Cycling on Karakoran Highway - Pakistan


Nanga Parbat Adventure cycling tour of Pakistan is an opportunity to experience astounding natural beauty and ancient cultures along the Karakoram highway, while enjoying some of the best riding in the world.

The Karakoram is the backbone of vast colliding mountain ranges incorporating some of the world’s highest peaks and longest non-Polar glaciers. These peaks reach 7,000-8,000m and include K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth.

From Gilgit we cycle the Bagrote Valley at the heart of the Karakorum Mountains, and Dubani to the south east. We let our guest to visit school and community projects to support by Nanga Parbat Adventure.

The tour includes Shimshall village, which is the highest settlement including other mountain Valleys like Hushe, Khaplu, cycling back down the pass on thrilling mountain road. The Gilgit Baltistan has a reputation for outstanding natural beauty, welcoming communities and endless hiking and mountain biking opportunities. Until very recently Gilgit Baltistan was cut off from the modern world and became mythologized in books and films as the “Lost Kingdom of Shangri-La”. Due to its isolation and purity its people are reputed to have extraordinary health and longevity.

You will revel in the striking beauty of Northern Pakistan’s snow-capped Karakoram mountain range and glacial river valleys characterised by distinctive black rocks.
One of the world’s great cycle rides, set amongst ever-changing scenery, our Pakistan cycle trip is hard to beat.


Tour Itinerary: 
Arrive at Islamabad airport. Complementary airport to hotel transfers are included for all flight times. At 6pm you will meet the group and our representative at the hotel for a briefing. Islamabad Altitude: 540 metres (1,770 ft) Accommodation: Hotel

We will try to take the early morning flight to Gilgit (not included in trip cost); this is one of the most dramatic flight routes in the world. A small Fokker Friendship plane flies around Nanga Parbat at 8,125m; the sharp triangle of K-2, the second highest mountain in the world, is clearly visible on the horizon. The pilot sometimes invites passengers into the cockpit to see some of Pakistan’s 82 peaks over 7,000m, which stretch, range after range, as far as the eye can see.
This route is ‘weather dependent’ with about one third of flights cancelled, some at the last moment. If the flight is cancelled we will travel by coach to Gilgit.
On arrival in Gilgit we will be transferred to our hotel.
Gilgit Altitude: 1,500m  Overnight at Hotel.

We spend the day relaxing in Gilgit. You have the option of visiting the incredible seventh century Kargah Buddha, a three meter high statute carved half way up a cliff-face. A 10-minute walk from here is the Shuko Gah, a small village where a Buddhist birch bark text (now called the Gilgit manuscripts) was found in 1931. The manuscripts are now divided among museums in London, Rome, Delhi and Karachi. Gilgit Altitude: 1,500m (4921ft Cycle Distance: 18km (11 miles Total Climb: 225m (738ftTotal Descent: 225m. Overnight at Hotel

Today we set off on the bikes and cycle into the beautiful and remote Bagrote Valley which spans a distance of 25km and is 43km from Gilgit. Located at the heart of the Karakorum Mountains, it is surrounded by four Mountain Peaks: Rakapushi to the West, Dirn to the North, Popurash to the East and Dubani to the South East. The Bagrote River flows through the steep valley and merges with the Gilgit. The lower region of the valley has been likened to a lunar landscape and is in strong contrast to the upper valley. We cycle up the narrow road to the summer pastures passing beautiful terraced fields and meadows. The crops and orchards are irrigated by water channels from the Barchi and Hinarchi glaciers and mountain snow. Ice from the glacier is transported to Gilgit as the town has no ice factory. Chirah is the final village along the track, with a view of Hinarche Glacier and a series of ridges culminating in the Diran Peak (7270m). Nagyr is on the other side. Tonight we will be camping. Chirah Altitude: 2,445m (8,022ft) Cycling Distance: 43km Ascent : 1,377m Descent: 372m Overnight at Camping (B,L,D)

This morning we visit the local school and women’s sewing center, a vocational training project; both are supported by redspokes LVCF charity. We have the opportunity to meet families from the community. There is time to walk around and enjoy the view of the prominent Dobani peak and the Hinarche Glacier. We cycle back to Gilgit, mainly downhill; a gentle trip compared with yesterday’s ascent up the valley. Back in Gilgit you will have time to look around, visit a tea shop or pick up some of the handicrafts for sale in the town. Gilgit Altitude: 1,500m  Cycle Distance: 43km
Ascent : 372m Descent: 1,377m Overnight at hotel.

