Jabal Al Jais is one of the greatest roads on Earth
Jabal Al Jais is arguably the UAE’s tallest mountain. At an elevation of 1.925m (6,315ft) above the sea level, the road to the summit is one of the greatest strips of asphalt on Earth.
Set high in the Al Hajar Mountains, on the border of United Arab Emirates and Oman, the road to the summit is called Jebel Jais Mountain Road. There are eight hairpins and countless corners on the upper part of a road that runs over 35km and rises 1700m, and as well as being scenically spectacular, it is a driver’s delight. It’s a curvy ascent carved through a rocky mountain face that matches it for visual drama and adrenaline potential.
The road is totally paved but you can’t quite get to the 1,925-metre summit of Jebel Jais by road just yet, as the last 4.8km to the top is still rubble. From here on and upwards, it’s a narrow dirt track hugging the rocky edges, and unless you have a good, sound car and experience driving on roads like this, do not attempt it. There are a handful of viewing points along the way, and it’s worth pausing at these, because the vistas are breathtaking. There are two lanes up and one coming down, the road surface is excellent and there are good sight lines, so the ascent is an absolute hoot. At first the road is a broad two-lanes wide, with open expanses either side, but soon it flows into a canyon, tracing the lines of the dry, rocky river bed down below as precipitous rock faces tower overhead, shielding the sun. The mountain peak usually has a temperature gradient of 10-13ºC.
Pic: Phani datta