Did you know that there is a trail that spans from the village of Um Qais in the north of Jordan all the way to Aqaba in the southern-most tip of the country? This trail, appropriately named “The Jordan Trail”, covers 650 km of Jordan’s diverse landscapes, crossing through 52 towns and villages, the wooded hills of the north, the valleys (wadis) and cliffs in the Jordan Rift Valley, Petra, desert sands and mountains in Wadi Rum, all the way to the turquoise waters of the Red Sea. You can see all of the routes the Jordan Trail covers here.
Keep reading to find out more about the trail’s history, present and how you can hike it now!
History of The Jordan Trail
The Jordan Trail is not a new trail, as for thousands of years ancient paths and trade routes have carved their way through the country. During the first centuries B.C., Jordan was the center of the King’s Highway, a trade route stretching from Egypt to Aqaba, and then north to Damascus. This highway was used by Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. Later, the Nabatean merchants extended this route further to Asia and southern Arabia making Jordan a center of their empire, with Petra being the crown jewel. After the Nabateans, the Roman Empire made these routes a critical piece of its Middle Eastern network of roads.
The Jordan Trail Today
As the outdoor excursion scene is experiencing a boom in Jordan in recent years, the concept behind today’s Jordan Trail was developed. Locals are working to scout new trails and create one continuous and marked Jordan trail. To do this, Bedouin tribes are helping to develop the southern trails between Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba and local hikers and groups are helping develop the trails from the north of Jordan to Karak.
Hiking The Jordan Trail
As the trail is not completely marked, you will most likely be required to hike it with a guide. Here is a list of local hiking companies and licensed tour operators that offer guided hikes of the Jordan Trail.
The Jordan Trail Association
The Jordan Trail Association (JTA) was established in July of 2015 with the purpose to develop, mark and maintain the trail and provide comprehensive information about the trail.
The Jordan Trail Annual Thru-Hike
To raise money and awareness for the Jordan Trail, the JTA established their first annual Thru-Hike in 2017. The Jordan Trail Thru-Hike starts in springtime each year and goes from the north of Jordan to the south (or vice versa) over the span of 44 days.
- Region 1: UM QAIS TO AJLOUN
- Region 2: AJLOUN TO FUHAIS
- Region 3: FUHAIS TO WADI ZARQA MA’IN
- Region 4: THREE WADIS TO KARAK
- Region 5: KARAK TO DANA
- Region 6: DANA TO PETRA
- Region 7: PETRA TO RUM
- Region 8: RUM TO AQABA
The above can also be done in reverse order.
Join the annual Thru-Hike 2019
The annual Thru-Hike 2019 starts March 1 in Aqaba and will end on April 13 in Um Qais.
When the time comes, you can join the Thru-Hike by choosing to do a longer route where you camp overnight or for just a day trip. Day trips leave from Amman at the Abdoun Mall parking lot and cost 30 JD, which includes transportation, guides, breakfast, lunch, and water.