Egypt is a huge country that offers hundreds of outdoor activities and tourist destinations, but hiking in Egypt should be on the top of your bucket list. The country would surprise you with its natural beauty, spectacular sceneries, and charming wildlife through its top hiking destinations.
In this guide, we’ll help you choose the best hiking trail in Egypt and plan your first hiking trip. Read on below to start your journey.
Best Hiking Trails in Egypt
Egypt offers short and long-distance hiking trails for beginner and novice hikers. Some of them are hidden gems, while others are popular tourist destinations. Here are the eight best hiking trails in Egypt according to locals and returning hikers:
1) Mount Sinai Trail, Sinai Peninsula Center
Mount Sinai is a historical landmark in Egypt, said to be the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Now, the mountain is home to the Monastery of St. Catherine, the Basilica, the Moses’ Well, the Steps of Penitence, and the Ossuary, among others.
The mountain is 2,285 meters tall. The Sinai Trail, specifically, is about 220km (137 mile) long. If you wish to complete the trail, it would be a 12-day hike. The long trail of Mount Sinai makes it the first long-distance hiking path in Egypt.
- Timings: Open daily from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
- Address: Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
2) Wadi Degla Protectorate, Cairo
Wadi Degla Protectorate is a protected area in Cairo designated by The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. It is home to various animal species, most specifically birds, foxes, deers, and hares. The main protected area is located in the southern part of Maadi.
The Wadi Degla Protectorate is approximately 30 kilometers in length. The majority of its surface is flat, making it one of the best trails for first-timers hiking in Egypt. Aside from hiking, the area can also accommodate cycling, jogging, mountain climbing, and camping activities.
- Timings: Open daily from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Address: Maadi, Qattamiya, Ain Sokhna Road, Cairo, Egypt، Wadi Degla Path, Tura, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
3) The Colored Canyon, Nuweiba
The Colored Canyon is an exquisite rock formation in the Sinai Peninsula and near the town of Nuweiba. The name is inspired by the phenomenon in the area—where rocks frequently change in tones of brown, bronze, yellow, and orange, depending on the location.
The Colored Canyon’s hiking trail is 800m long, and each rock formation is approximately 40 meters tall. The short length and the natural wonder of the Colored Canyon make it a perfect hiking destination for families and first-timers.
- Timings: Tuesday to Friday, 24 hours; Monday, 4:00 AM to 12:00 AM; Saturday, 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM; Sunday – Closed.
- Address: Nuweiba, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
4) The Blue Lagoon, Dahab
The Blue Lagoon Dahab is more popularly known as a hidden diving destination in Egypt because of its collection of colorful coral reefs and rare breeds of fish. However, its surrounding land areas also offer the best hiking trails in the country.
You can treat your trip to the Blue Lagoon as a coastal hiking activity. There’s no definite length in this trip as you will start from the Blue Hole, a popular diving spot, navigate the vast area of the Ras Abu Gallum Protectorate, where you can take a rest, and continue your way up to the Blue Lagoon, a kitesurfing spot. The lagoon would be the final stop, and you can spend the night there or do half-day activities.
- Timings: Open for 24 hours daily
- Address: The Lagoon, Dahab, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
5) The Whale Valley, Fayoum
The Valley of the Whales or Wadi Al-Hitan is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its history. It is said that the site contains invaluable fossil remains of one of the earliest but now extinct suborder of whales, the Archaeoceti. The remains are considered proof of the whale’s evolution from a land-based to a water-based mammal.
The hiking trail at the Whale Valley offers flat paths, so it’s easy to reach and cross. Aside from hiking, it also caters to other land and water-based activities, such as camping, stargazing, kayaking, sandboarding, and horseback riding. You can even join a historical tour in the area to know more about the Archaeoceti.
- Timings: Open daily from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Address: Wadi Hitan National Park, Faiyum Governorate, Egypt
6) Red Sea Mountain Trail, Hurghada
Most hiking paths in Egypt offer short-distance trails for first-timers, but the Red Sea Mountain Trail in Hurghada is different as it’s the first long-distance hiking path in mainland Egypt. The place was recognized by Time magazine as one of the greatest places in 2019.
The Red Sea Mountain Trail is a community tourism project inspired by the popularity of the Sinai Peninsula hiking trail. The hiking trail is managed and preserved by Bedouin tribes in Egypt, so you’ll be accompanied by Bedouin cameleers if you wish to complete the long hike. The trail is approximately 170 kilometers long, a 10-day journey. However, first-time or average hikers can always take shorter alternative routes. If you want to experience extreme hiking in Egypt, the Red Sea Mountain is the way to go.
- Timings: Open daily from 7:00 AM until Sunset
- Address: Red Sea Mountain Trail, El Dahar, Hurghada
7) White Desert, Farafra
The White Desert or El Sahara El Beida is a protected area and a national park north of Farafra. The desert is literally white, courtesy of its rock formations with shades ranging from snow-white to cream. The unique look of the desert was due to a historic sandstorm in Egypt.
The White Desert covers an area of 300 sq km. Its hiking trail is shorter since some areas need to be preserved. The desert trek offers a visit to archaeological sites, cultural neighborhoods, and wildlife sanctuaries in the area. Aside from hiking, camping and dune bashing are also popular activities here.
