For hikers of all levels, the Sinai Mountains area is a paradise. With its diverse landscape and incredible views, hiking in Sinai is an unforgettable experience. From towering mountains to lush valleys and ancient ruins, no two hikes are the same. The mountains of St. Catherine, Mount Mouses, Mount Abbas, El Gelt El Azraq, and Red Mountain offer some of the most stunning hiking trails in Egypt.
Hiking the highest peaks of Egypt
The majestic mountains of St. Catherine are situated in South Sinai, Egypt. The highest peak stands at 2,629 meters (8,611 feet). This area is home to a variety of wildlife including hyraxes, ibexes, foxes, and various birds. The peaks provide spectacular views of the surrounding desert and canyons. For more experienced hikers, there are several challenging routes to explore the mountain range. There are also options for casual hikers looking for a leisurely stroll.
Mount Mouses is one of Egypt’s most iconic mountains. Located north of St Catherine’s Mountains, this flat-topped mountain rises to 2,237 meters (7,360 feet). This spot offers stunning panoramas of the mountains around. There are several routes that wind their way up the slopes, allowing hikers to take in the breathtaking views.
Moses Mountain, also known as Mount Sinai, is a holy site for adherents of the Abrahamic faiths. It is said to be the location where Moses got the Ten Commandments from God. The peak, located on the Sinai Peninsula, provides a difficult trek to the top with stunning vistas of the neighboring scenery. Other sacred sites in the region to explore include St. Catherine’s Monastery, which contains the world’s longest constantly running library, and the Burning Bush, where God is said to have manifested to Moses. A trip to the Sinai Mountains is a must for anyone looking for a spiritual encounter or a peek into history.
The Red Mountain has earned its name due to its distinctive ochre hue that stands out against the surrounding terrain. The mountain reaches a height of 1,760 meters (5,774 feet). It features a rugged terrain that makes it ideal for more seasoned hikers looking to take on a challenging hike. The route also offers visitors amazing views of the valley below as well as ancient ruins from many civilizations that once inhabited the region.
No matter your hiking skill level, Sinai has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an easy ramble or a challenging hike, you’ll find both here. When exploring these majestic mountains and trails be sure to bring enough water and supplies, wear suitable clothing, and be aware of your surroundings. And don’t forget your camera; the incredible landscapes and views will stay with you forever!
What to pack during the hike?
Packing light is the number one piece of advice for every hiker. Never assume you’ll need as much as you actually do. You should bring only one compact bag, or “daypack,” on your daily excursions, filled with the necessities such as water, personal food, a warm/waterproof layer, and so on. Have at least a 30-liter backpack with you. This is for 2 days hikes which include sleeping over at St. Catherine town.
However, for hikes that include camping in the mountains, you would need a full backpack that contains your tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. In some cases, if the tour is organized with a camel assistant, the camel will help you to carry your camping gear and sleeping bag to the campsite.
Hiking in Egypt: Packing tips
Seasons determine attire. Egypt’s trek season is from October–April. Fall and spring days are warm, but they can be cold if it’s windy, cloudy, or you’re at a higher height in the mountains. December to March is cold. Winters in the mountains can be tough due to regular subfreezing temperatures. It snows often. Flash floods can occur anytime it rains. Pack for winter, spring, summer, or fall travel. Mountain water is rare, so you can’t wash clothes or take enough for a daily outfit change. Pack three of everything and swap them over a few days.
First: Your documents!
Hikers from other countries will need a valid passport and visa, while Egyptians will need to bring government-issued photo identification. Get yourself some sort of travel insurance just in case.
On the Sinai Trail, your shoes will endure significantly. This has long been a source of annoyance for travelers due to the wear and tear it causes on their sneakers and footwear. Even the most cutting-edge trekking footwear is quickly devoured by the Sinai’s rocky paths. Bring no things that are out of the current. Or anything nearing the conclusion of its useful existence. You might not be able to finish the journey. Hiking footwear or durable sneakers are recommended.
Prepare them to wear to camp that night. Most importantly, practice your strolling abilities on the difficult landscape we’ll encounter in Sinai. Your ankles and footwear will gradually get used to each other. Do not embark on the trip in brand-new shoes; your feet will most likely become too excruciating to endure the first kilometers of the trek. Spare ties are also advised because the harsh arid air can cause old laces to break.
Hiking Clothes – Basic layer
T-shirts are the main layer. Synthetic clothing, like running or hiking technical tops, allows sweat to exit quickly and keeps you dry. Wet cotton cools your skin. Wet garments can be hazardous in cold alpine temps. Long-sleeved T-shirts and hiking shirts with collars cover the arms and face. Winter base layers may include a good, body-hugging polyester fleece and shirts.
Avoid shorts. That disrespects other nations. Pants shouldn’t restrict leg movement. They should let you place your legs comfortably. The Sinai Trail has enough scrambling. Trekking pants or open tracksuit bottoms work better than tight denim. Synthetics beat cotton in arid heat.
Wear a head cover such as a cape to protect from the sun and rain. It is important to have a UV and waterproof cover as an extra layer to stay warm and dry. Rain can make you cold. Desert hikers ignore rain gear which can always happen in the mountains of Egypt.
Blanket – Cover
Winters in Sinai, especially in the mountains, are cold. Thermal underwear, a fleece or micro-fleece, a thicker fleece, and a down or synthetic parka will keep you warm.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your eyes and neck. Legionnaire hats work. Cold nights benefit from woolen caps or Russian-style hats with earflaps. Use a shemagh like your Bedouin tour guides to shield your face and neck from the sun or wind. Buffs and other elasticized cap covers make fine shawls and face masks but don’t block the sun.
