Book a hike
The Red Sea Mountain Trail is currently open for day hikes. Any section can be accessed and hikers can walk the whole day, but they must leave before sunset. Every morning, it opens again from 7am. Hurghada's security officials fix conditions under which tourism operates. Egypt's Ministry of Tourism have supported the Red Sea Mountain Trail, giving it high-level backing. Our sister project, the Sinai Trail, has operated overnight trips since 2015 and completed extended thru hikes each of the last few years. The Red Sea Mountain Trail Association expects overnight trips to be possible in 2023, but nothing can be said with certainty. A comprehensive series of one day hikes is set out below, which will support the Red Sea Mountain Trail and its communities until overnight clearance is given by offiicals. Even when overnight trips are operating, one day trips will remain an important foundation for the trail. These one day hikes show the Red Sea Mountain Trail's most beautiful mountains, wadis and historical highlights. Options exist for all levels of fitness, experience and ability. Trips can be booked privately for groups of upto six.
Easy & moderate hikes
Shorter distances and limited elevation gain classify these options as easier hikes, but paths are still often poorly trodden. Scrambling is encountered in places but it is at easier grades with only occasional, mild exposure.
Moderate & difficult hikes
Expect longer distances, tougher, more frequent ups and downs and broken, damaged paths on these hikes. Scrambling on steep ground is sometimes required. These routes are more remote and feel more serious.
1. EL NAGAATA CIRCUIT (3-5km): El Nagaata is a natural spring whose waters drip through cracks of granite in Jebel Gattar. This hike leads into Jebel Gattar's interior, crossing huge, smooth slabs of granite & following winding wadis dotted with palms. Chapels & hermit cells of early Christians scatter the landscape & petrogylphs & leopard traps are found on the 4x4 approach. There is a short, steep scramble near the spring, but walking is mostly easy afterwards. 4x4s take 1.5 hours each way from Hurghada.
2. MONS CLAUDIANUS (3-5km): One of two great Roman towns on the Red Sea Mountain Trail, Mons Claudianus stands on the southern part of the circuit & was built 2000 years ago. It was a quarrying outpost where workers were housed & operations overseen. Today, the town's empty rooms, temples & streets can be explored. Hikers will find broken columns & abandoned bathtubs scattered nearby. It is a short, easy hike on Roman footpaths, in gentle wadis. 4x4s take 1.5 hours each way from Hurghada.
3. WADI FAALIG TO EL BIYAAR (10km): Traversing easy camel passes between low, rugged hills, this hike leads from the sweeping spaces of Wadi Faalig el Waa to El Biyaar; a deep well on the Plain of Um Anfia. Paths are often broken, but the walking is never too difficult & ups & downs are always modest. Spectacular mountain scenery unfolds on every side of Um Anfia & nomadic Bedouin families are often seen grazing their herds in the region in spring. 4x4s from Hurghada need 1 hour approach & 1.5 hours return.
4. TALLA HAMRAA (10-12km): Talla Hamraa is a winding, rugged wadi in the towering red ranges of Jebel Abul Hassan. This is a circular hike, where two low camel passes are crossed between Talla Hamraa & the neighbouring course of Wadi Abul Hassan. It is a remote route in the wild, westerly parts of the Red Sea Mountains, with impressive mountain vistas unfolding the whole way around. 4x4s take 2.5 hours each way from Hurghada & approach via the spectacular gorge of Wadi Ghuza.
Costs for one day hikes on the Red Sea Mountain Trail include jeep transport from Hurghada to the interior mountain trailheads and back - typically 3-4 hours driving - plus Bedouin guides, lunch, water and tea. Tribal permission fees from the Sheikh of the Khushmaan are also included. This covers all the essentials from the beginning to the end of a hike. The only thing hikers may need to add are special snacks and drinks. Once clearance is secured for overnight trips, which we expect to happen in 2023, an updated price list and schedule for trips on the Red Sea Mountain Trail will be published here. For any bookings, please get in touch via our contact page. Private trips and public trips have the same costs.
Mountaineering routes & scrambles
1. JEBEL NASB UMSAYRI (3-5km): Often known just as Jebel Umsayri to the Bedouin, this small peaklet rises over the lowlands around Mons Claudianus. Spectacular views unfold over vast, rolling deserts from its 1143m top. It is the lowest, most accessible peak on the Red Sea Mountain Trail, requiring a steep scramble to the summit, with an elevation gain of 400m bottom to top. Descent can be made a different way & Mons Claudianus visited on the same excursion. 4x4s take 1.5 hours each way from Hurghada.
