Hiking the lower trails of Jebel Jais is a brilliant way to feel immersed in the Hajar Mountains
Multiple trails to choose from
Longest trail, the Samar Trail is a 6k loop
Plenty of rest areas
2 x gradual climbs otherwise mostly an undulating path
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They say never judge a book by its cover, not to judge based upon perceptions. This theory is rather apt for the UAE's hiking playground at Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah.
The much celebrated and popular upper Ghaf trail on the Jebel Jais mountain leads you to the UAE's highest public point, it's only natural that achieving this feat gets more attention than other hiking trails on the mountain... but in true 'don't judge a book by its cover' fashion, don't let that way of thinking stop you from tackling the lower trails of Jebel Jais.
They are stunning.
Hiking the lower trails of Jebel Jais
For this hike, I was joined by the brilliant Laura, who manages the HIKE UAE Instagram page, which is a superb resource for hiking in the UAE.
We tackled the Samar trail in the lower trails of the Jebel Jais mountain, it is the longest lower trail at 6km and classed as a moderate hike, it is well worth doing.
RELATED ARTICLE: WATCH - Hike to the UAE's highest public point at Jebel Jais
There are shorter hikes to do within the lower trails, and all the routes start and end at the same place so you can decide what you would like to do once you have arrived.
The Samar trail is a clockwise loop, although there is nothing stopping you from going anti-clockwise, but to follow the signs correctly, you'll be travelling in a clockwise direction.
The parking and start point of the lower trails are not marked from the main mountain road, unlike the upper trails. When you pass the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp on your right, a few minutes afterwards you will see an area on the left where you can park.
Once parked up, walk down to the flat areas, there you will see a few tree's located and you will then see the first signpost directing you to the trail you would like to do.
The Samar trail is utterly fulfilling. It is mostly an undulating path as you weave up and down through the lower section of Jebel Jais, completely immersed in the mountain terrain.
You will find a couple of consistent gradual inclines, which will get the legs working a little, on the way up to a high point resting location and then another little climb to the UAE flag, which is the highest point you will reach on the hike.
After that, it's a glorious downhill track back to the car park once you have walked through a little settlement. It is important you take the track to the right when it splits in two just after you have passed the settlement.
RELATED ARTICLE: WATCH - Hike to the UAE's best summit at Al Rabi Mountain
The whole hike should take you no more than 4 hours and what's nice is the trees that are dotted around the trail provide a good source of shade for when you need it.
This is a hike to do if you want to feel completely at one with the mountains... you're not so much on top of the mountains, more within them and that in itself brings together the most rewarding of hikes.
UAE hiking safety tips
As always, when you are hiking in the United Arab Emirates remember to take safety seriously. In the above video we go through the main safety points, from making sure you are well prepared, know your route, choose a route that suits your experience and to always make sure you have enough water!
The key points to remember are:
Take more water than you need
Choose a hike that is appropriate to you
Share your plans with an emergency contact
Watch the above video above for more on how to stay safe when hiking in the United Arab Emirates.
How to get to Jebel Jais:
From Dubai, head north on the 311.
Turn off to the right at junction 126 which is shortly before the 311 bears left as it enters Ras Al Khaimah city.
Follow the road through to the 611 and head north signposted ‘Oman’.
Around 15-20 minute further, turn right, signposted ‘Jebel Jais’.
Follow the mountain road and Jebel Jais signposts up the mountain road.
When you pass the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp on the right, a few minutes afterwards you will see an unmarked area to park. This is th starting point to the lower trails..
Jebel Jais hike requirements:
A good pair of hiking boots are recommended but suitable trainers are okay.
Plenty of water – I recommend around 3 litres, especially in the hotter months.
A towel – to keep dry from perspiration.
A backpack with supplies such as food and snacks.
A charged mobile phone.
Sunscreen and a hat.
First Aid kit.
Average time for full hike 3-4 hours.
On the hike, be mindful of bumping into other hikers so have your mask at hand.