The Judah Thumb – Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia - Atlas Obscura
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The Judah Thumb

Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia

In the middle of a barren desert, a massive, solitary rocky thumb juts out. 

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Between Riyadh and Dammam in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia lies the city of Judah and its massive thumb. It is also often called the “Devil’s Thumb”—rumor has it that the nickname came from a local Boy Scout troop. In a rather desolated area, this rock truly sticks out like a sore thumb. This towering rock formation stands in the An Nafud region of the Arabian Desert, a vast expanse with an area of 25,000 square miles (65,000 square km).

Know Before You Go

The pathway there is not paved. While it is composed of compressed rock and sand, a vehicle with plenty of clearance is strongly recommended. Camping is allowed and the area is known for its starlit nights. There are no facilities at the site; however, there are stores nearby in Judah. While it is difficult for this area to get crowded, most people visit during the day with early mornings and late afternoons tending to be more solitary.

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