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Riding Jebel Jais - The Highest Mountain in the UAE

by Marcus Cent

Riding the highest mountain in the UAE - Jebel Jais

December 2020, Dubai, UAE

Jebel Jais can be found in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Its easily accessible from Dubai via either the E311 or the E611. It's around 150km to the car park close to the start of the climb. Allow around 2.5 hours to get there. Some riders prefer to stay in close by Ras Al Khaimah the night before if you intend to start the ride early morning. 

Jebel Jais is a mountain ride. It's a challenge but well within the capacity of most riders with at least an average level of fitness. Some UAE riders have been known to repeat the ascent/descent up to 5 times on a single ride! If that sounds too ambitious a single ascent from the car park around 10km from the base of the climb to the zip line at the top is almost exactly 70km. Allow around 3 hours or a little more if you want to stop at the recently opened restaurant for a break before your descent. 

The ride offers around 1,480m of climbing over around 25km of winding tarmac. The ride in to the climb is around 10km if you start from the first car park on the approach to the mountain. Its a very stead climb with no severe gradients. Temperatures are usually around 10c cooler at the top than they are at the bottom. Be careful on the descent. While not super fast, there are many hairpins to be navigated. 

The ride as seen on Strava. Follow it here - https://www.strava.com/activities/4539571791

Jebel Jais is the highest mountain in the UAE with a height of 1,934m. It is an iconic ride for the many thousands of home based UAE cyclists, and should also be on the list for any visitors to the Emirates. Within a 2 hour drive of Dubai, it's easily accessible and offers a fantastic few hours of climbing, and an exciting descent back to base. Best tackled outwith the peak summer months of July and August when temperatures can soar towards 50c [yes, we kid you not], Jebel Jais provides stunning views and a steady but fairly forgiving gradient all the way to the peak.

The total ride distance is around 70km, depending on your start point. Most riders park at the first car park on the road into the base of the climb. This allows a gentle 10km warmup before hitting the climb. Cyclists.com took a group of riders of varying fitness and ability to Jais at the end of December 2020. We also took along a photographer and drone so check out our ride review below and enjoy our short video.

10Km of Flat to start

While you can start the ride closer to the base of the climb, most riders park at the first car park on the entrance road into the mountain and enjoy around 10km of flat riding as a warm-up prior to starting the climb. Take in the views along the way. 

Into the Climb

The climb starts relatively gently with imposing cliff faces to either side. This provides some welcome shade on warmer days but soon gives away to open spaces with a clear view towards the peak in the distance. The gradient is never too severe with an average of just 4.1% over the full distance. Apparently the climb is ranked 1315 in the world.

Take in the view as you gain height

As with most climbs, the best way to ride Jais is to find a rhythm and to maintain a steady pace. Unless you are competing against the clock, or participating in a race [of which there are usually several throughtout the year], take your time, enjoy the scenery, and pace yourself as you wind around multiple hairpin bends. There are many parking stops along the way, with the higher level stops providing food and drink outlets. At approximately 1250m into the climb you will find the Viewing Deck rest area. This is worth a stop if it's your first time on the mountain, or you simply need an excuse for a rest. 

The viewing deck at approximately 1250m or 20+km into the climb.

Pause at the top to enjoy the scenery

In 2019, the road up Jais Mountain was extended as the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah started to develop the mountain and promote it as a tourism destination in its own right. The new road adds 5km to the climb and finishes at the zip line starting station. No ride up Jais is complete without reaching the summit proper! The last part of the road is closed to most traffic other than the vans ferrying the brave visitors to the zip line. It's the world's longest! You can see more about it at https://www.toroverdeuae.com/. The new road is silky smooth and makes the last few km of climbing a real pleasure. You will pass the new 1484 by Puro restaurant about 3 km from the top. It's a good place to stop on your way back down. 

What goes up must come down

What goes up must come down

What goes up must come down

Some cyclists will always be of the opinion that the only good thing about climbing is the reward of the descent. Jebel Jais doesn't disappoint, although there is usually a stiff breeze on the nose to curtail the speed demons. Nevertheless, speed can quickly reach 65kmh if you allow it. Take care as you approach the many hairpin bends as the mountain is also a favourite driving route for supercar owners. Slow down to avoid drifting too close to the centre line. 

Cyclists.com Products Featured on this Ride

Cyclists.com thanks all the riders that helped create content for this article. Here are a few of the items worn on this ride.

Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts
Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts

Rouleur Pro Bib Shorts

£44.99
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey
Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey

Rouleur Pro Tri-Stripes Jersey

£39.99
Rouleur Style Mint Black Jersey
Rouleur Style Mint Black Jersey
Rouleur Style Mint Black Jersey
Rouleur Style Mint Black Jersey

Rouleur Style Mint Black Jersey

£48.99
Rouleur Style Giro Pink Jersey
Rouleur Style Giro Pink Jersey
Rouleur Style Giro Pink Jersey
Rouleur Style Giro Pink Jersey

Rouleur Style Giro Pink Jersey

£39.99
Rouleur Style Black Circle Jersey
Rouleur Style Black Circle Jersey
Rouleur Style Black Circle Jersey
Rouleur Style Black Circle Jersey

Rouleur Style Black Circle Jersey

£48.99
Rouleur Style Rider Primrose Jersey
Rouleur Style Rider Primrose Jersey
Rouleur Style Rider Primrose Jersey
Rouleur Style Rider Primrose Jersey
Rouleur Style Rider Primrose Jersey

Rouleur Style Rider Primrose Jersey

£48.99

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