By Marjan Golpira

Chalous Road not for the faint of heart

January 14, 2018

From northern Karaj the very popular and long Chalous Road will give you an unforgettable journey to the rich greenery of northern Iran where cities lie on the coasts of the Caspian Sea.

The winding, sharp bends of Chalous Road embraces travelers with fresh crisp air and gives them a thrilling, and sometimes scary, break from the smog and chaos of crowded Tehran.

As a piece of history, Chalous Road, also less well known as Road 59, was constructed during Qajar era by the local people with very primitive hand tools.  
The 160 km road crossing and crawling up the Alborz Mountains offers beautiful landscape, waterfalls and springs. Each season presents its own special beauty along the road.

The mesmerizing view changes as you travel on Chalous; from trees lining up on both sides of the pavement to getting engulfed and surrounded by the Alborz, and sometimes having dramatic views of the Karaj River, which runs along part of the road.

As you drive farther away from the city, you get the most picturesque view of nature, fluffy cotton ball clouds appear in the sky and the air cools as the temperature drops with increasing altitude.

Another breathtaking view and tourist attraction of the road is Karaj dam or Amir Kabir dam, 23 km from the city of Karaj, and the shining, turquoise color waters of a lake right behind it.  

The road between Tehran and the Caspian Sea has become a destination in itself for many Tehranis who take it just to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or for a relaxing day out with family and friends.   

Numerous traditional restaurants and tea houses, old and new in all sizes, are set by the Karaj River to welcome visitors and hungry travelers for a good time.   

Reza, a convenience store owner, whose six generations has lived in the area and for four generations have run the store, calls Chalous Road “home” where his house, which takes 60 steps to climb to, is almost right next door to his business.

The middle-aged owner makes most of his income during summer time because in colder seasons fewer people travel on the road and those who do mostly go skiing in Dizin, one of the largest ski resorts in the Alborz mountain range, near Tehran and also the city of Karaj.

Reza recommends that travelers take the journey on the road on weekdays; otherwise they should expect traffic jams on weekends and holidays.

Whatever reason any particular traveler cites for a journey on Chalous Road, the ribbon of pavement into the remote high mountains demands attention and provokes emotional responses including excitement and even fear at times, and a bit of dizziness along with it.


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