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  • Writer's pictureTom Bushell

Hiking // 5 reasons to hike Fossil Rock in Sharjah // United Arab Emirates

A hike up Fossil Rock will provide you with a stunning sunset across uninterrupted desert dunes...

  • Fossil Rock is within a hour's drive of Dubai

  • Witness spectacular sunsets from the rock's high points

  • Get an insight into the area's past on the sea bed with marine fossils covering the rocks

  • Soak up the Jebel Faya mountain range and marvel in the story's hidden within their caves


Fossil Rock is a stunning location in the United Arab Emirates and a perfect desert based hike to do in the country.

Full of history, and thanks to the marine fossils that populate the rugged terrain this hike is a great way to understand the ancient past of the area. Once the sea bed but now a high point above endless desert dunes, the pure joy of witnessing the sun effortlessly set across the the Arabian Desert is a spectacular reason to make sure this hike is on your to do list.

5 reasons to hike Fossil Rock

1. Fossil Rock is within an hour's drive of Dubai

You'll leave Dubai and drive towards Fossil Rock on the Sharjah/Kalba highway which is a perfect way to take in your upcoming hike as it appears on the horizon.

Parking is directly underneath Fossil Rock and can be reached on a gravel track. I sometimes park in the nearby village and walk across the sand dunes before making my way up the rock.

The parking location pin that I use:

2. Fossil Rock is awash with marine fossils dating back 70 million years

As the name suggests, Fossil Rock is a stunning window into the ancient history of this area of Sharjah when instead of being a desert, it was the sea bed.

Geological and tectonic shifts have meant the once sea bed now rises high above the surrounding desert presenting a unique opportunity to look closely at marine fossils that provide a glimpse into what roamed our oceans millions of years ago.

3. The significance of Fossil Rock and the surrounding area

Fossil Rock is a part of the Jebel Faya mountain range and it is within the caves in these mountains that artefacts have been found that point to the area being home to the very first anatomically modern humans travelling from Africa into the Arabian Peninsula and subsequently begin to populate the world 125,000+ years ago.

Tools found in these caves date back to the Iron and Bronze ages plus the Neolithic and Palaeolithic eras. Whilst no human bones have been found, archeological digs have discovered many objects that date back to these ages and demonstrate a strong community within the Mleiha area.

4. Mleiha Archeological Centre will provide you with guided hikes of Fossil Rock

Mleiha Archeological Centre is is a superb educational and adventure centre that tells the story of the long and important history of the area including providing guided hikes to Fossil Rock.

The centre is located not far from Fossil Rock and is home to a cafe perfect for lunch as well as a museum and brilliant displays of the findings from the archeological digs can be found at the Mleiha Archeological Centre.

The Mleiha guides are super informed and knowledgable and will be able to talk you through everything you need to know.

For more information on about Mleiha Archeological Centre click here

5. The sunsets...

Being at the top of Fossil Rock, or any vantage point west facing, is a truly special place to witness a desert sunset.

With Fossil Rock your seat for the show, the vast Arabian desert laid out in front of you and the sun's diminishing light creating a golden wonderland ahead, this is not to be missed.

Other information:

Fossil Rock is a popular dune buggy and off-roading area and you will often find cars driving across the dunes and up and down Fossil Rock itself. The noise may spoil the hike for you, so be prepared to encounter some noise before you travel. For me personally it was only a small distraction and doesn't spoil the experience too much.

You should also always remain vigilant whilst hiking for any off-road cars in the area.



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