- Timings: Open 24 hours daily
- Address: Al Wahat Al Bahriya, Al Farafra Rd, Al Farafrah, New Valley Governorate, Egypt
8) Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert globally. In terms of overall size, it ranks third behind Antarctica and the Arctic. Due to its size, the desert takes up space in various continents and countries, including Egypt.
The majority of the desert area located in Egypt is forbidden to visitors, but there are accessible areas perfect for hiking in Egypt, such as the desert towns in the North and particularly the historic town of Siwa. During a hike in the Sahara, you’ll discover a vast wilderness with orange, black and white sands, sandhills, and rock formations.
It’s advisable to book a tourist hike with reputable agencies and guides if you wish to take a hiking journey in the Sahara desert. After all, it’s one of the hottest deserts in the world, so weather conditions can be harsh and unpredictable in some areas. Moreover, the size of the hiking trail in the desert is intimidating. It would take you 12 days to complete the whole journey.
- Timings: Open 24 hours daily
- Address: Access points start from Siwa, Al Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra, Bahariya, and the White and Black Deserts.
Guide to Hiking in Egypt For First-Timers
Egypt is a transcontinental country. Meaning—it’s enormous. Aside from the previously mentioned hiking trails, there are hundred more outdoor destinations in the country. As such, Egypt can be intimidating for first-time hikers and tourists. But don’t lose your determination, with a bit of planning and preparation, hiking in Egypt could be an outdoor adventure anyone can do.
Here’s a guide for first-timers who wish to embark on an unforgettable journey in Egypt through hiking:
What are the Weather Conditions in Egypt?
Hiking in Egypt will expose you to various weather conditions, but mostly to dry and hot climates. The climate in the country is generally dry, except on the northern part of the Mediterranean coast. It sometimes rains along the Mediterranean coast and the southern part of Cairo.
Before you plan or book your hike, make sure to check the weather conditions in the area. If it’s relatively favorable, prepare essentials and non-essential items that can help you combat Egypt’s temperature and weather conditions.
How to Choose Your Hiking Route
Your hiking destination and exact route should meet your goals, needs, preferences, abilities, and other factors. There’s a lot of options and factors on the table, so here are some tips to help you choose the best hiking route:
- Identify Your Fitness Level – You or the group should be honest with each other about your abilities and limitations to avoid health complications during the hike. Identifying your fitness level will determine the difficulty level of the hike.
- Select Your Preferred Scenery – The best hiking trails in Egypt that we’ve mentioned here offer wonderful sceneries, but choose one that you would surely enjoy based on your hobbies and interests.
- Consider Your Schedule – How much time do you have? Take a look at your schedule before you go hiking in Egypt and choose your route. As mentioned earlier, there are short and long-distance hiking trails in the country.
- Examine The Logistics – There are really no hassle-free hikes as hiking in Egypt is a demanding outdoor activity. However, you can make your journey easier by planning the logistics. Consider the transportation, food, and other essentials during and after the trip.
- Decide on the Elevation – Hiking isn’t just walking, trekking, and climbing. Hiking can be challenging, depending on the elevation of the trail. Start at lower elevation if you’re a first-timer or with first-timers.
What to Bring on the Hike
Hiking in Egypt may require other essential items from you aside from the standard hiking essentials you’re familiar with. This is mostly due to the weather conditions in the country and the uniqueness of its hiking trails. With that said, here are some of the things you shouldn’t forget to bring and prepare before the hike:
- Hiking Backpack
- Weather-Appropriate Layered Clothing
- Hats or Caps
- Hiking Shoes, Sandals, or Boots
- Fluids (Water or Sports Drinks)
- First-Aid Kit
- Map, Compass, or Digital Navigation Tools
- Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Tool
What Are The Hiking Etiquettes In Egypt
Hiking etiquettes in Egypt is typically the same as the usual hiking etiquettes, but make sure to consider and respect the country’s culture when you interact with the locals and as you embark on your journey. Here are some pieces of advice you should consider:
- Leave No Trace – Hiking trails in Egypt are popular tourist destinations, so make sure you take part in protecting the natural surroundings and resources in the area to promote sustainability and preserve the trail. Bring special bags for your trash or dispose of them in the designated areas, don’t harm any species in the area, and minimize campfire wastes.
- Stay on the Route or Trail – Hike on the designated trail, the safest way approved by the local government or the hiking community in the area. Don’t access forbidden areas and sites as going off-trail can put you in danger or harm the environment.
- Respect the Locals – If you’re a tourist or an outsider, interact and pay your respect to the local community preserving the hiking trail. Follow the instructions of your local guide, listen to their educational tours or small talks, and always say thank you.
How to Navigate in Egypt
When you go hiking in Egypt, the most important logistical element you need to plan and consider is transportation. To get around on land in Egypt, you can take the metro, railways, buses, microbuses, taxis, carriages, and Tuk Tuks (a new type of land transportation inspired by motor taxis in Thailand). To get around through waterway transportation, you can take the river bus or Nile taxis.
Some of the best hiking trails in Egypt that we’ve mentioned here are located in remote areas, so you can also opt to ride local commercial airlines to reach your destination. There are 26 commercial airports in Egypt; you can choose the one nearest to your chosen hiking destination.