When I originally signed up to hike for 5 days on the Jordan Trail, I couldn’t find much in terms of articles on what to prepare for. There were not many solo female travelers I saw hiking for days on end to head to Petra. I wanted to know what to bring, how difficult it was, and that is why I created this guide.
I had faith that I was in shape enough to hike what was classed as moderate hikes each day. My stamina is what I was nervous about. However, I surprised myself and found one of the best ways to experience Jordan. No gate keeping here experience the Jordan Trail even if you only do part of it. Most people come to Jordan and hit the highlights visiting the Dead Sea, Petra, and Wadi Rum. I would see these places, but I wanted to make it an adventure.
I honestly was nervous about attempting a five-day intense trip through Jordan hiking, camping, staying at eco-lodges, and dealing with the hot the desert in October. However, I surprised myself and believe it is doable with the right local guides.Read more: The Jordan Trail: A Guide To One Of The Most Beautiful Hikes In The World
*Disclaimer:This Post May Contain Sponsored Content And Or/ Affiliate Links. This Is A Way I Make An Income From My Blog. I Am A Participant In The Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. An Affiliate Advertising Program Designed To Provide A Means For Sites To Earn Advertising Fees By Advertising And Linking To. This was part of a press trip with Visit Jordan.
What is the Jordan Trail?
The Jordan Trail is a historic trade route that passed north to south through Jordan. It is long and arduous, which is why I decided to go with Experience Jordan. I was going outside of my comfort zone to do a multi day hike in the Middle East, but it would be a highlight of my hiking career and travel tales.The Jordan Trail was established in 2015 encouraging slow travel that connects travelers with local communities along the 400 miles of trail. It begins in the north from Umm Quais to Aqaba on the Red Sea.
While I did not get to enjoy the entire 40 days on the trail that passes through 52 villages and towns. I enjoyed one of the most popular sections from Dana Biosphere Reserve to Petra.
The Best Sections of the Jordan Trail
What I love about the Jordan Trail is it is divided between 8 sections. So you can break it up and it gives you an excuse to keep coming back to Jordan. I already know I want to revisit the Jordan Trail to see other sections. I will give you a brief overview of the Jordan Trail for each section and go into more detail on the section I took from Dana to Petra and my visit to Wadi Rum.
Before You Go To Jordan
When you go to Jordan there are some things you should know. There is a visa you need to get to enter Jordan and for each country check your requirements, but for USA citizens like myself, I was able to get the Jordan Pass.
What is the Jordan Pass?
Key features of the Jordan Pass include:
- Entry to Tourist Sites: The pass grants access to a wide range of tourist attractions, including archaeological sites, museums, and historical landmarks. This includes iconic destinations such as Petra, Jerash, and Wadi Rum.
- Visa Waiver: Holders of the Jordan Pass may benefit from a waiver of the regular visa fee, making it easier for tourists to enter the country.
- Convenience: The pass is digital, allowing visitors to easily download and carry it on their smartphones. This eliminates the need for physical tickets and streamlines the entry process at various attractions.
- Cost Savings: The Jordan Pass is structured to provide financial savings for tourists, as it covers the entry fees to multiple sites. This can be particularly advantageous for travelers planning to visit several attractions during their stay.
- Validity Period: The pass is typically valid for a certain number of consecutive days, encouraging visitors to explore and make the most of their time in Jordan.
Double-check the visa requirements for your country.
Would I hike the Jordan Trail solo?
I would not advise hiking the Jordan Trail solo as there were no clearly defined trails and in different areas a local guide was used that showed us the way. Not only that they would tell us about where they are from, the food, and even make tea with the traditional Jordan hospitality that made me fall in love with the country.
Also, as a solo female traveler in Jordan and hiking on an overnight backpacking trip in Jordan, it made me feel safer in a group.
Why the Jordan Trail?
There is something so rewarding about traveling from point A to B on foot. The Jordan Trail takes you past landscapes that feel like you are on another planet. It brings you into contact with the local Bedouin, and communities along the Jordan trail. It gives you a unique perspective of traveling to a new country slowly and sustainably. Slow travel allows you to never take for granted where you are in the moment
North To South Sections of the Jordan Trail
Chiefly, hiking the Jordan trail will create a once in a lifetime experience to learn about the natural and cultural landscape of Jordan. Plus, it will have you in shape when you leave!
There are all different types of ways to hike the Jordan Trail as well as different types of accommodation.
