To access the areas of natural beauty, exploring the alternatives to the known highways and main roads is a common hobby among the adventure seekers. Many of the enthusiastic bikers and rough and tough drivers opt for a challenging yet attractive drive to the higher destinations. This alternative to the Murree Road and Murree Express Way can be started from the Bharakahu. Bharakahu is a rapidly expanding countryside of Islamabad which is located on the main Murree Road.
The Simly Dam Road which starts from the Murree Road at Bharakahu is the starting point for this journey. The distance from the start of the Simly Dam Road till the Patriata is about 55 kilometers which may take up-to three hours to cover. Initially, it is a busy road in a crowded bazar. There is a patrol pump and another CNG station on the Simly Dam Road within 4 kilometers of your start. Make sure you have sufficient fuel before you progress further as you will be out of the town soon.
The Simly Dam Road passes through the ever green hilly area, beautifully cultivated fields, farm houses and villages on the both sides. There are several narrow bridges built to cross the seasonal tributaries. The road is not in ideal condition but not extremely bad either. The trees around the road with a variety of natural and typical village scenes are fair enough for a change.
If you are not in hurry, it’s worth heading to the Simly Dam Lake which is one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire region. Neglected by the officials and the visitors, this green surrounded lake at extremely quiet location deserves more attention of the lakes lovers. At present, the lake is on a few minutes’ walk through a thick forest after the last possible parking spot. A permanent road till the edge of the lake was constructed in the past which now looks like a narrow trek covered with the bushes and trees. Only few locals from the surrounding villages enjoy their time fishing at the lake. Take your food and cooking gear with you as an abundant restaurant which looks like a haunted house in the jungle right on the lake can be a suitable cooking and resting spot.
The road to Patriata diverts about a kilometer before the Simly Dam. The most obvious sign for the right way is a round hole in the hill on the right side! This is a long dark tunnel carved in the hill to access the other side. Enter the tunnel and continue for another kilometer to reach the Karore-Ban Road. There is another diversion after the tunnel. The road to the left is for Simly Dam employees only and leading to a residential colony. You need to go straight and cross a short rough track before approaching a nice carpeted road called the Karore-Ban Road. Here, you need to turn left on the road for picking your way to Patriata.
A continuous and zig-zag driving is required on an inclined road with views of interesting landscapes and Simly Dam’s spill-way. The road may be damaged due to the landslides and rains at several spots so you need a reliable conveyance. There is a beautiful view of the starting edge of the Simly Lake on the right side after few kilometers. A further 20-30 minutes’ drive through the jungle of pine trees will take you to the simple bazar of Karore. The small town of Karore has a well-built health center, a tourist lodge and few small shops. A simple and typical restaurant can serve tea and lunch, if required. There are several camping and private picnic spots in jungle before and after Karore. Drinking water may be an issue as there is no obvious source of clean water along the road.
The road after the Karore till the Patriata is through the pine forests. The traffic is extremely low and only few small villages and shops appear along the road. The overall area is a true piece of tranquility and serenity. Valleys in the deep and moderated hills provide a unique exposure which is too different from the traditional Murree travel. The forests on both sides of the road are ideal for family picnic and cooking activities as well.
There is a narrow and damaged patch of about 5 kilometers ahead where a more careful drive is required. As the road is not wide enough for two vehicles to cross at the same time, it needs to keep at the edge of the road while crossing. As you get closer to the Ban – the last small town before the Patriata, the road conditions are better with frequent small population of houses. The road joins main road of Patriata from where all Murree and surrounding areas can be accessed as per your priorities.
A swift return can be done from the Murree Express Way which is about half an hour drive from the junction of Ban and Patriata.