One of the best-kept secrets in the UAE is finally out of the bag – Jebel Jais is truly a stunning and awe-inspiring tourist destinations you’ve rarely heard of! We’ve known about it for years, of course, but now more visitors to the UAE are moving beyond the bright lights of the cities and into our spectacular mountains. And if you love driving you’ve also just discovered one of the best driving roads in the world, as well as some spectacular views.
Where is Jebel Jais?
Standing at around 2000m, Jebel Jais Mountain in Ras Al Khaimah is among the tallest mountains in the UAE. It’s a weekend getaway for Dubai and Abu Dhabi locals, who love hiking, climbing and exploring the trails that wind their way up to the top.
However, if you’re not quite ready to tackle the ascent on a push-bike just yet then hire a car from Hertz and you can explore the switchbacks, bends and mind-blowing curves of the road that takes you right up to the top. The tarmac is perfect so unless you’re heading off-road you won’t need a 4×4 to get to the top, although we do advise renting a car with a spacious boot for all that camping gear!
Apart from a winding ribbon of tarmac that the Stig would love? Well, once you’ve reached the summit (and there’s a reasonable-sized car park there, don’t worry), you can take in the views from the Viewing Deck Park. Here you’ll find seven different viewing decks complete with binoculars, so you can see the canyons and cliffs in all their glory.
Zip-line across a canyon
How brave are you? If you’re a real adrenaline lover then ziplining across a canyon is the experience of a lifetime, and it’s guaranteed to get your heart pounding. Whizz at breakneck speeds over nearly 3km of… well, nothing, really! The Jebel Jais Zipline is the world’s largest zip line (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) and is a must-do, as long as you’ve got a head for heights!
Ice skating at the top of a mountain
How do you and the kids fancy a spot of ice skating, 1300m above sea level? Yes, they have actually put a skating rink on top of a mountain. Perfect for the kids, it’s an unexpected surprise and one that’s going to be a real favourite with the family (don’t worry about bringing your own skates – you can rent them as part of your entry fee).
How long does it take to get there?
From Dubai, it’s around a two-hour drive to Jebel Jais. Take the Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (the E311). If you’re staying in Dubai then you can pick up the E311 right in the centre of the city and follow it all the way out to the mountain.
From Abu Dhabi it’s a little further – it’s approximately 360km and will take you around four and a half hours. However, it’s an easy drive all the way along the E311, and there are plenty of opportunities to stop off along the way. If you’re driving from Abu Dhabi it might be a bit of a push to try and do it in one day, so our top tip is to hire a 4X4 from Hertz Car Rental and turn it into a road trip over a couple of days.
However, you get there, enjoy the drive because it’s one of the best trips in the UAE. And the views at the end of it are well worth the effort of getting to the top of this spectacular mountain!