Hiking the Jordan Trail; a complete guide

by Mar 16, 2022 | First published in 2018Adventure, Jordan

I loved hiking the Jordan Trail! It was beautiful, challenging and epic. However, it was also a little complicated to organise logistically – probably one of the trickiest trails I’ve hiked when compared to a hike like the Israel National Trail (read my guide here) which is well signposted and mapped. So I wanted to put together this guide to hiking the Jordan Trail to make it as easy as possible for anyone else wanting to do it (specifically from a foreigner’s point of view!)

In this guide to hiking the Jordan Trail, you’ll find details on the route, a packing list, how much to budget, travel details, and my honest opinions on safety. I’m always happy to answer questions but please use the comments box below to save me repeating myself.

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The basics

The Jordan Trail thru hike is in the heart of the Middle East – a 650km hiking trail stretching the length of Jordan. It was established in 2015 by the Jordan Trail Association.

I wrote this guide after returning from hiking the Jordan Trail from Dana to Wadi Rum (the south half of the trail). I did the hike with 2 other women and we aimed to do it as self-supported as possible (except for having water drops which can’t be avoided).

The southern section of the Jordan Trail involves crossing the desert as is considered the hardest part of the trail (the north goes through more villages and towns making it easier to stock up on supplies and harder to get lost).

Throughout the trail I kept a journal of my experience. You can read them here: Day 1Day 2 – Day 3 – Day 4/5Day 6 – Day 7 – Day 8 – Day 9 and Day 10.

If you want a sneak peek at what to expect on the Jordan Trail, we had a drone pilot join us for a couple of days on the expedition which you can watch here.

Before we start….

 

I wanted to give a brief introduction to give this guide context. I’m Bex Band – a full-time adventurer and founder of the UK’s largest adventure community for women, Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make getting outdoors and adventures as easy as possible by providing all the information you need to plan an adventure. I’ve done lots of adventures myself from hiking the length of Isreal to kick-scooting the length of the UK (you can see a list of my adventures here).

You can sign up to my newsletter here. Also check out my recently published book Three Stripes South, all about my first big adventure hiking the length of Israel.

And don’t forget to give me a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

How long does it take to hike the Jordan Trail?

This will depend on a number of factors including how fit and experienced you are. What sort of experience you want to have on the trail – do you want a challenging hike or to take lots of time to see places en route? And also, in some sections, logistics limitations like where you can get water and food supplies.

The Jordan Trail route has been split into 35 days, although this doesn’t account for rest days. As a general when long-distance hiking you want to have 1 day rest a week. Plus it’s good practice to have a few days’ continency in case of injuries or delays. You’ll probably also want an extra rest day in Petra to make the most of the area.

Taking that into account, 45 days is a good estimate for the average hiker. As some of the days are quite short, experienced hikers can definitely do the trail faster, doubling up on these sections.

There is no official guidebook yet for the trail. Although this book offers lots of advice about hiking in Jordan and covers a lot of the Jordan Trail.

There’s an official Jordan Trail website. On the ‘Explore the route’ page, you’ll find a breakdown of the trail with information on things like food and water. They’ve split it into 9 sections (each 4-6 days in length).

When I walked the trail I printed out all the information from the website to use as a guide. In the desert where water is sparse and you are reliant on Jordan Trail water drops, so you will need to plan this section of the route carefully.

I am experienced with long-distance hiking so personally found some of the days too short so doubled up on days where distances are short (15km or less). But most days I stuck to the schedule recommended on the Jordan Trail website.

Is the Jordan Trail easy to follow?

Easy answer – No!!!

This is not like other established trails I have followed in Europe, America and in Israel.

For a lot of the walk, the trail isn’t easily defined and there are no signs or waymarks. It is essential that you hike with a GPS device. There is no official Jordan Trail map so you will need to download the files (from the Jordan Trail website) onto a GPS unit.

It takes some practice getting used to following a GPS. On some sections, there is no path at all and you are simply trailblazing. We also had parts where we lost the signal. Although you could use a phone, if you are planning to do this solo or without a guide, you really should get a proper GPS device.

We used a Garmin GPS InReach Explorer which worked great and also doubled as a Sat Phone so we could check in with someone from home for weather warnings (also a huge consideration – more on that below).

