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.
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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.
- GPS device or a Wkiloc app with an accurate trail recording. Check Garmin GPS device on Amazon.
- A rechargeable torchlight in case you end up hiking in the dark. If you want to keep your hands free, then a powerful rechargeable headlamp is a perfect solution.
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, that in the middle of Madha terrioty you can find a small piece of land that belongs to UAE, it is called Nahwa.
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)
- Photo and Video Editing software: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premier Pro
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.
- Find the BEST FLIGHTS within your budget to Dubai using KIWI.com – a booking site that offers the best routes and flight deals (with a money-back guarantee if you miss your connection).
- Rent your wheels at the best rate with Discover Cars or Myrentacar– a car search engines that compares prices across local and international car rental companies.
- Find your PERFECT ACCOMMODATION in the UAE on Booking.com, Expedia, or Hotellook (the latter provides the best price comparisons across the biggest hotel search sites).
- Remember to always get TRAVEL INSURANCE for peace of mind. Check trustworthy WORLD NOMADS INSURANCE or SAFETY WING for the best rates. Both also offer Covid related events!
- Book the best rated day tours in the UAE on GET YOUR GUIDE.
Hello your webpage is very informative. is there a group that I can join in with my friend? I want to join the hiking trail this coming UAE national holiday..
Hi Mico, thank you for your kind words. I am glad you find some useful tips here. I always go hiking with my partner, never with the groups. Therefore, I am not sure if there is any for this particular hike. There used to be an app called MeetUp where random people can post an event, agree on a day and time and then head out for an outdoor activity together. Never tried it, but I’ve heard it can be a nice experience.
Al Rabi trail is very well marked, you can be confident of doing it on your own, you won’t get lost. Also, you can expect a lot of other hikers doing this trail during the national day.
Hi thanks for this. Are dogs allowed here if we take then for a hike? And anyone knows where we can camp around the area where dogs are allowed?
Thank you for the very detailed write up, planning to go on Friday.
You will enjoy it. Expect lots of people hiking on Friday, especially evening 🙂
A very detailed blog and hence very useful. Thank you for that. Is it advisable to go on this trail at wee hour of the morning (in dark) to see the sunrise? Is the path well lit?
Thank you for your comment. It is perfect to go in the morning to avoid the crowds but go just before sunrise. The path is not lit so you would have to carry a torch light. Have a nice hike!
Hi. Thank you for the information. Is this good for solo hiker?
Where did you travel from? How did you travel to get to the starting point?
Hi, thank you for your comment. Yes Al Rabi trail is absolutely okay to do solo. It is close to the city (as you may see from the images in the blog) and the trail is very clear and well laid. I came from Dubai by car (regular sedan car). This is probably the easiest and fastest way to get there. I am not sure about public transport options though. But there might be buses going to Khor Fakkan town from Dubai too.
Your post is so useful! Thanks for sharing.
May I know where is the best spot to see sunrise? Is it at the summit or somewhere in the middle?
Hi Ling, the best spot would be at the summit somewhere or alone the way where you already get the sea view as the sunrise is from the seaside 🙂
Your website is very nice and has terrific advise and tips for the users. After seeing the write up here on the Al Rabi Trail we decided to go for it. Thanks for all this.
Hi Jagdish, I hope you enjoyed your hike at Al Rabi?
Thanks for the detailed write up.We knew what exactly to expect ! Enjoyed the view and the trails.
Hi Apna, thank you for your comment and I am glad you have enjoyed the hike.
Hi your post is very informative but I would like to asky if there is any fees collected? Thanks!
Hi Mjay, thank you for asking, never thought to include this information as all the hikes I know in the UAE are free, including Al Rabi Trail. Unless, you go on a guided tour, of course.
Hi Ausra, do you have a saved trail on Wikiloc for Al Rabi. We used your Al Shawka dam to pool trail on the app and it was a big help.
I haven’t recorded Al Rabi trail yet. But not to worry, you do not need wikiloc for this trail, the path is very clear and there is nowhere to get lost 🙂
I’m an experienced and strong walker. I walked this route earlier this year, with a friend who was two months ‘post-covid’.
This walk is not easy(!) Where is your mention of GRADIENT / rate of climb?! I coped ok on the climb, but admittedly, was surprised by how aggressive the climb actually was. My friend, in good shape and under 40 (but as I say, post-covid), was physically destroyed by this walk – we had to seriously pace ourselves, and the were moments on the ascent where it felt like she was going to take a serious turn for the worse.
There’s not much point in providing a vastly detailed blog of the route, if you then fail to classify the level of difficulty inaccurately/incorrectly, taking into account all levels of fitness, age, experience etc. People’s expectations, and safety, need to be respected when sharing this sort of info.
Dear Andrew, thank you for your comment. Kindly note, this is not a walk but a hike. I have mentioned in the Difficulty section that elevation gain is still significant and should not be underestimated. I have taken your comment into consideration and updated the post with more notes on what to expect. Definitely, it always depends on a person’s fitness level how they see a hike, or and excersice. However, based on the average ratings for UAE trails, this trail is still considered an beginner/begginer plus one due to its distance and gradual elevation gain. Yes, there are a few steeper sections, but most of the trail is a gradual incline. Stay safe!
khorfakkan ! waooo this is one of the most amazing and best attraction in sharjah uae,
Must visit before die
Thank you for the blog. Been checking it out for awhile, was wondering if the designated camping spot is still around?