AlUla’s epic landscapes

From monumental rock formations to verdant oases and endless primordial desert, AlUla’s epic landscapes are ripe for adventure.

The ancient land of AlUla is full of natural wonders that even the most sophisticated civilisations couldn’t outshine. AlUla’s more adventurous activities offer guests the chance to immerse themselves in the regions breathtaking landscapes from a different perspective.

Walking or hiking is the simplest way to soak up AlUla’s staggering scenery. There are numerous trials, some self-guided. 

The easy Hidden Valley Hike reveals the silence of the Arabian desert, winding through soft sand and secluded valleys. 

alula Landscape 25
Float silently through the dramatic landscapes in a hot air balloon

The Ridge Walk is a short but steep climb up to a vantage point over the Wadi AlUla. And the Oasis View Trail offers panoramic views of AlUla’s green oasis from the top of Alfath Mountain. 

More challenging is the Twisted Maze Hike, an eight-hour off-the-beaten-track odyssey, hiking, climbing and swimming through the canyons of Madakheel. 

Or there’s the five-mile Adventure Trail, passing 2,000-year-old pictographs and, in winter, splashing through deep water pools that collect in the rocks. For a unique view of AlUla, a helicopter tour is a stand-out experience. 

You’ll flit effortlessly over rock formations, get a bird’s eye view of AlUla’s mysterious archaeological sites and spy the world’s largest mirrored building below. 

A hot air balloon ride, floating silently on thermals, is a gentler way to soar across AlUla. Flights are year-round and offer breath-taking views of AlUla’s landscapes and the iconic Hegra.

cycling
Cycle through the valley’s 16-mile round-trip track linking AlAtheeb and Hegra

GO EXPLORING 

Cycle through some of AlUla’s amazing sandstone mountains with a guided cycle tour. Or, for the more adventurous, the AlUla Bike Hub will provide a suitable metal steed and a guide for the valley’s 16-mile round-trip track which links AlAtheeb and Hegra and has on- and off-road sections. 

For a more traditional form of transport, book a camel tour guided by a local expert in the timeless Ashar Valley. It also gives an insight into the lives of the local Bedouin, nomadic tent-dwelling people renowned for their warm hospitality and folk dances. 

Don’t miss a visit to iconic Elephant Rock, best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset. 

Hiking in AlUla
Rock climbers and abseilers will be spoilt for choice amongst the monolithic mountains of AlUla. 

GET THE ADRENALINE GOING 

Speed demons will savour the AlUla Zipline, a dual cable that races through the mountains for nearly a mile at a hair-raising 75-miles an-hour. 

Similarly thrilling, gravity karts are three-wheel bikes that can be raced down the rugged mountains. 

Alternatively, UTV buggy tours include a guide who takes the wheel. 

Rock climbers and abseilers will be spoilt for choice amongst the monolithic mountains of AlUla. 

There’s also a Via Ferrata route, using a series of ladders stapled into the rock along with some hair-raising floating bridges and a hammock net. 

If you prefer to just look rather than climb, head to Dancing Rocks Raggasat Valley, they look as if they’re swaying in unison. 

Top tip: For more adventure and outdoor activities, visit the Adventure Hub at experiencealula.com.

A baby gazelle and its mother in Sharaan
A baby gazelle and its mother in Sharaan

COMMUNE WITH NATURE 

About 80% of AlUla is designated reserves to protect wildlife. The best way to see the shy and rare creatures that thrive in AlUla’s stark environs is by heading to the Sharaan Nature Reserve, where vintage 4×4 safaris comb the 579-square miles of sandy canyons and wildflower-carpeted valleys. Residents include red-necked ostriches, long-legged Idmi gazelles, the marmot-like rock hyrax and a variety of birds ranging from electric green bee-eaters to soaring eagles. 

The most elusive of all creatures is the critically endangered Arabian leopard, which is planned to be reintroduced to this protected haven. As part of the RCU’s long-term rewilding strategy, 1,580 animals from four species, including 19 Arabian Leopards, will be reintroduced into AlUla’s nature reserves after thorough screenings. This effort supports the activation of six nature reserves spanning over 12,400 sq km, with a new initiative highlighting the importance of healthy habitats and species.

February 2023 saw the opening of a new seven-kilometre permanent trail at AlUla’s Sharaan Nature Reserve, which serves to emphasise the connection between healthy habitats and healthy species. The ‘Arabian Leopard Celebration Trail’ is a collaboration of RCU and the Catmosphere foundation and is intended to be the first of a global network of Catwalk Trails.

Become an AlUla specialist

Extensive training material is available at alulaspecialist.com, covering historic sights, accommodations, sustainability, experiences and events taking place in AlUla. This one-stop shop for travel agents includes three training modules, a series of seven new short training videos, as well as imagery, agent perks, a directory of product suppliers and more.

alulaspecialist.com