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Saudi Arabia Hiking

Feb 27, 2024 | Travel Tips

Saudi Arabia, a land often associated with vast deserts and ancient history, might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hiking destinations. However, hidden beneath the surface is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes and hiking trails waiting to be discovered. In this blog post, we’ll unveil the beauty of hiking in Saudi Arabia and explore some of the captivating trails that showcase the diverse natural wonders of this Middle Eastern gem. While hiking hasn’t traditionally been a popular pastime in the kingdom, it is gaining in popularity with more investment occurring in developing trails and mountain areas to boost tourism. November to March are the best months to hike in Saudi Arabia, although the high peaks of the Asir Mountains can be explored in the summer months.

Asir National Park

Nestled in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia, Asir National Park is one of the most popular areas for hiking in Saudi Arabia. The park boasts a unique topography with its mountainous terrain, vibrant flora, and cool temperatures – a refreshing contrast to the country’s stereotypical arid climate. This area includes the tallest peak in the land, Jabal Sawda, as well as Jabal Ferwa, both more than 3000 meters (9840 feet) high and with trails to the summit. There has been a lot of investment in the region to promote itself as a tourist destination.

Base yourself in Abha, a popular city renowned for its moderate climate, making it a popular escape from the scorching temperatures often associated with Saudi Arabia. Access trails from here into the Asir Mountains.

Jabal Sawda, Saudi Arabia

Hejaz Mountains

North of the Asir Mountains and at a lower altitude, the majestic peaks and dramatic landscapes that run parallel to the Red Sea are not only beautiful to see, but also hold cultural and historical significance. Jabal Al-Nour is one such peak, located near Mecca, believed to be where the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran. There is a very popular trail to the summit where you can see the holy city of Mecca laid out before you. Al Shafa is another mountain worthy of exploring which has Daka Mountain Park sitting at the top of it.

The vibrant city of Taif and Mecca (Makkah), are both great bases for hiking in the Hejaz Mountains.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Edge of the World

Imagine standing at the edge of a towering cliff, gazing out over a seemingly endless expanse of rocky landscapes. This is the experience that the Edge of the World, located just outside Riyadh, offers to adventurers. The trail takes hikers to the edge of the Tuwaiq Escarpment, providing breathtaking vistas of the surrounding valleys and vast desert plains. Sunset or sunrise hikes at this iconic spot are particularly magical, offering a kaleidoscope of colors that paint the sky.

Jabal Abyad

Jabal Abyad, or the White Mountain, stands as a striking natural wonder, earning its name from the unique white limestone formations that grace its peaks and slopes. As you ascend Jabal Abyad, the landscape transforms into a surreal canvas of contrasting colors – the pristine white rocks against the azure sky and the greenery of the surrounding valleys.  Located near Medina (Madinah), a guide is recommended to do this hike.

 

Edge of the World, Saudi Arabia

Wadi Al-Disah

Nestled within the enchanting landscapes of the Al Ula region in Saudi Arabia, Wadi Al Disah emerges as a desert oasis that beckons travelers with its serene beauty. Also known as the Valley of Palms, this wadi is a hidden gem characterized by lush palm groves, narrow canyons, and imposing cliffs that stand as silent witnesses to the passage of time. Visitors can explore the winding paths, discover hidden alcoves, and relish the cool shade beneath the towering palm trees, while also taking in the ancient petroglyphs etched into the rocky outcrops.

Al-Wahbah

North of Jeddah, Al-Wahbah is a colossal crater, formed thousands of years ago, and a mesmerizing spectacle in the heart of the desert expanse. Surrounded by an expansive field of black volcanic rocks, the stark contrast with the pristine white floor of the crater creates an otherworldly atmosphere. The interior, covered in a layer of crystalline salt, adds a surreal touch to the landscape.

For those seeking adventure, the crater offers a challenging descent down 250 meters, providing a unique perspective of the vastness that characterizes this natural wonder.

saudi arabia

Hiking infrastructure is in its infancy in Saudi Arabia, so there aren’t many solid resources (ie. hiking guidebooks or official hiking websites) available. However, there are a growing number of guiding companies offering hiking tours and more investment planned to develop more hiking trails. Check out these organizations to find out more: Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation (SCHF) https://climbing.sa/ and Jeddah Go Outdoors https://jeddahgooutdoors.com/.

The hiking trails in Saudi Arabia promise adventure, stunning vistas, and a deep connection with the country’s rich history. So, lace up your hiking boots and explore the undiscovered beauty of Saudi Arabia on your next outdoor adventure!

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