Top 5 hiking trails to check out in Saudi Arabia this winter

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Home to many natural wonders, much of Saudi Arabia’s natural landscape is untouched. From sublime deserts to a stunning Red Sea coast and remnants from ancient civilizations, the Kingdom is quickly becoming one of the region’s top tourist destinations.

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Whether you are a hiking enthusiast or a beginner with a zest for adventure, here are five of the best hiking trails you might want to check out in Saudi Arabia:

1. Jabal al-Soudah – Saudi Arabia’s Tallest Peak

A sunset view from Jabal al-Soudah in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)
A sunset view from Jabal al-Soudah in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)

Jabal al-Soudah, which translates to “the Black Mountain,” is among the tallest peaks in Saudi Arabia and is situated in Kingdom’s Asir region at an elevation of 3,000 meters.

Covered in lush green juniper trees and mesmerizing views, the rocky rural mountain range provides several hiking trails for people to enjoy.

Soudah also hosts an annual Flowerman Festival which showcases the culture of the indigenous Aseri tribe, including men wearing flower wreaths and headdresses.

2. Jebel Fihrayn – Edge Of The World

Jebel Fihrayn, also known as the Edge of the World, in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)
Jebel Fihrayn, also known as the Edge of the World, in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)

If you ever wondered what it must feel like to be at the edge of the world, look no further. Jebel Fihrayn is part of the Tuwaiq Escarpment and drops 300 meters into an ancient ocean bed.

Located just over 90 kilometers northwest of the Kingdom’s capital city Riyadh, Jebel Fihrayn is one of Saudi Arabia’s breathtaking natural wonders.

While standing on the cliffs, you will be able to spot dried rivers weaving across the land and see vistas of vast desert landscape, with an uninterrupted view of the world around you.

The trek, which is said to be easy for beginners, is divided into two segments that are 15 km on vehicle and 300 meters high cliff on foot.

3. AlUla Hidden Valley Hike

Hikers in AlUla's Hidden Valley in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)
Hikers in AlUla's Hidden Valley in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)

Rich in pre-historic sites, and home to UNESCO World Heritage Site Hegra, AlUla was once home to ancient kingdoms and civilizations including the Nabataeans and the legendary Lihyanites.

Take to the desert and the tranquil ambience that surrounds it on the 4km walk on soft sand, through secluded valleys and past towering rock formations.

The 1.5 hours long and medium-level hike is available to visitors daily for SAR 290 ($77), according to Experience AlUla’s official website.

4. Wadi al-Disah

Wadi al-Disah, Valley of the Palm Trees, in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)
Wadi al-Disah, Valley of the Palm Trees, in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)

Nestled between towering sandstone escarpments, Wadi al-Disah is a mountainous area located 4,000 square meters southwest of the Province of Tabuk.

Wadi al-Disah translates to “the valley of the palm trees” and is said to be one of a complex series of six sandstone canyon-like valleys.

A striking feature of this valley is its dimensions. At the eastern entrance of the canyon, the side cliffs are higher than 100 meters, and at the western entrance, the gap between the bottom of the wadi and the tallest cliffs reaches 500 meters in height.

The best time to go hiking in Wadi al-Disah is between November and March.

5. Al-Wahba Crater

Al-Wahba Crater in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)
Al-Wahba Crater in Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)

A volcanic crater located in the Hejazi region, the al-Wahba Crater is around 350 kilometers northeast of Jeddah.

The crater is around 820 feet deep and 1.2 miles wide, and although it is dry and barren, it is surrounded by some green vegetation of palm trees and shrubs.

Located amid dunes, it displays a range of color shades from different angles at different times of the day. White sodium phosphate crystals deposited at the bottom of the crater create a glittering effect in the sun.

The hike takes approximately two hours on the way up and 40 minutes to an hour down and is recommended to be done in the early morning or late evening to avoid intense sun exposure.

Safety tips

It is important to note the safety measures that should be taken in these hiking spots, as they can present varying levels of difficulty depending on one’s hiking experience level.

It is advised to pre-plan the trip and to research the area, its climate and other essentials near the hiking trail.

Hikers are advised to arrive at these spots prepared with proper clothing and hiking boots according to the area’s weather and terrain.

Knowing the route beforehand is also useful. Visitors are encouraged to travel in groups and speak to locals in the area or opt for travel guides.

A first aid kit and sleeping bag are also essential in case of emergency.

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