The Drive across the RAK Peak

I stopped at a gas station in Julphar to refill and to check my tires. Surrounding the area are tiny houses with a backdrop of sky-piercing mountains. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the temperature was thirty degrees Celsius when I left home. The drive from the center of Ras Al Khaimah to Wadi Bih takes about thirty minutes. The narrow roads are filled with cars from different Emirates; like me, they are traveling to the highest peak in the country.
The way to the top of the mountain takes an additional thirty minutes, but the scenery is worth the drive: towering rocks seemingly forming a maze around me. People of different nationalities are spending time with their family and friends. They are scattered along the road all the way to the top, which makes the task of interviewing them even more interesting. There are no parking slots. People park randomly, hurrying to find the perfect spots to take pictures. The sun will soon be setting. The crowds indicate that the people of UAE are not only looking for skyscrapers and grand shopping malls but enjoy spending holidays in natural places like Jabal Jais.


The people here are open and willing to talk about their experiences. Ahmed Adnan is a fifty-seven-year-old; he recalls how he used to come in the early nineties with his family to Wadi Bih during winter to enjoy the nature, especially after rainy days. He says that this location has always attracted people from different Emirates, but that no one imagined that Jabal Jais would one day be a favourite destination for nature lovers. Adnan added that he used to look towards the jagged mountains and wonder if any person reached that point; he is fortunate to have visited the mountain every year since the road opened. The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah spent over three hundred million Dirhams on the road to Jabal Jais. The road to the summit is still rubble. Despite this, many adventurous visitors are willing to complete the last six-kilometer hike to the top, especially during snowfall. The mountain is one thousand, nine hundred-metres high and is considered a magnet for enthusiastic drivers, looking for a long drive with a view.
Records show that the temperatures dropped to minus three degrees Celsius in the winter, with the peak of the mountain fully covered in about twenty centimeters of thick, thick snow.


Basel Mohammed recalls how hard it was to get to the summit just two years ago. He says “Walking on the steep, rough rocks wasn’t easy, but touching the clouds and the snow with my own hands was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.”
Khalid Mousa is a Palestinian car racer from Abu Dhabi who visited the mountain last month with his friends. Mousa and his friends are part of the UAE Camaro Family; their journey to Jabal Jais took four hours. The passionate drivers were able to reach the top easily, without any clear road signs. Compared to Hafeet Mountain in Al-Ain, Mousa believes that driving to Jabal Jais was more exciting because of its steep roads and sharper bends. Mousa is planning to visit the mountain in the near future for an overnight stay.


The government of RAK is planning to build a hotel, golf course and ski slope. The construction of public restrooms was completed recently. Food trucks are also available on weekends. Rasha Hussam believes that planting trees along the road to the top would make it one of the best spots in the country. Hussam also thinks that having chair lifts would be an incredible idea. Jabal Jais is a destination that people are increasingly exploring in Ras Al Khaimah. So why not give it a go and explore the rocky mountains of the UAE.

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