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Another Of Saudi Arabia’s Natural Treasures: Lake Al-Kharrarah Park

Just outside the capital of Saudi Arabia is a magnificent desert that holds a hidden natural gem. Take a trip outside of Riyadh and discover the Lake Al-Kharrarah National Park. Here, in the red valley amidst stunning sand dunes, a natural lake forms after a period of heavy rainfall, deep enough to swim in. The valley also transforms into a green pasture in early spring when the lake bed is in full bloom, drawing in migratory birds and other wildlife.

Al-Kharrarah Park is a popular destination for those who enjoy a day of dune bashing, sand boarding, dune buggy riding, kite flying, barbeques, and picnics. The best time to visit are weekdays when the park has the fewest visitors. If you love the energy of large crowds, then leave your visit for the weekends when locals flock to the park to unwind and have fun.

Getting to the location means opting for an SUV. The dunes and sandy terrain make it difficult for average cars to make the entire trip. If you have a normal vehicle, don’t fret; you can still make it to the edge of the park as that area is paved. The rest is on foot and getting to the best spots that way will take quite a bit of effort. Just make sure that before you embark towards Al-Kharrarah to get your vehicle ready.

Many traveler sites suggest deflating your tires to 20 PSI upon entering any desert terrain, keeping an air compressor pump handy in your car to inflate the tires back up to the recommended pressure (35 PSI for most vehicles) once you exit the desert, and having a shovel ready as well. Luckily, the park has a regular string of local visitors who are familiar with the terrain, so keep your eye out for passersby if you need a bit of help on your adventure.

Once you arrive at the park, the views from on top of the highest dunes are stunning so get ready to add that to your day’s itinerary. On a clear day, you can view the rocky Tuwaiq escarpment – known to locals as “The Edge of the World” – and the farms that sit in the valley. If you find yourself at the park on a cloudy day, you’re also in luck. The scenery is said to be even more breathtaking because the overcast sky leaves the dunes below in different captivating hues.  

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