A safe, welcoming country with breathtaking historical sites, friendly people and some of the world's most stunning wilderness, Jordan is often overlooked by travellers. Of the tourists that do visit, few venture away from the major attractions like Petra. A new thru-hiking route, the Jordan Trail, is hoping to change that, attracting a new wave of adventurers from around the globe.
What is the Jordan Trail?
The Jordan Trail is a 650-kilometre-long hiking route that stretches from Um Qais in the north of the country to Aqaba in the south. Traversing the length of the country the trail passes a huge variety of terrain, through wooded hills and across barren plains, tracing the cliffs along the edge the Rift Valley and passing the rose-coloured rocks of Petra. Most of the accommodation along the way is in home stays, offering the chance to really get to know the country through the eyes of its inhabitants.
How do I get there?
Most visitors to Jordan arrive at Queen Alia Airport in Amman, take the ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt to Aqaba or cross the land border from Israel close to Eilat. Most nationalities require an entry visa, so check before you set off. Once you're in the country, you can take advantage of the shared public minibuses that most locals use to get around – they will wait around until all the seats are full before setting off for a destination, so be patient. There are also national JETT buses that connect larger towns and cities, and might even have wifi. Be aware that transport is limited on Fridays and national holidays.
If navigating the country on your own sounds daunting you can join a guided tour – Rough Guides trips offers fully personalised itineraries for Jordan planned by a local expert, designed to include whatever you choose.
What should I pack?
Jordan is a desert country, and hiking the trail can be hot and dusty. Make sure you have adequate sun protection, long-sleeved light clothing, a hat and sunglasses and proper hiking boots. Some sections of the trail are quite rocky so you might be glad of hiking poles too. Rain and cold temperatures are also possible – the nights can get chilly – so think about plenty of breathable layers. Keep in mind that Jordanians dress conservatively; be respectful of this and you'll get a much warmer reception.
Video: 5 Reasons to hike the Jordan Trail
With all the practical bases covered, all that's left is to get inspired for your trip. Nomadic tribes, travelling merchants and Roman soldiers have walked these trails for centuries, so you'll be in good company on your journey. Here's five great reasons to hike the Jordan Trail.
Top image © Sylvia Kania/Shutterstock