El Trampolin de la Muerte, also known as The Trampoline of Death, is one of the scariest and riskiest roads located in the south of Colombia. Staying true to its name, it is one of South America’s ‘Death Road.’ One might be quite sure of the unwillingness among people to travel through such a dangerous road.
However, proving the notion wrong, the Trampoline of Death is many adventurers dream location to visit at least once in their lives. Reason? Intrigue. El Trampolin de la Muerte has several other names by which it is known in the world, and even those names do not sound very pleasant.
Adios Mi Vida, Trampolin de diablo, The Most Dangerous Road in Colombia are few ways of calling it. It has apparently taken the lives of hundreds just because of how narrow it is, the steep path, hairpin turns, and due to it being surrounded by dense fog now and then.
However, all the stories of cars falling off and probable danger could hardly deter us from the thought of cycling on one of the world’s most dangerous roads, ‘Goodbye My Life.’ We intended to explore the Devil’s Trampolin on our bicycles. Come to think of it; it’s the safest way to explore this death road.
The danger surrounding it always shoots up the adventure quotient. We were nervous as well as excited at the same time. We went there, keeping only the trilling content in mind.
However, we ended up viewing some of the most spectacular landscapes in a rather quiet environment of a country that possesses beauty in every corner and attracts thousands of tourists every day.
The Trampoline of Death is a 69.7km road built in the year 1930. It is a single unpaved road zigzagging through the Andes. It goes through the valley of Sibundoy and links the towns of Mocoa and San Francisco. It was mainly built to transport soldiers during the Colombia-Peru war.
The death road is extremely narrow, with more than a hundred hairpin turns and precipices and has a fall of 300 meters. The narrow dirt passage is not apt for heavy and public transport. It is a single narrow stretch with graded surfaces in some places, blind corners, and steep grades, which hardly provides space to a mini truck. So, if two large vehicles are in a position of crossing each other, it becomes tough and, in some places, impossible.
The situation in the months of March-April and October-November gets worse because it’s the rainy season. The muddy, slippery roads, avalanche, dense fog, potholes, the challenges this death road throws towards the people thinking of triumphing it is several. One wrong turn as the track has twists and sharp turns in abundance, you will find yourself down a hundred meters deep.
Our Cycling Experience
We started from the Valley Sibundoy and cycled through it to reach the start of the road. The starting point of the route was one of the towns in San Francisco. The sky was clear when we kicked off. We knew there were two main passes in between the start and the end. Till the first pass, our ride was smooth and consistent, with very fewer hindrances, less rocky.
Our stamina got tested the moment we crossed the first pass. The more we were cycling towards the second pass, the more the road was unpaved and rocky. However, the stunning view of mountains and waterfalls pouring down from them compensated the odds we faced. The air felt so pure and fresh there, which we will never get in the cities we live in. There was no floating crowd, and traffic was also light for obvious reasons.
The track shows its truest form right before the second pass. There we needed to descend, and it was misting all over. The road was the most unpaved and narrow here. Climbing the second pass was extremely tough.
We were already cycling for hours, and once again, our stamina was tested and now to the extreme. When we reached the military checkpoint, our happiness and relief knew no bounds.
It took approximately 5 hours to complete the death road and reach the end. It was smooth, even in many places, and turned extremely narrow in others. The most dangerous ones were those one-lane stretches that were hugging the cliffs. We were the most scared to pass those.
However, we felt and can ensure that the death road is not as deadly as it seems or sounds. So, if you are stopping yourself from visiting it because it is known to be an almost prohibited road, then you might rethink it. There is no denying that for it not appearing that risky happened due to our prior assessment about the location and preparation.
We didn’t allow a single mistake and were extra alert and careful. The safety templates and guard rails, along with the smooth roads and pleasant turnouts, played their part in making our cycling trip in the infamous Trampolin de la Muerta delightful.