Situated in an old quarry in Sharjah’s Mleiha desert, XQuarry is the UAE’s first off-road and adventure park.
Spread across nearly one million square metres in the shadow of Al Faya Mountain, the adventure park is set to open to the public on Saturday.
Adventure fans are invited to bring their own bikes, 4x4s and remote-control cars to navigate through the sweeping quarry and its rocky desert terrain. There’s also a permanent obstacle course and more than 10 kilometres of hiking trails for those who prefer human-powered adventure.
"There is no other such adventure venue in the UAE or even the region," Daniel Birkhofer, managing partner at XQuarry, tells The National. "It's the first of its kind. XQuarry is also not a theme park – we offer an unpolished but honest and authentic experience.
"On the other hand, we are giving ownership to the community and work closely together with clubs and groups – we listen to their needs and demands. The opening is just the starting point; XQuarry will develop and evolve over the next few years."
A VIP visit
Ahead of the park's opening, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi toured the newest destination in the emirate. The visit saw the sheikh and his entourage tackle the park's terrain in a Hummer H1, Mercedes G500 4x4 and a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon.
Watch the video above to see more from his visit.
Obstacle-laden quarry drives
Off-roaders will have access to 20km of custom-built and fully prepped tracks to tackle, suitable for drivers of various skill levels and vehicles with different technical modifications.
Thanks to its location in Al Faya quarry, these are no easy rides. Tracks are filled with gravel and an endless run of rocks. Besides a huge mud pit, there are also 18 obstacles dotted across the trails. Each simulates a different driving situation and is designed to challenge even the most advanced off-roaders. They include varying approach angles, maximum gradients, lateral inclines and traction on different surfaces.
At the moment, the off-road routes will only be open to those with their own 4x4s or ATVs, but there will be driving experiences in the future where enthusiasts can rent a 4x4 on site. XQuarry is also located in some of the Northern Emirates' most impressive dunes, so desert drives await just outside the park boundary.
For those who prefer their vehicles on a smaller scale, 500 metres of custom-built remote-control car tracks are on offer. This includes a racetrack and an obstacle track with technical challenges.
There are also shaded operator stations and elevated viewing platforms, and visitors must bring their own remote-control vehicles.
Trails, hikes, bikes and more
XQuarry is also home to one of the country's most challenging permanent-running obstacle courses, stretching across 3km. Littered with climbs, nets, swings, balance activities and more, those taking it on should be prepare to get messy – several of the obstacles involve having to navigate through mud and water.
If getting out on foot is more your thing, XQuarry’s hiking trails offer visitors the chance to explore the surrounding desert terrain. Totalling a distance of more than 12km, beginners can start with the shorter 3km routes, which are also suitable for children. Advanced hikers can scramble over rocks and up ledges to get to the best vantage points in the park. All the trails are carefully maintained and have shaded resting areas in case anyone needs a breather along the way.
Meanwhile, mountain biking enthusiasts should bring their own wheels and get ready for some pedalling adventure. More than 3km of mountain biking tracks inside the park are filled with steep curves and small jumps, hills and obstacles. And if that doesn't seem like enough of a challenge, the trails outside the park extend to more than 10km around Al Faya Mountain.
Rates vary depending on activity with hiking and obstacle course runs from Dh50, off-roading from Dh150.
More information is at www.xquarry.com