Snake Canyon – Oman - Atlas Obscura

Snake Canyon

Nature's water park in the Wadi Bani Awf valley is full of pools flanked with cliffs and natural water slides. 


Wadi Bani Awf stretches across the Hajjar Mountains, roughly between Nizwa and Rustaq. One of the largest valleys in Oman, it is dotted with picturesque villages, ruins, and natural wonders.

One part of the valley, known as Snake Canyon, has been called Oman’s largest natural water park. Much of the valley’s length is through pools that can be jumped into from the high rocks or simply waded through, and there are several waterfalls and natural waterslides. This is an outdoor adventurer’s dream playground.

Throughout Wadi Bani Awf, there are places where the colorful rock has been so worn down by rushing waters that it is incredibly smooth, and slippery even when dry. The cliffs on either side are extremely high and at times so narrow that a hiker can touch both sides at once.

There is also a “Little” Snake Canyon, probably the narrowest part of the valley. This slim canyon features a 200-foot-long pool, which can get quite cold since the sun has trouble reaching through the narrow canyon opening.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are warned that there are no easy escapes if they change their mind once they have started this trek through Snake Canyon. The canyon floods very quickly, so it is dangerous to be there in the rain. The Royal Oman Police constantly monitor the weather and warn adventurers not to risk their lives. People have drowned in the past.

Beyond hiking, Wadi Bani Awf is known as a memorable off-road drive for people who are more motor-minded. It is also good for camping and rappelling.

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