Shortly after leaving Gilgit we rejoin the KKH. The road climbs slowly passing a few small villages, before we start to witness the huge spiral of Rakaposhi looming in the distance. The road goes so close to its base that it is hidden most of the way. It is only when we arrive at our small family guesthouse at Minapin that we really witness the true beauty of Rakaposhi. Our accommodation for the night is situated in a beautiful tranquil orchard. Minapin Altitude: 2,030m Cycle Distance: 82km Ascent : 1,353m Descent: 772m  Overnight at Hotel or local traditional Guest House

The Karakoram highway (KKH) is at its most spectacular between Ghulmit and Gulmit. The road rides high on the eastern side of the river, twisting and turning around the barren foot of the Hispar Range, which boasts six peaks over 7,000 metres. On the opposite bank, villages cling implausibly to the side of the 7,388m Ultar Mountain. Above, the jagged teeth along the ridge hide the highest snow-covered peaks from view. A short but spectacular day to Karimabad, the capital of Hunza. Karimabad Altitude: 2,400m  Cycle Distance: 35km Ascent : 703m Descent: 341m Overnight at Hotel.

A rest day, but with so much to see in this enchanting village, it is unlikely that you will get much rest. Highlights are a visit to the 13th Century Baltit Fort or a visit to see the Sacred Rocks of Hunza. For the really adventuress amongst you a trek up to Hon will give you incredible views across  the River the whole of the Nagar valley. Karimabad Altitude: 2,400m Overnight at Hotel.

As we leave Karimabad the road drops down to the village of Ganesh before we begin a fairly hard 15 km climb. Remember that if at any time you have had enough, just wait around for the back-up vehicle. Due to the floods of 2010, a section of the KKH between the village of Gulmet, and Gulkin is now impassable and we will take a ferry here to continue along the route. This afternoon we cycle on a further 16 km to Passu. The road climbs with intermittent glimpses of glaciers, precipices and gleaming white peaks, before the 10 km descent to Passu, which brings us directly in front of the incredible Passu Glacier where we will stop for the night. Passu Altitude: 2,480m Cycle Distance: 41km Ascent : 910m  Descent: 762m  Overnight at Hotel

Today you can either cycle or transfer by vehicle. The first 6km along the KKH before turning just beyond the Batura Glacier to cross a suspension bridge over the Hunza River and follow a jeep track up to Shimshal. The road has been described as a miracle of engineering by some. On our approach to Shimshal we pass fields of stones partitioned by dry stone walls, and houses built of mud and stone. In the distance we may catch a glimpse of Odver Sar (6,303m). The village herdsmen pasture their sheep, yak and goats in the seasonal mountain grasslands, located several days walk from the village. The people of Shimshal are Wakhi. Shimshal Altitude: 3,100m

Cycle Distance: 59km Ascent : 972m Descent: 383m Overnight at Guest House.

Today we cycle down the valley passing the Mulungutti Glacier as we travel through a stunning scenery. The valley is home to herds of sheep, goats and yaks that are moved up and down the area with the seasons. But we see little evidence of settlement apart from the few shepherd’s huts on the narrow track road. We cross the Hunza River over a suspension bridge before re-joining the KKH about 6km north of Passu. From here we will transfer to Gulmit.
Gulmit Altitude: 2,465m Cycle Distance: 59km Ascent : 383m Descent: 972m overnight at Hotel.

We journey back passing Karimabad once more enjoying our surroundings in the beautiful Hunza valley; the mountains to soar high above us and the road is lined with apricot trees. Minapin is a small detour off of the main road; we climb through tiny villages where friendly locals will greet us. Near Minapin we will enjoy a spectacular view of Mt Rakaposhi from the road. At a height of 7788 meters, Rakaposhi has an uninterrupted vertical rise of approximately 6000 m making it the tallest mountain on land when measured from the base to peak.
Minapin Altitude: 2,030m Cycling Distance: 68km Ascent  680m descent: 1,450m Overnight at Hotel or Guest House.

We will trek around the local area this morning. We are surrounded by steep hillsides where small conifers grow. The village of Minapin is a popular destination as it provides the easiest access to three peaks that mountaineers are fond of scaling: the 7,788m Rakaposhi peak, the 7,266m Diran peak and the Miachar peak in the Karakoram Range. The valley’s natural beauty and the hospitality, culture and traditions of the locals all contribute to its popularity.  In the evening we will cycling to drive to Gilgit. Overnight at Gilgit.

This morning we return to Islamabad. You either fly or travel by road. Those who opt to fly will have time to explore Islamabad. The city’s monuments, shrines and places of interest include Pakistan’s largest mosque: Faisal Mosque and the Lok Virsa Museum where you’ll see an interesting collection of folk and traditional artefacts. Just an hour by taxi from Islamabad is the Unesco World Heritage site Taxila. Meaning “City of Cut Stone” or “Takṣa Rock”, Taxila is an important archaeological site where you can see remains of four early settlement sites, Buddhist monasteries, and a Muslim mosque and madrassa. Overnight at Hotel.

Transfer to airport for our late afternoon/evening flight home.

Note : The above itinerary is intended as a working guide. Although every effort will be made to adhere to it, changes may be made because of weather conditions, transport failure or other unforeseen events.


