The Hamilton Road is a 180km highway linking Erbil with Haji Omaran, which is at the border with Iran.
It is an unparalleled thoroughfare through the Kurdish mountains. No other developed road exists like it. As such, it is a commercial lifeline. Also, it has become an essential thoroughfare for tourism. Along it are many natural -- and developed -- attractions. In any reference to the road that goes into this mountain region, without any doubt it will be the Hamilton Road. It is the artery for the Hawler Governorate in the Zagros Mountains. Tourist development has entailed picnic stops, scenic turnouts, restaurants, and hotels.
The Hamilton Road also goes by the name of any of the towns or other places along it: Jadda Massif; Jadda Shaqlawa; Jadda Soran; etc. The two largest geographic features along its route are Mount Korek and Rawanduz. Rawanduz is the name of a village and also its adjacent gorge.
The road often was reached from Erbil, or beyond from Mosul. One route used by the British was from Mosul to Mar Mattai to Qasrok-Kelek, then on to Erbil. However there was another route from Mosul to Kuwair, then on to Erbil.
The Turks preferred to take the line from Mosul to Kuwair, where they crossed the Zab by a boat bridge and then followed a good road, as roads go in this country, unmetalled of course, to Erbil. Up to this point the Turks used light lorry transport; from here onwards they constructed a so-called cart road via Babachichek to Rawanduz. As the main line of communication of an army in the field it leaves much to be desired, for in wet weather it becomes almost, if not utterly, impassable. It is only very roughly metalled in the very worst places, and except for that is merely cleared of stones. Like most things Turkish, it was begun and never finished, funds having percolated into the pockets of corrupt officials. Mason 1919, p 333; edited for brevity
It is entered at a high-altitude opening at Spilik.
I think the last march into Rawanduz along the Turkish cart road afforded one of the most striking day's scenery I have ever seen, appealing all the more forcibly to the imagination of the traveller fresh from the featureless deserts of Mesopotamia. Mason 1919, p 333
After Khalifan then the road enters the gorge at Gali Ali Beg.
On leaving the Khalifan camping ground the road enters the gorge of Gali Ali Beg, only 30 yards wide at the entrance. The road is at river-level, and crosses to the right bank by a wooden bridge on rough masonry piers half a mile beyond. About 2 miles further on the river, which is now some 40 feet below the road, passes in one undivided stream over the Surria falls, some 70 or 80 feet deep. The road is now well over 100 feet above the valley bottom, and as it winds gradually higher and higher up the mountain-side the Khalifan cuts deeper and deeper into its limestone bed. Near the junction the Khalifan and Rawanduz rivers the road becomes much rougher, and projecting boulders make it in places very unsafe for even the lightest carts. It is perched high up on the mountain-side, generally keeping to a line of stratification. The steep slopes are well wooded with dwarf oak, sycamores and scrubs. Mason 1919, p 334-335; edited for brevity
After گهلی علی بهگ Gali Ali Bagشلال كلي علـــي بك Shlal Gali Ali Bag, the road splits immediately after the peshmerga checkpoint at Diana. The Upper Hamilton Road and Lower Hamilton Road reconnect at Rawanduz.
Upper Hamilton Road
The Upper Hamilton Road leads to Beikhal.
View from Upper to Lower Hamilton Road
کانی بێخال Kani Bekhal
Lower Hamilton Road
The Lower Hamilton Road goes to Kani Joodian, which has a stepped waterfall alongside which it is popular to camp and picnic.
کانی ماران Kani Maran
Upper and lower roads reconnect
The Upper and Lower Hamilton Roads reconnect at Rawanduz and go on to Iran.
Iraq Then and Now: A Guide to the Country and Its People by Karen Dabrowska, Geoff Hann
Mason, Kenneth. 1919. Central Kurdistan, The Geographical Journal, Vol LIV No 6. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1779409