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Explore UAE’s highest mountain| Jebel Jais

At 1900 m, Jebel Jais is definitely the UAE’s tallest mountain and is every bit as exciting as a tall mountain should be. Rugged, at times wind -swept, valleys with sweeping views…and absolute isolation. 

While it is not necessary to have a 4WD, (we went in a BMW M3), it helps if you have one – else you might worry a little when driving with your nose pointed at the sky over dirt roads leading to the summit of this barren and rugged mountain in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, fondly shortened to RAK.

jebel jais

As soon as you reach closer to the summit, the black-top road ends. From here on and upwards, it’s a narrow dirt track hugging the rocky edges, and unless you have a good, sound car and experience driving on roads like this, do not attempt it.  Instead, park your car here and walk up hill.

A sharp climb brings you to the summit and its worth every bit of effort. (Last heard, this dirt road was closed due to some construction work)

For bikers and car enthusiasts the mountains of Jebel Jais is a wonderful place to test their driving skills – what with the roads snaking around tight hairpin bends that affords great opportunities for adventure.

BMWs are great but our M3 did strain a little going up that dirt road to the summit, not surprising because the M3s are built for high speed and not mountains! A normal car with a slightly better ground clearance will do just as well though. It is not uncommon to see saloon cars straining up the hill on weekends, so you now know Jebel Jais is not out of bounds if you don’t own a 4×4.

jebel jais

jebel jais

That’s me – this is also the point where the black-top road ends. The roads are fairly new, so (when I went), there was still some grit on the roads. Bad season might see rock fall on the road, so caution is necessary.

jebel jais

We went, bang in the middle of summer, but as if to prove us wrong, a huge, white chunk of cloud appeared over the mountain – for no apparent reason!

Best for:  A day out with the family. If you are with children, take care not to get too close to the edge, the loose stones might not be entirely safe to play on.

Need to know: There are no restaurants, toilets, gas stations for miles. Nothing at all when you reach the top or along the way. So, best tank up in Ras Al Khaimah, carry enough water, food. Toilet breaks would obviously be limited to “going to the bush, or in this case, a rock,” so prepare yourself accordingly.

However, if you wish to take a leisurely break, book yourself a suite at Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa. This hotel about 50kms away from Jebel Jais Mountain Top, and dotted with world-class amenities like spa, child care facilities, recreational facilities and fitness facilities.

How to get there: It is about 30 kms away from RAK (Ras Al Khaimah). Go past the Lantern R/A (near Saqar and RAK Hospital). Keep driving till you are close to the mountains. The roads are not clearly marked and you will definitely go over stretches of dirt roads in parts. But generally when driving to Jebel Jais, make sure the mountains are on your left till you reach the newly constructed roads that lead up to the mountains.

If your car is GPS enabled, use it. Or try Google maps if you get lost. It is hard to lose the way, but be prepared. There is mobile coverage on the mountain top, but along the way as you pass through the mountains, you might lose connectivity.

18 comments

  1. Very good information, you will be an inspiration for my daughter.

  2. Hi anjaly,

    Can you help me with directions to Jebel Al Jais ras al-khaimah via buses?
    Thanks.

    • Debbie Ann,

      you can reach only Ras ulKhaima city by bus. there is no public transport goes there.it is up to 20 km far from city.

  3. Dear Anjaly,

    Thank you for the valuable information, would like to know is camping allowed at the bottom of the hills (to stay overnight) and trek the next morning.

    • Hello Iqbal – plenty of places around to camp – although not exactly “designated camping spots” as you’d like to believe! Which means, you have to come prepared for everything – this was however, when I last checked, not sure if anything has changed now. The town of RAK is some distance away, so you might as well load up on all essentials before making camp anywhere around!

  4. is there a nearest hotel we can stay overnight near jebel jais?

    • Hi Mishcka,

      Not, not very close to the mountains (when i last checked). However, you could camp nearby or head back to Ras Al Khaimah which has some fabulous options!

  5. Hi,

    Can we have a Proper BBQ over there?

  6. Hey Anjaly

    Great coverage, we’re 5 families planning to go soon. Is there a place to set up our tents and spend the night?

    Thanx

    Paul

  7. Hi Anjaly

    Sorry to be a bother, but do you have any pics of the camping site that you can email me please

    Tx

    Paul

  8. I drove up Jebel Jais in March 2016. You cannot go further than where the tarmac finishes as they’ve blocked off the road. The LAT/LONG coords of the road block are approx: 25.937852, 56.131254. I think they’ve blocked the road because they are blasting the rock and I guess making further improvements to the road. You can still get some amazing views of RAK. If you reach the road block, just double back on yourself by about 100 meters and there is a steep side road going up. This leads to what is described as a “camp site” with amazing views of RAK and the ocean.

    • Thank you for this update Nick! Much appreciated. Are they building a road all the way to the top now? I am guessing when they are done – its going to be fab!

    • You are absolutely right Mr. Nick. Still the construction is going on and that is the only reason they stopped tourists to move further.

  9. Arwin Sta. Clara

    Hi there!

    Thank you for the information above. By the way, would you know the coordinates as to where the ascent up to Jebel jais mountain road starts? I am also planning to go there via a public vehicle from Dubai. Any advise as to how I can access the mountain base? I will also be camping there.

    Thanks!

  10. Great review! I went there April 2016, traveled all the way from South America to drive this road. Rented two Porsche 911 and a Ferrari California. It was a saturday morning, very few people, went up and down a couple of times until dawn. It was like a hillclimb racetrack, no speedbumps, no potholes, no speedcameras, just AMAZING. Be careful with some goats that can cross out of nowhere. There are sections where speeds of more than 100MPH are possible but be careful, there might be some blind tight corners after long straights, and afterall its a public road. From RAK to Jebel Jais there where a couple of speedbumps, a couple of potholes but no dirt. You can watch our adventure in Youtube, look for “PeruvianAbdul”, here is one of a few clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pArq3ZpIcHI

  11. WITH LANCER CAR CAN WE GO ATLEAST TOWARDS PEAK

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