The 7 finest hikes in Jordan discover deserts, wadis and world wonders

Mountaineering within the desert is one in all life’s most significant experiences, serving up incomparable views you’ll be able to’t see out of your automotive, shared campfire meals with folks you meet alongside the best way, and silence and wide-open areas for aware reflection and late-night storytelling below the celebs. For sure, climbing in Jordan – amongst fields of wildflowers, historical websites, rugged mountains and out-of-this-world desert scapes – takes issues to the subsequent degree.

Whether or not you’ve your coronary heart set on the timeless ruins of Petra or the Dune-like landscapes of Wadi Rum, right here is our decide of the perfect hikes in Jordan, from north to south.

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1. Umm Qais to Ajloun

Greatest hike for forests and wildflowers
80km (50 miles) a technique, 2-4 days, simple to average

Bookended by historical ruins, this multiday hike from Umm Qais to the Ajloun Forest Reserve delivers the perfect of northern Jordan. A simple however rewarding path leads walkers from the northern metropolis of Umm Qais and the Greco-Roman ruins of Gadara by way of inexperienced forests and grassy fields to Ajloun Citadel, constructed as a part of Saladin’s defenses in opposition to the Crusades.

Sort out this path within the springtime, and you will be rewarded by a sea of black irises and different wildflowers that bloom from March by way of April. In case you have the fortune of assembly locals alongside the best way, you may also get the possibility to take pleasure in a handful of loz (almonds) picked recent from the bushes. The complete route takes a number of days, with in a single day stays at campsites or native homestays, however shorter day hikes round Umm Qais and Ajloun are attainable for learners, households with youngsters or these brief on time.

High tip for climbing round Umm Qais: Earlier than you hit the paths, tour the ruins of Gadara to achieve some cultural and historic context and admire the unbelievable views over the encompassing hillsides. We suggest native information Ahmad Alomari for a visit full of non-public tales and insights into the traditional historical past of Umm Qais, plus some foraging alongside the best way.

Spectacular, rocky Wadi Mujib is called the Grand Canyon of Jordan © BargotiPhotography / Getty Pictures

2. Wadi Mujib Canyon Path

Greatest canyon hike close to Amman
8km (5 miles) spherical journey, 4 hours, average to difficult

A simple day journey from Amman (or an in a single day journey from one of many close by Useless Sea motels), Wadi Mujib is a refreshing escape from the desert warmth. About 1.5 hours from the capital, this dramatic gully is lovingly labeled the “Grand Canyon of Jordan” for its colourful sandstone cliffs.

Though it’s attainable to take simple self-guided hikes alongside the 3km (1.9-mile) Wadi Mujib Siq Path, the actual adventures happen on the longer Canyon Path, the place you’ll trek, wade, climb, slide and splash your method alongside the gorge with a Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) information.

This hike includes canyoning methods, resembling crossing fast-moving water and slippery rocks, so it’s an adults-only journey (contributors should be 18 years of age or older), and you may want to have the ability to swim. Situations can change with the climate, and flash flooding and winter closures are a threat, so name forward to substantiate that treks are operating.

Vacationers below 18 could make a splash at different canyons inside a two-hour drive of Amman. We advise Wadi Salaita, reached by way of a reasonably flat, 3km (1.9-mile) climbing path with pure water slides and a few simple rappelling; guide a guided tour with TREKS.

3. Wadi Al Hasa

Greatest hike in summer time
24km (14.9 miles) a technique, 2 days, simple to average

Summer time temperatures in Jordan can exceed 38ºC (100ºF), so should you’re visiting throughout the scorching summer time months, you’ll need to embrace no less than one moist wadi expertise to assist preserve you cool. Nader Manaseer, founding father of Eco Hikers, recommends Wadi Al Hasa, positioned within the southern a part of the Useless Sea area about two hours from Amman. This valley is Jordan’s longest wadi (river valley) – and its most lovely, in keeping with many locals – with gorge-ous cliffs, pure swimming pools and hanging gardens.

No ropes are required for this hike, however it’s greater than a easy stroll within the (water) park. The river flowing by way of the gorge can get deep, and relying on the climate, the present may be sturdy, so it is best to hike with a information. Hold an eye fixed out for fish swimming by, and convey a water-resistant digital camera to seize the unimaginable rock formations you’ll spot alongside the best way.

Should you don’t have two days for the complete path, it’s additionally attainable to expertise Wadi Al Hasa as a day journey from Amman; simply regulate the time and head again the best way you got here whenever you’re midway by way of your out there time. 

