The Riyam – Muttrah hike is a great way to spend an early morning or later afternoon if you don’t have too much time to devote to hiking in Oman. Embarking on this hike is like going back in time, about 40 years ago, when times rere simpler.
Riyam – Muttrah Hike (C38)
|Overview: Fun hike in the capital area with great views of the sea and Mina Sultan Qaboos|
|Time: 2 hrs|
|Length: 3.49 km|
|Dist. from Muscat: 0 km|
I like to start off at Riyam Park and hike towards Muttrah so I can have a juice in Muttrah when I finish, but you can certainly travel in reverse. The track is included as a loop to help you find your way back to your vehicle once you hit the streets again in Muttrah.
Riyam – Muttrah Hike
The first obstacle on the Riyam – Muttrah hike is a staircase, and it instantly transports you back to 1976, to a time when there was no road between Muttrah and Muscat. Imagine yourself climbing these steps along with your goats that you intend to sell at Muttrah Souq. This would be a common sight along this path.
Another feature to the stair climb is a rusty pipe that was once used to transport diesel fuel from Muttrah to Riyam to supply a since removed electricity generation station.
At the top of the climb, as you catch your breath, you’ll be treated to some great views of Riyam Park and the Sea of Oman. Mornings and afternoons are better for photography.
Further along the Riyam – Muttrah hike trail a peek-a-boo view of Mina Sultan Qaboos comes into focus as the diesel pipe veers of to the right. I like this view a lot; It’s not great for photography but it gives you a feeling of looking into the future from a 1976 viewpoint. In 1976 there was no commercial port, no road, no giant yacht; just a bay with some fishing boats. Today Oman is prosperous with roads, education, electricity, healthcare, ect. There is no more need for carving foot steps into rocks to get from A to B over the hills, and the trail your standing on, once used as a main path, is now abandoned.
The trail now descends into a wadi where an abandoned village remains, but some hikers find it difficult to find their way at this point. Be on the lookout for the national trail markers painted along the way; or better yet, load the Riyam – Muttrah hike GPX track provided below into your GPS or smart phone to correlate if you are on the right track or not. I personally find my way no problem, but understand not everybody is an experienced hiker.
There isn’t a whole lot to see at the abandoned village, just some fallen down walls, but there is a nice shady tree located here. A great place to stop and cool off, or even eat your picnic lunch. The bonus of this village being inaccessible by car is that it’s devoid of large amounts of trash. So, please be sure to pack yours out as well.
The last stretch of the Riyam – Muttrah hike runs through a tight, rocky wadi. My last trip was just after some rain and there was a lot more standing water than I was expecting, so I definitely was glad I decided to wear my waterproof boots. The wadi sweeps left and right with high walls, think twice before you enter this wadi if rain is a possibility.
The Riyam – Muttrah hike finishes at cemetery where all the hikers who couldn’t find their way are buried. I kid, but I do feel a bit strange walking directly through a cemetery, like I am going to offend my Omani hosts. But on the other had, the Riyam – Muttrah hike is maintained by the Ministry of Tourism, and if they didn’t want folks walking through the cemetery they would have done something different to the trail. So, charge on I guess.
Once you hit the pavement you also are immediately transported back to current day Oman. A big difference, right? From here you can follow the GPX track provided below to complete a loop back to your car at Riyam Park via the slip road along the divided corniche, main road. It’s about a 20 minute, flat walk on pavement back to Riyam Park.
What I like to do before I head back to the car is charge over to Haji Ali Juice Centre and grab a fresh juice or falooda. Haji Ali Juice Centre is a famous Mumbai juice shop located on the Muttrah Corniche next to the National Bank of Oman, and well-known for their apple custard desert. Muttrah is an ancient trading port, which gives it and it’s residents a rich and diverse background. Hindi and Zadjali are common languages spoken here because of this history, so it’s fitting that a famous Indian juice shop maintain a branch in Muttrah. I usually order a mint lassi, but if you have never tried a falooda, I’d recommend you do.
As you sip your juice and look out over Mina Sultan Qaboos, you can ponder what the future will be for Oman. You have just seen the past on the Riyam – Muttrah hike, and the present lies in front of you. But what will the future hold? Maybe a nap is as far as you need to see.
Riyam – Muttrah Hike Tips
- Go early or late to avoid the heat.
- A 1.5 liter bottle of water per person should be enough.
- Wear boots. (the rocks are sharp)
- Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.
- Bring money for a juice or tea at the end.
What is your favorite way to cool off from a hike? Leave me a comment below:
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