For those who think of UAE with world’s tallest buildings and luxurious hotels engulfed with sand dunes of arid deserts, trekking is yet to be explored! With varied, beautiful landscape, stunning scenery and perfectly suitable temperatures for nearly nine months of the year, why not try a little adventure in UAE?
Pull up your socks; fasten your belts and gear up to discover the best trekking spots in UAE!
Partridge Oasis in Jabal Jais Mountains
Inhabited by partridge birds, the Jabal Jais Mountains in Ras Al Khaimah is also called the Partridge Hidden Oasis. Overlooking giant cliffs, this mountain climb offers the perfect opportunity for trekkers. You need to trek through the wadi up the mountain before reaching to a dry oasis where the birds gather. While the steep climb up the wadi passes through incredible rock formations, this trail experience requires a good level of fitness. The bouldering part can be challenging for beginners, but no rope skills are required. This trail covers around eight km and with minimal stops, lasts 6 hours.
Popular among mountain bikers and trekkers, Wadi Lasal offers a perfect introduction to hiking. Located in Sharjah, it consists of a circular trail of about 6.2 miles that can be completed in just three hours – including stops. The flat terrain makes it easily accessible for beginners and to those seeking a relaxed walk through nature.
Wadi Tayyibah – Dibba Al Fujairah
Another popular hike that ranks amongst the top trekking spots in UAE is Wadi Tayyibah. The 20 kms stretch of old East Coast road north of Masafi, usually used by local farmers working at small date farms, passes through the old village of Tayyibah. You can also view the natural pools and traditional irrigation systems. Remember to visit the town’s museum, which gives an insight into the traditional way of life. Also pack a basket as it’s a perfect venue for picnics.
Precaution: Avoid the trail in the rainy season as parts of the route sometimes get blocked.
Secret staircase of Musandam Mountains
This easy to moderate climb is accessible by road from Dubai but you need to carry your passport to cross the Oman border. It is a three-hour trek where you can access the secret staircases that were hand built by Pakistani goat herders. Also, you can explore Twaifat and Yehnadj, the two villages well known for their ancient gravestones and Petroglyphs. To reach this walk head to the back of Dibba beach, and from there it’s a 30-minute drive into the wadi (valley)… you will need a 4X4 to handle the rough terrain.
Jebel Qihwi – Hajar Mountains
One of the highest mountains in UAE, the Hajar Mountains offers much adventure and thrill in its trails. You need to cross over the border into Oman for this hike but the picturesque drive and scenic views from the summit makes it worth the extra effort. Even though, you will not be doing any technical climbing, a good level of fitness is still required. The seven-hour round trip starts as a path but it gradually turns to rocks near the summit. However, some basic climbing equipment is advised.
Located in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Jebel Hafeet is the highest peak in the emirate. Rising high at 4,068 feet, this trail is suitable for advanced trekkers with a tough but rewarding route. From the summit, you can get panoramic views of Al Ain and a glimpse of about 500 burial tombs in Jebel Hafeet’s foothill. For some serious terrain to be covered; you need trekking poles, trekking boots and plenty of water.
Copper Hike in Wadi Safarfir
Sited in Ras Al Khaimah, the Copper Hike is a perfect day hike. The circular route, 7kms long crosses through 2 wadis and 1 open plateau. This is a good hike for beginners who are seeking a challenge: it is not steep, but does have patches with loose rocks which can be tricky to traverse. As the name relates, the hike passes through Wadi Safarfir also known as the Valley of Coppersmiths.
The Shawka Dam Loop in Fujairah
The 10km loop located in the Shawka Dam, Fujairah consists of good gravel roads or well-trodden tracks well used by bikers and walkers. About two hours from Dubai. the Shawka Dam Loop offers a glimpse of desert life and agricultural life. If lucky, you can also catch camels, goats, donkeys and a variety of birdlife. There are hikes for different abilities in the area; so if you are looking for more adventure, organise a guide in advance. You can also spend the night in some camping spots there too.
Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
The landscape of Sir Bani Yas Island is a mix of hiking terrains, including salt domes, mangroves and wadis. It is also home to lots of animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, antelopes and gazelles.
- Choose the cooler months for hiking in the UAE.
- Carry ample water. Being exposed on a mountain plateau or a plain with additional heat reflected by the overheated rocks, can be threatening. Dehydration is fast and brutal.
- Don`t get lost. There are trails all over the mountains but hardly any are marked.
- Carry First Aid Box