The first phase of Hatta Hiking project boasts 9km of trails, including an ‘eco-friendly’ one…

Depending on who you ask, the UAE often gets a bad rap for being a sun-scorched sandpit littered with skyscrapers and not much else.

The truth is, of course, not quite so cut and dry, with the east coast of the country harbouring some pretty spectacular mountain ranges.

In an effort to highlight this more picturesque part of the country, Dubai Municipality announced yesterday the completion of the first phase of the Hatta Hiking project.

Dubai’s ruler and Crown Prince exploring the new Hatta developments. Photo: Dubai Media Office.

Covering a total of 9km – and even incorporating an ‘eco-friendly’ trail – the first phase links a number of tourist attractions and monuments including the Hatta Biking track and Hatta Kayak, ending at the Hatta Dam where the second phase of the project is expected to start.

The project overall features four different ‘four lane’ hiking trails: the first one is a 3km flatland hiking trail, while the three others are mountain hiking trails, for bikes too, with different levels of difficulty designed not only for experienced bikers but also beginners and those who are less physically able.

Other landmarks hikers can expect to pass through on the new trail include the Hatta Heritage Village, the three dams, Al Tala Park, and family recreation and children’s playing areas, as well as farms in the Al Sharia area, the fruit and vegetable market and the Hatta 360 project.

The overall project features four different hiking trails of varying difficulties, accommodating everything from beginners to more experienced hikers, with trails designed especially for those with disabilities.

Omar Al Mutaiwei, head of Dubai Municipality Hatta Centre said: “The ‘Hatta Hiking’ project aims to provide visitors with with new opportunities to explore the region. The hiking trail, which was designed in a way that links various tourist locations, seeks to attract more visitors to Hatta.”

Here’s an indication of the route of one of the new trails.

The hiking project is part of a Dhs1.3bn development to turn Hatta and its surrounding mountains into a major tourist destination for visitors to the UAE.

If this first phase is anything to go by, we are poised to have some pretty special hiking trails spring up over the next few years. Time to strap on those hiking boots…

For more information and route maps of some of the trails, check out the Hatta Mountain Biking Centre’s website.

For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.

Images: Dubai Municipality, GettyImages