Snake Canyon is probably one of the few canyons in Oman that will kick your butt with adventure, increase your heart beats and give you a dose of adrenaline but considered on the easier side of the canyons chart. Hey! I said easier, doesn’t mean it is easy and you have to underestimate it. There are many recorded accidents and a few death incidents because of this one. I am not trying to scare you, but shedding the light on safety and guidelines to maximize your adventure and be safe.
Snake Canyon is a mix of multiple terrains. Pools, knee deep ponds, streams, boulders, gravel, mud, jumps and some abseils. About 80% of the route is in between two walls, each about 200m.
Snake canyon has two routes. Rather say 2 separate entrances that meet in the middle and continue out the other side of the canyon. The routes are distinguished by the names of right and left fork. Well, I don’t know which is which, it is one of these funny memes: “is it my right or your right” kind of argument. So I prefer to refer to them by technical and none-technical routes. The technical route has a very dramatic entrance to it, it looks like a gate from an ancient civilization. It starts close to Balid Sayt viallge. On this route, there are 3 drops that you have to use ropes to abseil them down (one of them might be jumped). The drops are all equipped with anchors, but you will need your gear to setup stations. 2 of the drops are short, while one of them is a total of 40m, but split into 2 drops, the first abseil is around 30m while the other is around 10m. Probably this is the best place of the entire route. The none technical route starts off a wider entrance close to Bimah. Labeling is as none technical doesn’t mean it is easier, this route requires you climbing down a few boulders and jumping off others. This route is also known for its natural slides, so make sure to go for them, they are FUN !! Just after both routes join, you go through a 50m beautifully carved cave in the rock. Unfortunately, last time I was there, the cave was completely dried out, while for the past years it was always full of water and you have to swim through it. And since the route ends very far from the starting points, you have to pre-organize some logistics by dropping a car to the other side, or hitch-hike (though the chances of a car passing by are too little), or simply just walk back on the road for around 8km.
- Technical route distance: around 4.5 km
- None technical route distance: around 4 km
- The time required: this is very tricky as many factors can affect your speed in such terrain. But allocate 5 to 7 hours at most. If you reach the intersection and you have consumed more than 3 hours, this is the time that you have to speed up.
- Altitude loss: 5-10m
- Starting elevation: 8550m & 905m
- Ending elevation: 700m
- Requires: swimming, climbing & bouldering around large rocks.
- Non-technical side Level: 2-B-PG-II (based on ACA canyoning rating)
- Technical side Level: 3-B-PG-II (based on ACA canyoning rating)
snake canyon cheat sheet non-technical
snake canyon cheat sheet technical
You will need an acceptable fitness to do this canyon. It is a long canyon and requires lots of bouldering around on uneven terrain. Adding the swimming sections will only make it harder.
Here are the views not to miss:
- The entrance of the technical route
- The lake and features by the end of the last abseil
- The cave and its features
- The end point, make sure to look back as you drive off.