Shimshal lies at an altitude of 3,100 metres above sea level and is the highest settlement in the district. Shimshal is a border village that connects Gilgit-Baltistan with China. The total area of Shimshal is approximately 3,800 km2 and there are around two thousand inhabitants with a total of 240 households.
One of the reasons why Shimshal is so culturally rich is because there was no access to the village by road till 2003. Locals of Shimshal built this jeep track with their own efforts over a period of 18 years. Before this road was constructed, the only way for Shimshalis to travel to other parts of Hunza was by foot, which took around 3 days. The old trek is also visible from this road at certain points.
The construction of non-metallic jeep-able road started in 1985 and completed in 2003. Eighteen years of hardwork finally became successful because of the dedication of the local community. It now takes around 3-4 hours to reach Shimshal by jeep from Passu.
Shimshalis are to Pakistan as Sherpas are to Nepal. More than twenty well known mountaineers from this valley have made Pakistan proud in the field of tourism. Some people call it ” The Valley of Mountaineers”.
Prominent mountains of the valley include Distaghil Sar (7,885 m), Shimshal White Horn (6,303 m) Minglik Sar (6,150 m), Lupghar Sar (7,200 m), Yazghail Sar (6,000 m), and Kunjut Sar. Gigantic glaciers include Malangudhi, Yazghail, Khurdopin (5,800 m), Braldu, Odver, Ver Zharav. Main passes of the valley are Chafchingoal, Khurdopin, Mai Dur, Braldu, and Boi Sam.