Lonely Planet Writer

The highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates is getting a new observation deck

Adventure travellers take note – a new observation deck will be built on the highest peak in the UAE with the hopes of drawing even more daring visitors to Ras al Khaimah.

A rendering of the new observation deck that will be built in Jebel Jais.
A rendering of the new observation deck that will be built in Jebel Jais. Image by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

Jebel Jais, a mountain that rises 1934 metres above sea level, will see the new tourism attraction open in October. Located in Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate, the area already attracts outdoorsy travellers who want to enjoy the region’s beaches, desert, and mountains. The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) is aiming to attract one million visitors to the region by the end of the year and advance its adventure tourism appeal.

Mountains in Ras al-Khaimah, UAE.
Mountains in Ras al-Khaimah, UAE. Image by ©Brian Farrell/Getty Images/Moment Open

The Jebel Jais Observation Deck will include a number of platforms where visitors can see the mountain vistas and view the birds, flora and fauna of the Hajar Mountains. The site is also designed to be a base camp for hikers and bikers who want to explore the range. There will also be picnic areas, walking paths and even a food truck zone.

Efforts have already begun to turn Jebel Jais into a big attraction for travellers looking to get outside of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There’s a new road that lets drivers head towards the peak of Jebel Jais – often in luxury vehicles. For those who want to get an adrenaline rush, there’s the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata, a rock path with steel cables for rock climbers, which opened last year. As the Gulf’s only commercial via ferrata, guests can climb, trek and zipline almost 400 feet above sea level.

A rendering of the new observation deck that will be built in Jebel Jais.
A rendering of the new observation deck that will be built in Jebel Jais. Image by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

But Haitham Mattar, the CEO of RAKTDA, said in a statement that the appeal of the new development will go beyond just outdoorsy activities. “The deck will let visitors take in stunning sea and mountain views, and the magnificent sunrises and sunsets which cast a dancing performance of light and shadow over the area every morning and evening. The Jebel Jais Observation Deck will also include a versatile events arena and a permanent area for food trucks serving members of the public and international guests who want to experience the fresh mountain air in temperatures that are traditionally around 10 degrees lower than the UAE average”.

But, if you can’t wait until October, here are some heart-pumping activities you can do in Ras Al Khaimah now.