How to Visit Hatta Dam on a Day Trip from Dubai or Abu Dhabi
Dubai, a sprawling metropolis, may be known for its architectural wonders—awe-inspiring skyscrapers, expansive shopping malls, lively amusement parks, and other man-made marvels, epitomizing the essence of a futuristic city.
Yet, just beyond Dubai’s boundaries, a different realm of beauty unfolds. Picturesque turquoise waters, rugged mountains, and clear blue skies – welcome to the enchanting Hatta Water Dam, the UAE’s hidden natural gem.
This article tells you all you need to know about visiting Hatta Dam on a day trip from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or any of the surrounding destinations.
Table of Contents
Hatta Dam Overview
Surrounded by the imposing peaks of the Hajjar range approximately 125 kilometers from Dubai city center, the Hatta Dam was constructed in 1989 and completed a year later to serve as a vital resource, providing clean drinking water and electricity to the residents of the Hatta region.
The dam’s creation not only facilitated agricultural development but also transformed the arid landscape into a serene haven. Its turquoise waters create a stunning contrast against the rocky terrain of the Hajar Mountains, further enhancing its scenic appeal.
Best Time to Visit Hatta Dam
The best time to visit Hatta Dam, and basically any outdoor destination in the UAE is during the cooler months from October to March.
During this period, the weather is more pleasant and the temperatures milder, making it conducive for exploring the scenic beauty of the dam, engaging in water sports, and embarking on hiking adventures in the surrounding areas.
We visited in late November, which was only slightly chilly due to the strong winds, but the sun still felt hot on our skin.
It’s advisable to avoid the peak of summer, from June to September, when the heat is oppressive. Besides, almost every activity here would be unavailable during summertime.
How to Go to Hatta Dam
Going by car is the easiest way to get to Hatta Dam. It is located about 125 km from Dubai city center and 265 km from Abu Dhabi. A leisurely drive from either of these locations will take you around 90 minutes and 3 hours respectively.
From Dubai, you need to take the S-112 Maliha Road and then follow the E-102 road to Hatta. You’ll relish the journey as it takes you through deserts and the majestic Hajjar Mountains. My friends and I drove there from Khor Fakkan after our hike on the Al-Rabi Trail as part of our day trip from Abu Dhabi.
There are some parking spaces along the road overlooking the Hatta Dam, but during busy periods, the road can get congested as people tend to double park.
Alternatively, bus services are available from Dubai to Hatta, followed by a short taxi ride to the dam.
Hatta Dam Entrance Fee
The dam itself is free to visit, but you will have to pay for other activities or facilities, such as water sports equipment rentals or adventure experiences.
Things to Do at Hatta Dam
1. Admire the Natural Beauty
The Hatta Dam is surrounded by majestic mountains, contrasting beautifully against the azure waters. Capture the breathtaking scenery and unwind in the numerous picnic spots for a relaxing day out with family or friends.
2. Engage in Water Sports
The surreal beauty of the Hatta Dam is best enjoyed from the water, where you can get a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Explore the calm waters of the dam with kayaking facilities available for rent. Paddle boats, canoes, electric boats, and water bikes are other popular options.
3. Hike or Bike the Trails
Avid hikers looking for an active day out can go for hiking and trekking activities on the mountains. The trails showcase the natural beauty of the area, with varying levels of difficulty to cater to different fitness levels. Biking enthusiasts can rent bicycles from the Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Center.
4. Try Other Adventurous Activities
Adjacent to the dam is the Hatta Wadi Hub, which provides an array of adventure activities, including ziplining, zorbing, gel ball, mountain e-scooter, water slide, and many more. Adventure seekers can indulge in thrilling experiences while being surrounded by stunning landscapes.
Other Things to Do in Hatta, UAE
If you find yourself with extra time to spare, a number of exciting activities awaits you in the vicinity of the Hatta Dam, enhancing your overall experience in this enchanting region.
