UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2021: MLEIHA MOUNTAIN HAS BEEN CLOSED OFF FOR TOURISTS. IT IS BEING TURNED INTO A PAID FEE.
Some might not like this, but I believe making it paid will reduce the traffic and potential accidents. In addition, it will support the conservation efforts of the area and developing it further. AND WE WILL SEE NO TRASH I hope
Jebel Mleiha Hike – Fossil Rock
Jebel Mleiha hike (Fossil Rock) is the closest hike to Dubai and Sharjah. Surrounded by the Mleiha desert, this route offers stunning sunrises and sunsets from its summit.
Did you know Mleiha archaeological site offers evidence that humans lived in the area some 130,000 and 120,000 years ago? Yes, and researchers have found artifacts dating a million-year-old. In addition, Mleiha is well known for its famous geological features, fossils, and wildlife. Hence the famous name Fossil Rock hike.
Special thanks to the AFT (Arabian Fit Trekker) founder Faisi for providing us with the info and pictures 🙂
Get AFT’s latest adventures on their amazing Instagram account @AFT.ADVENTURES
Jebel Mleiha Hike – Fossil Rock
This is where the dunes meet the rocks. So be prepared for some walks on the dunes, followed by an uphill rock scree slope.
Jebel Mleiha Hike (Fossil Rock) has an easy sand track start, followed by a 30-to-45-degree scree slope once you start gaining elevation up the mountain (try to avoid hiking this part in the rain). You pass a ridge and end up on a plateau with a beautiful rock formation.
Parking just off the main highway, easy to miss. Google maps say protected area but commonly used by off-roaders and hikers. no obvious visible trail.
There are no visible routes, aim towards the longest slope leading to the summit (visible from the parking).
Often hikers do the mistake of getting inside the canyon and try to reach the summit. Avoid this option as it involves scrambling and climbing some walls and boulders, in addition to the danger the loose rocks add. Stick to the scree slope all the way up.
I updated the map with 2 new routes you can explore especially on the descent.
The blue route is in the canyon, whilst the orange route is off the west side of the mountain.
Jebel Mleiha Hike – Fossil Rock Updated Routes
- Starting elevation: 150m
- highest point: 370m
- Elevation gain/loss: 260m
- Distance: 3.5km each way
- Time: +/-4hrs
- Parking: 25.167406, 55.841593
- Summit: 25.148303, 55.838586
- Scenic & common green route: 25.156497, 55.844689
- Shortest descent blue route (bottom): 25.151544, 55.842967
- Shortest descent blue route (top): 25.149794, 55.837664
- Dunes orange route: 25.157119, 55.836646
Needless to say, hikes in UAE and Oman are demanding due to 2 major factors:
- The weather is very hot in the region, which requires you to stay hydrated. Always take extra water with you.
- Harsh terrain and extreme drops: the geology of the area is very hard and harsh. The terrain is hard on the feet and joints, especially with the altitude gain/loss in short distances. So wear a good pair of high ankle shoes and use trekking poles.
So carry sun cream, sun-glasses, emergency blanket, head-light, lighter, hat, trekking poles, hiking bag with waist straps, water, more water, healthy snacks, and food for the day.
And inform someone who knows when you are starting the hike and when you expect to return.
Start as early as possible so you avoid descending in the dark
Average fitness required to complete Jebel Mleiha route. However, the fitter you are, the easier this 1 hour of straight-line uphill will be.
Beautiful views over the red sands of Mleiha desert on both sides. Sunrise and Sunset are magical. Even better on some foggy days.
In addition, this place is rich in wildlife, so keep an eye for snakes, scorpions, gerbils, sand geckos, and owls.
- Avoid starting the hike midday or at night, the best time to start is in the morning.
- If it is raining, watch out for falling rocks and unstable grounds.
- Please don’t leave trash behind, and if you see any trash laying around please collect it.
- Don’t go close to the edges. At some places, there are 100m of cheer drops.
- The rock is deceiving, it looks solid but hollow from the inside and can easily break.
Needless to say, I would like to hear your opinion. And if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below