Wild Arabia. Where life happens outdoors. Discovery & adventure in UAE & Oman

Trekking around the mighty Jebel Shams


Known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, Jebel Shams sits over 3000m above sea level making it the highest mountain in Oman.

The mountain trails overlooking the stunning Wadi Nakhr are known for delivering truly amazing views as you explore your way around 'Sun-Mountain', the literal translation of 'Jebel Shams' in Arabic. Needless to say we were extremely excited to check it out, on what would be the last stint of our road trip in Oman.

Jebel Shams Resort

Coming from Masirah island, we set off early to ensure we got a morning ferry and would make it to Jebel Shams by sunset. We made it in good time (around 4 hours from the ferry port in Shannah) and managed to check into Jebel Shams Resort by mid-afternoon, which is situated perfectly in between the two most popular treks on the mountain.

As we had some daylight remaining we explored the nearby surroundings of the hotel, and after a short uphill walk made it to a viewpoint that looked directly over the vast canyon. And what a view it is! The beauty and magnitude of it really has to be seen to be believed, although I hope these photos can give you a good idea!

The next morning we were posed with a dilemma. Of the two most popular treks, do we take on the big one to Jebel Shams summit undertaking a 6 – 8 hour round trek, or do we take on the shorter 3.5 hour round trek to the abandoned village. As we still had a huge drive on our hands to be back in Dubai that day, we eventually settled on the abandoned village trek. Concerned that we were missing out on the big one, we consoled ourselves by telling each other we would simply have to come back in a couple of months to conquer the summit!

Due to the altitude of Jebel Shams the area generally sees temperatures of around 10 degrees cooler than that of what you’d find in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. We were even told by one of the staff that they had seen snowfall there in January this year. We weren’t really sure whether to believe her until she picked a photo out to show us. Amazing!

The trek started just a 10 minute drive from the hotel (4WD recommended to get there) in a tiny village with local women attempting, somewhat successfully, to sell us some handmade bracelets and jewellery. The weather was perfect, and almost as soon as we set off we were graced with beautiful views across the canyon, as we followed the meandering trail alongside it.

Soaking up the views and taking lots of photos on the way, we made it to the abandoned village in just under 2 hours. It’s an amazing little settlement situated right on the cliff face with a small overhanging cliff above that would have provided some much needed shelter. The views are absolutely stunning and with mountain goats scattered around the place it seems they’re still being appreciated on a daily basis!

The abandoned village

Overhanging cliff giving the abandoned village at least some shelter

We made the journey back in slightly quicker time as it was around midday by this point and trekking in the sun even at that altitude was starting to get hot! Due to the change of light and scattered clouds, the views on the way back seemed even more spectacular.

Back in the car and on the return trip to Dubai we were already starting to plan our next visit to Jebel Shams when we would take on the mighty summit trek. We already can’t wait to get back out there!

Spot the goat!

One of the (very!) small houses in the abandoned village

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