I wouldn’t recommend this trail unless you have some expedition and/or hiking experience. As well as confidence using a GPS (it’s very different from using a map and compass!).

If you are looking for an easier trail to follow I can recommend the Israel National Trail and focus on the Negev Desert section as an alternative. If you need any more convincing have a read of 25 photos that will make you want to hike the Israel National Trail!

What is the terrain like on the Jordan Trail?

It is very varied. There was a lot of rocky sections (make sure you have good soles on your shoes!). There were ups and downs but no real huge climbs.

And also sections of long flat meandering through Wadi’s and (the worst!!) sand. Sand is painfully slow and heavy on the legs.

The last day into Wadi Rum follows a large (but not very busy) road for quite a few kilometers. The heat was bouncing off the road so it was pretty uncomfortable, but at least it was easy to follow.

Guide to the Jordan Trail

Should you hike north to south or south to north?

Generally, going Southbound (from North to South) is more favourable for a number of reasons. You start your hike in the North where there are far more villages and towns to re-supply. By the time you reach the sectioned half of the trail and the most difficult bit – the desert – you will feel more acclimatised to the challenge ahead.

Doing it this way means you can finish in Aqaba….a swim in the Red Sea is the most inviting way to end a trek like this!

And, you get to do the famous Dana to Petra hike. Following an ancient route that ends at one of the world’s natural wonders, Petra. I really think this is the best section of the Jordan Trail, although the stretch from Petra to Wadi Rum is also mind-blowing with some really incredible Wadi formations to pass.

What time of year should you hike the Jordan Trail?

We started hiking on the 23rd of March. Most days were hot (into the 30s) but manageable. We were also lucky to have a few cooler days.

The best time to hike the Jordan Trail is in spring or autumn although being post-winter, spring has the advantage that the vegetation is at its most lush.

Summer is far too hot and temperatures in the desert are too dangerous for hiking. Also, avoid January and February when the risk of flash flooding is at its highest.

Where do you sleep on the Jordan Trail – do you camp?

The daily guides on the Jordan Trail website give information on possible sleeping options from hotels to hostels. We took a tent and wild camped almost every night.

You can wild camp almost anywhere except for in the Dana Reserve and Wadi Rum (although we did manage to camp here without disruption).

Flash Flooding is a risk in some areas so it is good to use the suggested wild camp spots. You’ll find these marked on the GPS route and also sometimes mentioned in the Jordan Trail website route. There is nothing in these designated areas but they are usually flat and up high where flash flooding is less of a risk.

When we weren’t wild camping we stayed in hotels or homestays:

We stayed in Dana Tower Hotel at the start which was a good place to stop and very cheap. It was good to use this as a base to prepare for the desert stretch of the hike.

We then took a rest day in Petra, staying at Al Rashid Hotel. It wasn’t really a rest day as I did so much walking around seeing Petra, although it was nice to have a break from the rucksack.

While staying here I saw the most beautiful sunset:

Jordan

Near Humeima there is an option to stay with Abu and his family in a traditional Bedouin homestay. An amazing opportunity that will give you a real taste of middle east culture!! They are very welcoming and it’s a great experience that shouldn’t be missed. He didn’t set a price but said we could pay what we wanted or “nothing at all”, so you decide what it is worth.

In Wadi Rum the Beyond Wadi Rum Camp is a brilliant place to spend a night.

And to really splash out and celebrate at the end of your walk, look no further than Movenpick Resort! We spent a couple of nights here at the end enjoying the fresh sheets and recovering in the spa. Bliss!

Is the Jordan Trail busy?

We met only 2 other groups of hikers the entire time.

One was a group hiking from Wadi Rum to Petra and another was a couple walking the full Jordan Trail thru-hike. There were a few guided day walkers near Petra otherwise the trail was very quiet. Most days we would meet just a couple of Bedouins out herding their goats or riding on camels. Occasionally you’d pass bedouin local communities (usually these were just a few small temporary structures that they’d constructed as their home).

Jordan Trail Water options & who to use to help with water drops

Water was very sparse in the desert and even guaranteed natural sources were not in a good way (stagnant and not possible to drink from).

We used a guide called Mohamad Al-Ahwat to help us with water drops each day but he was AWFUL!! Very unreliable and rude! He basically actually left us in the desert without water on one day because we had to change the plan due to an injury and he didn’t like this (he took our money but didn’t leave the water he said he would…..luckily we had another contact in the area who helped).

