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Highest Motorable road in the world

Highest Motorable road in the world

Anyone who appreciates adventure, travel, visiting new areas, or, for that matter, motorcycling will be piqued by the mere thought of travelling to the highest motorable road. The highest motorable road in the world is an extraordinary place; there is nothing quite like standing at the top of a world-class motorbike ride that gets you closer to nature and gives you the sensation of being at one with the machine.  I hope this article will give you an idea of what the highest motorable road entails, where the world‘s highest motorable road is located, and also know about the top 10 highest motorable road in the world.

What is the Highest Motorable Road?

The term motorable road is used to refer to a roadway that is accessible by motor vehicle. It is a road that can be driven on (a motorable road) using any motor vehicle. The highest motorable road is a road or trail used for travel by land vehicles such as cars, trucks, or motorcycles.

Although an ordinary road can be used at any point on its length regardless of altitude, a motorable pass or passable is one where the slope is no more than 10%, that is, it climbs at most 100m over 1000 meters horizontal. The topographical definition of a motorable pass is that it has a minimum of 30m for the lowest point under any portion of the route with a roadway in all directions.

Where is the World’s highest motorable road located?

Umling La or Umlingla Pass is India’s world’s highest motorable road; the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed the construction of India’s and the world’s highest motorable road, breaking Bolivia’s previous record. This route runs across Eastern Ladakh’s Umlingla Pass, which is built at the height of 19300 feet. This 52-kilometer black-topped road will connect numerous significant settlements in Eastern Ladakh’s Chumar area. According to sources, the road was built significantly higher than the Siachen Glacier (17700 feet) and the Khardung La Pass (17582 feet) near Leh. With this, India has broken Bolivia’s 18953-foot road record.

Top 10 highest motorable roads in the world

1. Umling La or Umlingla Pass — 5,883 m (19,300 ft.)

The highest motorable road of the world, Umlingla pass or Umling La, linking Chisumle and Demchok villages, was completed and inaugurated by BRO in 2017. Umling La pass is approximately 105 kilometers from Hanle Village and 235 kilometers from Leh. A route from Hanle to Photi La Pass and Photile Village is possible (57 km). Follow the trail from Photile Village to Umlinga La, and pass for about 50 kilometers at an elevation of 19300 feet. You will cross two bridges/water crossings from Photile Village to Umlingla Pass. Another route from Ukdungle village exists. But it is mostly dirt with only a few kilometers of asphalt.

2. Road to Uturuncu – 5,777 m (18,953 ft.)

Until India opened up Umlingla, the road to Uturuncu above col in Potosi, Bolivia, was considered the highest motorable road of the world at a staggering altitude of 5,777 meters or 18953 feet. This route has drawn cyclists from all over the world, and it is unquestionably the world’s highest cyclable road. The road was built to help people get to a sulfur mine. Suppose you live in India and have visited the high villages of Ladakh and Spiti. In that case, you’ll notice that the roads to Uturuncu are mainly driven by locals and tourists who are used to driving in such trans-Himalayan terrains.

3. Marsimek La or Marsimik La – 5,582 m (18,313 ft.)

Ladakh is also home to the highest motorable roads in the world. Marsimek La, also known as Marsimik La, stands at 5,582 meters above sea level (18,314 ft). The elevation claimed by BRO is 5,777 meters (18,953 feet), but the new measurement is correct. The Chang-Chemno Range, east of Leh, is home to this mountain. Sonam Paljore, a former Everest, oversaw the construction of the road in 1983. Marsimik La is just 4 kilometers west of the Indo-China border. China has also constructed a six-lane highway that stretches to the frame, only 10 kilometers beyond the pass.

After obtaining permission from the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Leh, civilians can use the pass. To get to the pass, you must travel via Pangong Lake, about 20 kilometers away. The road is primarily a dirt path, but it is undoubtedly motorable. SUVs and motorcycles have been seen driving up to the pass, and people have also successfully traveled on their rudimentary scooters

4. Semo La – 5,565 m (18,258 ft.)

Semo La, the world’s fourth-highestmotorable road and is located at an elevation of 5,565 meters in central Tibet (18,258 feet). It was supposed to be the world’s highest motorable pass for many years. People believe the roads to Umling La and Marsimik La are all gravel, but Semo La has a proper metaled road. In late 2015, 206 Provincial Road (S206) that leads to the top was paved. The path leads to the Changthang region of Tibet. When the Southern route is unusable due to mud, this path is used to reach Western Tibet and Mount Kailash.

5. Mana Pass – 5,610 m (18,406 ft.)

The Mana Pass in Uttarakhand is the world’s fifth-highest motorable pass. It is located on the border of India and Tibet. The pass’s proper height is now disputed, as it is with all other access. Mana Pass is located at an altitude of 5,545 meters (18,192 ft). However, on the Indian side, a well-graded gravel-dirt road rises to 5,610 meters (18,406 feet), making it India’s second-highest motorable road and the world’s third-highest motorable road.

This will be fourth on the list because we are counting the highest motorable passes (not the highest motorable routes). The route is terrific because it passes through the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in the Zanskar mountain range. You’ll also live by Deo Taal, which is a sacred lake. Except for September, the lake, the source of the mythical Saraswati River, remains frozen all year.

