The best UAE hikes: Al Rabi Trail in Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates | Overlooking an exclave city of Khor Fakkan on one side and the Gulf of Oman on the other, an earthy and well-marked Al Rabi hike offers exceptional panoramic views. Graded as a beginner-level hike, this trail is visited by outdoor lovers of various age groups and fitness levels. It is one of a few UAE hiking trails that is located in the city of Khor Fakkan, near Fujeirah, approximately one and a half hours away from Dubai. Therefore, this route is very accessible and popular amongst locals as a quick weekend getaway.
As an off-the-beaten destinations loving person, I was a little bit skeptical about this popular outdoor route. I have seen only a few images of Al Rabi Tower before, therefore I did not know anything about the trail scenery. The only expectation was a chilled-out afternoon on the East Coast of the UAE with light trekking up Al Rabi mountain.
Oh, man! I was so pleasantly surprised when I and my partner got there. A beautiful lush green mountain with a well-laid trail above Khor Fakkan town and the ocean reminded me of many well-developed Hong Kong city trails. No wonder that this UAE hiking trail is one of the most popular easy hikes in the country.
Therefore, Al Rabi Hiking Trail is the route I recommend to anyone who wants to go on a hike in the UAE for the first time. It is a safe beginners’ hiking trail that can be comfortably done within a few hours. It can also be a full-day relaxed experience in nature and just steps away from civilization. And, yes, this is by far one of the best UAE hikes for those who want spectacular views at a minimum effort.
Watch my UAE highlights video showcasing some of the most beautiful locations in the country!
Related Reads: I have listed the Top 8 Easy UAE Hiking Trails, please check this post out to discover more wonderful beginner lever UAE hikes. For more experienced and adventurous hikers, I would suggest the epic Wadi Shah loop near Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah.
Want something a little bit more challenging? Head to my post about the Iconic Wadi Naqab Trail. This incredible hike in the UAE features one of the most unique mountain sceneries in the UAE. You will be trekking through majestic Wadi Naqab, to wadi Koob pools and ancient Al Sanat mountain village. Download FREE Mini-Guide to Wadi Naqab Trail HERE!
Continue reading for more information about UAE hike in Al Rabi mountain. I am also sharing a bunch of images, so you get hooked on visiting this awesome place near Fujeirah.
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Here is All You Need to Know About Al Rabi Hiking Trail in the UAE
I have put together all the information that could be useful to prepare for the Al Rabi hike in the UAE. Let’s get ready for a little adventure. Make sure to pack your camera as this UAE hiking trail is also a photographer’s paradise!
Summary: Al Rabi is a well-marked beginner plus level trail with fantastic views of Khor Fakkan town backed by rugged Hajar mountains and blue waters of the Gulf of Oman.
Distance: ~5.3 KM roundtrip.
Duration: 2-3 hours (excluding breaks, and depending on fitness level, can be done faster/slower)
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate (depending on fitness level and age).
Maximum Elevation: 395 m.
Elevation gain and loss: approx. 300 m.
Mobile network and Internet connection: good.
Is a guide needed? No. The trail is very well marked.
Minimum water requirement: 3-4 liters.
Camping? Possible at the designated camping spot 2.2 KM into the hike.
Kids friendly? Yes.
The best beginner’s hike in the UAE- Al Rabi Tower Trail
Al Rabi hiking trail distance is a sweet 5.3 KM in total with an elevation of 395 meters. This clearly marked trail guarantees fun and mesmerizing experience. Khorfakkan trekking route is one of the safest UAE hiking trails suitable for complete beginners. The total distance of the trail can be covered in a couple of hours of trekking at a medium speed.
Along the way, you will be soaking up breathtaking views of rugged Hajar mountains and Khorfakkan town landmarks. These blend in seamlessly with the horizon of the sea.
Halfway into the Al Rabi hike, you might want to stop and immerse in the vastness of the waters of the Gulf of Oman. Moreover, be ready to meet the goats. Some of which are peacefully resting on the rocks and are happy to be photographed.
Finally, as the heat cools down, towards the evening, you will find local spectators coming from the nearby towns to enjoy a sunset at Al Rabi trail. From kids to adults, friends, and families- everyone rushes up the mountain, some of them dressed up for this special place.
Related Reads: Check this detailed guide to Shawka Dam to Pools loop trail which is the other great scenic easy hike only an hour away from Dubai.
