How would it feel to look below in the yawning chasm or up at the peak of the mountain, exploring the world and enjoy the scents, sights, and sounds of nature? Hikers and adventurers know the thrill and the beauty that these views bring us. And today, I want to share some of my favorite hiking trails in Oman. Being a neighbor to the UAE, and filled with picturesque terrains, Oman boasts some of the most beautiful spots to hike and climb, offering explorer adventure and an invigorating sense of challenge and triumph.
- Jebel shams:
Jebel Shams is one of the mountains from the Al Hajar mountain range, commonly known as the “Mountain of the sun”. However, it is one of the highest mountains in Oman with a height of 3,009 m and has two summits: north and south. It offers hikes that come with magnificent views of Wadi Ghul lying alongside it. Wadi Ghul is known to be the Grand Canyon of Oman. You can arrive at the summit of the mountain in a minimum of seven hours if you are an experienced hiker. There are three options for hiking routes at Jebel Shams:
- W6 Route, hike to the deserted village,
- W6a Route, hike to Wadi Ghul, and
- W4 Route; the Jebel Shams Summit Hike.
- Balcony Walk:
Khateem the starting point for the amazing Balcony Walk (part of hiking route W6) and waymarked with the usual red, white, and yellow-painted flags. This is possibly the most renowned hiking trail in Oman. It is approximately a two to three-hour walk, depending on how many photos and food breaks you take. Balcony Walk runs 4km, with around 200m in elevation change. The view here is certainly the most remarkable anywhere in the country: a kind of vast natural arena, with huge cliffs, the tiny village of Nakhr way beneath in the fainting pits of the canyon, and birds of prey – such as the vulture, through its unique black-and-white- streaked wings – flying inaudibly on the thermals overhead. The hike leads to a little abandoned village called Sab Bani Khamis where you will find deserted houses and fields. After this, you can walk ahead to a small waterfall that marks the end of the hike.
- Jabal Qatar (in Al Buraimi):
Jabal Qatar is also called “Hanging Gardens” because of the abundance of plant-life at several points along the cliffs. The mountain is approximately 700 meters high at its summit, and the plateau is at about 640 meters. The cliffs, sheer in places, are 40-50 meters high. The deep wadis appear at the cliffs in hanging valleys by waterfalls of 10 meters or more. At the bottom of these waterfalls were deep pools, though they have dried out over the years because of the absence of rainfall. Many of these wadi beds have huge stairs shaped by the thick flat rock strata and between these steps are little pools of water consisting of fish and toads. This place will simply end up being one of your favorite hikes because of its beauty and peace. As you walk through the cliffs, they become lush and full of birds, with plant life even growing out of the cliffside.
- Wadi Shab:
Located between Muscat and Sur, the beauty of the canyon-water trail and its comparative ease for hikers makes Wadi Shab one of the most famous wadis for trekkers. Wadi Shab is a 5.6 kilometer out-and-back trail that features a river. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rated as a moderate hike. River water cuts the trail off and adventurers can swim across, also there is a hidden waterfall in a secret cave that should not be miss when you are there. Following about an hour and a half of hiking across a relatively simple terrain, you will reach another pool area. After this, things turn out to be slightly more challenging. A 20-minute climb leads to the mysterious keyhole – a three-meter opening amid the water and rock. This leads to a cavern where, varying on the season, a waterfall with a rope may await. Adventure seekers can hop in the pool from a ledge eight meters above it, and climb back out with help the rope.
Other than these, there are many beautiful hikes around the UAE and Oman that deserve to be seen, since there are new hiking trails that are marked every season to overcome the increasing demands of hikers, both nationally and internationally, in the country. I hope you will love these hikes as much as I did.