The United Arab Emirates is known for offering locals and visitors an array of luxurious and exciting experiences. However, one activity that’s often overlooked is hiking, especially for families with kids. The rugged mountains with their awe-inspiring vistas make the perfect backdrop for family hikes. Thankfully, the UAE is not short of hiking trails. But, which one to start with?

Don’t overthink it – we’ll help kickstart your family’s challenging adventure by revealing the top hiking trails in the UAE, with a particular focus on those in the majestic Ras Al Khaimah.

The Top 9 Hiking Trails with Kids in the UAE

Ras Al Khaimah:

  1. Jebel Jais Upper Trail Segment – Ghaf Summit Trail
  2. Jebel Jais Lower Trails
  3. Sal Haqeel
  4. Wadi Khammed
  5. Wadi Shawka Dam Mountain Trail


  1. Wadi Shees Nature Trail
  2. Fossil Rocks
  3. Al Rabi Mountain Trail


  1. Wadi Waeeb ul Hina

Ras Al Khaimah

Jebel Jais Upper Trail Segment – Ghaf Summit Trail

Start point: 25.937571, 56.131175

There are a lot of things to do in Ras Al Khaimah but make sure hiking the Ghaf Summit trail is one of them. It’s literally on top of the tallest mountain in the UAE and is a prominent feature of the majestic Hajar mountain range. You and your family will enjoy it most on a sunset hike but if you choose that option, be sure to bring headlamps for the journey back.

Jebel Jais Lower Trails

Start point: 25.901943741464642, 56.13326752951123

If you want to feel really immersed in the Hajar mountains then the lower trails of Jebel Jais are the way to do it. One of the most popular options there is the Samar trail, which also happens to be one of the longest. So, it may not be the best option if your children are prone to tantrums. However, the lower tails are dotted with plenty of rest areas should you need a break.

Sal Haqeel

Start point: 25.50432, 56.05403

This is a trail that’s full of history and natural beauty. It offers hikers the chance to take an ascent through remnants of a rocky road leading to abandoned villages. The trail even transforms in winter with green grass and trees littered across the landscape. It’s a good way to get your kids into some history.

Wadi Khammed

Start point: 25.53541, 56.08594

Marked by its serene beauty and the echoes of the wilderness, this trail invites hikers of all levels to explore winding paths. It’s one of the places that sums up Ras Al Khaimah’s natural beauty, giving you and your kids a truly peaceful retreat. For the most kid-friendly experience, we’d recommend the first 2 km of the trail and going back the same way.

Wadi Shawka Dam Mountain Trail

Start point: 25.103958, 56.039260

Next up is the Wadi Shawka Dam trail which is around 2 hours from Dubai. It offers an easy escape for both novice hikers and families, with paths ranging from brief strolls to full-day adventures. A highlight of this option is the enchanting Shawka pools, with every route promising breathtaking views, perfect for social media.

The path is designed for easy navigation and is pet-friendly. Another bonus is that you can find mountain bike trails there.


Fossil Rock Trail

Start point: 25.10029, 55.50297

Fossil Rock is a geological marvel that offers one of the best hikes for those interested in the ancient world. It’s a moderate trek so you will have to do a little bit of convincing with your kids but it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s a gateway to discovering marine fossils that date back millions of years.

The one issue with this trail is that it’s not the most well-marked, but its views and prehistoric treasure compensate for that.

Al Rabi Mountain Trail

Start point: 25.339488, 56.359157

You’ll find the Al Rabi Mountain Trail on the east coast sporting amazing views of Khorfakkan and the Gulf of Oman. It’s a popular hiking trail because of how straightforward it is. Plus, it’s clearly marked so parents and little ones can stay united throughout. Be warned, it does have some steep sections but the views of the Hajar mountains from there will definitely motivate you.

This hike can be completed in three hours if going at a moderate pace. Parking is near Al Rabi Tower.

Wadi Shees Nature Trail

Start point: 25.291223917559574, 56.24463792088483

The Shees Valley trail makes for a serene family hike. The marked trail lies alongside an ancient falaj that weaves through mountains, going past an old village and farms. The area is extremely diverse in flora and fauna, so kids always have something to keep them captivated along the way.

Do note that although the trail is somewhat shaded by palm trees, it lacks major rest areas, so it’s advisable for hikers to prepare accordingly. Carry water and snacks, in addition to wearing appropriate gear.


Wadi Waeeb ul Hina

Start point: 25.542014, 56.160101

When it comes to the UAE’s diverse landscape, this trail is the true definition of a secret spot coveted by locals “in the know.” Boasting stunning rock formations and rewarding views of the Hajar mountains, this enchanting hike leads adventurers to the famed sulfur pools. So, there’s plenty for both kids and adults to see along the way. It’s ideal for those who want a blend of exploration and relaxation.


How many hiking trails are at Jebel Jais?

Jebel Jais is divided into two different hiking areas that make up a total of six hiking trails of varying difficulty.

Do these trails have rest points?

Yes, many do have rest points, one of the most notable ones being Al Suhub Rest House in Sharjah.

Should kids go hiking?

Definitely! Hiking is a wonderful activity for children, allowing them to exercise, bond with their parents, and get in touch with nature. However, it’s important to stick to hiking safety guidelines and ensure the trail is suitable for children.

What should I take with me on a hike?

To get the best out of your hike, ensure you have the following:

  • Suitable hiking boots and clothing
  • Drinking water
  • Light snacks
  • GPS/map
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • A backpack

Is there any advice for first-time hikers?

If you’re new to hiking, start with a manageable, short hike and graduate to a more challenging hike once you’ve gauged for endurance levels. Even advanced hikers need to be cautious in this regard. Also, stick to marked trails and avoid hiking at night or during extreme weather conditions.

Who should I contact in the event of an emergency during a hike?

Dial 998 (toll-free) for an ambulance or 999 for the police. Keep an extensive list of UAE emergency numbers on your person for easy access.

Final Thoughts

It may be difficult to ignore all the trappings of big cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi but it’s time for you and your family to embrace the call of the outdoors. Make your next, or your first, family hike an unforgettable one by exploring the UAE’s most scenic hikes. There are plenty to choose from catering to both seasoned hiking enthusiasts and those just starting out.

Don’t waste any more time – the UAE’s hiking trails await your footprints!


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