Pack lightly for the Sinai Trail. Shampoo, soap, and toothbrushes are necessary. Wet swabs are clean without water. Bring a wet wipe bin. Daily trash drop-off bins are larger. Long journeys require tweezers, nail blades, and shears.
Hikers should know first aid and first aid bag items. Our Holiday Tours team always carries the first aid packets during the hikes. However, if you like to bring a first aid pocket it is always recommended. Fill a small first aid box with the basics. Plasters, gauze pads, and Betadine antibiotics aid small cuts. Bring Compeed rash plasters in case. Zinc oxide or microporous medical tape can avoid foot sores. Hikers often tape blistered feet. Rehydration salts and anti-diarrheal medicines are always good for upset stomachs. Hikers, notably foreign visitors, often get diarrhea. Bring painkillers like Tylenol and ibuprofen.
Bottled purified water
Bring 3–4.5 pints of robust, lightweight water flasks. Plastic mineral water jugs, found in stores, seep if dropped. Backpackers with bladder flasks with drinking lines can always drink. The only downside is that you can’t see how much water is left in the bottle in your baggage. Mineral water will be supplied, but natural wells and streams may be used. Hikers should take chlorine or chlorine dioxide water purification pills. Hikers use UV Steripens or chemical screens.
Bring shades and sunblock because we’ll be outside for a long time. Bring UV-blocking sunglasses and a high-factor sunblock, and apply often. Everyone needs it, but lighter-skinned people primarily. Sinai lips heat and split easily, so a good lip balm is needed. Cigarette lighters can light waste paper and other fires. Swiss Army knives with can openers, tiny saws, and forceps are great for many jobs. Optional hiking poles for joint support, notably in hilly areas with lots of uphill and downward travel.
The Sinai Trail requires good sleep. To stay robust, you must rest, calm, and recoup each day during your long walk. Since we will spend several nights in the wild, a good camping kit is essential.
Tents: Bedouins lie outdoors. Tents provide shelter from insects and privacy when needed. They guard against sudden rain and wind, which is crucial. Every hiker needs a small, lightweight, watertight tent. Share a tent with another hiker and split the weight and room.
Sleeping bags: This item must be rated for minus 5 degrees Celsius for winter use in high altitudes. Sleeping bags can be hefty. To raise your sleeping bag’s temperature grade, add a heated layer. Desert nights can be cold in spring and fall. Sinai Trail hikers often complain that their sleeping bags aren’t warm enough.
Rollout beds: Thermarest-style filled mats and rollable foam mats are two of many resting mats available. Both are better than wet sand or firm earth for sleeping. Foam mats last longer than inflated ones in arid hiking because weeds can damage them.
You don’t need stoves and ovens usually since the Bedouin hosts use campfires or their own pots, pans, and gas cylinders to cook.
Activities to do in Sinai Mountains Region
There is a wide variety of methods to experience and appreciate the Sinai Trail’s natural scenery. The list doesn’t stop with hiking. The Sinai Trail team hopes to provide new activities, which will attract more visitors and provide additional economic prospects for the surrounding villages. It’s a great place to go bouldering, rock climbing, or mountain riding. Many locations are suitable for spiritual practices including yoga, quiet retreats, and meditation. The vast, starry desert skies provide an ideal environment for study, and the region’s abundance of undeveloped terrain makes it possible to study anything from natural navigation and foraging to tracking and camel riding, as well as the wonders of the night sky.
In 2011, at WeekEnd Trips we organized a cycling trip from the St. Catherine region to Neuwaib which was one of the first cycling trips in the mountain area. This group cycled the whole length of the path in one day, from St. Catherine Road heading east to the Gulf of Aqaba.
Adrenaline-pumping Fun: Rock Climb
Bedouins have traditionally been climbers, typically for the sake of hunting. Over the years, the Sinai was the place of contemporary rock climbing as a sport in Egypt. Climbing trips may be organized on the coastal mountains near the Sinai Trail’s beginning or in places like the red mountain.
Yoga and meditation
The desert, like the polar ice caps, is one of the world’s most tranquil and silent places, making it perfect for activities that need complete stillness. There are several tranquil areas along the Sinai Trail that are ideal for yoga and meditation retreats.
Artistic Expressions of Bedouin
Having lived in the desert for hundreds of years has molded the Bedouin culture. Much wisdom may be gleaned by observing their manner of life. Tracking and survival techniques, as well as natural navigation techniques like using the stars and natural landmarks, can be learned by hikers. Nightly storytelling events have been set up along the Sinai Trail for those curious about the region’s history. These kinds of events provide Bedouin communities with a reason to keep their traditional knowledge and practices alive, which are otherwise in danger as the peninsula gets modernized and the Bedouin way of life becomes increasingly irrelevant.
To summarize, trekking in the Sinai mountains is an unforgettable experience. It’s a hiker’s utopia, with its varied scenery, breathtaking vistas, and old remains. Sinai’s highlands and paths have something for walkers of all abilities, from leisurely strolls to strenuous excursions. However, it is critical to plan ahead of time, carry enough drink and provisions, dress appropriately, and be mindful of your circumstances. Hiking in Sinai can be a memorable experience with proper preparation and safeguards.
There are numerous trip options available if you want to explore the hiking paths in the Sinai mountains. These programs provide a variety of choices based on your ability level and interests. Some trips include a journey to the UNESCO World Heritage Site St. Catherine’s Monastery, while others include alpine hiking. To guarantee a secure and pleasant experience, regardless of which trip you choose, study the company’s image and evaluations before scheduling.
Overall, hiking in Sinai is a fantastic way to experience Egypt’s natural grandeur and complex past. So gather your knapsack, strap on your trekking boots, and prepare to explore the Sinai mountains’ stunning scenery and holy sites.