ravel adventurer and author Aaron Lauritsen captured into words an overwhelming feeling when he proclaimed, “The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.”
A road trip can be many things – therapeutic, exhilarating, introspective, and redemptive.
We at Adventures Overland believe in really pushing the envelope, when it comes to adventure travel and self-drive expeditions. Towards that end, we list for you below some of the most fabulous valleys across the world that any road-tripper worth his/her salt would be delighted to explore.
Yosemite Valley, California – USA
A UNESCO World Heritage site and America’s third-oldest national park, Yosemite National Park justifiably inspires a sense of awe in each and every one who chooses to visit this jaw-dropping destination.
Declared a protected zone in the year 1864, Yosemite is famed for its abundant waterfalls, bottomless valleys, impressive meadows, ancient giant sequoias, and much more.
Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley within the Yosemite National Park which is about 12 km long and roughly 3,000–3,500 ft deep. It comes surrounded by towering granite peaks like Half Dome and El Capitan, and thick forest cover comprising pine trees, which make it the centrepiece attraction in the park and a lively hub of activity during peak tourist season.
The valley is drained by the Merced River and is home to most of the park’s most celebrated waterfalls like the Snow Creek, Sentinel and the most popular Yosemite Falls, which is the highest in North America (dropping a total of 2,425 ft from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall).
Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan – China
Jiuzhaigou Valley (aka Jiuzhaigou National Park) is the pièce de résistance of China’s Sichuan province, famous for its unbelievably blue lakes, gushing waterfalls and deep woods framed by snowy mountain ranges.
Stretching over an area of 72,000 hectares, the Jiuzhaigou valley is part of the Min Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The name Jiuzhaigou translates to ‘Nine Village Valley’ and refers to the nine Tibetan villages that run along the valley’s parklands.
The water in Jiuzhaigou presents varied colour patterns of white, blue, green, turquoise and emerald, depending on the season in which one chooses to visit this magnificent destination. The key spots worth visiting within the main valley include, Shuzheng Lakes, Rhinoceros Lake, Nuorilang Waterfall, Long Lake and Five-Colour Pond in the Zechawa Valley, Mirror Lake and the Five-Flower Lake of the Rize Valley.
Romsdalen Valley, Rauma – Norway
Romsdalen is a stunning valley in the western part of Norway. The 60 km long marvel of nature runs through Rauma Municipality in Møre og Romsdal county and Lesja Municipality in Innlandet county.
Long and narrow, with stately towering mountains on either side, the floor of the Romsdalen Valley has the bubbling Rauma River flowing through it. At Verma the Rauma curves through a 30 to 40 m-deep gorge, forming the famed Slettafossen waterfall.
The valley begins at the Lesjaskogsvatnet Lake and follows the Rauma River to the town of Åndalsnes, where the river empties into the great Romsdal Fjord. This trekker’s paradise was featured in the Hollywood saga ‘Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince’ and is home to the Trollveggen, which at 1,000 m is Europe’s tallest vertical, overhanging rock face.
Nubra Valley, Ladakh – India
An oasis of lustrous blue and spotless white, enclosed by remarkable mountains and decorated with colourful prayer flags fluttering in the cold breeze – Ladakh is simply magical. Towards the north of Leh in Ladakh is situated an extremely remote and deep-cut valley with white sand dunes that are surrounded by rugged mountain peaks, called the Nubra.
The Shyok River meets the Nubra River (aka Siachen River) to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. Squeezed-in between Kashmir in India and Tibet, Nubra Valley offers tremendous scenery amid a smattering of picture-perfect hamlets and ancient Buddhist gompas and monasteries.
Apart from the town of Leh, Nubra Valley is the prime destination where one can experience the vivid culture and festivities of Ladakh. You can explore the valley on foot, via a safari on the double-humped Bactrian Camels (found only in this region), or even an exciting ATV ride.
So, if you have itchy feet and been bitten by the travel bug, reach out to us! You can join us on any of our fixed tours or let us craft a fully-customized trip to anywhere across the seven continents. Rest assured, with Adventures Overland at the helm, your convenience and luxury will be at the topmost priority always.