These are his contact details…DO NOT USE HIM!

Everyone we have spoken to used Habu (who is recommended on the Jordan Trail website) and only has positive feedback. Online, it says his number is: Habu: 0778332061

Before going to Jordan I called the guide and said what I wanted in terms of water drops and booked the date. I don’t think any of them have email contacts so you’ll need to do this by text and phone.

What kit to take for the Jordan Trail?

Check out my full kit list here for all my suggestions on what to pack and what clothes to wear for the desert.

You might also be interested in reading:

What Insurance did I use for the Jordan Trail?

You will want to make sure you have decent travel insurance that covers non-guided hiking.

For insurance, I used World Nomads which cover a lot of adventure activities (including scuba diving at the end in Aqaba). You can get a quote with World Nomads using this link.

How do you go to the toilet on the Jordan Trail?

There is no shortage of boulders and trees to hide behind if you need to go to the toilet. If having a pee, you can go anywhere (although off the trail would be considerate to others). For women – you might like to take a pee cloth with you (attach it to the outside of the bag and the sun will dry and disinfect it). Alternatively, use toilet paper and take it with you (just store it in a disposable sandwich bag or a biodegradable nappy/poop bag) – then dispose of it when you see a bin or burn it on the fire.

If doing a poo, you need to be a decent way off the trail and at least 200m away from any water sources. You’ll need to carry a lightweight hiking shovel (I’d suggest either this one or this one). Dig a hole at least 6inches deep and then cover it up when finished. You should take away any toilet paper that you use.

If you have a period while on your trek then you might want to factor this in with rest days. Personally, I use a MoonCup and find it works well for hiking as you don’t need to change it so often. Take any sanitary products away with you to dispose of when you next pass a bin.

What if you get lost or get into trouble?

The desert section of the Jordan Trail is quite remote in parts and you can go almost a full day’s walk on some sections without a phone signal. It’s important that you are a competent walker and having first-aid skills is really sensible.

We had a Garmin GPS InReach Explorer with us. The Sat Phone capabilities on it meant we could send texts and make calls if we got in trouble.

I’d suggest picking up a local SIM which will help you in-country communicating with the water drops, booking hotels and also as a backup in case there are any problems. Important numbers to note are:

Tourism Police:

  • Hotline: 117777
  • What’s App: +962 7 7099 1814

* When contacting Tourism Police for emergency identify that you are hiking the Jordan Trail, state your nationality, location, and map name & number

JTA:

  • Bashir +962 7 7844 2200
Jordan Trail guide

Is the Jordan Trail safe?

When people ask this I think they are usually referring to crime or terrorist activities!

Personally, we had no major safety issues on the trail. We were 3 women hiking alone. The locals were for the most part very friendly…we certainly never felt in danger. Having said that, as women on our own I did feel they could be quite pushy. All the bedouins and guides we passed or worked with were certain we couldn’t possibly do the hike alone without a man. At some points, they would insist on walking with us to make sure we didn’t get lost (at no charge) and while this was meant as a kind act we also found it frustrating as we preferred the satisfaction of hiking alone and people not knowing where we were camping each night – just to follow good practice.

We had a problem with our guide who left us without water, though, and he dealt with it quite aggressively. There were 2 other occasions where we had men shouting at us angrily – one because he didn’t want us to pass a section without paying him and another because he’d messed up our hotel booking and somehow this was our fault. I think this was mostly bravado though…..plus maybe a bit of not being used to having to deal with independent women (the guy at the hotel actually asked to speak to my husband on the phone!).

Note: It is really difficult to say regarding safety on the trail as this was just my experience. I have spoken to many who said they experienced nothing but kindness and no problems at all. Another lady though (traveling in a group of 2 women) said they were attacked at night (see the comment below for full details) and I wanted to make everyone reading this aware of this so they can make their own call and put in place necessary precautions to help them stay safe.

The other dangers I think are in the remoteness of the hike. Some risks include..

Snakes and scorpions – we saw 1 snake and 1 scorpion on this trip. You just need to be careful to check your boots before putting them on and putting down your tent.

Dogs – the Bedouins like to have guard dogs and they can be quite aggressive. They usually stayed away although their barks were a bit intimidating at times and did put me on edge. Picking up a rock (as if to throw it at the dog) usually caused it to cower away.

