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Top 10 trekking spots around Riyadh: how many have you visited?

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Eid is fast approaching and ticket prices are skyrocketing with every passing day. If staying within the city is what you choose for this year’s Eid vacation, here are the top trekking spots to visit in and around Riyadh city:

1. Hidden Canyon

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The not-so-hidden canyon has recently gained popularity for mini cliff diving and swimming in the 4-7 meter deep water. The best time to visit is right after rainfall has hit the Riyadh dry land and allowed the water level to go high up.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/4YLzFsBeHQG2

Note: You’ll be crossing a few check points along the Al Hair road before you reach the Canyon, so make sure that you carry valid identity documents and avoid mixed, unrelated, sexes traveling together in a car.

2. Shi’ab Luha
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This is the starting point…
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After climbing all the way up, it’s time to celebrate!
One of the most challenging trekking spots available around Riyadh area is Shi’ab Luha. It is conveniently easy to reach by a 4×4 car. The hike up to the top and back takes between 2-3 hours depending on your experience and speed. There is more than one way to accomplish the way to the top and back. It’s all yours to explore!
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You can chill out later with the camels waiting for their pictures and to be fed with food. Be careful though as these are wild camels and may not be respectful towards your belongings and begin searching for food themselves 😉
Location:    منتزة الواشلة

Riyadh 14776, Saudi Arabia

Shiab Luha
3. Edge of the World
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Winters is the best time to visit the Edge of the World where you can disconnect from the clutter of the city and be blown away by the quietness of the mountains. However, if you choose to visit during summers, then late afternoon is the best time as temperature would be manageable to have a good time trekking. You can read more about it on my blog post here.
Overnight camping is possible too a little away from the location. Been there, done that. And it was awesome!
4. Salbukh Dam
With peaks and troughs and a long bridge, it becomes a fun trek to do. Ample parking space and dedicated areas for BBQ and chilling out are available after you return back from the trek.
5. Hidden Lake, Wadi Laban
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It’s a pretty place to trek, BBQ, fly kites and just sit in front of it picnicking your way away. The sunsets are gorgeous with the water giving you the apt reflection you’d be looking for your pictures. However, it isn’t fit for swimming.

If you are looking for some privacy in the middle of nowhere, this is the place to go.

Location: Naquibs Pond
6. Heet Cave

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The popular Heet cave falls in the South of AlKharj making it an easy place to reach from Riyadh. The trek down and back up is quite steep with a lot of loose rocks and wearing good hiking shoes is a must to avoid any injury or slip. It has a hidden water area once you reach the bottom where you can enjoy a nice swim and cool yourself in the scorching heat of the sun. Because of its popularity, it tends to get really crowded during weekends and that has resulted in a lot of trash being thrown around making the place look ugly. Nevertheless, still a good place to tick off your list.

Location:  https://goo.gl/maps/7PJQj7G5QcD2

7. Dir’iyah bike road
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This isn’t a typical trekking spot but if you drive your car all the way until the road hits dead end, you can easily explore the area going up and further down to just get those muscles working. The spot itself is pretty famous amongst bikers who bike along the entire winding road and back.

8. Camel Trail

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The place, as the name suggests, is famous amongst camels to make their way up and down the mountain in a zig zag fashion. Here, you either have the option to trek by following the trail or you could make your way down from the top where your 4×4 vehicle can be parked and enjoy the hike from there on. It typically takes 45 -90 minutes if you were to choose the difficult way of trekking without a trail and the distance you choose to cover.

During the day, it gives you good visibility allowing for some amazing sunset shots while a night hike is challenging providing an opportunity to watch the far away city and street lights.

Location:  Camel Trail 1 Parking
Al Moqbel Palaces 19816
                  https://goo.gl/maps/Q5BE9eU35r92

9. Al Hair Khamsa Khamsa

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This is a park just before the check point which has a 10 SAR entry charge per person. The entry fee earlier was SAR 5, hence the name “Khamsa Khamsa” (meaning “five” in Arabic language) was coined.

Fridays are filled with Filipinos, Indonesians and Malaysians photo shooting, dancing, karaoking in their own private groups. Other nationalities also visit to freely BBQ and trek around the area. Hardly anyone is seen wearing Abaya here making it one of the top reasons why this place is full in weekend mornings despite the low maintenance of the park.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/is3zjK2QRgt

10. Ar-rimal trek

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The location is secluded enough for you to wander around, free to explore and catch some glimpses of the sunset. Perfect for both singles and families to BBQ and stay until late night.

Location:  https://goo.gl/maps/6kdF7TRRkH92

BONUS:

If you’re ready to get all sandy and take back sand souvenirs filled in your shoes (haha), then you have two famous options for Sandunes’ trekking:
1. Red Sand
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Highlights:
  • Easily accessible by normal cars.
  • Affordable ATV Rides for 30 minutes to an hour within SAR 30-60.
  • Food trucks providing Filipino meals and drinks.
  • Walk and trek as long as you want for free.
  • Excellent location for creative photography.
  • Overnight camping possible.
2. Thumama dunes

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Highlights:

  • Needs a 4×4 vehicle to get inside the sandunes area.
  • Parking near the grainy road is possible but that makes a long walk to the location with all your baggage.
  • Perfect for BBQ, moon watching, picnicking in the evenings during weekends.
  • Heavily crowded during weekends with the “Shabab” (young men) in groups. Can be a little uncomfortable for families.
  • ATV Rides are available here too.
  • Overnight camping is possible.

Location:  https://goo.gl/maps/Qm4ZahUG3472

(Note: You’d need a 4×4 vehicle to reach most of the places mentioned above. Be prepared.)

Which of these places are you excited to discover? My favorite, is Shi’ab Luha. What will be yours? 😉

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