2. ABUL HASSAN TO TALLA HAMRA (17km): This hike follows one of the most beautiful sections of the whole Red Sea Mountain Trail, leading through the remote mountains of Jebel Abul Hassan, in the wild, westerly parts of the region. Narrow canyons, winding gorges & rugged passes are traversed from beginning to end. Pools & creeks form here after a good rain & hikers must be prepared both to scramble & even swim if water is still in the wadi. 4x4s from Hurghada need 1.5 hours approach & 2.5 hours return.
3. MONS PORPHYRITES TO UM BALAD (15km): Following an ancient Roman footpath, this hike leads from the Roman town of Mons Porphyrites to the satellite fort of Um Balad. A 1000m pass is crossed mid-way, giving spectacular views to Jebel Gattar. Paths are in good condition, but the pass involves 350m ascent & 600m descent. A shorter option is possible, from Mons Porphyrites to another satellite fort, known as Medina Badiya (10km total). 4x4s from Hurghada need 2.5 hours approach & 1 hour return.
4. RUWEISHID HIGHLANDS (7km): This hike traverses the beautiful Ruweishid Highlands, between Wadi Ghuza & the Plain of El Graygar. Starting at Gabr Ruweishid - the tomb of an old Bedouin raiding hero - hikers walk wild wadis & narrow, shadowy canyons, crossing high passes to the Plain of El Graygar. Spectacular mountain vistas to Jebel Gattar & Jebel Shayib unfold on the way. Tricky, mildly exposed scrambling steps are involved. 4x4s from Hurghada take around 1.5 hours on the approach & return.
Costs & trip schedule
One day hikes
6 person group, per person - €75
4 person group, per person - €95
2 person group, per person - €125
Every route below counts as a serious mountaineering proposition. Steep, exposed scrambles are required from bottom to top, and elevation gains can be over 1500m. Before anybody attempts these routes, the Bedouin must have walked with them and assessed them on a moderate one day hike. Of the routes here, Jebel Abu Abid and Jebel Um Anab are the best options over one day. Another excellent peak is Jebel Tarbush Umsayri, in the moderate options.
JEBEL SHAYIB EL BANAT (15km): Towering up to a height of 2187m, Jebel Shayib is the highest mountain in mainland Egypt & its summit offers views out to the tablelands of the River Nile & the faraway highlands of the Sinai. Climbing Jebel Shayib is not easy & it is advised hikers wait for overnight clearances to be obtained, attempting it in two days. It involves continuous scrambling with several steep, exposed steps & is only for the fittest, most agile mountaineers, used to moving light & fast on difficult rocky terrain. 4x4s from Hurghada need 1.5 hours approach & return.
JEBEL ABU ABID (10km): Jebel Abu Abid towers up in the same massif as Jebel Shayib el Banat & counts as one of its smaller, sister summits. Its 1900m top offers spectacular views over the Plains of El Graygar & Um Anfia. On a clear day, hikers can even gaze out over the Red Sea to the mountains of the Sinai. The ascent is made from the Tomb of Sheikh Hamdullah on the Plain of El Graygar. A descent made to the course of Wadi Abu Abid, where an ascent of Jebel Shayib usually starts. Scrambling is involved the whole way, both up & down. 4x4s from Hurghada require 1.5 hours each way.
JEBEL GATTAR (12km): Starting near the waters of a dripping spring known as Um Deesa, this hike runs over Jebel Gattar's beautiful highlands to another spring called El Nagaata. Wild, rugged wadis, whaleback summits & the abandoned chapels & hermit cells of Egypt's early Christians are seen on the way & the whole hike has a wild, lost-world feel. No summit is scaled, but there is 700m of ascent/ descent. Hikers must be fit, experienced & able to keep a fast, sustained pace the whole way. 4x4s from Hurghada need 2.5 hours approach & 1.5 hours return.
JEBEL UM ANAB (10km) - A massif of three high pyramid peaks, Jebel Um Anab rises on the opposite side of Wadi abu Abid to Jebel Shayib el Banat. The ascent starts from the springs of Ein Um Anab & involves a long, steep scramble up the mountain's western crags. This leads to the Jebel Um Anab's northern ridge, which can be followed to its summit, from where spectacular views extend over vast, sweeping deserts to the south. A descent is made of its rugged southern crags. It is a challenging route, but there is no real exposure. 4x4s require 1.5 hours approach & 2 hours return.