year. Still, local workers and backpackers account for most of the fatalities that occur on this road.
None of this deters thrill seekers, though. They still come from all over the world to bike down North Yungas Road. It’s considered one of the most adventurous and exhilarating activities in Bolivia.
19 Snow Wall Walk
Just north of Tokyo is where you will find snow that towers nearly 56 feet over the road. But it doesn’t pile up like that on its own. This wall of snow is the result of months of work by snowplow truck drivers.
The walls recede as the weather warms, which, when you think about it, is absolutely frightening. And just imagine if, in the winter, there was an avalanche. You’d be buried alive! Still, that doesn’t stop the thousands of tourists who visit Snow Wall Walk every year. As far as I know, there have been no fatalities due to avalanches, flooding, or anything else similar to that, so I guess it’s pretty safe. It’s still quite scary, though.
20 Zombie Road
Located in Wildwood, Missouri, Zombie Road (officially known as Lawler Ford Road) is one of the most haunted roads in the world—according to a popular urban legend, anyway.
Lawler Ford Road started being referred to as “Zombie Road” back in the 1950s due to a story of a creepy “zombie killer” supposedly living in a shack in the woods. Legend has it that he would attack young lovers looking for a place to be alone. As time went on, more stories started to be concocted, including ones about strange noises, vanishings, and ghost sightings. In fact, someone took a photo of a shadowy figure on the road on April 25, 2006. The ghost is believed to be Della Hamilton-McCullough, the wife of a local judge. She was fatally struck by a train in 1876.
There have been stories about other strange casualties, too. These stories go as far back as Native American times. There have also been drownings in nearby Meramec River.