Dehydration/Heatstroke – you need to be very aware of your water supply and your body. Experience, taking it slow in the beginning and on hot days, and being organised with your water drops and a rescue plan is important.

Flash flooding – You’ll want to be checking the weather forecast regularly for warnings of flash flooding. It happens fast so if you do get caught somewhere with water coming in (even if it doesn’t look dramatic initially), drop everything and get to a high place fast!

Getting weather updates on the trail is difficult as we didn’t have a lot of internet access. This is where our GPS came in handy. When we were hiking in the Wadi’s (in the desert stretch) I could text my husband at home each morning and he’d say if there was any rain planned. This is something you should take very seriously!! Shortly after our hike, people lost their lives in Petra due to flash flooding. Remember that flash flooding occurs when rain hits elsewhere in the desert causing a mass rush of water that is powerful (it can destroy houses and move cars) and fast.

This is not intended to scare you or put you off as the chances of getting caught out in a flash flood are very low but it’s important to understand and be aware:

Trekking the Jordan Trail solo or with a guide?

Safety-wise, as long as you follow good practice – be prepared and self-contained, let someone know your plan at all times, be inconspicuous and don’t draw unnecessary attention – I think this is a safe enough trail to hike solo.

As for doing it self-guided vs a guide, this depends entirely on your experience and what sort of hike you want. I loved the freedom of being self-contained and alone in the desert and the challenge of navigating and choosing where to camp. With a guide, you won’t get this.

Joining a Jordan Trail Tour though might take the stress out of logistics. You’ll learn more about the history and culture and may meet other hikers who are joining the same tour.

Was it tough hiking in the heat?

If you aren’t used to hiking in hot temperatures then you might find this quite a tough hike. You should account for this by having an easier start and slower days in the beginning so you can acclimatise.

I’ve written my top tips for hiking in the desert/

How did I use a phone when backpacking Jordan?

On arrival, I got a local SIM card to use on my phone. £15 covered a fair bit of texting, calls, and also the internet. We had coverage for about half the time we were on the trail although the last 5 days into Wadi Rum were noticeably scarce for signal

How do you charge your phone and electronics?

I took an Anker Power Bank which was amazing and has enough power to keep my GPS and phone charged between the longest stretch without electricity (Petra to Wadi Rum). We also took a solar charger.

I’m not a big fan of solar chargers as they really don’t work well when you are hiking (ie with them attached to your backpack) and they are painfully slow to charge but it’s good to have as a backup.

Water on the Jordan Trail

How do you get to the start and finish of the Jordan Trail?

Our trek started in Dana and ended in Wadi Rum.

We flew into Amman (which is an international airport) and got a pre-arranged taxi to take us to Dana (roughly costing 70JOD).

At the end of our hike, we picked up a taxi in Wadi Rum to take us to our hotel in Aqaba (costing 20JOD). There are lots of taxis in the area as it’s a popular tourist spot so just negotiate to get a good price. Our flight home was from Aqaba.

If you are using Habu for water support or booking to stay in a hotel, you can ask them to him you arrange taxis on arrival. Also to help with picking up a local SIM card.

Where do you buy food on the Jordan Trail?

We took food with us (from the UK) for almost the entire hike and I’m very glad we did! The supermarket food options weren’t great and stock-up options sparse. This is especially true for me as a vegetarian which is an alien concept in Jordan!

We had trail mix, peanut butter, crackers and expedition (add water) ration packs. We got our guide to take half our supplies to bring us at the halfway mark so we didn’t have to carry it the whole way.

In the Southern stretch of the Jordan Trail can get food in Dana, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. There are lots of supermarkets in Petra to stock up. Make sure you try some of the traditional Middle East foods – hummus, falafel, etc when you have access to restaurants.

Although I can’t personally comment on the Northern section of the trail, the couple we spoke to (who were doing the full Jordan Trail thru-hike) said this part was much easier to find food as the re-supplies points were more frequent.

Food on the Jordan Trail

What preparations do you need to do before the trip?

You will want to be familiar with the kit you are intending to take and with the sections of the Trail (particularly for the desert section) so you can make a plan for water drops.

