The Top 10 Untamed Roads - Page 2
|Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah (Bureau of Land Management)|
Kalupahana-Horton Plains, Sri Lanka
Nicknamed Satan's Steps in colonial times and ascending 4,236 feet (1,291 m) over just 15 miles (24 km), this jaw-chattering jeep track through Sri Lanka's highest plateau has steep switchbacks, including one called the Devil's Staircase. Experienced drivers can expect glorious hill-country landscapes, with tea plantations, waterfalls—including Sri Lanka's highest, Bambarakanda—and a refreshingly cool climate.
PLANNING: The road leads from Kalupahana on the Colombo-Badulla highway to the Horton Plains National Park visitor center via the Udaweriya Estate. To drive farther into a protected part of the park requires a permit from the visitor center. The best driving conditions are January through March. www.srilanka.travel
Nature Explorer 4x4 Training, Iceland
Follow in the tracks of elite special forces and aid workers training for service in Afghanistan and other fields of combat as you learn advanced 4WD skills in a country with vastly varied terrains, no motorways, and few surfaced roads at all.
PLANNING: In addition to offering 4WD military training, Nature Explorer is an all-round outdoor tour company run by wilderness experts. www.natureexplorer.is
Specialist Vehicle Training, Norfolk, England
For true adventure, driving a tank is hard to beat. Various adventure centers around the U.K. offer short tank drives, but this one can claim to be truly authentic. It trains soldiers for the U.K. H license, which is for tracked vehicles.
PLANNING: Intensive training lasts two days, with the driving test on the third day. www.svtraining.co.uk
Sharm al-Sheikh to St. Catherine's Monastery, Egypt
As you drive northwest from Sharm al-Sheikh through the Sinai Desert to Mount Sinai and the sixth-century Greek Orthodox St. Catherine's Monastery, believed to be where God revealed the Ten Commandments, you pass Bedouin encampments, camel trains, and curious brightly colored sandstone formations.
PLANNING: Only a few roads traverse the desert; a 4WD is essential. Allow six hours for a nonstop round-trip, and another six to scale Mount Sinai's summit by foot or partly by camel. www.sinaimonastery.com
Wadi Dhaiqah, Oman
Lying in a canyon about 56 miles (90 km) east from Muscat—and with more than 100 lesser wadis (gullies) in between—Wadi Dhaiqah presents a remarkably mixed terrain of lofty cliffs, narrow valleys, and deep pools fed by natural springs. It's one of Oman's driving—and visual—highlights.
PLANNING: It's safest to go in a convoy of experienced drivers or with a tour group or local expert. Dry summer months offer the best driving conditions. www.omantourism.gov.om