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  • Writer's pictureTom Bushell

Hiking // A perfect hike for the whole family at Wadi Shawka // United Arab Emirates

Looking for a hike to do with the kids in the UAE? This is for you...

  • Wadi Shawka is within easy reach of Dubai

  • Well laid out hiking trails and easy to follow paths

  • Cabanas make for great rest and lunch locations

  • Bathrooms and picnic areas at start/end point

I've been asked a lot recently what the most suitable UAE hike for kids is, so I decided it's only right that I showcase what I think works really well for the whole family.

With the help of good friends and their children, we set out for a little UAE adventure!

Wadi Shawka is a brilliant location, around an hour's drive from Dubai and on the whole is a great starter hike for kids as you can really create the route you want to do using the various different loops.


Enjoy the perfect family hiking day out at Wadi Shawka

The traditional start to the hike is the climb up the huge Wadi Shawka staircase, which may seem daunting when stood at the bottom. But, don't let that put you off. There are plenty of rest points for a sit down and once you get this climb done, that is all of the climbing pretty much done - unless you decide to climb to the higher ground further down the track, but this is not necessary.

At the top of the staircase, and as I point out in the video, you will find the perfect area to entertain your kids with a game of Twister, or similar party game as a reward for getting to the top of the staircase! Something to keep the kids engaged, was my thinking.

Do share your party game/mountain photos with me on Instagram here!

At the start/end point of this hike there are bathrooms (take some toilet paper as they are often without) and a picnic area with playground and sometimes, some food stalls.

You can also decide to start the hike at the end point, which is the track you'll see coming back down to the road opposite where you park the car.

Going this way around the loop will mean you will have a slightly more gradual climb up than the staircase and can be equally as fulfilling. It all depends on what you fancy.

Whichever route you take, the tracks are well laid out and easy to walk on the whole meaning it really is an exciting day our for children.

Wadi Shawka provides well laid out tracks easy to follow

There aren't any signposts to keep you on track but keep to the pathways and you will be okay - they are pretty easy to navigate.

There are also loads of cabanas dotted around which are great for moments in the shade and lunch.

As always, don't forget to take plenty of food and snacks, and water and plan your journey so you are not on the mountain when it gets dark.

How to get to Wadi Shawka:

  • Head east on the E102 which can be joined from the E611

  • Turn off at the Shawka junction (some spellings of ‘Shawka' may differ) – about 10 minutes past the junction for Mleiha

  • Drive through the small village of Shawka and turn right at the signpost for ‘Wadi Shawka Dam’.

  • Continue along the tarmac road and park at the ‘Dam Management Office’.

  • From Dubai, journey time is around 60 minutes *No 4x4 needed

Recommended supplies:

  • Hiking boots although a good pair of trainers with good ankle support would do

  • Suitable clothing depending on season

  • A hat and sun protection

  • Lunch and plenty of water

  • A charged mobile phone – there is a phone signal throughout the hike

  • Party games are optional!


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