Having a good base level of fitness is important and the fitter you are the more enjoyable you will find the hike. Getting used to carrying a heavy pack is probably the most useful training you can do.

Other than that it was simply a case of booking our flights, making reservations at our hotels, coordinating with getting water drops and getting comprehensive insurance.

What did you love and what didn’t you love about hiking in Jordan?

Loved:

  • the desert!! The views and those rock formations in the Wadi!!
  • having a fire and camping out under the stars
  • hiking into Petra amongst all the shiny clean tourists
  • finishing in Aqaba with a luxury hotel and some diving

Hated:

  • seeing the mistreatment of donkeys and camels (please don’t ride them!!!)
  • the bedouins and locals being over-bearing with their opinions that as lone females we weren’t safe or capable of hiking. I know they were mostly trying to be nice but it got a bit tedious
  • the lack of cheap street and local food en route

How much does it cost to hike the Jordan Trail?

Excluding the food that we brought with us and kit, here’s a breakdown of what I spent. Note these are only rough figures….

Flights return from the UK: £400
Taxi’s (from Amman airport to Dana, Wadi Rum to Aqaba and from our hotel to the airport): £100
Dana reserve fees: £7
Petra entrance fees: £60 (for 3-day entry)
Water drops support: £200 (this was a total for 3 people. We spoke to a couple though who said they were only paying £90 so I think we were being ripped off!)
Food in restaurants: £90 (I didn’t eat out that much and found the food really expensive in the tourist areas)
Drinks: £30
Hotels: £110 (for 1 night in Dana and 2 nights in Petra…our 2 nights at the end in Aqaba were given to us complimentary as a blogger)
Jeep tour of Wadi Rum: £25 (I thought I’d enjoy doing this at the end of the hike but actually after all the quiet of the desert I found the hoards of tourists quite overwhelming. They also took us to a lot of beautiful spots but I’d seen much better places along the way while hiking)

Total: £1112

This was for a 16 day trip hiking in Jordan. We did 11 days of hiking. Took a day in Dana, Petra and 2 days in Aqaba. Adding on more hiking days wouldn’t make it much more expensive as the bulk of our costs were the flights, water drops and Petra which was of course unmissable!

A couple of other things I want to mention…

We initially planned to hike all the way to Aqaba (Dana to Aqaba). Because of time restraints though we decided to end it in Wadi Rum (which ended up being a good decision as one of our team had an injury). All the people we spoke to said the stretch after Wadi Rum, especially as you near Aqaba, isn’t that nice so we won’t miss lots by cutting this out. We were also told that the last couple of days, passing over the hills to Aqaba, is still a smuggling route so on the entire trail is the area where you need to take the most care. I’m not sure how true this is but wanted to mention it in case you wanted to do your own research.

I also wanted to mention getting into Petra. As we were hiking from Dana we entered Petra from the back entrance where there is a guard. We knew we had to pay on arrival (because we were taking a rest day to see the place we paid the £60 for 3 days entry) but the guard said we couldn’t buy it from him. It took a lot of negotiating, him calling and getting grumpy with us but eventually, an official drove to meet us so we could buy the pass that would let us gain entry to the area.

If you are with a guide they will sort this for you. I don’t know if we just had a grumpy and unhelpful guard but if I was to do the hike again I’d arrange to get the tickets in advance to stop this delay and hassle which took over an hour (that’s a lot when you have a shower, bed and food insight for the first time in a week!!).

Finding out more about hiking the Jordan Trail

There’s not a huge amount of information available online but please do check out the following links to find out more. I always like to immerse myself in blogs and videos before leaving to look for tips and inspiration.

If you’d like to immerse yourself in desert hiking adventures, also check out my memoir Three Stripes South about hiking the length of Israel

There are also a couple of good videos you can find on YouTube from people who have hiked the trail:

It took me a long time to write this guide, drawing together all my research. If you’d like to say thanks, you can buy me a coffee. I use the money to pay for the upkeep of this website so I can continue making going on adventures easier.

I’ve been getting a lot of people getting in touch asking questions about the Jordan Trail. I’m really happy to help, but…..If there is something you are wondering please ask in the comments box below so I don’t have to repeat myself (and please read through the previous questions first to check it hasn’t already been answered).

Another good resource for gathering information and asking questions is the Jordan Trail Facebook group – definitely worth joining!!!

If you found this post helpful, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel.

