The natural jewel of Saudi Arabia
Wadi Qaraqir - also known as Wadi Dissah - is a 15 kilometer long canyon running through the Jebel Qaraqir, a sandstone massif lying about 80 kilometers south of the city of Tabuk. This natural wonder was for a long time a well-kept secret among explorers, before the road leading to the nearby city of Dissah was built and satellite images were available to the public, which made it quite difficult to find and reach. Today, there are two roads leading to each entrance of the wadi and this natural wonder has become one of the must-see places in Saudi Arabia.
The first striking feature of this wadi is its dimensions: at the eastern entrance of the canyon the side cliffs are already higher than 100 meters...
... but at the western entrance the gap between the bottom of the wadi and the tallest cliffs reaches as high as 500 meters! It is there, from the massive rocky peaks, standing on both sides of the canyon, that one can admire the most dramatic scenery of this magical place.
The second - and most unexpected - amazing feature of Wadi Qaraqir is a water stream that runs through the western part of the canyon towards the city of Dissah.
A traveler exploring Wadi Qaraqir from the eastern entrance will find abundant palm trees growing naturally along the wadi bed. But once half-way through the canyon underground water tops up all year long.
As a result, lush vegetation made of 3 meter high grass, numerous palm trees and bushes, flourishes in between the majestic cliffs of the canyon.
There is a hard top entering the western part of Wadi Qaraqir from the city of Dissah but (fortunately) it doesn't go through the whole wadi. As some parts of the wadi bed are made of soft sand it is not possible to explore further without a proper 4X4. Hence, travelers not having the proper equipment for sand recovery are advised to reach Wadi Qaraqir from the city of Dissah (western access) which is anyway the most spectacular route.
The natural jewel of Saudi Arabia (author: Florent Egal)