Umm Qais to Ajloun 50 miles 4 days
The beginning of the Jordan trail begins in the Umm Quais and can be reached by Amman by bus. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Ajloun from Amman.
Embark on a four-day adventure that seamlessly weaves history and nature along the 50-mile stretch from Umm Qais to Ajloun. Your journey commences in Umm Qais, surrounded by the echoes of ancient civilizations. The Greco-Roman ruins of Gadara stand testament to centuries gone by, offering panoramic views of the Sea of Galilee. As you traverse Wadi Zubia on day two, nature takes center stage. Lush valleys adorned with wildflowers and freshwater springs provide a refreshing contrast, inviting you to savor the tranquility of this natural oasis.
Continuing southward, day three leads you to the secluded Mar Elias Monastery in the Ajloun Highlands. This spiritual retreat offers a pause to connect with Jordan’s religious heritage amidst stunning landscapes. Finally, on day four, Ajloun Castle emerges on the horizon—a majestic fortress perched atop hills with commanding views. Your journey isn’t just a physical feat; it’s a cultural odyssey, a tapestry of time, and an exploration of Jordan’s rich heritage.
Ajloun to As-Salt 39 miles 4 days
Embark on a four-day exploration from Ajloun to As-Salt along the Jordan Trail, where history and nature converge seamlessly. Begin your journey at the formidable Ajloun Castle, perched on hills that offer commanding views. Day one takes you to the tranquil Mar Elias Monastery, a spiritual retreat in the Ajloun Highlands, immersing you in the region’s religious heritage.
The following days unfold through the enchanting landscapes of Wadi Zubia, with its lush valleys and freshwater springs, leading you to the historic heart of As-Salt. Here, Ottoman architecture, bustling markets, and charming streets invite exploration. Engage with locals, savor traditional cuisine, and let the Jordan Trail guide you through a captivating blend of history and nature
Ajloun is pictured below from Wild Jordan’s Instagram.
As-Salt to Wadi Zarqa Ma’in 52 miles 4 days
This section of the Jordan Trail begins an unforgettable adventure along the As-Salt to Wadi Zarqa Ma’in section of the Jordan Trail. The hike is four-days spanning 52 miles. Starting in the charming town of As-Salt with its historic Ottoman architecture, hikers set out on a journey that weaves through rolling hills, quaint villages, and terraced fields. Here you will find a picturesque panorama of Jordan’s diverse landscapes. Each step brings a discovery, leading to the grand finale at Wadi Zarqa Ma’in, renowned for its hot springs and breathtaking geological features.
Three Wadis to Al-Karak 47 miles 4 days
One thing I love about the Jordan trail is it weaves through the tapestry of terrain and true gems that make Jordan special both historically and naturally. On this section of the Jordan Trail hikers begin at the southern rim of the Wadi Wala and follow the plateau until the descent into the Grand Canyon of Jordan- Wadi Mujib.
As you descend you will see highlights such as the ruins of Magdelina, and the impressive Al-Karak castle. Al Karak is a historic crusader castle and gives you a glimpse of the many historical figures and events that happened on the land you hike along the Jordan Trail.
Al-Karak to Dana 52 miles 4 days
The mesmerizing hiking expedition is not for the faint-hearted, but breaking it up is an option. I am glad I chose it. Now you have arrived in the heart of Jordan as you traverse the enchanting section of the Jordan Trail from Al-Karak to Dana. Starting in the historically rich city of Al-Karak, where the imposing crusader castle echoes tales of centuries past, the trail unfolds like a narrative through time and terrain. As hikers journey through the captivating landscapes, they witness the transition from Al-Karak’s cultural heritage to the breathtaking natural beauty of Dana, characterized by its scenic canyons and panoramic vistas. This trail not only presents a physical challenge but also serves as a captivating exploration of Jordan’s diverse tapestry, seamlessly blending history, culture, and the raw beauty of the great outdoors along the iconic Jordan Trail.
Dana to Petra 52.2 miles 4 days
My journey hiking the Jordan Trail begins here in arguably the best section of the Jordan Trail and one that you should make the time for on your Jordan Itinerary. I will begin this by saying we drove from Amman to get to Dana where I got to stay at the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan. This is the largest of Jordan’s nature reserves, and is amazing to be able to hike here and wake up here like I did. We stayed in canvas tents, not luxury by any means, but they were comfortable. There were also restrooms and a place where we had dinner outside, as well as a Bedouin tent to have tea and enjoy a fire at night.
