Best Hikes in Jordan

Best Hikes in Jordan

If you really want to get to know a country, lace up your walking boots and hit its trails. Immerse yourself in the landscape and local lifestyle, take stock and relish in the fact you’re seeing more than you ever could from a car window. And while you might think of the Alps or the Andes when you think of epic hiking holidays, Jordan is by far one of the world’s most underrated hiking spots. From dream-like deserts and colossal canyons to wildflower-filled woodlands, the best hikes in Jordan take in some of the country’s most legendary landscapes. Here are a few of our favourites…


Best for Thrill-Seekers: Wadi Mujib Canyon Trail

Seeking a hike that’s high in adrenaline-fuelled adventure? The Wadi Mujib Canyon Trail is one of the best hikes in Jordan for the more intrepid traveller. Located just over an hour’s drive from the capital Amman (great for a daring day trip), this spectacular sandstone gorge is fondly called the ‘Grand Canyon of Jordan’. Led by a guide from the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (a national organisation working to protect Jordan’s natural environment), you’ll splash, slide and scramble along the dramatic gully, whose cool water will provide a welcome relief from the desert heat. The natural waterslides and refreshing rapids are a favourite with thrill-seekers, who should complete the five-mile round trip in around four hours. As the trail requires an exhilarating mix of hiking and canyoning (think traversing slippery rocks, abseiling over ledges and crossing fast-moving water), it’s only suitable for adults and confident swimmers.

Wadi Mujib

Image by Carlo Piro


Best Hike to Petra: Back Door Trail

If you’re after one of those once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trips, a pilgrimage to the ancient city of Petra is a must during any Jordan holiday. Carved into the pink sandstone cliffs, the so-called ‘Rose City’ is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This magical and much-loved spot can only be reached on foot, with most visitors arriving via the Siq; a short trail leading through a crack in the rock to arrive at the Treasury, Petra’s most iconic sight. But for a more adventurous approach to this ancient wonder, we recommend a guided hike along the Back Door Trail. Beginning at Little Petra (a smaller and less crowded complex), this lesser-travelled track crosses desert terrain and windswept plateaus before bringing you to the monolithic door of the Monastery (another architectural marvel of Petra). A sort-of secret route that’s brimming with breath-taking vistas, the Back Door Trail is a heavenly hike for history lovers and scenery seekers.


Best for Beginners: Soap House Trail

A remote and rural haven of rolling Mediterranean woodland, the Ajloun Forest Reserve sits almost 4,000 feet above sea level. There are several walking trails to follow among the oak trees and olive groves, including some of the best hikes in Jordan for beginners. Just over four miles in length, the Soap House Trail begins at the reserve visitor centre, passing through the tranquil trees before reaching the Eagle’s Viewpoint. Pause here to take in the panorama from a bird’s-eye perspective before following the path down to the Soap House, where local artisans produce traditional, handmade soap from olive oil. Keep a look out for wildlife while you walk too. The reserve is a sanctuary for the endangered roe deer (which has been saved from extinction by the efforts of conservationists) as well as wild boar and even grey wolves. For an extra-special hiking experience, visit during springtime, when the forest floor is a colourful carpet of wildflowers.


Best Desert Hike: Wadi Rum

With its lunar-like landscape, Wadi Rum (sometimes called the ‘Valley of the Moon’) is an other-worldly place to hike. This designated nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage site is roughly the size of New York City; a vast expanse of desert dotted with sandstone mountains and captivating canyons. There are countless opportunities to hike here, but one of the best places to explore on foot is the Barrah Canyon. Walk through this three-mile corridor of rock between multicoloured cliffs and dramatic dunes and you’ll feel like you’ve landed on a different planet. To learn the secrets of this stunning landscape, we recommend hiking with a local guide, who can point out the geological gems and hidden landmarks that make this place so special. And to get more from your expedition to the desert, join a multi-day tour with an overnight stay at a traditional Bedouin camp (complete with mind-blowingly starry skies).

donkey in Jordan

Image by Carlo Piro


Best Multi-Day Trek: Jordan Trail

When it comes to the best hikes in Jordan, this one is king. The Jordan Trail is more than 400 miles long, linking the northern forests near Umm Qais to the shores of the Red Sea in the south. Hiking the trail is an epic, multi-week trek and test of endurance that takes in UNESCO-listed landmarks, shifting sand dunes and majestic mountains. But if you’re a highly experienced hiker and want to put your fitness, navigation skills and maybe even your sanity to the test, the Jordan Trail offers rich rewards. Trekking this route is an immersive introduction to the nature, culture and traditions of Jordan; the ultimate hike in a land of unmissable trails. And fortunately, you don’t have to tackle the whole thing to get a taste of its treasures. Hiking sections of the trail is a tremendous way to discover more of the country, whether you have a single day or several to spare.