6. Photi La – 5,524m (18,124 ft.)

Photi La pass, located in India’s Ladakh region at an altitude of 5,524 meters (18,124 feet), is the most recent unknown entry into the world’s highest motorable passes or roads. Photi La is about 30 kilometers from Hanle, a breathtakingly beautiful spot in Ladakh’s Changthang region, and about 30 kilometers from Tso Moriri Lake. Ladakh’s Changthang area is where you can find it. Hanle, a small village known for its observatory, is about 30 kilometers from Photi La. If you continue after crossing the pass, you will arrive at Umling La via the same route.

7. Dongkha La or Donkia La Pass – 5,486 m (17,999 ft.)

Dzongkha La, also known as Donkin Pass, is the seventh-highest pass in the world, connecting Sikkim, India, and Tibet at the height of 5,486 meters (17,999 feet). This pass is located in North Sikkim, near Tso Lhamo Lake, also known as Cholamu Lake (the world’s 14th highest lake). Along with glacial lake Khangchung and Gurudongmar Lake, Tso Lhamo Lake, also known as Cholamu Lake, is one of the Teesta River’s three sources.

The Dzongkha La or Donkia La Pass is about 10-12 kilometers away. The Indian Army maintains control of the pass. A special permit is required to visit this mountain pass. Permits, like the Mana Pass permit, are challenging to obtain. It’s all due to the pass’s proximity to Tibet’s border.

8. Kaksang La – 5,438 m (17,841 ft.)

Next on the list is the “Kaksang La” pass, located in the Changthang region of Ladakh at an altitude of 5,438 meters (17,841 feet). It appears on the route from Mahe to Nama – Chusul – Pangong Tso when ascending from Mahe ahead of Chumathang near Tso Moriri via Hora La Pass.

There are two gorgeous lakes called Yaye Tso and Mirpal Tso on the way from Mahe to Nama – Chusul – Pangong Tso that will take your breath away just by looking at them. To visit the Nama – Chusul region in Ladakh, you’ll need an Inner Line Permit, but Indian nationals have a better chance of getting one. Please remember that the Army may refuse to let you travel on this route, even if you have permits, and may send you back from the checkpoint if they believe it is unsafe for civilians to continue.

9. Khardung La – 5,359 m or (17, 582 ft.)

Finally, there’s Khardung La, the region’s most well-known and divisive pass. In a Google search for the world’s highest motorable pass, Khardung La is likely to come up. This Ladakh pass is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and undoubtedly one of the most photographed. Every visitor to Khardung La snaps a photo in front of the 18,380-foot-tall sign. Don’t be fooled by the internet or billboards.

This is the world’s tenth highest motorable pass. At 5,359 meters above sea level, Khardung La is the highest point in Bhutan (17,582 ft). It runs from Leh to Siachen Base Camp and the Nubra Valley. So, avoid the magnets and keychains commemorating the world’s highest pass the next time you visit Khardung La. Alternatively, you could buy them all for the sake of having fun!

10. Chang La – 5,360 m (17,586 ft.)

Most of you will be surprised to learn that the answer is a resounding YES! Chang La is higher than Khardung La, and Chang La is the tenth highest motorable road of the world. It is situated at 5,360 meters in Ladakh (17,586 feet). You’ll pass through Chang La on your way from Leh to the stunning Pangong Lake. On the summit, there is a temple dedicated to Changla Baba. Locals recommend that you seek his blessings before embarking on your journey because the temple is decorated with colorful Tibetan flags.

The Indian Army guards and maintains the pass, and visiting Chang La requires an ILP. Thousands of tourists visit Ladakh each year to see Chang La. A few brave souls only attempt the Chang La route from Leh to Pangong. Don’t you think cycling over one of the highest passes would be thrilling?

Highest motorable road in USA

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway holds the title of being the highest motorable road in USA. The drive-up switchbacks to the summit of prominent 14’er Mount Evans takes only an hour and a half from downtown Denver. The movement has been dubbed one of the most scenic in the area when it’s open from the end of May to the beginning of September. It occasionally hosts high-altitude car tests as manufacturers put their engineering to the test on the road.


There you have it, the world’s highest motorable passes or roads in no particular order. We hope that you enjoyed this article. Now, in your mind’s eye, you have a more accurate representation of the world’s highest motorable pass than depicted on the internet and in travel brochures.

The above motorable passes sit on top of mountains, high above beautiful lakes and valleys. They are indeed some of nature’s wonders. Some of these passes have been in existence for a very long time, while others have only recently been opened to the public. One of our favorite features of the world’s highest motorable passes is the incredible views you can witness for miles and miles. Don’t forget to incorporate some of these beautiful mountain passes into your road trip or plan your next adventure.


1. Which country constructed the highest motorable road in the world?
India’s Umlingla pass or Umling La Road is now the world’s highest motorable road. When it crosses Ladakh, the Umling Pass Road becomes the highest motorable road in the world.

2. What is the highest pass in the world?
Khardung La is 5,359 meters above sea level (17,582 ft). Local summit signs and dozens of t-shirt shops in Leh incorrectly claim the city’s elevation to be around 5,602 meters (18,379 feet).

3. Which Mountain pass has the highest motorable road in the world?
A Ladakh MP, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, opened a strategically important road connecting Leh and the Pangong Lake in Leh, claiming that the stretch passing through the Kela Pass at 18,600 feet will be the world’s highest motorable road.

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