*Any women reading this?* I founded a women’s adventure community called Love Her Wild. Check out our private Facebook page and see what adventures we have coming up.

Enjoy backpacking Jordan, you’ll love the hike….it’s a good one 🙂

43 Comments

  1. tamar

    Hi Bex! Thanks for your article about your jordan adventure, it is very enjoyable and informative. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions as i plan to hike the trail with a friend this march 2019. I was wondering about the amount of food you carried. Do I understand correctly you carried all for two weeks? were waterdrops necessary every day? Was navigating on the garmin easy enough, never made any (possibly) dangerous mistakes? do you know of any other contacts that hiked the entire trail? Would the locals appreciate us doing it without any support (apart from waterdroppings)? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Thanks so much, wishing you all the best!

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Thanks Tamar!!

      How much food did I carry?
      I took expedition rehydration packs for the entire trip. I split them in half and gave one set to our water drop guy who came and met us at a predetermined point on the map. This meant I didn’t have to carry the whole amount. I was able to stock up with snacks and lunch food in Petra, however, there wasn’t a huge amount available. So I was carrying up to a weeks worth of food at any one time.

      Were waterdrops necessary every day?
      Yes! Absolutely….you need to carry a lot of drinking water each day plus extra for cooking and a litre as backup just to be safe.

      Was navigating on the Garmin easy enough, never made any (possibly) dangerous mistakes?
      Navigating on GPS takes some practice as it isn’t 100% accurate. There were points also where we had no signal. Some sections it would be very easy to get lost or take the wrong path and end up in a dangerous situation where you could fall and hurt yourself or get seriously lost. I would only recommend this walk to hikers with some experience who know how to use a GPS.

      Do you know of any other contacts that hiked the entire trail?
      There’s a Facebook group for the Jordan Trail where you can meet other people who have hiked this route.

      Would the locals appreciate us doing it without any support?
      From what I understood they are happy for people to do this hike unsupported. They will of course try to convince you to use a guide as it is their business. Our biggest issue was being 3 women and having to challenge the fact that we would be ok on our own….they constantly wanted to babysit us as were convinced it was impossible for women to walk alone!

      I hope that helps! 🙂
      Bex

      Reply
    • Tim Voors

      Thanks so much for all the great insights and upbeat, and realistic tone. Greeting from Amsterdam, cheers Van Go

      Reply
      • Bex Band

        Thank you! 🙂

        Reply
  2. Tamar Valkenier

    thanks a lot Bex, that certainly helps! One more question. The official jordan trail group wants to get our passport copies to sent us an invitation letter we might need to explain people on the trail what we are doing there? Did you do this and need the letter?

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      No problem! Hmmmm….they certainly weren’t suggesting that when we did the trail. We had no problems with immigration. They did tell us that we needed a guide for the trail and this was the law. When we checked with the Jordan Tourism board they said it was just a recommendation. They’re the people to check with if you aren’t sure!

      Reply
    • podhunter

      hi Tamar, we completed the trail in November and definitely recommend getting the invitation letter. It was useful on 3 occasions and without it there may have been delays.

      Reply
  3. Sheridan Grant

    I’m going to be going probably solo in a month–which sections of this are doable solo, and which are a bad idea? My impression is that going from Petra to Wadi Rum solo is just really high risk since the area is so rural and the trail is so little-traveled.

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      There are people that have hike the full trail solo. It is impossible for me to make a recommendation Sheridan on what you should do. Your ability to safely hike sections solo comes down to your knowledge, confidence and hiking experience. If you are unsure it is best to hire a guide.

      Reply
  4. raymond

    Brilliant guide to Jordan Trail

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Thanks so much Raymond. I really appreciate your kind words! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Annette Hahn

    Hi Bex, thank you for sharing all this information! we were planning on doing the southernmost 2 weeks of the Jordan trail end of March – but now you have inspired me to read about the Israel trail and I can´t decide which to do!! urgh! what would you suggest? Jordan or Israel trail? Please help 😉

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Oh no….that’s so difficult to choose from!! So it depends on what you are looking for but generally I found Israel offered a more enjoyable all round experience…

      – Jordan worked out considerably more expensive (flights and water support cost a lot more)
      – the food was much better in Israel!
      – Jordan offers a more remote/rugged hike….there are no trail markers and you have to use a GPS and you pass fewer people along the way (that’s why I recommend only doing this hike if you have good experiences and hiking knowledge behind you)
      – Israel was easier to organise logistically. There are more buses, the water support was much more reliable and everyone speaks good English.
      – If you want to see some sights as well as hiking Israel has more to see along the way so I enjoyed my days off there much more
      – We had a few problems in Jordan with guides ripping us off and being dishonest and not letting us pass sections. It was more of an ‘adventure’ but also really frustrating at times.
      – The views and landscapes in both countries are stunning!!

