Jordan walking map & highlights

Eastern Jordan is formed by a flat and arid plateau, furrowed by dry gorges and stony mountains: the Syrian Desert. Rain here is scant, vegetation is meagre and stunted; there is little in the way of life support. In contrast, the western Rift Valley, which ranges from the Dead to the Red Sea, offers flashes of green and life-sustaining mountain springs. This natural line running north-south is mirrored by the 650km Jordan Trail, also known as the ‘King’s Highway’, which starts in Umm Qais and ends on the coast in Aqaba. It’s along here that most trails are located, a mix of point to point treks and circular routes, with 4WD vehicles doing the distance in between.
Dead Sea

1. Dead Sea

The descent to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, is steep and rocky underfoot, but tired feet will thank you after a relaxing float. Not actually a sea but a lake, its shimmering mineral water is densely packed with salt – 10 times the quantity found in your typical ocean. Try to take a dip and you’ll soon find yourself bobbing serenely on the surface.

2. Petra

You’ll need two full days to explore the Rose City, the highlight of any holiday in Jordan, on foot. The 1.2km walk through the colourful twists and turns of the narrow Siq gorge finally opens out onto your first sight of the famous Treasury, and the beginning of your tour through Petra. Take the least-visited trails and discover the hidden secrets of this natural fortress.
Rock Bridges

3. Rock Bridges

Of all the colossal sandstone formations in Wadi Rum, the most impressive are three incredible arching bridges of rock, carved out by sandstorms and winter floods. The smallest, and most scalable, is Khor al Ajram (Little Bridge). Climbing Umm Fruth, 15m from the desert floor, involves some steep scrambling while the 35m ascent of Burdah Bridge, and its panoramic views, require a good head for heights.
Siq el Barrah

4. Siq el Barrah

Siq el Barrah is a long, deep canyon cut through immense rock walls in Wadi Rum. The trail stretches out for 5km from end to end, along the valley floor, under rocky outcrops and past sandstone mountains, including Rakaa and Mharrak. In the early morning, or late in the day when the sun is setting, the sand escarpments are turned a beautiful deep orange by the light.
Wadi Rum

5. Wadi Rum

Follow in the trail of Lawrence of Arabia, and the Nabatean spice traders before him, as you trek through the vast and echoing plains of Wadi Rum, the “Valley of the Moon”. Navigating the jagged, pink hued mountains, etched with ancient petroglyphs of humans and antelope, you’ll discover the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and a spectacularly weathered landscape, desolate save for the semi-nomadic Bedouin people.
Wadi Umm Al Ishrim

6. Wadi Umm Al Ishrim

While Wadi Rum offers oodles of undulated sand dunes and imposing monuments to explore, the sheer cliffs of Wadi Umm Al Ishrim’s domed mountain pass are unique. Here, ancient Nabatean inscriptions, dating back to around 300BC, can be identified on the canyon walls. The short trek to the site is easily done on foot, or with a camel ride through the canyon.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Jordan walking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Walking in Jordan travel advice

Vicky Garnett, product manager for walking and trekking holidays for our supplier Explore, says:

Why choose a walking holiday in Jordan?

“This small country is well known for spectacular monuments and the fascinating Wadi Rum Desert. Jordan is making a name for itself and is now being recognised as an up and coming adventure activity hot spot. Traverse the country following the historic Spice Trail that the ancient Nabataeans once took, travelling across copper sands to spend the night under the stars in Bedouin-style tents. The historical sites will take your breath away and they really are best appreciated on foot, taking the time to discover hidden treasures and ascend ancient staircases to be rewarded with panoramic views of the desert.”

What to bring on a walking holiday in Jordan

“Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature – night and early mornings can be very cold when camping in the desert. A headscarf is always useful.”

What are the best walking routes in Jordan?

“We walk into the Monastery from our private camp near Little Petra – this is a spectacular route entering the site of Petra away from the crowds. After a night under the stars learning about the Bedouin lifestyle around the campfire, we walk across a wild plateau to arrive at the cliff tops. Here we are welcomed with a superb panorama over the Petra mountains and our first magical glimpse of the Monastery, entering the site in the opposite direction of the crowds.”

What are the walks like?

“The walking is on the whole quite easy going but can feel more strenuous in the heat (rather than due to the distances). There are some steep up and down hill sections and the trail is uneven and stony underfoot in places. The walks are all at low altitudes.”
Andrew Appleyard, qualified archaeologist and international sales manager for holiday company Exodus, says:

The best time to visit Petra and Wadi Rum

“Visiting Petra during the winter gives the sandstone a much more distinct colour variation whilst in the summer months of June, July and August it's virtually washed out. Also, different times of the day offer variations on light with the Treasury in shade during the morning and bathed in sunlight from around midday onwards. Getting up early, around 5am, is the best way to beat the crowds and the heat when visiting Petra.”

Tips from our travellers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Jordan walking tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
Petra was much larger and more spectacular than I'd expected. The walking was excellent, and the people interesting.
– Jill Pattison
“[Bring a] big hat, suntan lotion, water 'platypus' to go in your day pack, good camera and a willingness to get on with anything that is put in front of you.” – Jill Marquis

“Desert weather is variable and can be extreme. Pack for all conditions.” – Duncan Pye
Written by Bryony Cottam
Photo credits: [Page banner: Bernard Gagnon] [Dead Sea: eviljohnius] [Petra : Diego Delso] [Rock Bridges: Grand Parc] [Siq el Barrah : Jorge Láscar] [Wadi Rum: MaudCuenin] [Wadi Umm Al Ishrim: Tomobe03] [Vicky Garnett quote: hikinginjordan] [Jill Pattison quote: Mustafa Waad Saeed]