While Jordan stretches only about 450 km (280 mi) from north to south, the country offers an impressive variety in landscapes. Although not typically associated with hiking, Jordan is the ideal place for short and long hikes. From deep green hills in the north, unique nature reserves, hiking on the trails of ancient Petra to climbing a mountain in the desert – Jordan’s landscapes are a true heaven for hikers. Read below our introduction to the five best locations throughout the country.
The ancient city of Petra is one of the main reasons people from all over the world come to Jordan. Capital of the Nabatean kingdom for almost five centuries, the city holds many secrets to be discovered. There are eight official trails in Petra that differ in length and difficulty. Many people will choose the Main Trail, which starts at the Visitors’ Center, passing by the famous Treasury and ends in the ancient city center. With its length of 4.7 km (2.9 mi), this trail is perfect if you have moderate fitness and would like to see the highlights of Petra in one day. If you would like to get that famous view on the Treasury from above, the Al Khubtha Trail leads you from the Colonnaded Street to the Al Khubtha mountain located opposite to the Treasury. The hike takes about 1 hour (plus return) and will grant you a rewarding aerial view on the Treasury.
In addition to these two most popular trails, there are more trails that allow you to explore the treasures hidden in the ancient city. Information on trails in Petra and a trail map can be found in the Welcome2Jordan travel guide.
#2 Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum probably offers the most abundant amount of opportunities for hiking in Jordan. In addition to impressive sand dunes, Jordan’s biggest and most impressive wadi offers numerous rocks and mountains of all heights and difficulties to be explored. Very popular for climbing are the rock bridges, which are usually a common stop during a jeep tour through the desert. If you are looking for a hike away from the tourist jeeps, head to Jabal Umm ad Dami, Jordan’s highest mountain (1854 m or 6,083 feet). This mountain is perfect for hikers with little to no experience in climbing as most parts involve walking uphill on rocky paths. Hiking in Wadi Rum is usually combined with a jeep tour through the desert and an overnight stay, giving you a unique cultural experience.
#3 Wadi Mujib
Who would associate Jordan with water adventures? Welcome to the Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve! This nature reserve is located within a stone’s throw of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. Please note that the nature reserve can only be accessed via the Adventure Center. From there, you can choose from four different trails. The most popular one is the Siq Trail. It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours and involves hiking through knee-deep water of canyons and some climbing, until you get to experience the highlight: abseiling a 20 m (65 feet) high waterfall. A unique hiking experience in Jordan! If you prefer to keep dry feet, opt for the Ibex Trail, which will let you explore the flora and fauna of the Wadi Mujib, with a rewarding view on Dead Sea and the Mujib Dam.
#4 Dana Biosphere Reserve
The most impressive nature reserve in Jordan is Dana, located halfway between Kerak and Petra. What makes Dana unique is its huge variations in altitude, going from 200 meters (655 feet) below sea level to 1,700 meters (5570 feet) above sea level. Dana has a very versatile landscape and a rich flora and fauna, which is why it was designated as a biosphere reserve. It is home to over 500 plant species and 200 animal species, some of which are on the list of endangered species. Hiking in Dana lets you experience the most beautiful and varying landscapes of Jordan. Another reason to hike in Dana is the effort made by locals to encourage sustainability and protection of the environment. After hiking on the Wadi Dana Trail (14 km / 8.7 mi), you are welcome to stay in Jordan’s first eco-tourism accommodation, Feynan Ecolodge.
#5 Ajloun Forest Reserve
With a surface of about 13 km² (5 mi²), the Ajloun Forest Reserve is one of the smaller nature reserves in Jordan. The Ajloun Forest Reserve is located near the city of Ajloun, in the north of Jordan. Its flora and fauna is different from the other nature reserves in the country. The reserve consists of mostly valleys and hills, covered with many olive trees, pistachio trees and other species. Visitors can enjoy various guided and unguided hikes through the forest reserve and extend their stay with a sleepover in Jordan’s only campsite.
Hiking on the Jordan Trail
In addition to solo hiking, guides are available for most trails. While you can hire a local guide, the Jordan Trail will most probably offer the best experience. The Jordan Trail Association, created by a group of locals, has developed a trail of over 650 km (400 mi) passing 52 villages and all major highlights of Jordan in 35 days. It is the longest hiking trail in Jordan and probably in the entire region. While you are welcome to hike the entire trail, you can also choose to participate in parts of it. The hike is divided into various itineraries to choose from, such as from Dana to Petra (the most beautiful part of the trail). Hiking the Jordan Trail is a great opportunity for solo-travelers and couples to hike in a group of like-minded people.