Hiking in Egypt
The wadis, dunes, canyons and mountains that characterise the Egyptian landscape mean that if you so desire, there are plenty of dusty tracks and mountain trails for mixed ability hikers. Of course it’s prudent to avoid the summer months if hiking is your primary purpose as the weather in Egypt can reach temperatures of 40 degrees and up by mid day.
The most popular and accessible hikes are located on the Sinai Peninsular, the rocky strip of desert that join Africa and Asia at the Suez Canal. More adventurous outdoor-ists may prefer the lesser explored Red Sea Mountains along the eastern coastline of mainland Egypt.
Some of Egypt’s best and most well know hikes include:
Hiking in Sinai
Mount Sinai (Height 2285m, Duration: 5/6 Hours) - The most famous and most sacred mountain in Egypt. The biblical location of Moses’ receipt of the Ten Commandments is littered with pilgrims, travellers and hikers night after night who watch the sunrise from its increasingly crowded summit. Read more about climbing Mount Sinai
Mount Saint Catherine (Height: 2642m, Duration 5/6 Hours) - Visible from the summit of Mount Sinai, Mount Saint Catherine is actually Egypt’s highest tallest mountain and takes its name from the tortured Christian martyr Saint Catherine. Legend has it, that after her execution at Roman hands, Angels carried her remains from Alexandria and deposited them here on the mountain’s peak. Read more about climbing Mount Catherine
The walk to the summit is much tougher than Mount Sinai. Views from the top are outstanding and take in much of the surrounding landscape.
Jebel Serbal (Height: 2070m, Duration 5hrs) – Easily Sinai’s toughest mountain ascent. Trekkers intent on reaching the summit must either traverse a precarious ravine called Abu Hannad or take the longer but safer ‘Sikket er Reshah’ meaning ‘Path of the Sweaty’.
The Coloured Canyon – The brightly coloured walls of Egypt’s most famous canyon are the result of eons of weathering and geology. Passing through the canyon takes just a few hours of easy walking and involves some light but fun scrambling. The canyon is located close to the north eastern coast of the Sinai peninsular under a two hour drive from Dahab or Nuweiba.
The Blue Canyon – Located 5km south east of Saint Catherine’s village, the blue canyon takes its name from the rocks painted blue by the Belgian artist Jean Berame in 1980. Berame went on to paint more desert rocks blue just outside of Tafroute in Morocco.
The Red Sea Mountains
Few European trekkers explore the Red Sea Mountains, Egypt’s highest mountain range outside of Sinai which extends inland from Hurghada and snake its way south to Ethiopia and Sudan.
However, with the increasing popularity of Sinai for adventure travel, it is likely that the mountains will become the next hot spot for hiking in Egypt.
Jebel Abu Dukhaan (1161m) – Aptly named ‘the mountain of smoke’, Jebel Abu Dukhaan was once a Roman quarry for porphyry, the fine red rocks used for columns and sculptures across the empire.
Also located in the vicinity are Jebel Abu Hamr, Jebel Fatira and Jebel Shaayibel Banat – the highest mountain on the mainland (2187m). All located around former Roman quarry sites, the trails are scattered with semi formed Roman columns and capitals.
Organising Your Hiking Trip in Egypt
Depending on your experience many of these trails are accessible and doable without a guide or organised excursion. However, if desired most travel agents can organise hiking trips or point you in the direction of somebody that can.
Fewer agents organise hikes in the Red Sea Mountains. Try Red Sea Adventures out of Hurghada.
There are also a number of UK / European adventure travel tour operators that organise a variety of trekking trips across Egypt and the Middle East. Read more about adventure travel tour operators in Egypt.