The Jordan Trail
Gain a thorough education in Jordanian terrain, archaeology, and religious relevance by embarking on this 650 kilometers hike that takes about 40 days. Your journey will span eight regions, ranging from lush forests to craggy deserts. Lace up your hiking shoes in Umm Qais then head south toward your final destination of Aqaba. Along the way, you’ll encounter 52 villages, allowing you to peel back the layers of this culture by tasting local cuisine, interacting with villagers, and even spending the night in homestays.
Highlights of the trail include jagged cliffs overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley, the rose-red city of Petra, and the towering sandstone mountains of Wadi Rum. Be sure to pack your bathing suit as you’ll be passing the Red Sea, whose crystal clear waters take on an orange-red hue when seasonal algae blooms. This warm sea is home to the world’s fastest fish, the solitary sailfish, and has a thriving biodiversity, thanks in large part to its coral reef ecosystem. Significant historical sites, such as the ruins of the ancient church of Mar Elias and the Islamic castle of Ajloun will also be encountered on the route.
Before hitting the trail, you’ll need to fly into Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan’s main airport. Nonstop flights from North America depart from Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal. Direct flights from Europe fly out of London, Paris, Istanbul, Frankfurt, and Rome. From the Queen Alia International Airport a taxi is the most direct mode of transport to Umm Qais, which is about 2.5 hours away. The trailhead is located at the basalt ruins of the Decapolis of Um Qais. Be sure to plan your hike ahead of time, or hire one of the many local guide companies who can help you make the most of this trail. Or, check out the volunteer-run Jordan Trail Association, which offers an annual through-hike.