Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, 1692 meters above sea level, lies at the mouth of Bolan Pass. It has three large craggy mountains. Chiltan, Zarghun and Koh-e-Murdar, that seem to brood upon this pleasant town. there are other mountains that form a ring around it. Their copper red and russet rocks and crests that are powdered with snow in winters add immense charm to the town.
Quetta is an excellent base for further exploration of Balochistan. Loralai, the almond bowl of the country, is 265 kms away. Besides, there are numerous other valleys that are fascinating places to be in for explorers.Quetta can rightly be called the fruit basket of Pakistan. Plums, peaches, pomegranates, apricots, apples, some unique varieties of melon like "Garma" and cherries, pistachios and almonds are all grown in abundance. Some pistachios also grow in Qila Saif ullah.
A visit to Quetta is incomplete without a trip to Ziarat. Situated 133 kms(3 hours by car) from Quetta at an altitude of 2449 meters above sea level, Ziarat is a holiday resort amidst one of the largest and oldest juniper forests in the world. It is said that some of the Juniper trees are as old as 5000 years. The name Ziarat means "Shrine". A local saint, Kharwari Baba, is believed to have rested in the valley and blessed it. After his death he was buried here. People frequently visit the saint's shrine, which is 10 kms from Ziarat.
For many centuries, the Bolan pass has been the main entrance to Quetta district. It is historically significant, used as the gateway by most of the immigrants from central Asia in their drive to discover new homelands in South Asia. The two other important passes are the Lak Pass between Quetta and Kallat and the Khojak Pass near the border with Afghanistan at Chaman.
Along Bolan Pass where the road winds through picturesque mountains one is reminded of the huge odds that the armies from Central Asia and the north must have faced in their raids on the plains of the present day Pakistan. In winter, trains of camels, as they slowly plod their way through to the top, look fascinating. The Bolan links Quetta with the plains of the Punjab and the upper Sindh through the town of Sibi by road and train. The train passes through 21 tunnels