Believe it or not, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to not just skyscrapers, but many beautiful and breathtaking landscapes, mountains and wadis (valleys). Some of the people who live here for years might have not heard much about the many hiking trails that we have or that there is any hiking at all.
I have noted down some of the most accessible and popular hiking routes that you can check out over the weekend and don’t need more than a 3-hour drive from Abu Dhabi and a one hour and a half-hour drive from Dubai. I have personally hiked in all these places so if you have any questions, do feel free to comment below or contact me in private.
Hatta is a region in the emirate of Dubai, about an hour drive from the city centre. There are numerous hiking trails for complete beginners to more advanced. Most of them can also be done by mountain bikes too. You can find more info here about their trails: https://www.visithatta.com/en/Play/Hiking
- Wadi Naqab
The hike to Sheri villae in Wadi Naqab is considerably easy/intermediate. The trail is best-suited for beginners who want to push themselves. Also great for overnight camping and best avoided when there is any chance of rain, since it is in a valley.
- Wadi Modaynah Dam Loop
It is a beautiful spot in the region of Showka, Ras Al Khaimah. The hike is great for beginners with lots of farms and wildlife to see along the 10km loop. Great spot for camping too, if not too crowded.
- Hidden Oasis
Jabal Jeis is the highest mountain peak in the UAE. The glorious mountain is the part of Hajar mountains that crosses Oman too. There are many routes around this mountain, one of them is the Hidden Oasis Hike which connects to Wadi Shaha. Definitely, an intermediate one, as there are parts that have some scrambling in them and it is a long hike, you could choose to split this to two days and camp in the farm up high.
- Wadi Ghalilah
Wadi Ghalilah is a route that takes you to the top of Jabal Jais. The hike is intermediate in difficulty level with an elevation gain of about 1,300 metres. The path is steep throuhout with stone steps in most of the trail.
- Reverse stairway to Heaven
Reverse stairway is close to the Wadi Ghalilah route. I find this one a bit easier than the wadi ghalilah one as it is less steep and more scenic, it has an elevation gain of 1,100 metres.
There are many other places still not mentioned here, which I will try to update in time, again if you would like me to write about any specific, do let me know!
Remember, whenever you go on a hike, have the right gear i.e. a pair of comfortable hiking boots, a light-weighted backpack with you, etc and let someone know where you are going.
Hiking in the UAE can be one of your best adventures for this year, as long as you stay safe.