The Reliable Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Hiking in the UAE
Blog written on 08-08-2022
How to train for hiking in the UAE
You have to train your body properly if you want to enjoy your hike. Otherwise, you’ll be left gasping for air and slowing down your group (if traveling with one). If you have never gone hiking in the UAE before, you’ll need to make sure you’re physically prepared for it. Hiking is an incredibly tiring activity, especially in the UAE heat. Here’s how you can…
Get those steps in!
Obviously, you’ll be doing a lot of walking when hiking in the UAE. If you want to enjoy your hike, you must get used to being on your feet. Many health experts recommend taking 10,000 steps a day, and consistently meeting this goal will enable you to get the most out of your hike.
However, I don’t recommend training only on a flat surface, such as a treadmill. You need to get used to going uphill and downhill as well. Road and trail running are great activities to help acclimate your body to walking across elevation levels.
Do some strength training
While your legs will be doing much of the work, you can’t neglect the rest of your body when training for a hike. You’ll likely be lugging around a backpack and a few other things when hiking in the UAE. This makes hiking akin to a full-body workout.
You don’t necessarily need a gym membership and top-of-the-line training for a hike. Doing some simple bodyweight exercises such as pushups, situps, and squats can be all you need to prepare for your hike.
Start training as soon as possible
Many first-time hikers don’t need too much training as they are already fit due to leading physically active lives. However, if you’re a homebody with very low levels of fitness, you have to start training as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may injure yourself during the hike if your body isn’t used to such intense levels of physical activity. You’ll want to progress slowly over time rather than go too intense, too quickly when training and exerting yourself.
What to wear when hiking in the UAE
When mountain hiking in the UAE, you must dress the part. Here’s what you should wear when conquering the trails in the emirates.
You shouldn’t be wearing anything too heavy when hiking in the mountains. The heat will simply be too much to handle, and you’ll end up sweating out all the water in your body. It may sound funny, but dehydration is no joke–especially in the UAE!
Ideally, you should wear clothes made from a light and breathable material to keep your body feeling fresh during those long hikes.
Your favorite sneakers simply may not hold up during a trail hike. Trail shoes or boots were made for rugged activities like hiking, and they should be your go-to when hiking in the UAE.
Brightly Colored Scarf/Bandana
You can usually wear a bandana on your head, and because it’s so light, you may even forget it’s there. It isn’t just a fashion statement, but a versatile tool that first-time hikers in the UAE should bring. In the event of an injury, you can use a bandana as a tourniquet. Bright-colored bandanas, like yellow, pink, or light green, can also be used to signal other hikers in case you get lost.
What to bring when mountain hiking in the UAE
While you might enjoy a hike without having to lug a backpack around, you should consider bringing certain items. Aside from the obvious things to bring, like a backpack and water tumbler, there are other hiking items you may want to add. These can either significantly improve your hiking experience or save your life in the event of an accident. Here’s what to bring when hiking in the UAE:
The trails in the emirates are incredible and are just begging for hikers to take photos of them. If you have a camera or a high-quality phone camera, you simply have to snap a few shots to post online.
You might not know how to take Instagrammable travel photos, though. I have an article on how to take the best travel photos. You should check it out if you can!
It’s called trail mix for a reason! Eating dehydrated snacks is a great way to keep yourself energized during a hike. They’re popular because they last a long time and don’t weigh you down as much as their hydrated counterparts. Raisins, nuts, and jerky are delicious options for your hike. Just ensure you’re not bringing pork jerky, as it is against the law to import pork products into the UAE.
If you’re going camping, you might also want to bring some raw meats to grill! Check out my guide to camping in the UAE to find out what else you should bring when conquering the great outdoors.
You never know what will happen during your hike, so it’s best to come prepared. An emergency kit is a great way to stay ready in case of an accident or unexpected injury. Here’s what it should have:
Bandages and antiseptic
People get injured all the time when hiking, but it would be unfortunate to stop a hike over a flesh wound. If someone in your group gets hurt, you can clean the wound with an antiseptic and then bandage it to prevent infection.
It’s easy to get separated from your group or get lost during a hike. A loud whistle can make it easy for other people to find you if you get lost.
Emergency contacts list
Even the most experienced hikers can faint due to the UAE heat. Having an emergency contacts list in your kit can be helpful should your group need to update loved ones.
Hiking probably isn’t the only thing on your agenda if you’re traveling to the UAE. Check out my article on what else to bring during your UAE trip!
Hiking trails in the UAE for all levels
Whether a first-timer or a veteran hiker, there’s a hiking trail in the UAE for you! Here’s what we recommend for all experience levels:
You’re a beginner hiker if you’ve never gone on a hike before and have no idea what to expect. Ideally, you’ll want to be part of a hiking group with more experienced hikers, though. Thankfully, there is no shortage of easy hiking trails in the UAE.
For the first-time hiker, I recommend the Qasr al Sarab Desert Trail. It’s a 5.5km trail located in Abu Dhabi. You may see wild oryxes, too!
You’re an intermediate hiker if you have some experience doing easy trails and are looking for something more challenging. You may have even climbed to a peak or two.
For the intermediate hiker, you can’t go wrong with the Shawka Dam Mountain Trail in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. Being a mountain trail, you better be physically ready to hike uphill.
It’s a fairly popular hiking trail, so you may even run into some fellow hikers.
If you’ve conquered all kinds of trails in the past, you have every right to call yourself an expert hiker. You’re likely looking for the longest, most challenging trails that the UAE has to offer.
For the expert hiker, we recommend none other than the tallest peak in the Emirates, The Jebel Jais trail in Ras Al-Khaimah. The 30km trail is called the best hiking trail in the country for a reason. If you think you’ve got what it takes to take on such a challenge, then I wish you good luck!
You get a completely different view of the country when you’re looking at it from the highest peak. To get a closer look at what the Emirates have to offer, then check out our blog! Once you’re done, you can check out our adventures and book a trip with us. Be sure to follow our Instagram, too, for the latest updates!
I’m a travel curator who has visited over 30 countries and is currently based in Dubai. For more of Tingu Travel’s experiences, you can follow us on Instagram and Tik Tok @tingutravel