      Not sure if that helps?!

      Reply
  6. Annette Hahn

    Thank you so much Bex 🙂 sounds like we´re going to Israel! so you say the southern most part is the best 2 weeks bit?!

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Great! I think you are going to have a great time! I’d recommend looking to start in Arad and doing a 2-week hike heading south from there. There are a couple of long hiking days in the desert but if you are an experienced walker who can carry your own bag for up to 25km days then you will be fine. Note that you are only able to camp in designated areas when you are in the desert reserve to protect the wildlife (these are marked on the maps)….most of them are nice camp spots but a couple are near to quarries so aren’t the nicest.
      You’ll need to organise water drops and I recommend using Yanir. He can also help you with organising your route and giving advice as he’s walked the trail many times. I’ve got his details on my guide and also a link to the ‘Red Book’ which has all the maps and information you’ll need for doing the hike: https://www.theordinaryadventurer.com/adventure/walkingisrael/guide-to-the-israel-national-trail/
      Let me know how you get on!

      Reply
  7. Mark

    Hi Bex, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us! I’ve trawelled through the Trip Notes of various travel companies and the details you have provided here are by far the most insightful. I’m thinking of trekking from Wadi Rum to Petra with some friends (various levels of experience) and haven’t made my mind up whether to use a company, and reduce the hassle factor, or try and do this independently. My main concern is food and water drops along the trail. How did you organise this? And, would you recommend anyone (definitely not Mohamad Al-Ahwat!)..?

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Thank you for your kind words….I’m happy to hear the information is helpful.
      It really is a fantastic stretch of hiking. I’d say it depends on what sort of feel you want to create. If you want that sense of being alone and being self-reliant then going independent can feel really adventurous (especially being an unmarked trail!). If you want to just take in the views without worrying about getting lost then use a guide.
      The best place to ask about the guide is in the Jordan Trail Facebook group. Ours was terrible so I couldn’t give a personal recommendation. Everyone else we spoke to though had a great experience and said the water drops were smooth. You can ask them to physically come meet you at each camp (rather than just hiding water) which would provide a bit of extra support….that way you could take all the food with you and ask them to bring it each time to save you carrying lots of supplies.

      Reply
  8. LAETITIA EXCOFFIER

    Hi Bex,
    Thanks for this feedback on your trip, nice !
    I plan To do Dana>Perrault, i am alone, is the path so difficult or the difficulté is carry the bag…?
    Do you think it’s ok for a solo woman ?! 🙂
    Thanks for your answer ! All thé best !
    Laetitia

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      We had quite a bit of attention as a group of 3 women but mostly because the Bedouin men felt the need to look after us because they didn’t feel we were capable. The trek is quite remote and the path easy to lose in places. I personally wouldn’t do it solo unless I had a lot of experience with the desert and using a GPS for navigation.

      Reply
    • Nicolas Maltais-Tariant

      Hey,
      I’m looking to hike during the end of April (around the 20th). When are you going?

      Reply
  9. Nicolas Maltais-Tariant

    Hello Bex,

    Super nice site and very helpful. I have yet to read all of it! I’ve found your website with the comments you posted on lonely planet. Thank you very much for your help.

    Small question: The way i understand it, if I hike from Dana to Petra, I don’t need a guide for the first day. I would definitely take one for the next two days. But what about the hike from little petra to petra? Do you think a guide is necessary for that part?

    Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Thanks – glad you found it helpful.
      The first day on the Dana to Petra hike is easy to follow as you just head down into the valley. The hike from Little Petra to Petra is also very easy and well paved. There are stall sellers and tourists about on this section of the hike so if you are a confident hiker I don’t think you need a guide.

