February 9, 2020

Wadi Ghalilah Hike

Wadi Ghalila is situated in UAE’s Northern mountains, in the heart of Jebel Jais, part the infamous outdoor playground Ras Al Khaima.

The Wadi Ghalila hike is relatively new path, that links the bottom of the valley to the upper part of Jebel Jais.

The Path:

I have never finished the hike of Wadi Ghalilah for a reason or another, but the path is straightforward and easy to navigate on. Nearly the entire route from start to end is uphill, with some nice views overlooking Wadi Litibah and Wadi Ghalilah.

I rate this route as easy to navigate on due to the mix of man-made path and man-built staircases, in addition to the clear sinages all the way to the top.


There is only one route up and down to Wadi Ghalilah hike. So don’t worry about taking any wrong turns.

Despite that the path is easy and well-marked, this route is steep and steady. Which means be prepared for a strenuous uphill game…

This route starts at Wadi Ghalilah water dam, and ends by the Jebel Jais paved road.

Hikes parameters:

  • Elevation gain: around 1,500m
  • Highest elevation: around 1,515m
  • Starting elevation: around 150m
  • Round trip distance: around 11km
  • Time required: 6-9 hours


  • Starting points: 25°58’50.9″N 56°08’43.9″E
  • End points: 25°56’54.7″N 56°08’41.6″E


Needless to say, hikes in UAE and Oman are demanding due to 2 major factors:

  1. Weather, it is very hot in the region, which requires you to stay hydrated. Always take extra water with you.
  2. 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

Fitness requirements:

If you like hiking, you have no excuse not to exercise to increase fitness. After all, you want to enjoy your day comfortably. And it is one thing to complete a goal while suffering, but it is a lot more rewarding when you achieve it while you are enjoying the process.


I have mixed views on the scenery of Wadi Ghalilah hike. In one hand they are super beautiful, the route overlooks 2 pretty wadis and many mountains around. And on the other hand, I felt the route lost its authenticity due to the electrical polls that are stretched on the route. To make things worst, there is couple of thick black pipes/cables that run along the path… this for me was a turn off.

Many people are able to find the beauty in it, but to me, I would rather drive 1 km further and hike the right back of Stairway to Heaven Hike

Red Tape:

  • Avoid starting the hike midday or at night, best time to start is the morning.
  • If it is raining, watch out from falling rocks and unstable grounds.
  • Please don’t leave trash behind, and if you see any trash laying around pleaes collect it.






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