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.
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.