How to get to Khorfakkan hiking trail at Al Rabi Tower, UAE
To get to the starting point of the Khor Fakkan hike takes 1 hour and 45 minutes when driving from downtown Dubai. This is the fastest way to reach the East Coast of the United Arab Emirates. Take the new Sharjah – Khor Fakkan highway- the scenery along the way is a joy.
It is very easy to reach the start of the Khor Fakkan hiking trail by typing “Al Rabi Tower” or “Al Rabi Hiking Trail” in Google Maps.
Al Rabi Trail Parking
There are a few parking spots in front of the Al Rabi tower available for early starters. Otherwise, you can park at the bottom of the hill and climb up to the tower where the hiking route starts.
Navigating Al Rabi Tower Trail in the UAE
As the name suggests, this UAE hike in Khor Fakkan starts at the historical watchtower. It was built in 1915 AD and used to be a part of the defense network guarding the city of Khor Fakkan. Today Al Rabi tower is a tourist attraction and a historical monument.
You will find it easy to follow the well-developed trail which zigzags all the way up to the UAE flag. It is the highest point of this route and it’s called Al Rabi Peak.
Al Rabi Hiking Trail Map
Below is a rough Khor Fakkan hiking trail at Al Rabi mountain map.
How difficult is Al Rabi Trail in Khorfakkan, UAE?
Al Rabi trail can be rated as beginner plus trek. It is a relatively short distance and gradual elevation gain trek.
However, there are some short steeper sections that will definitely get your heart rate rising up, but mostly the incline is rather gradual and there are lots of leveled walks. Therefore, depending on how fit you are, you may find this hike either easy or moderately challenging. Nonetheless, compared to many other UAE hiking trails, Al Rabi hike is fairly easy.
Al Rabi Tower trail is suitable for families with young kids (we saw many of them taking up this beautiful but still slightly challenging trail). Elevation gain of around 300 meters is still significant. Therefore, do not underestimate it and treat this trail as a little hiking adventure that requires some effort.
Finally, you don’t have to complete the full trail distance. It is up to you to choose, how far you want to hike. If you feel you had enough of exercising for the day, just come back the same way.
The Best time to Hike Al Rabi Trail
The Khorfakkan Al Rabi Tower hike can easily be done at any time of the day. With November until March being perfect for day-long hikes, summer months should be avoided. During the shoulder season from April to May and September to November, it is advisable to hike during the very early hours and start just before sunrise.
For the best views and the most pleasant temperatures on this trail, aim to hike at sunrise or sunset. If you are looking for a solo peaceful trek, go on weekdays. Although less known for tourists, this UAE hiking trail is very popular amongst the residents. Therefore, Friday evenings are the busiest – it almost seems like the whole town has woken up from a long afternoon nap and is heading for the mountain top.
Our hike was on a Friday afternoon in February. When we started, there were only a few people trekking, but the path became crowded towards the evening. As a result, unlike in the early afternoon, the trail was no longer available for only a few of us.
Regardless, it was fun to watch people of various backgrounds and age groups strolling the mountain. Most of them were driven by the same goal – reaching the highest point and taking a selfie with the UAE flag.
Moreover, I was amazed by ladies in abayas and kaftans hiking all dressed up, and Pakistanis in their kurta pajamas and slippers jumping over the rocks – it is clear that this hike is one of the favorite city attractions. That being said, it opened up many great travel photography opportunities that added some local flavor to the overall experience.
How to Prepare for Al Rabi Tower Hike?
Although the Al Rabi trail is a fairly easy hike, it is always advisable to be well prepared for all of the hikes in the UAE.
- Sufficient amount of water– crucial for any hike. For the UAE where the weather is hot all year round, take extra than you think you may need.
- Lightweight power snacks like dates, bananas, protein bars. Also, electrolyte drink aside from water makes wander after long sweaty hours.
- Sturdy footwear with good grip. The terrains are rough and rocky. Therefore, it is very important you are wearing shoes, ideally mid-ankle height, that has good grip, to prevent you slipping and twisting your legs. I have been hiking in my Columbia boots since I started, and I am so far happy with it.
- Comfy and functional backpack. For a half-day hike you don’t need much supplies to fit in. Still, a backpack with a good back support and, ideally, a space for water bladder, makes a difference. Check out this Osprey backpack chich is great for day hikes.
- Get a water bladder if you are planning to make hiking a regular acitivty. Water bladder has a straw. This means you don’t have to remove your backpack when you want to drink water. Also, water, when filled in the bladder, is evenly distributed in the backpack. I use my two or three liter camel backs (depending on how long the hike is). You can check prices here on Amazon.
