Landscapes of Al Qiddiya in Riyadh

The Hiker’s Maxim: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time (J.K.).”

Exactly ten years ago, I hiked the fairly challenging trails of Mt. Batulao—my first ever “concubine”.


The next thing I knew it became a sort of personal religion for years until I got to the desert.



During the golden hour, gloaming, until the plateaus and tuwaiq escarpments of Al Qiddiya were under cover of night yesterday, the climber in me got resurrected.




All of what I felt when I was at the peak of Mt. Batulao for the very first time back in the day came in like a lightning and thunder with a soothing caress to my body and soul—the moment I took the photos right at that vantage point. The vantage point only the bold embraces.

So I reveled in the discomforts, dangers, and other forms of challenges that hiking posses. Once again, my body took in great strength from the rigors of natural movements. Suddenly, that ten years just felt like hours ago. I missed it. Every bit of it.

The connection I have outside the walls of the city is not only a craving but, like I said, a religion.

That much needed balance in this fast-paced world is always here. Has always been here…Into the wild…Onto the road less traveled by…In Xanadu of the movie “Sanctum”…Into the woods…Where the nearest plumbing is miles away…Along Riyadh’s far flung places like Al Qiddiya’s plateaus governed by puff adders, carpet vipers, hawks, scorpions, foxes, acacias, and the bare moon.

Al Qiddiya is located just 45 km and an hour drive from Riyadh. The most notable about this place as we speak is the ongoing tourism project called “giga-project”  that is set to turn the Kingdom into a Capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts.  The project will use a total of 334-square kilometer of Al Qiddiya’s land but shall only  cover 30 percent of said total to ensure that the majority of this majestic site is still dedicated for natural conservation. This is in conformance with  the idea of making the project a green-belt network which utilizes carrying of visitors throughout the property on roads, bike paths, and walkways built within a landscape environment. (Click here for more information.)

I have truly found the balance I have been needing in this poetic wasteland. And, refuge as well from the monotonous routine back in base. But the most important thing that came out of it is the complete workout that my body longs for at this point.

Circumnavigating that particular protruding tuwaiq in the photo below meant hiking around it for two and a half hours—the highlight of this first hiking proper experience. 

Looking forward to joining another hiking endeavor soon. Yalla!

PS, special mention to yallahike for their safe; fun; full of activities; and food-filled hiking experience! I highly recommend this club for Riyadhizens who are hunting for an organized climb in town. Shukran!

yallahike is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also contact them via email at or mobile on +96653-133-5820.

The Eco-Warrior’s Creed: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. vinneve says:

    Some beautiful shots there!


    1. That made my heart skipped a bit, Vinneve. It’s been a while. Glad to have read something from you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. vinneve says:

        I may be too busy posting my travel backlogs but I am often checking out people here. Check out my latest post you may be surprised? 🙂


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