4. Dana to Petra

Greatest hike for unimaginable views
76km (47 miles) a technique, 4-9 days, average to difficult

Following Bedouin footpaths, the multi-day hike between Dana and Petra is among the most beloved sections of the Jordan Path, and it’s simple to see why. The various terrain alongside the path signifies that the surroundings modifications ceaselessly, and you will get a wealthy style of Jordan’s ecology and historical past as you’re employed your method from the nation’s largest nature reserve towards the traditional metropolis of Petra.

The path stretches from the heights of Dana Biosphere Reserve (the one reserve in Jordan that features 4 bioclimatic zones), descends into valleys and rises up once more onto mountain ridges, culminating at Petra – a metropolis carved from sandstone, a Unesco World Heritage Website and one of many New Seven Wonders of the World. “As many instances as I hike this trek, it should all the time be my favourite part on the Jordan Path,” enthuses Ahlam Serhan, an avid climber and journey tour information in Jordan. “No two days are alike. Every is exclusive in its personal method.”

In keeping with Bedouin information and Petra native Mahmoud Bdoul, probably the greatest issues about being out on this huge and rugged pure area is discovering your self slowing down to note the smallest particulars – the sound of a lizard scurrying throughout the rocks, the sensation of wind in your neck, and the great thing about the innumerable colours and textures within the panorama.

A view of the Treasury from the Siq at Petra, Jordan
Your first glimpse of the Treasury at Petra will stick with you for a lifetime © Iwanami Images / Shutterstock

5. Petra’s Siq

Greatest hike for households
1.2km (0.75 miles) a technique, Half-hour-1 hour, simple

Carved by each nature and the folks of the traditional Nabatean civilization, the principle method path to the traditional metropolis of Petra follows a simple, well-trodden path, delivering a real “wow” second because the ruins loom into view as you around the final nook. Though it’s tempting to race down the winding pathway often called Al Siq (“the shaft”) to succeed in the long-lasting facade of the Treasury, the path itself can be steeped in desert historical past. To get the perfect out of the expertise, guide an area information by way of Experience Jordan or Engaging Cultures, who can share extra of the traditional metropolis’s storied previous and level out artifical options and carvings en route.

With few elevation modifications, this brief trek is ideal for households with youngsters who need to go to Petra however lack the persistence and power to discover the huge 264-sq-km (102-sq-mile) web site absolutely. Vacationers with mobility wants may go to Petra by way of the Siq path with the assistance of golf carts or be carried alongside the path by donkeys or camels. You might discover that a number of the animals used for transportation at Petra are mistreated; should you’re contemplating a donkey or camel experience, make sure you select an animal that seems wholesome and is led by an grownup handler.

A phrase of warning: As in lots of different high vacationer websites around the globe, a number of the would-be guides and animal handlers at Petra may be pushy and even dishonest. Keep away from going off-trail alone, and all the time guide your journey with a good tour operator. Should you’re not sure whether or not a information is legit, attain out to a trusted authority such because the Jordan Tourism Board.

High tip for climbing to Petra: A lot of the traditional web site at Petra remains to be shrouded in thriller, and solely about 15% of the traditional metropolis has been excavated. You will get extra from a visit should you rent an area information with private tales to inform, household historical past to share and a deep data of the place who can information you alongside lesser-known trails ignored by the crowds.

A Bedouin guide leads his two dromedary.camels over the tall dunes of Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is the desert as you’ve got all the time imagined it © Tom Mackie / Lonely Planet

6. Petra to Wadi Rum

Greatest hike to go off the crushed path
90km (55.9 miles) a technique, 5 days, average to difficult

Whereas many guests embrace stops in each Petra and Wadi Rum, it’s the hike between the 2 that delivers a few of Jordan’s most memorable off-the-beaten-path experiences. Go away behind the crowds of Petra and cross by way of quiet canyons and the “coloured valley” – a pure rock masterpiece the place the multi-hued sandstone creates swirls and splashes that look as if they had been painted purposely.

On the trek’s end, a sea of sand punctuated by towering buttes indicators your arrival at Wadi Rum. Sink your toes into the sand whenever you arrive on the dunes on day 4, giving your toes an opportunity to breathe and join with the land. The expansive wilderness, star-filled skies and sheer silence of this humbling hike make it a should for intrepid vacationers in search of a very contemplative expertise.