- Sunsreen, cap and sun glasses. Sun is harsh, so make sure to protect yourself.
- Comfy sweat wicking clothes. I usually hike in gym or hiking leggings and t-shirts. For winter months, I through in a lightweight fleece as morning and evening can be chilly.
- Hiking poles. It is not a must but very helpful for the descending part. It can be quite tough for the knees when climbing down. For the light weight foldable trekking poles check this pair at Amazon.
- Basic first aid kit. Terrains are rough and sometimes mini injuries can happen. Even as simple as getting a blister. So having plaster for this type of emergency can really make or break your hike.
- Power bank to keep your phone charged.
Pro Tip: freeze your Pocari Sweat (or any hydration drink of choice) a night before you go. Add some ice cubes into your water reservoir. This will help to keep the water cooler for an even longer time.
Last but not least- let someone from your family or friends know that you are heading out for a hike. Give them the location details. Also, inform them when you are starting the hike and when you expect to return.
Besides hiking, we saw people doing picnics. Although there is no dedicated place for that, everyone finds their way to enjoy the moment.
A side note: the space is very open, and there are no amenities near the trail. Therefore, you might want to make sure you use the bathroom before starting your hike.
RELATED READS: Want something a little bit more challenging? Head to my post about the Iconic Wadi Naqab Trail. This incredible hike in the UAE features one of the most unique mountain sceneries in the UAE. You will be trekking through majestic Wadi Naqab, to wadi Koob pools and ancient Al Sanat mountain village. Download FREE Mini-Guide to Wadi Naqab Trail HERE!
STAY SAFE ON YOUR HIKE AND KEEP THE NATURE CLEAN!
Other Things to do in Khorfakkan
- Visit Khor Fakkan Town
Khor Fakkan is the second-largest East Coast town in the UAE. Interestingly, it belongs to the Sharjah Emirate despite being surrounded by the Emirate of Fujeirah.
Khor Fakkan which means “Creek of Two Jaws” is a town that is set on a bay that is backed by rugged halwa-like (Arabic sweet) looking Hajar mountains.
Khor Fakkan powers the UAE economy with a busy industrial seaport. It is one of the major container terminal ports in the Emirates (Wikipedia).
The town itself has a few historical attractions. One of them is the oldest shrine in the UAE- Al Bidhiyah mosque.
- Dive into turquoise waters at Khorfakkan Beach
Furthermore, the pretty Khor Fakkan beach, which lies to the North of the town, is famous for its stunning natural views, clean water, and football playgrounds. Ultimately, the town makes it a perfect weekend getaway from busy city life.
- Go snorkeling and diving at Shark island and Snoopy island
Feeling like being more active in the water, then head to Shark or Snoppy islands. There you will have options to snorkle, scuba dive, kayak, or canoe.
- Visit Oman in the UAE visa free by exploring Madha exclave town.
A quite interesting phenomenon is that you can visit Oman while in UAE completely visa-free. Just 15 minutes away from Al Rabi trail by car, there is an exclave town of Madha that belongs to Oman. There is no official border. The only way you will know you are in Oman is when you start seeing Omani-related signs.
What is even more interesting, is that in the middle of Madha territory you can find a small piece of land that belongs to UAE, it is called Nahwa.
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MY HIKING PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY GEAR
I often get asked about the photography gear I use during my hikes. The reality is, I do not hike very light because I carry all sorts of equipment in my backpack.
Here is what I use to capture my adventures and the beauty of the mountains:
- Photo and video camera: Mirrorless Nikon Z6
- Main lens: Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4
- Wide-angle lens: Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4
- Drone: DJI Air 2s
- Pocket-sized camera: DJI Osmo Pocket 2
- Small Tripod: Gorilla Pod
- Travel tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod (Ball Head)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TRAVEL RESOURCES
Planning your trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates soon? Below are some useful links to help organize your trip.
More UAE travel blog posts
- Browse and read my other UAE travel guides.
- Plan your trip to Dubai with my 7 Days Dubai itinerary.
- Did you know Dubai has mountains? Find out 10 best things to do in Hatta– Dubai’s mountain town.
- Planning to explore more of the Middle East? You can visit Oman from Dubai by road.
- Love taking pictures wherever you go? Check a list of the 35+ most instagrammable places in Dubai.
- An Ultimate Guide to Mleiha- a perfect Day Trip from Dubai.