Photo by Michaela Trimble
Photo by Kristof Arndt/Flickr
The Petra Monastery is one of the sites along the route of the Jordan Trail.
Follow an ancient trade route on foot to get a new perspective on Jordan.
Four hundred miles, 40 days, eight sections, four biospheres, and 52 villages: The new Jordan Trail is an epic hiking adventure. Officially opened in 2017, it stretches from the Jordanian part of the Fertile Crescent in the north to the Arabian Desert and Red Sea in the south.
Launched to feed local demand for more outdoor recreation in the country, the trail took two years to map. “As with any trail, it’s an evolving process,” says Matt Loveland, owner of Experience Jordan, an adventure company guiding travelers along the Jordan Trail. “We discover new detours, access points, and landscape changes with every hike.”
If you’re striking out alone, consider working with a local operator or hiring a guide. Although the trail is fully mapped, many areas are unmarked and are deep within Jordan’s backcountry, meaning topographical maps and GPS are essential for proper navigation. Either way, make sure to check the information on the Jordan Trail Association website. This association is a grass roots collaboration between members of the outdoors community; it continues to fund trail maintenance and mapping efforts with a grant from USAID and the support of private contributors and the Jordan Tourism Board.
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Hikers can expect to pitch their own tents and cook their own food while on the trail, with a few optional lodges and homestays spread along the route. No special equipment is needed—just a good pair of hiking boots and plenty of water and sun protection—but you should be in decent physical condition since the trail often involves climbing more than 3,000 feet during a day.
The Jordan Trail gifts hikers with the opportunity to explore a fascinating and diverse part of the world. “The country has an amazing variety of terrain, historical sights, and natural wonders,” says Loveland. And now there’s another way to experience this: on foot, the way it was done for centuries.
>>Next: Good-Bye, Screen; Hello, Nature. 9 Adventures Worth Ditching Your Phone For.
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