The best part of the Jordan trail though is not having to always stay in a tent if you don’t want to. There is also a nearby village where some hikers could decide they want to stay at the Dana Guest House in the Dana Village. However, I highly recommend the Rummana camp which is located directly inside the Dana Reserve.
Staying in Dana Reserve you can enjoy a dark sky to see the stars, explore trails that lead you to caves, and experience a beautiful sunset over the valley. The landscape will make you feel like you are on another planet.
The immersive journey along the Dana to Petra section of the Jordan Trail is a trek that spans approximately 50 kilometers and typically takes around 4 days to complete. The trail offers a moderate to challenging level of difficulty, with diverse terrains ranging from rocky canyons to desert landscapes, providing a rewarding adventure for hikers.
Starting in Dana, a village perched on the edge of a nature reserve, the trail winds through the spectacular Dana Biosphere Reserve. This section is known for its diverse ecosystems, showcasing everything from lush valleys to rugged mountains, providing a habitat for various plant and animal species.
My favorite part: Hike Wadi Ghweir
This part of the trail truly surprised me and I was nervous as this day we hiked 17 plus km to get to Feynman Lodge. However, while it was one of the more grueling days for hiking between the heat, and the amount of water we had to carry it was one of the most rewarding.
Climbing down into the wadi or canyon we went from the most arid landscape to a lush green area and oasis between the canyon walls as we hiked towards our reward of a stay at the luxurious Feynman Ecolodge.
This is a noteworthy highlight of the trip as it incorporated the local community as well as gave me ample rest to continue the journey. The Feynan Ecolodge is an eco-friendly retreat offering a unique blend of sustainability and comfort amid the desert landscape. It is run by the Royal Society of Nature Conservation whose mission is to maintain the beauty and conservation of the wildlife and natural resources of Jordan.
A Magical Local Ecolodge Awaits
This eco-lodge is run by solar power, is pretty much self-sufficient growing the vegetarian food they cook, and also incorporates the local Feynan community of Bedouins in the area. Each day a local woman would bake all of the amazing Jordanian bread fresh for the lodge. I got to participate in learning about the Arabic bedouin coffee tradition in the village as a part of my stay.
After getting washed up and enjoying the beautiful candle-lit room, I headed to join the group for a Candlelit evening. The locally sourced cuisine is a nice touch knowing they support a local family that bakes bread for them and stargazing opportunities make Feynan an unforgettable stop on the journey.
From Feynman to Petra
As hikers continue, the trail leads to the iconic rose-red city of Petra. This archaeological marvel, hidden within the stunning rock formations, unveils ancient tombs, temples, and facades carved into the vibrant pink sandstone cliffs. The journey not only challenges physical limits but also immerses trekkers in the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of Jordan, making the Dana to Petra section a truly transformative experience along the Jordan Trail.
I could go on and on about Petra and all of the amazing things to do there, but that will be for another blog post.
However, a surprise for me along the trail to Petra was learning about Little Petra which was on the way to Petra.
Petra to Wadi Rum 56.3 miles 5 days (moderate to difficult)
After visiting Little Petra we slept wild camping close to the back door of Petra. We spend the morning exploring Petra which could take you days to fully explore to hike and see all of the nooks and crannies.
The hike leads to the legendary Wadi Rum, a protected desert wilderness that captivates with its towering sandstone mountains and vibrant red dunes. Trekking through this surreal Martian-like landscape, adventurers experience the timeless beauty that has inspired poets and explorers alike. Bedouin camps nestled amidst the stunning scenery offer a glimpse into traditional desert life, allowing hikers to immerse themselves in the rich culture of the region. The Petra to Wadi Rum trail is not just a physical feat; it’s a cultural and visual feast, showcasing the remarkable diversity of Jordan’s natural wonders along the iconic Jordan Trail.
Wadi Rum to Aqaba 67 miles 6 days (easy to moderate)
The section of the Jordan Trail from Wadi Rum to Aqaba covers a distance of approximately 60 kilometers, making it a moderate to challenging trek that typically takes around 4 to 5 days to complete. Hikers will encounter diverse terrains, starting with the otherworldly landscapes of Wadi Rum, known for its towering sandstone formations and vast red sand dunes. Navigating through this surreal desert scenery, adventurers experience the unique geological wonders that have earned Wadi Rum its distinction as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the trail progresses towards Aqaba, hikers will witness a transition from the desert environment to the coastal allure of the Red Sea. The journey culminates in Aqaba, where you can enjoy vibrant markets, historical sites and explore the marine wonders of the Red Sea. The final leg of the trip can be enjoyed with world class snorkeling or diving. With a diverse range of landscapes and cultural experiences, the Wadi Rum to Aqaba section offers an immersive and rewarding adventure.