1. Visit the Hatta Fort
Built in 1896, this historical gem, with its weathered stone walls and strategic location, used to provide protection to its inhabitants against external threats. Today, visitors can explore its well-preserved structure, visit its museum, and get a glimpse into the region’s past.
2. Explore the Hatta Heritage Village
Located conveniently at the center of the district, the Hatta Heritage Village has been maintained and renovated by the government to give visitors better insights into the local way of life from centuries ago.
Here, you can find traditional huts and shops that sell ethnic costumes, jewelry, arms, pottery, and utensils crafted using clay, leather, and copper, by the people who mined in the mountains.
Visitors will also be treated to various cultural performances and folk songs.
3. Shop at Hatta Souq
As part of the Hatta Master Development Plan, the government has also introduced the new Hatta Souq as a place for local farmers and residents to sell their products, including locally-grown produce, homemade food, and traditional handicrafts.
It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs and experience the local cuisine.
4. Unwind at Hatta Hill Park
Just a short drive from the Heritage Village, the Hatta Hill Park is a beautifully landscaped area with a children’s playground, barbecue facilities, walking paths, and sports fields. This elevated green space is a project by the Dubai Municipality to add greenery and entertainment for residents and visitors.
On top of that, you can also check out the watch tower, from where you can get beautiful views of the surrounding village.
Things to Bring to Hatta Dam
- Comfortable attire for sport activities.
- A change of clothes, plus something warm if you’re visiting during winter or staying back till late.
- Aqua shoes or other footwear that you don’t mind getting wet.
- Waterproof bag for your electronics.
- Waterproof phone case.
- Sunscreen, cap, and sunglasses. The sun can be harsh, no matter what time of the year.
- Food, drinks, and snacks. There is a small shop selling drinks but not much else.
Additional Tips & Info
- The dam does not have any official opening hours, but the activity providers may have their own schedules. Hatta Kayak operates from 7 am – 9 pm, and Hatta Wadi Hub from 8 am – 6 pm every day.
- Due to its mountainous location, the temperature can be cooler than in the city, especially during winter. Pack and dress accordingly.
- There are no toilet facilities at the dam area, only at the entrance near the village, which is quite a distance away.
Where to Stay in Hatta, UAE
While the Hatta Dam can easily be done on a day trip from nearby cities, you might consider staying overnight to see the other attractions Hatta has to offer. Here are some of the top-rated places to stay in Hatta:
Hatta Guest House – All rooms come with a seating area, flat-screen TV, safety deposit box, and private bathroom. Some have balconies and lake views. The property also has a restaurant, terrace, garden, free private parking, and children’s play area. From USD 95 for a Superior King Room, with breakfast.
Hatta Resorts – This 2-star hotel offers barbecue facilities, a terrace, children’s playground, and free private parking. All rooms are air-conditioned and come with a flat-screen TV. Some may have balconies. From USD 177 for a Standard Caravan with Mountain Views and Outdoor Terrace. Breakfast included.
JA Hatta Fort Hotel – This lovely retreat boasts 2 temperature-controlled pools, a spa, gym, tennis courts, a 3-hole driving range, archery, a restaurant, cafe, bar, and children’s play area. Rooms come with bathtubs, private terraces, high ceilings and mountain views. Family rooms and 2-bedroom villas available. From USD 292 for a Deluxe Mountain View Room, with breakfast.
Hatta, with its breathtaking dam and surrounding attractions, is truly a multifaceted destination that seamlessly weaves together natural beauty, cultural richness, and adventurous escapades.
From the tranquil blue waters of the reservoir, where outdoor enthusiasts can engage in water sports and scenic picnics, to the historical embrace of Hatta Heritage Village, offering insights into the traditional Emirati way of life, Hatta beckons, promising a journey filled with discovery and lasting memories.
Have you visited the Hatta Dam? What was your experience like? Share in the comment section below.