At a distance of 72 km from Abbottabad, Balakot is the gateway of the Kaghan Valley. It takes about one and half hours to reach Balakot from Abbottabad, passing through the busy town of Mansehra. The journey between Mansehra and Balakot is a charming experience. The black top road winds through beautiful green hills and the thick forest of Batrasi. Views from Batrasi towards Kaghan Valley are spectacular.
Balakot is a small town located on the bank of Kunhar River yet has tremendous historical significance. A famous battle was fought here between the Sikh Army and Muslim freedom fighters in 1831. It is here that Hazrat Syed Ahmed Shaheed and Hazrat Shah Ismail Shaheed sacrificed their lives here while fighting for the liberation movement. Balakot has faced more recent turmoil as well, as it was badly hit by the earthquake of 8th October 2005. Almost all the houses, hotels and shops were destroyed in this devastating tragedy, but because of its strategic location, Balakot has once again become a leading trading centre in Kaghan Valley.
There is a forest rest house and a youth hostel at Sharan to provide accommodation facilities to the adventures travelers. To stay at these facilities you need booking in advance from respective departments. This place is also ideal for camping.