We can make a customize itinerary if you’re looking for a shorter/longer tour or simply want the enjoyment of travelling on your own or with friends, Please let us to create a customized itinerary for you? We can organize private tours for groups of 2 or more people.
We have years of experience working in adventure cycling and providing our clients with customized itineraries





You will at all times have the security of a back-up vehicle; either a jeep or a bus. The vehicle will carry your luggage (we transport your main baggage by support vehicle from each overnight stop to the next) and yourself if you want. The backup van will be with us throughout the day stopping around every 12 miles (20 km).Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems so all you normally need to carry is a daypack, for your camera etc. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so if you are bringing your own bike on the tour you must ensure that it is in good working order. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.

Most meals are included in your trip price apart from on non-cycling days and some other exclusions. Please check the itinerary for full details. If you have a special dietary request, please advise us at the time of booking. Most diets can be catered for, but it is always important to advise us in advance.

It is mandatory that you are well-insured for the full duration of the tour. This must include personal injury, medical expenses, death, repatriation, helicopter or aircraft rescue, loss of luggage or equipment, cancellation or curtailments.
You should also ensure that there is no exclusion clauses limiting protection for the type of activities included in your tour. Any claims concerning matters for which you are insured must be directed to your insurers. We strongly recommend that you take out insurance at the time of booking your trip to ensure that you are covered in the event of cancellation.

We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room. Should you wish to have a room all to yourself there is a single supplement option on the majority of our tours.

we are unable to offer bike hire for this trip. We highly recommend to bringing your own bike for this tour we recommend a good tough mountain bike as the roads can be very rough. Front suspension will help with the washboard tracks and potholes, but it is not essential. Full-suspension is OK, but may be hard work on the tarmac stretches. If you have flat bars, fitting bar ends will give you a different hand position and help with the climbs. The trip can be done on traditional touring bikes, but it is important to ensure it has got strong enough wheels, sufficiently wide tyres (37mm is about the minimum) and low enough gearing. It’s worth investing in a pair of 36 spoke, hand-built wheels, using a good quality rim (e.g. Sun Rhyno, Mavic or RigidaLow geared such as a 22-tooth granny cog on the front crank driving an 11-32/34 block on the back should do the trick. Comfortable as there are some long days so it is essential your saddle and riding position are comfortable.
The route is a mixture of poorly maintained tarmac and very rough gravel tracks. The best tyre for the job is probably the Schwalbe Marathon XR. It’s very tough and hardwearing, and has a decent tread for the gravel without being too knobbly for tarmac.
We strongly recommend that you have your bike fully serviced before going on the tour. Ensure that wheel spokes are adjusted, greasing all bearings, check gear and brake cables, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamp and tyres. Put in a new inner tubes and check wheel rims aren’t worn.
We recommend that you take the following items with you.
*Multi tool
* Tyre levers
* Pump
* Spare inner tubes
* Spare spokes
* Check with your bike shop for disc/ brake pads
* A few links for your chain
* Spares for any unique things for your bikes i.e fluid or bleed kit.
Your bike must be carried as part of your luggage allowance. The weight of a bike in cardboard box is about 15-20kg, so please bear this in mind when packing for the trip and you may have to pay for excess luggage.

Pakistan has a continental type of climate characterized by extreme variations of temperature, both seasonally, daily and in differing regions. The high altitudes on the majority of this tour means the climate is cold, with snow-covered northern mountains.

In terms of clothing this is clearly up to you and we can only supply a rough guide as to what to take. This guide is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs.
* Cycle Helmet
* Sunglasses
* Water bottles or camelbak
* Base layer tops
* Fleece jacket/ pullover
* Waterproof cycling jacket (breathable fabric)
* Baggy padded cycling shorts
* Cycling shoes/ trekking shoes
* Lightweight socks & heavyweight socks
* Trekking Shorts
* Trousers
* T-shirts– lightweight
* Long-sleeved thermal shirt
* Fingerless cycling gloves
* Warm gloves
* Warm fleece hat
* Buff
* Towel
* Lipbalm/ sunscreen
* Thermal Long Johns
* Headlamp
* Sleeping bag
Our guides carry first aid supplies, however we recommend you bring your own first aid kit which should contain the following item;
* Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen (or whatever you prefer for headache)
* Lomotil or Diacalm
* Rehydration salts (Dioralite)
* Antiseptic cream
* Throat lozenges
* Plasters (band aids)
* Nasal spray
* Eye drops
* Ear plugs
* Anti bacterial hand wash
* Antiseptic wet wipes
* Insect Repellent
* Energy Bars (gels, power bars)
* Energy/recovery drinks
* Camera

Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. 60-70USD for the guide and team at the end of the tour is recommended.
It is customary for this to be collected up and given to your guide who will distribute it amongst the team. Unfortunately there is usually a hierarchy for the division between guides, helpers and drivers.
Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that 200 to 250 $ will be more than enough to cover the tour.

Challenging 7/10
Average Daily distance 50km
Average Daily Ascent 800 m
 Days 10

We have a wide mix of cyclists on our tours from couples, friends to solo travelers. Our prices are based on twin shared accommodation. If you sign up for one of our tours as a solo traveler we will twin share you with another person of the same gender in your group. If you prefer to have your own room this is an option on most of our tours for an extra charge.