Visiting the Jebel Jais mountain peak is an extraordinary experience. Your day in the mountain can be serene or packed full of activities and thrills.
Before you leave home, think like Bear Grylls. Bear uses the memory aid "Please Remember What's First"; he would never embark on an exciting adventure without having a plan in place. The base of Jebel Jais mountains is approximately 20 minutes drive from Ras Al Khaimah city centre and just over an hour from the outskirts of Dubai. Once you reach the foot of the mountains, be prepared for one of the most scenic routes in the country. Almost 30 kilometres of well-made switchback roads allow you to climb 1484 metres above sea level. This route will take about one hour of steady driving. There is one route up and down, with double lanes at the steepest inclines, allowing for the safe overtaking of slow vehicles. It's a spectacular route with various viewing points, toilet facilities and dining options.
Plan your route and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the mountains and your activity without rushing. Remember that the exciting hairpin bends in the mountains require slow driving. The mountains can get very busy at weekends and during public holidays, so be prepared for potential queues. The Jebel Jais mountains are remote and take some planning. There is plenty of good road signage, but ensure you have enough data to load Google Maps. There are no garage facilities in the mountains, so be sure to fill up your car with fuel before setting off. There is a Tesla plug-in point close to the top of the mountains for charging electric cars. Bring snacks and refreshments just in case there is a delay, and you and your family get hungry before you arrive at your destination.
There are various methods of transport to the top of the Jebel Jais mountains. By far the easiest is to bring your own car, hire a driver or book a taxi for the day. If you arrive from Dubai by bus, you can book a Ras Al Khaimah taxi in advance by calling Al Hamra Taxi or Al Arabia Taxi +971 800 1700. The taxis are all licensed by the government and are metred. For off-road adventures, various companies will take you on an extraordinary Ras Al Khaimah desert adventure before heading into the mountains. Please check with your hotel’s concierge for bookings; there are plenty of reputable tour operators who provide a luxury 4X4 vehicle and driver for a half or full-day. Why not fly a light aircraft into Al Jazirah Aviation Club or charter a helicopter and land at Waldorf Astoria.
Ensure that all of your Jais Adventure Peak activities are pre-booked well in advance. It is essential to confirm your booking, especially during peak seasons, weekends, public holidays and celebratory times of the year such as Eid al Adha, Eid al Fitr, Christmas and New Year. Due to their popularity, some activities can be booked several weeks in advance, and there is often an extensive waiting list. If you need to cancel for any reason, please rebook so that you give the next person the opportunity to experience one of the activities in the Jebel Jais mountains. Please ensure that you arrive at your activity with at least 30-minutes to spare so that you can check in and register. Don't forget to bring your passport or Emirates ID. For safety reasons, please check the terms and conditions for each booking. The protocols are strict, and you won't want last-minute disappointments.
If you are going for a hike, download the free self-guided hiking trails. Remember that you might not get internet coverage in the mountains, so do not rely on in-phone navigation.
Always tell a member of your family or a friend where you are going. Most importantly, never go alone. It's much more fun if you have a hiking companion and if in the event of an accident, they can call for emergency help.
In the case of any emergency, call 999 for Police and 998 for Ambulance.
Check the weather forecast. The weather will likely be consistent, calm and pleasant; however, it's well-known that the weather in mountainous terrain can change quickly and without warning. The Jebel Jais mountains provide breathtaking vistas and a cooling microclimate with temperatures less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit found at sea level. The temperatures in the peaks of the mountains are known to have dropped to 23 degrees Fahrenheit (- 5 degrees Celsius). Rare snowfall has brought the locals out for snowball fights and snowmen challenges in their hordes. Depending on the time of year you visit, ensure that you take the proper clothing to protect you. Bring plenty of layering clothes and a warm hat during the winter months. Wear a hat to shade you from the sun and plenty of sun cream to protect you from the sun's harmful rays in the summer.
It's vital to remain adequately hydrated. Although the Jebel Jais mountains are up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of the UAE, it is still essential that you drink lots of water, particularly if you are taking part in strenuous activities such as hiking. Always take more water than you think that you will need. As a precaution, take some rehydration salts to drink when you return to replace essential minerals. There are various cafes and restaurants as you climb the mountains so you can always have a refreshing drink. The recommended daily water intake is 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men. A rule of thumb is that you should drink one litre of water every hour if you are active in warm climates. Eating snack foods or energy bars with sodium and potassium can help, as will foods with calcium and magnesium.
Weather conditions can change quickly. It is advisable to wear multiple thin layers so that it is easy to maintain your optimal body temperature if the temperature rises or falls.
Wear appropriate footwear. Wear trainers or walking boots with a sturdy, thick sole with good traction to help prevent you from slipping. Do not wear open-toed sandals, flip-flops or heels in the mountains.
Carry a basic first-aid kit with you at all times and ensure that you are familiar with the contents and how to use them. The following are some of the essential items you should consider in your kit:
• Distilled water
• Antiseptic wipes
• Antibacterial ointment
• Gauze pads in various sizes
• Medical tape
• Assorted bandages
• Blister treatment
• Ibuprofen (or another preferred pain-relief medication)
• Insect sting treatment
• Antihistamine for allergic reactions
• Sterile non-stick pads
• Butterfly bandages
• Safety pins
• Multitool, which has at least a scissor utensil
Whilst you should enjoy the mountains, please respect the environment by practising the following rules:
Do not carry any prohibited items
Do not disturb the environment
Do not interact with animals or wildlife
It is your responsibility to help preserve the area of natural beauty, so do not litter
Do not pick any plants or flowers; these are considered very rare
Do not trespass; stay off private land and farms
Alcohol, loud music and drones are prohibited
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has partnered with Adventurati Outdoor, Challenging Adventure, Beyond Action and Adventure Quest. These are the only licensed operators in the Hajar mountain range. Please ensure that you do not use unlicensed companies. The government strives to ensure a safe environment for every visitor.