Muscat Treks: Sa’al Mountain – Trekking up Sa’al Stairs

Muscat Treks Series – in this series I will be writing about some of the treks and unmarked trails in and around Muscat – ones that can be completed in a relatively short time making them ideal as an easy weekend outdoor activity or a post-work trek for anyone living in Muscat. For similar posts of this series check out my posts on Aint Trek, Fanja Tabletop Mountain & Ruwi Mountains Trek. Now, onto Sa’al Mountain!

Sa’al Mountain (جبل سعال), also spelled as Saal Mountain, or Jabal Khoneh (جبل خونه) is a mountain in the village of Sa’al in the outskirts of the city of Muscat. If you have ever driven out of Muscat on the Dakhiliyah Highway (Road No. 15), chances are that you would have seen the Sa’al Mountain along the highway with a satellite dish that can be barely seen from the highway. Sa’al Mountain (and the whole surrounding area to be honest) is a great place to explore especially if you live in Muscat due to its close proximity to the city. The trek to the top (aka Sa’al Stairs) is a short yet challenging trek, but extremely rewarding with views of the surrounding mountains and wadis to the West and South, and the industrial area of Muscat to the North and East.

I quite enjoy going up Sa’al Mountain as exercise, especially if I do not want to commit to a long drive out of the city. I often visit the mountain on a weekend morning or as a quick post-work activity to get a bit of exercise in the beautiful surroundings of the mountain, with added bonus of experiencing the often stunning sunset at the top! The trek itself it not an easy trek, as it is continuously uphill for the entire length of the trek which is just under 2 kms on way. The trek is not marked, and starts off as a dirt road and almost half-way up you will see the giant concrete stairs (hence the nickname ‘Sa’al Stairs) – these are just under 700, uneven (at portions broken) concrete steps that take you to the top of the mountain before another small dirt portion leading you to the satellite dish at the top.

Sa’al Stairs Trek Considerations:

The Sa’al Stairs trek is challenging, and you will need to be relatively fit if you want to go there in a reasonable time – any time under 30 minutes is extremely impressive for the uphill portion. With my ‘Garmin’ watch, I estimated ~380 m elevation change to reach the top (I have clocked times between 35-45 mins in my previous visits – share your time in the comments below if you have conquered Sa’al Stairs already :D). If you are not physically active, allow at least an hour for the uphill trek. Allow similar or just slightly less time for the descend back down – a couple of stretches are full of loose rocks making it extremely slippery. Hiking boots or shoes with good ankle supports are a plus but not an absolute necessity, and make sure to take enough water to keep you hydrated. Teenagers and older children will probably enjoy the trek too, but need to be supervised especially in the non-stair portion. Finally, during summer I would strongly advise to try the trek at re early morning or before sunset to minimize the extreme heat affecting you – do not underestimate the trek!

Whether you are visiting Muscat on holidays, or live here, I highly recommend you visit Sa’al Mountain and attempt the trek up Sa’al Stairs to the top – obviously assuming you love the outdoors 🙂 Despite the challenge, that ineffable feeling of achievement and happiness once you have conquered the mountain is definitely worth it, and will probably make you want to do it again – and being easily reachable from Muscat – is it definitely do-able as a quick trip!

How to get to Sa’al Mountain:

Sa’al Mountain is in the outskirts of Muscat, beyond the industrial area of Al Rusayl, approximately 30 km away from Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It can either be reached from the internal road heading out from Muscat towards Al Rusayl (after Al Ansab, Falaj Sham and Awabi), or by taking the Al Rusayl exit off the Dakhiliyah Highway from Muscat.

10 replies on “Muscat Treks: Sa’al Mountain – Trekking up Sa’al Stairs”

Thank you for your beautiful description.
I would like to share your content with your permission on my website with your creditorqal.
Let me know.

Thanking you

Thanks for the post, did it today – a pretty steep walk! Great views from the top, but I think you were wise going in the evening. Picturesque village on the valley floor below the telecoms tower.

Nice hike done today, Started at 16:00. Took 35 min, average speed. A few steps damaged after recent rainfall.
Fantastic scenery and green mountains.
Please take an empty bag to collect some plastic garbage on the way down.

Thanks for sharing your experience Joe, glad you enjoyed it.

That is a very good piece of advise, unfortunately the more popular a place gets, the more rubbish is thrown there. Last time went there was quite early on a Friday morning, we went up early before the crowds and came across many people (must have been over 50 people visiting that morning) as we were descending down. We ended up collecting more than 30 empty water bottles that we did not see when we were going up – just so careless and irresponsible..

Thanks for the comprehensive summary, I have a quick question. Do you know if I can I hike with my dog at Sa’al steps over any weekend?

Glad to hear that. I’m not aware of law against taking dogs outdoors, but you just keep in mind the cultural sensitivities associated with dogs in Oman (I. E. Most are not comfortable around dogs). I’d say you can take your dog to Sa’al Steps, but please assess depending how crowded it is, and keep your dog on leash when near people.

Hope this helps.

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