The Edge of the World – Saudi Arabia - Atlas Obscura

The Edge of the World

These towering cliffs jut dramatically from the middle of a barren desert.  

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These cliffs rise dramatically from the desert, stretching toward the sky like a great natural wall. When you stand atop them and look toward the horizon, you have a prime view of the sky as it seems to melt into the barren earth.

The Edge of the World (Jebel Fihrayn) is an unexpected and dramatic geological wonder in the rocky desert northwest of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The site earned its nickname because from atop the escarpment, you have an uninterrupted view of the horizon.

It’s part of the much longer Tuwaiq Escarpment, and drops down 1,000 feet into an ancient ocean bed. While standing on the cliffs, you’ll spot dried rivers weaving across the land, and see camels moving far below. These camels and their herders are following a well-trodden path, as an ancient caravan route once passed within its shadow.

There are several hiking trails on and around the cliffs. If you pass through a spot dubbed “the window,” you can even get down to the lower plateau. Keep an eye out for fossils as you’re exploring, and be careful, as the gravel is loose and the rocks are sharp.

Know Before You Go

You will need a SUV with clearance to get here, but four-wheel drive is optional. A guide/tour is not needed. You should be familiar with driving on dirt roads that are heavily potholed, as it is easy enough to pop a tire if you drive too fast and hit one of the rocky potholes. The drive takes between an hour and a half to two hours from Riyadh.

On The Way Around lists two different approaches. The most popular one is via the Acacia Valley, but it is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. The other approach via the Sadus Dam is open at all times. Roads are rough on both routes, and low-rise vehicles will have trouble.

The Google Maps way has no signs or much in terms of physical waypoints, but the GPS is spot on. MAPS.ME also has accurate GPS for the roads.

Be sure to stock up on food and water before attempting either road. It's best to go with another vehicle in case you get stuck as there isn't any cellular reception here.