Our Seven Favourite Wadis in Jordan

Our Seven Favourite Wadis in Jordan

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you already know what a 'wadi' is, but for those in the dark, it roughly translates from Arabic as ‘valley’. While planning your Jordanian holiday, you’re probably also already aware that the country is 75% desert, but that fact blew our minds so much, we just had to write it down. It’s safe to say Jordan is ripe with bucket-list worthy must-sees – from the archaeological ruins of Petra to the awe-inspiring draw of the Dead Sea. No trip to this Middle Eastern delight would be complete, however, without trekking to a wadi or two (or several). Read on for our seven favourite wadis in Jordan.


Wadi Mujib 

Walk in the footsteps of Moses at Wadi Mujib (this valley was once known as Arnon Valley, where he led the Israelites). A cool 40-mile-long trail through the ‘Grand Canyon of Jordan’ might be a little daunting for newbie hikers, but it sure delivers in spectacular natural landscapes. One draw is that it’s surrounded by the Mujib Biosphere Reserve, one of the lowest natural bio reserves in the world, sitting just 1,300ft above sea level. Naturally, this means you can expect majestic scenery of sparse rocky ledges blended with more than 300 species of native plants – plus, you might get lucky and spot a mountain goat. If you’re not up for the full stretch, you can take a self-guided hike along the Siq Trail, but if you want to challenge yourself, do the full four-hour trek. You’ll need to follow an RSCN (Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature) guide and be prepared to use canyoning techniques like swimming and sliding along slippery rocks. 


Wadi Al Hasa

Al Hasa makes our list of wadis in Jordan as it’s one of the world’s oldest natural valleys. It’s also one of the longest trails in Jordan, so we recommend dedicating two days to exploring it. And given that it’s just two hours from Amman, day trips are easy. As you walk the canyon, shadowed by looming, textured cliffs, you’ll come across more than 100 springs to cool off in – perfect if you’re visiting during the summer months when the temperatures can exceed 38°C. One of the most magical things about this trail has to be watching small fish swim by as you walk in ankle-deep water. Don’t forget to look up to spot flourishing natural gardens, too. 


Wadi Rum 

Experience out-of-this-world scenery without the rocket ship at Wadi Rum. The canyon landscape is so surreal, this wadi has been nicknamed ‘Valley of the Moon’. With rust-red sandstone formations and vast areas of endless desert (and a galactic nickname), it’s no wonder this wadi has been used as a backdrop in blockbuster franchises like Star Wars and Dune. Despite that fanfare, it still offers back-to-basics respite. Stay in a desert camp to experience true Bedouin hospitality; the tribe has made Wadi Rum its home for more that 12,000 years. From hiking and rock climbing to camel trekking and jeep tours, there’s no place quite like Wadi Rum. 


Wadi Hidan

If you love water parks, you’ll adore Wadi Hidan. Abundant in freshwater pools that are simply glorious to dip into when the desert heat gets too much, it’s a natural water park carved into a black basaltic canyon. Expect narrow gorges and rockslides along the six-mile trail (you can exit at the halfway point or do the whole length) as well as blooming dufflah flowers, known for their vibrant pink shade. You’ll find bolts and metal staircases along the way to support you if you decide to hike guideless. And, if you make it to the end, you can cool off under the 160ft-high waterfall. 


Wadi Bin Hammad

Get a taste for the tropics in Jordan at Wadi Bin Hammad. This easy trail is overhung with palm trees, giving it a Caribbean feel (and much-needed shade from the sun). Ideally located in Karak, you can double up and explore the city’s mediaeval ruins before taking on the two-hour hike. It’s perfect for beginners or non-hikers as the water remains shallow the entire way, so there’s no need to swim. Expect to get a little soggy and wear sensible shoes to get across slippery rocks but most importantly, pack your swimsuit for a dip in the hot springs that reward you along the way. 


Wadi Zarqa Maeen

If you want a challenge when it comes to wadis in Jordan, tick Wadi Zarqa Maeen off your list. This valley is a lengthy one with lots of terrain to cover, so prepare to swim through water basins, rappel down waterfalls and have your adrenaline satisfied. You’re going to get wet anyway, so before you start, step under one (or both) of the two 130ft waterfalls at the very start of the trail. It’s not all go-go-go though; the Maa’in Spa is based next to the wadi and there are inviting natural hot springs at the end to soothe your muscles. There’s also plenty to pull you through the harder points – from spotting fish, frogs and crabs to marvelling at the nature, abundant with Oleander shrubs. 


Wadi Numeira

Last up on our list of wadis in Jordan is Wadi Numeira. The valley trail is just three miles in length and takes only two-and-a-half hours to complete. It’s perfect for beginners, children and non-swimmers as the valley is relatively dry. Meander through the trail and marvel at the steep sandstone rocks, shaped over time by the valley’s flowing waters. Take a moment to stop and see how the sandstone shimmers when the sun catches it. Don’t leave without checking out the Bronze Age ruins at the mouth of the trail too, for a taste of Jordan’s culture, both old, new and natural.