Trekking is a way to experience the country like you’ve never before. You can’t experience places by just driving by them or hovering over and catching glimpses from the sky; the on foot experience is hands down one of the best places to explore the country’s raw beauty.
Unique geological formations, soaring mountain ranges and diverse geographical terrains make Saudi Arabia one of the finest places for trekking in the region. Don’t picture yourself walking in a jungle here, the trekking scene mostly revolves around escarpments, valleys, mountain peaks and the endless desert accessible through the entire kingdom.
Jabal Abyad and Jabal Bayda
Edge of the World
Popular amongst Riyadhis, the towering sight lies 96 kilometers to the northwest of Riyadh. The place is located right at the edge of a steep cliff on the Tuwaif Escarpment. There is no way downwards. Upon reaching the edge, your only reasonable solution is to find a flat surface to rest on, a safe distance away from the cliff face. A 4X4 is required for this one as you have to traverse through rough terrain to reach it.
Located in the Ash Shafa village, it is supposedly the highest peak near the city of Taif. To climb this peak you don’t need karabiners, harnesses and all those other fancy climbing gears – a good pair of sneakers would do just fine. There is a road that goes right to the peak, well not exactly to the peak, but still very high up. You can just walk by the road upwards and this in itself is a very arduous task as the road lies at a precipitous angle. And since you’ll be on high altitudes near Taif, you’ll be enjoying the good weather that Taif is famous for.
The geological formation makes up for a great trek and takes around two hours to trek through. You don’t have to walk around the edge here, there’s a pathway that leads downwards towards the shiny white bed of the crater. Just bear in mind that the trek back up isn’t that easy. You also don’t need a 4X4 for this one, as there is a paved road right till the edge of the crater.
The highest peak in the Tuwaiq range, Jabal Baloum rises around a stark desert landscape. The trekking path is filled with loose gravel and rocks, so you’d want to be extra careful here. Once atop the peak, you can catch beautiful vistas of the valley surrounding the peak. You also might want to take a detour to a large rock nearby that is dotted with ancient rock art.