Cooling off in the pools of Hatta


Summers in the United Arab Emirates are hot. The average June temperature in Abu Dhabi hovers around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're looking for a day trip to escape the heat, set out for the cool canyon pools of Hatta.

Getting there

Located just 70 miles from Dubai and roughly 150 miles from Abu Dhabi, the Hatta pools are a popular destination for adventure tours and UAE locals. A quick left turn at the Sumaini signpost leads down a gravel road to a series of shallow canyons cut into the rock of Oman.

The Hatta pools are fed from natural mountain streams. These waters pool in narrow ravines called "wadi," and the deeper pools remain quite cool, even during the warmer hours of the day. If there's enough water in the wadi, several small waterfalls can form. However, be watchful of upland rains, as flash flooding in the narrow canyons is obviously something to avoid.

The main pools can be heavily trafficked on holidays and weekends, so choose your timing accordingly. Also, if you're not afraid of a bit of rock scrambling, the Hatta Pools hold other hidden treasures.

Upper and Lower Canyons

You can walk right up to the pools and climb or jump in, depending on the water depth. However, a short climb and an easy 10-minute walk upstream from the main pool is the Hatta upper canyon.

The lower canyon is a bit more difficult to navigate. Downstream from the main pool are a series of drops leading to more pools and caves where the canyons narrow.

Be aware that the pools themselves are in Oman, as is a segment of the drive, depending on your route. Crossing the border shouldn't be a problem, but be aware of insurance implications if you're only covered in the UAE.

See also...