Hike the Jordan Trail to Petra and Beyond

Hike easy to challenging trails through ancient history, culture and stunning desert, canyon and mountain scenery on the new 650 km long Jordan trail, which can take you from the highest point in Jordan (6083 ft) to the lowest point earth (the Dead Sea, −1,411 ft). In between, visit paleozoic, ancient Bedouin, Christian, Roman and Byzantine sites including the famed 4th-century BC city of Petra.

Jordan is a stable, prosperous, western-leaning country in the Middle East known for a wide diversity of  ecosystems from the western highland area of arable land and Mediterranean evergreen forests and the Jordan Rift Valley, the  arid plateaus and steppe of the south and east irrigated by oases and seasonal water streams, and a north-western area of fertile soils and relatively abundant rainfall. Not only are its lands home to  a wide diversity of plant, animal and birdlife but also an amazing richness of ancient history and culture:according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan is home to around 100,000 archaeological and tourist sites including Petra—the 4th century BC capital city of the Nabataeans who were nomadic Arabs who made  it  a major regional trading hub—and Jerash, inhabited since the Bronze Age and known for the well preserved ruins of the walled Greco-Roman settlement of Gerasa just outside the modern city. Jordan also features multiple well known biblical and Islamic pilgrimage sites.

Now one of the stunning attractions of the country is the Jordan Trail,  a long-distance hiking trail completed in 2015 which connects the length of Jordan from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. The 675 kilometer trail is made up of eight regions, with 75 villages and towns on its way, all GPS-mapped and marked for private or supported walking trips. The trail traverses the diverse landscapes and vistas of the country, from the rolling wooded hills of the north, past deep rugged canyons (here they're called wadis) and cliffs overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley, through the Dana Biosphere Reserve, past the rose colored rock-cut buildings of historic Petra, through the dramatic desert and mountains of Wadi Rum, all the way to the crystal waters of the Red Sea.  As you walk the trail you journey through the history of Jordan and experience its diverse cultures. The trail moves through major historical sites in the region such as Um Qais, Jerash, and Petra as well as many lesser known hidden ruins along the way.  

The level of difficulty can vary greatly depending on the section, and some sections can only be done with camping gear (whether you carry it or hire one of many companies that offer supported camps), but there are also sections with fairly easy vehicle access which could be hiked in day trips. The Jordan Trail Association offers great maps and trip planning resources.


Most visitors to Jordan arrive by air through the main city of Amman in the north, but it's also possible to join the trail by private vehicle or bus from adjoining countries. Bus transport around many parts of the country is available on the JETT Bus, though very small villages may have infrequent or no bus service.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking, Global Adventures
  • Seasons: February, March, April
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: *Varies*
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 16
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 16
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