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How long does it take to walk the Jordan Trail?
The duration to walk the entire Jordan Trail depends on various factors, including the specific sections chosen, individual hiking pace, and the level of fitness. The full Jordan Trail spans approximately 650 kilometers (around 400 miles), and completing the entire trail typically takes around 36 to 40 days for an average hiker.
Do you need a guide for the Jordan Trail?
While it’s not mandatory to have a guide for the Jordan Trail, it depends on individual preferences and experience. The trail is well-marked with official signs, and many hikers successfully navigate it independently. Experienced trekkers comfortable with map reading and basic navigation skills may opt for a self-guided adventure. However, less experienced hikers or those seeking cultural insights may benefit from hiring a local guide who can enhance the experience, share regional knowledge, and assist with logistics. The decision to use a guide depends on the level of comfort with independent hiking, desired cultural immersion, and personal preferences.
What is the best part of the Jordan Trail?
Determining the “best” part of the Jordan Trail is hard to do because each has its own merits. However, for me, it is the section I did where you get to see Dana, Petra, and Wadi Rum. , This 60-kilometer journey showcases the surreal landscapes of Wadi Rum, with towering sandstone formations and ancient petroglyphs. The blend of desert wonders, cultural richness, and the Red Sea’s vibrant beauty creates an unforgettable and diverse hiking experience, making the Petra to Wadi Rum section a highlight for many adventurers on the Jordan Trail. While I did not get to finish the entire Jordan Trail I will be back. I want to visit Aqaba next.
Where to stay on the Jordan Trail?
Furthermore, if you are searching for accommodations along the Jordan Trail vary, offering a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. Hikers can find a mix of guesthouses, campsites, and Bedouin-style accommodations along the trail. Notable places to consider include:
- Feynan Ecolodge: Located near Dana, this eco-friendly lodge provides a unique and sustainable stay in the desert.
- Wadi Rum Camps: In Wadi Rum, various Bedouin-style camps offer a traditional experience amidst the stunning desert landscape.
- Petra Accommodations: Petra has a range of hotels and guesthouses catering to different budgets, providing convenient options for hikers exploring this iconic site.
- Aqaba Hotels: Aqaba, at the southern end of the trail, offers a variety of hotels along the Red Sea coast for a comfortable and relaxing stay.
It’s advisable to plan accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons, and consider the specific sections of the trail you’ll be hiking through.
Jordan Trail Map
Best Time To Visit And Do The Jordan Trail
The best time to hike the Jordan Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. The weather is generally mild and pleasant. The recommended months are from March to May in the spring and from September to November in the fall. During these periods, temperatures are moderate, ranging from around 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). It will make it more enjoyable for long-distance trekking.
In contrast, the summer months (June to August) can be extremely hot, with temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter (December to February) brings cooler temperatures, occasional rain, and the possibility of snow in higher elevations, making it less favorable for hiking.
Choosing the right season ensures a more enjoyable and comfortable experience while exploring the diverse landscapes of the Jordan Trail.
What to bring with you?
What to bring:
- Trekking Poles
- Warm sweater or jacket for evenings. I loved my Cotopaxi Fuego Downhooded Jacket
- Lightweight, soft Loose-fitting long sleeves, quick dry, moisture-wicking fabrics and pants.
- Wide-brimmed hat as the more of your body you can shield from the sun, the better will be for you
- Water bottles or Camelbak, you will need to carry around 3 liters a day. You can also pack some electrolyte drink mixes or tabs along with your regular drinking water.
- Breathable, high ankle non-leather hiking boots to avoid blisters and other trip-disrupting foot problems and that are suitable for Jordan’s rocky rough terrain. I love Oboz.
- Sports socks. It is also recommended that you cut your toenails before the trip to prevent toenail damage.
- Sunglasses. I used RAEN sunglasses.
- Travel insurance I use Safetywing
- Day-pack (Enough for your own personal items and water). Allpa 28 Liter Cotopaxi bag is what I used this trip.
- Flip flops or sandals to wear after the hike
- Camera: GO PRO 12 Creator pack