Jordan’s superior new climbing path

7. Jordan Path 

Greatest troublesome hike in Jordan 
Greater than 675km (419.4 miles) a technique, 30-45 days, difficult

The Jordan Trail is the nation’s final hike. From the northern forests close to Umm Qais to the Pink Sea within the south, this epic, multi-week route passes by way of dozens of villages, visiting Unesco World Heritage Websites, ascending mountains and weaving its method alongside slender wadis and throughout sand dunes. The Jordan Path is greater than a hike: it’s an immersive expertise of Jordan by way of its large terrain and the tradition, delicacies, historical past, language and traditions of its folks. If you do not have time for the entire route, contemplate climbing shorter sections.

Given the extent of problem, long-term dedication, the dearth of clear waymarkers in some areas and the restricted availability of provides alongside sections of the route, this can be a trek for extremely skilled hikers who’re accustomed to climbing in desert situations and navigating by GPS. Should you require further assist, contact the Jordan Trail Association to rearrange a information and water and meals drops, or you’ll be able to join an organized group hike

A man walks through a slot canyon in Wadi Ghuweir, one of the longest wadis in the Dana Biosphere Reserve
A shady hike by way of one in all Jordan’s many wadi canyons is all the time a good suggestion  © lrosebrugh / Getty Pictures

Suggestions for climbing in Jordan

Mountaineering is among the finest methods to expertise Jordan, however this exercise comes with some dangers. Be aware of the climate and seasons when planning your journey. Summer time (Could to September) may be scorching scorching and dry in lots of components of Jordan, whereas winter (November to February) may be chilly and moist with occasional snowfall. Through the colder months, or for any in a single day hikes and hikes at larger elevations, all the time convey heat clothes.

Flash flooding can be a hazard within the spring, fall and winter. It may be significantly harmful in river valleys, gorges and different low-lying areas, together with Wadi Mujib, Wadi Al Hasa and trails close to the Useless Sea. At all times verify the climate and name forward to verify situations with organizations such because the RSCN or the Jordan Trail Association.

Should you’re climbing to a vacation spot not managed by an area group, verify the native information and climate studies and search recommendation from native folks. Should you can’t discover concrete solutions to questions in regards to the route, observe the fallback steerage for hikers all over the place: “If doubtful, don’t exit.”

Listed below are some extra suggestions for staying protected whereas climbing within the desert kingdom.

  • Pack sensible: Carry enough water, snacks, sunscreen and a first-aid package in your backpack – even for a day hike – and be sure you carry (or hire) any crucial tools, resembling climbing poles or helmets for canyoning.
  • Carry sensible footwear: The kind of climbing footwear you want will rely on the hike. For instance, sneakers are nice for a stroll by way of the Siq at Petra, however to completely discover the location, you will need light-weight climbing boots with good traction. However, should you’re spending a day in Wadi Mujib, you could be extra snug in water footwear. Ask your tour operator for his or her recommendation.
  • Use a GPS: Not all trails in Jordan are marked clearly, and cell service just isn’t all the time out there, so should you’re not on a guided hike, you will have a GPS system to search out your method. At all times let somebody know the place you’re going and whenever you’ll be again.
  • Contemplate hiring an area information: Whereas guides aren’t wanted for each hike in Jordan, hiring an area information has quite a few advantages, together with native data, cultural insights and serving to you to remain protected on the paths. A information will help you navigate unmarked turns, present emergency first-aid and act as a translator should you get into bother. Reserving native guides additionally places tourism cash immediately again into the native economic system. Keep in mind to guide with a good information or tour operator; should you’re unsure, verify with the Jordan Tourism Board, on-site customer facilities or the Jordan Path Affiliation. 
  • Perform no matter you carry in: Littering is a giant difficulty in Jordan, and sadly, you’ll discover trash scattered in even probably the most distant locations. Do your half to maintain Jordan’s trails clear by finishing up your trash, or be a part of an Eco Hikers journey and be a part of the “clear as we hike” membership. 
  • Pay attention to wildlife and aggressive canine: Jordan has snakes and scorpions, so be watchful of those creatures when strolling, sitting and sleeping. It’s additionally doubtless you’ll meet canine (usually guarding sheep, goats or property) whereas out climbing in Jordan, and these animals may be aggressive. If the shepherd or proprietor is close by, they may typically name the canine again. In any other case, if no proprietor is in sight, you could want to choose up a rock and gesture as if throwing it when you transfer away.
  • Hold emergency numbers handy: The Jordan tourism police hotline is 117777, or you’ll be able to attain them by way of WhatsApp at +962 7 7099 1814. For anybody climbing the Jordan Path, the cellphone quantity for the Jordan Path workplace is +962 6461 0999.