A source of fresh water all year round in this arid region, the Hatta Pools are a popular destination for tour companies and picnicking Emirati families. Technically these pools, known as Wadi Khamees in Arabic, are situated just inside Oman, but it's an unpopulated area where the border is barely enforced.
The Hatta pools lie in a stark and dramatic wadi, or river valley. Sandstone walls have been worn into smooth sinuous tracks by eons of running water, the shapes and colors of which swirl together like the lines of a surrealist painting. In some places, the water on the surface pools deeply enough for swimming. In other areas, the water rushes along narrow gullies that are 20 feet deep and its thundering rumble is the only clue to its location. Hatta's popularity causes several environmental problems that may spoil the natural beauty for some visitors. Graffiti marks the walls of the watercourse. In addition, there is no trash collection service and few people remove their garbage, so litter can be a common sight. The Hatta Pools are not signposted out of Hatta and can only be reached on non-asphalt roads, so take a guide or book a tour rather than risk getting lost in the mountains.