Hiking in the UAE 2023
If you want to go hiking in the UAE, there are many places to go, from well-laid out and marked trails to challenging unmarked ones.
Popular ones with families are Shawka, Al Rabi, Seven Summits, Abadila, Tayyibah, Al Ghuna, Tawyeen and Jebel Jais. Some others which were favourites are now closed to the public except with permission. These include Fossil Rock and Jebel Mleiha.
You can find information on all these trails and more on Wikiloc.
Please research before going and ensure all safety precautions are adhered to as there are rescues from mountains nearly every weekend of inexperienced or ill-prepared hikers. Sadly, there have also been several fatalities.
Many licensed companies offer organised hikes with experienced and fully qualified guides. If you’re going with a non-commercial group, be sure that they have adequate experience and training, especially on more advanced hikes. In Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, groups are required to have permits, even if they are free hikes.
The main season for hiking in UAE is October to April, and for many trails, November to March. Outside of these months, it is generally too hot and humid and there is a high risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
I’m sharing some of the easier hikes in UAE and most are suitable for family hikes. For more difficult ones, have a look on Wikiloc. I add new trails as I do them, so check back or give me a follow.
Wadi Abadila, Fujairah
The first part of the trail is easy for children to do and fun to see in the pools, etc, so it’s nice for a family hike. Then, it continues into a moderate dryer wadi trail which can go up to 12km. It’s one way so you can turn back when you want.
This is a very popular family hike in UAE and it can get busy at the weekend.
Jebel Jais Upper Segment, Ras al Khaimah
This is a moderate one-way trail of around 2km to the first point or 4km to the next. There are shelters with benches along the way and the views are great. You can also continue on a more difficult route.
Jebel Jais Lower Trails, Ras al Khaimah
There are several trails which overlap. The Asbaq is suitable for families with children but the side of the Teen trail nearest the road has paths near a steep edge. So this one may not be the best for very young children unless you keep a good hold of their hands.
The Samar trail, the longest of the lower trails, includes parts of the others.
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Seven Summits, Fujairah – easy family hike
This is a nice easy and fun one to do with children with forts on each peak. It’s around 2km with a choice of winding path or steep steps at the higher end. Take me to the map
Al Rabi, Khor Fakkan
This 5-6km loop is Beginners to Beginner Plus with an incline and great views. It’s a very popular UAE hike, so it can get a bit busy at the weekend.
Al Rafisa – Al Suhub, Khor Fakkan
Starting from the dam at Al Rafisa, this winding trail takes you up to Al Suhub Rest House. You can enjoy views over the lake and the sea. The trail is around 7kms.
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Tawyeen, Fujairah (upper part)
A very short hike to the top of the trail with a great view. This is just the end of a difficult long hike. You’ll pass the sign on the paved road to Ain al Sheria.
Ain al Sheria, Fujairah
Ain al Sheria is a very picturesque hike with amazing rock colours and types. At one point, you’ll reach a large stone with lots of petroglyphs.
The main road to get there is not the easiest and the last part is off-road with some steep slopes and bends. It was being re-paved in the summer of 2022 and closed part of the way. (Road still closed March ’23)
There is also another off-road route if it is still closed. See my wikiloc for more info or Instagram or Facebook post.
This is one of the most scenic hikes in UAE.
Bidya Fujairah Adventures, Fujairah
This is nice, short one and is ideal for hiking with kids. It has a lovely view and is a good spot to watch the sun rise. There’s also a longer hike very nearby.
See more here and wikiloc here.
Masfoot Trails, Masfoot
Actually this is a mountain bike trail, but you might try using it for hiking too if there are no events on.
There is also a very easy gentle walk around the mountainside at Swir mountain rest area. See more on the main post on Masfoot.
This can be a very short and easy walk to see the pools or a longer hike of a few kilometres. This is one of the most popular spots for hiking in the UAE.
Take me to the map. See more here.
Ghayl-Kalba Dam, Kalba
See more here
To see more visit Bithna Fort, Nature Trail and Hiking Trail,
Al Ahfra, Fujairah
The hike is on low hills and takes about an hour of moving time. It has a fair amount of elevation, up and down several times but on a winding path rather than a steep incline. There are two peaks with flags, one with a one-room ruin and another with a multiple-room ruin.
Although the trail is clearly marked (you won’t need to follow a Wikiloc), the recent rain has caused some damage to parts. Unfortunately, this means the surface might not be suitable for everyone.
This trail could be extended across the other hills if you’re used to hiking on that terrain. As they’re low hills, getting lost would be pretty impossible.
See the wikiloc here or post on Facebook and Instagram.
Wadi Arar, Ras al Khaimah
After the winter rain, this is a nice trail with lots of pools and some greenery. It’s a one-way trail, so you can decide how far you want to go. It’s flat but with rocks like giant pebbles and occasional points where you need to climb over boulders.
If you’re looking for a family hike, this is an excellent trail to do with both children and dogs. Ideally, you need a 4WD or AWD to get to the head of this trail and there is no phone signal in the wadi or before you reach the trailhead. See the wikiloc here or Instagram or Facebook post.
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Wadi Al Ghuna, Fujairah
Wadi Al Ghuna is along the road between Masafi and Dibba and not far from Wadi Abadila. The whole trail is around 8 km and we completed the route to the end of the wadi but didn’t do the last part up the hill.
There is a marked trail all the way and a cleared footpath most of the way but in some areas, you need to climb over rocks, nothing too difficult, though.
It goes through a deep wadi and lots of pools and streams and you’ll see various types of plants as well as dragonflies, tiny blue butterflies, toads and small fish and maybe more if you keep a look out.
I’ve uploaded the trail to my Wikiloc below. Just add around 500-700 metres for the hill at the end if you want to do that.
Wadi Naqab, Ras al Khaimah
This is a lovely relaxed walk along the road at Wadi Naqab but you can also continue further for something more challenging. See other routes on Wikiloc for that. We parked a while beyond the dam and then continued on foot along the track.
It’s a beautiful area with a variety of rock formations. The kids had lots of fun climbing on the boulders and up rock faces along the way which make it a good family hike.
On the left, you’ll see stone steps, then aluminium steps leading to a cave. There’s a signboard, so you can’t miss it.
If you want a flat, easy trail, this is lovely, but keep in mind the surface is not completely even. You can continue further on for bouldering and some more challenging hikes.
You’ll lose signal along the route although it comes and goes.
See the links below for more info.
Hiking with Kids UAE
Some recommended family hikes with kids in UAE are Seven Summits, Al Bidiya, Jebel Jais Lower Trails, Wadi Arar, Wadi Abadila, Wadi Ghuna and the lower part of Wadi Naqab.
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This post was first published in February 2021 and last updated on 6 January 2023.
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