      Reply
  10. Nicolas Maltais-Tariant

    just following the post… 🙂

    Reply
  11. Rob Buck

    Hi- thanks so much for this great, informative blog. I’m hiking the Dana to Rum section with a friend in a couple of weeks, and looking for confirmed advice on water drops. The official website says you only need water drops for the sectio from Rum to Aqaba, so I wasn’t planning on organising any. There is only one day on our section that the official website says has no water sources. However, I see from your blog that you recommend water drops. What price is recommended and with whom if needed?
    Thanks
    Rob

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      When we walked it there were no water sources – a lot of them were dried up or didn’t look clean enough to drink. I personally would go with the reassurance of having water drops. I don’t know how much it would cost and can only advice not to use the guide we had as he was terrible (details in my blog). There are some Facebook groups for the trail which could be a good place to get recommendations for a guide.

      Reply
  12. Brodie McIntosh

    Hi Bex,

    Unfortunately, I don’t have enough leave days to do the whole section from Dana to Wadi Rum on my trip to Jordan. Which section would you recommend doing from the two sections of the Jordan Trail you did, Dana to Petra or Petra to Wadi Rum?

    Thanks for the advice!

    Brodie

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      It’s a tough one! There is something quite amazing about arriving in Petra at the end of the hike. However, out of the 2 options, I’d say Petra – Wadi Rum felt more special and remote. Some of the sections on this stretch are mindblowing and we barely saw anyone except the odd bedouin passing on a camel!

      Reply
  13. John Antes

    Do you think hiking from Dana to Petra in early December alone is pretty feasible? I have a decent amount of backpacking experience, and will prefer using my tent/camping equipment. Will finding water be a huge issue or will it be easier than expected even though a it’s a desert? Are the Bedouin villages my best bet?

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Yes – we took a GPS device that also enabled us to communicate with someone back home who was able to give us up-to-date information on flash flooding and weather. We found the water sources very unreliable so I’d recommend hiring a guide to do water drops so you are guaranteed water on each day of the hike. There are a few Bedouin villages along the way but not all of them have running water and a lot of people do this stretch of the hike so I think it’s best not to assume they’ll be able to provide you water.

      Reply
  14. Crystelle

    Hey Bex , looks like you had an awesome time. Just wanted to ask if you know if there are any buses from Humeima to Aqaba

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      It was great!! I don’t know this one – I’d suggest posting in the official Jordan Trail Facebook group as there are lots of locals on there who may be able to help.

      Reply
  15. Mark Murphy

    No questions, just a thank you! Great blog post, really informative. I’m to the trail on October, COVID19 permitting! Mark

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Thank you Mark! Have the best time on your Oct hike….it’s amazing!

      Reply
  16. Steve

    Hi Bex,

    Thank you so much the great and useful advices.
    My plan is hike the entire trail in this October.
    It was a fortune I read here among the comments I need an invitation letter and the guide on the second half of the trail, who can help with water.
    I always hike alone (AT, PCT, Greenland, Corsica, etc.) so I hope I won’t have problems. I use inReach mini too.
    My question is, could I buy gas canister or just let it home and eat cold food?
    Or I appreciate any of your advice.
    If once you come to Hungary just drop me a message and I can show you the most beautiful part of my country. 🙂
    Steve

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Amazing – you will love the trail I’m sure! I didn’t see any gas canisters along the way so would go cold although you will be able to build a fire occasionally.
      I will definitely let you know if I’m ever in Hugary.
      Thanks and good luck!
      Bex

      Reply
  17. Rui

    Thanks a lot of this great publication. Just wondering of you could give some prices of messaging on Garmin On Reach.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      We paid for a monthly package that allowed us to text freely and this wasn’t a huge cost – around $30 a month.

      Reply
  18. angelica giombini

    Hi Bex, Thank so much for your guide. I am going with my sister at the end of March. I was wondering how did you arrange for cooking? Did you have a camp stove or had fires every night? In that case, can you find wood to use?

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      I hope you have a great time on the trail!
      We took stoves and freeze-dried meals with us which we then supplemented with food we could find along the way (there wasn’t lots so take plenty of options with you!!)

      Reply
  19. Rutuja Ladkat

    Does the Jordan Trail Association also conduct group hikes?

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Not that I know of – but worth contacting them directly

      Reply
      • Rutuja Ladkat

        Thank you for your reply. 🙂

        Reply

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