Trek & treat: amazing trails to remember

By now, you would have started to notice the kindness of the temperature. It’s no longer as hot and you can feel it in your bones that something is dramatically changing. With the whiff of that cold breeze, no matter how quick it is, you know that it won’t be long and the Cold Season will finally be here.
With the cold season comes the backpacks, hiking gears, and the four-wheel drives. A tent is, of course, a necessity. If you’d been in Oman long enough, you don’t need an official announcement that it’s time — time to venture to the great outdoors and the wonder that is Oman’s great geology.
Of the many different outdoor activities, nothing is easier and more fulfilling than trekking and hiking. There is so much to see — green-laden paradise, bucolic villages, golden sunsets on golden dunes and parched landscapes just waiting every day for the morning dew’s blessings. These, of course, are photo-ready and all it needs is your presence.
For those who are new in Oman and are looking for good hiking trails to explore, we compiled four of the most popular trails recommended by the Ministry of Tourism.
Check them out with caution and remember, always safety first.
Trekking path
to MutTrah or Riyam
GPS: 659,758E 2,613,120N
Degree of difficulty
Grade 1: Mountain trek; rocky, partly steep but easy; includes a wadi trek
Wanting an easy trek that is just within Muscat? This trek offers the best view of Muttrah and can usually be completed in about an hour and a half or two hours return depending on speed.
To start the trek, follow the Sea Road in Muttrah and look for the information sign C38, or drive along the Old Muscat Road and look for the road sign C38 in Riyam.
Following the coloured markers in the parking area at Riyam, you’d pass through an old diesel pipeline which was the only power station in Oman in the past. Muscat, in olden times, was only accessible either by sea or through this route, so when you venture into this area, you are walking in the path taken by people for generations. On your way, you’ll pass through old water cistern and a falaj irrigation system. Take care on your way as they can get slippery and miss a wrong turn, you might end up walking through a graveyard.
Trekking path from Misfat al Abriyeen to the junction with W8 and W10h
GPS: 531,818E 2,559,046N
Degree of difficulty
Grade 2; Ancient donkey path
Located in the Western Hajar mountains, trekking the path of Misfat al Abriyeen first requires driving of more than 3 hours. Taking the Muscat to Nizwa road, your trek will start in the village of Al Hamra heading north towards Misfat al Abriyeen. With sign W9 as your reference point, you have to follow the coloured markers until you reach the W8 and 10H junctions which are on top of the high plateau.
What makes this trek interesting is that you’d be following the ancient donkey path and allows spectacular views of Wadi Bani Awf and the surrounding mountains. If you’d get lucky, you can try out hiring donkeys and experience first hand how they did the trek in the past.

Trekking path from Balad Sayt to the junction with W9 and W10h
GPS: 539,605E 2,564,508N
Degree of difficulty
Grade 3; Old donkey path, some parts exposed to height

Located about 300km away from Muscat, you would require a four-wheel drive to go on this trek. Because of its level of difficulty, it is only recommended for experienced trekkers as you’d be passing through steep stone steps and will be exposed to heights.
The best place to start the hike is in Wadi Bani Awf. Take the road until you reach the village of Balad Sayt (road sign W8). You’ll find the information on the sign near a school. Follow the coloured markers until you reach the junction of the other treks (W9 and W10H) on top of the high plateau.
The highest point of this trek is 2,000 metres above sea level allowing you a spectacular view of Wadi Bani Awf and the surrounding area.
Trekking path to the abandoned village of As Sab
GPS: 520,615E 2,564,955N
Degree of difficulty
Grade 1 or 2; old donkey path, partly exposed to heights but easy going

The Village of As Sab or formerly Sab Bani Khamis used to be home to about 15 families where the homes are built primarily from stone and local woods. The area has a constant supply of water and was a good fortress against enemies and the historical importance makes it an ideal place to visit for any trekker.
The best starting point for this trek is at “The Plateau” road before the village of Al Khitaym (marked with sign W6, W6a). Follow the south-eastwards marker through the village, then turn left along the side wall of the canyon. As Ministry of Tourism pointed out, you will pass “two distinctive corners marked with cairns. After 3.5km, you will reach the abandoned village of As Sab. This route will allow you a great view of Wadi an Nakhur, the ‘Grand Canyon’, and will also give a vantage point of Al Hamra.