Jebel Hafit, Wadi Showka, and more: Head to these mountains in the UAE for a thrilling adventure

The pleasant weather calls for treks and overnight camping, so gear up and drive to your nearest mountain

By CT Desk

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Published: Mon 8 Jan 2024, 6:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 1:19 PM

Jebel Hafit

For stunning sunrise and sunset photography and panoramic views of Al Ain, visit Jebel Hafit mountain in Abu Dhabi. As the highest peak in Abu Dhabi and the second tallest in the UAE at 1,249 metres, it offers a captivating skyline. You can reach the summit by car, motorbike, or bicycle for those seeking an active challenge. The mountain, located on the Oman border, holds geological significance with fossil discoveries contributing to the ancient history of Al Ain. Recognised as one of the world's top driving roads, the summit provides breathtaking vistas.

Jebel Jais

Jebel Jais, part of the Hajar mountain range, stands as the highest peak in the UAE, spanning Ras Al Khaimah and the Musandam Peninsula. This 700-kilometer-long mountain range, straddling the UAE and Oman, offers thrilling experiences and nature activities, preserving its ancient geology and rich history. Attracting thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts, the Jebel Jais peak provides stunning views and a cooling microclimate, with temperatures dropping to a record low of -5.7 degrees C. Occasionally experiencing rare snowfall, locals engage in snow-related activities such as snowball fights and building snowmen.

Wadi Bih

Wadi Al Bih, originating in Ras Al Khaimah and traversing the Hajar mountains to Oman and the Gulf of Oman before returning to the UAE, is a river valley known for its canyons and steep cliffs, reaching a height of 1 km above sea level. The valley offers breathtaking views of landscapes, abandoned settlements, and birdwatching sites, with sightings of various bird species. It has gained fame for ultra-distance running, initially hosting the first mountain race from Ras Al Khaimah to Dibba, Oman, which now starts and ends in Dibba.

Wadi Ghalilah

Wadi Ghalilah, renowned for its dam and mountain trails, features a challenging climb known as the 'Stairway to Heaven.' This ascent, following an old shepherd route with stone walkways, reaches approximately 2,000 meters to Jebal Jais summit. The journey offers stunning views of the Hajar Mountains, farmland, and the valley below. The area is characterized by agriculture, including wheat and honey production, with old farmhouses dotting the landscape. While the Stairway to Heaven provides a rewarding climb, it is considered difficult, requiring caution, fitness, and experienced climbers, and the hike may span most of the day.

Wadi Shawka

Wadi Shawka, situated in the Jebel Hajar mountain range, is a captivating seasonal river bed shaped by rainfall over the mountains. Meaning 'powerful valley,' it boasts natural beauty and a history spanning seven millennia. The wadi, with an agricultural past, features ancient settlements replaced by modern farms. Running from Khari to Wadi Esfai and Wadi Ejili, it offers numerous trails for hiking, running, and cycling, featuring shaley rocks. Near the dam, constructed in 2001, there's a recreational area with barbecue spots and a children's play area. The dam, built under Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan's guidance, is the country's largest and attracts wildlife during the cooler months.

Hatta Mountains and Lake

The Hatta Mountains, part of the Hajjar range, offer a rich geological history with fossils and landscapes shaped by millions of years. Thrill-seekers engage in cycling, trekking, rock climbing, and yoga, facilitated by GPS, registration centers for trekking, and marked trails with directions. Cycling enthusiasts can rent bikes from the Hub, exploring trails that pass through Hatta dam. Additionally, the mountains provide tranquil spots for meditation and yoga, offering a serene retreat. Hatta Lake, also known as Hatta Swan Lake, is located near Hatta Heritage Village and is approximately a 90-minute drive from Dubai. Renowned for its pristine beauty and abundant birdlife, it offers a serene escape in the Al Dhafra area of Hatta.

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