- Explore Jordan's only deciduous oak forest in Yarmouk Reserve
- Pass Roman ruins on a 9-mile section of the Jordan Trail
- Descend into a deep gorge near the Dead Sea
- Discover a tropical microclimate at Wadi Bin Hammad
- Take an old Bedouin trail into the ancient city of Petra
Yarmouk Forest Reserve
Many visitors to Jordan head south to the Dead Sea, Petra, and Wadi Rum. But those that venture north have a unique opportunity to see a different side of Jordan — one with oak tree-covered hills, olive groves, and sweeping views of the Sea of Galilee.
Home to hyenas, a threatened mountain gazelle, and rare orchids, Yarmouk Forest Reserve is small but special. This trek is best for beginners and those travelers that like to take things slow while taking in the scenery. Bring a packed lunch and picnic at the top in the shade of the deciduous oak trees, or find a spot on a rock ledge with dramatic views of Golan Heights in front and olive groves and the Yarmouk River below. To really get the lay of the land, arrange a local guide that can explain not only the flora and fauna of this Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)-protected nature reserve, but the history, culture, and geopolitics of the area as well.
Consider a 3-day northern Jordan stay and combine this hike with a number of other trails and activities — such as camping, cycling, or exploring the ancient Greco-Roman ruins of Gadara. Consider a visit in springtime when brightly-colored wildflowers are on full display.
Distance: Varies, depending on the trail and activities you choose
Duration: 1-2 hours, depending on how much time you want
Difficulty: Easy to moderate. The trails here are mostly easy but there are some unstable, stone-covered inclines that can be challenging for some hikers.
Beit Idis to Rasoun
If you’re ready for a slightly longer trail that takes you deeper into the forest, give the Beit Idis to Rasoun section of the Jordan Trail a try. You’ll start in the village of Beit Idis, trek through the countryside, and into Wadi Zubia (Be sure to inquire about weather and conditions before you set out, as water may be running through the wadi). Keep an eye out for the Jordan Trail markers (a rectangle spray painted on rocks, made up of one red and one white stripe) as you make your way up through the valley, arriving at the Roman ruins of Qabla. From here you’ll take the path up to the main road, then dip into a valley, and cross Wadi Orjan before reaching Rasoun, your final destination.
After a full day of trekking through forests and wadis, you can rest your body and feed your belly with a home-cooked meal in Orjan or Rasoun. Ask our specialists about arranging a local meal or an overnight in a local family’s home. Alternatively, you can continue on to Ajloun, visit Ajloun Castle, and spend a night or two in Ajloun Cabins.
While much of the Jordan Trail is marked and this section is used frequently, book a guide or join a group - especially if you are an inexperienced hiker. Make sure to have reliable GPS and a Jordan Trail map either way.
Distance: 9.4 miles (15.2 km)
Duration: 4-6 hours
Mathloutha to Hidan
This trek starts at Wadi Mujib’s southern rim, where you can catch views of both Wadi Hidan and Wadi Mujib. From there, you will follow a steep shepherd path down into the rugged gorge. Although much of this trek is a descent, the path can be narrow and steep, making it a challenge at times. There is a chance you may get at least your feet wet, so be prepared with proper footwear. Be sure to take the season into consideration and check the weather — rain can make for slippery trails and cause flash flooding.
Trekking isn't the only activity in this area - try having lunch with a local family (check out some other great local experiences here) or consider booking a night at a Dead Sea resort where you can relax your tired muscles in the soothing mineral waters.
Duration: 4-5 hours
Distance: 8.7 miles (14 km)
Wadi Bin Hammad
If you’re looking for an easy trek with hot springs, cool shade, and a green scene, head for Wadi Bin Hammad in Kerak. Natural, warm water flows through the narrow siq, making it an enjoyable outing for adventurers of all ages. Gorgeous hanging gardens, palm trees, wild orchids, and the canyon shade create a refreshing escape. Keep an eye out for Wadi Bin Hammad’s inhabitants — if you look closely, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of frogs and crabs.
Wadi Bin Hammad is a two-way hike, so you’ll go back the same way you came, which means twice as much time to enjoy this Jordan gem. And as you’ll already be in Karak, make a day of it and take a wander around the crusader ruins at Karak Castle.
You’ll be walking through water, so be sure to bring proper footwear. As with any outdoor activities, check weather conditions ahead of time. Rain can cause higher water levels, making many wadis unsafe in the winter and spring months.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Distance: 6.8 miles roundtrip (11 km)
The Backdoor to Petra
If you'd like to take the road less traveled into Petra, try the route known as The Backdoor. This old Bedouin trail begins in Kharrubat al-Fajiaand, passing through agricultural areas and over rocky terrain, affording hikers spectacular views of Wadi Araba before arriving at Al Deir — Petra’s magnificent Monastery. Be sure to bring sunscreen and wear a hat and proper hiking boots. Much of the trail is exposed and the desert sun can be intense, particularly in the summer months.
There are no kiosks available on arrival, so you will need to have your entrance ticket already in hand if you plan on entering Petra via The Backdoor - purchase these before you set out. Hiring a guide is a good idea for this route, as it is not completely marked and there are areas that are tricky to navigate if you are unfamiliar with the terrain.
Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 8.7 miles (14 km)