While many sketch the UAE as a glitzy country with high rise buildings, water parks, beaches, and shopping malls, its breathtaking natural landscapes like mountains and valleys are often overlooked. These mountains and valleys are home to a number of scenic and adventurous hiking trails that have popped up in the recent years. The best time to explore these trails is between November and April when the weather is favourable.
Here is the list of best hiking trails in the UAE that promise thrilling experiences for both amateurs and seasoned hikers.
Several scenic trails suitable for hikers of all levels encompass the tallest mountain in the UAE, Jebel Jais. Located in Ras Al Khaimah, the mountain is a part of the well known Hajar Mountain range. Some of the popular hiking trails here take you through picturesque canyons and landscapes. The Leopard Canyon trail (a 4 km long trail) and the hike through the East Flank of the mountain (lasts 2 days) are the most traversed trails.
Hatta could be your choice if you are looking for a hiking trail near Dubai. The arresting mountains of Hatta are characterised by turquoise waters where you can take on adventures like kayaking and paddle boarding. Hikers can explore more than 50 kms of pleasant trails here surrounded by stunning landscapes. You can also opt to ride a rented bicycle on these trails.
Jebel Hafeet is the third highest (1240 meters) and a challenging mountain to climb. Located in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, the steep hike to the summit is recommended for seasoned hikers. Once at the top, you will be exposed to the panoramic view of Al Ain and over 500 burial tombs present at the mountain’s foothills. Trekking boots, trekking poles, and a lot of water are required to cover the rugged terrains of Jebel Hafeet.
If you wish to venture on a relatively relaxed hike, Wadi Tayyibah offers a spectacular trail on an old coastal road. This popular weekend trail is a 20 km one-way hike which is suitable for beginners and provides amazing views of traditional irrigation system, natural pools, and the old Tayyibah village. There are several picnic spots along the way, so do not forget to pack a picnic basket if you can.
Another popular hiking trail suitable for amateurs, Wadi Lasal is located in Sarjah and is around 90 kms from Dubai. It is a 10 km long flat terrain hiking circuit which takes approximately 3 hours to complete including the stops. A walk along this natural trail provides some beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes which includes a dam. The trail is also well liked by mountain bikers.