Seeking the world’s best hike?

Jet-set to Jordan.
By Jean Newman Glock

Not ready for the full 35-day Jordan Trail trek? There is another spectacular hike in Jordan for adventurous travelers. In fact, National Geographic has named the 50-mile, seven-day hike from the Dana Biosphere Reserve to Petra as one of its 15 top hikes in the world. Bookended by natural and man-made treasures found nowhere else in the world and filled with tales of Arabian Nights, your discoveries en route to Petra may overshadow (or at least equal) that first glimpse of the Treasury.


Begin your journey in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Plan a few nights to experience a rare phenomenon: the natural world’s melting pot. Basecamp for where animals and plants of Europe, Africa, and Asia converge, it’s one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The wealth of animal and plant species (449 and 800 recorded, respectively) within this small area will amaze even the most seasoned ecotraveler. The reserve is filled with hiking trails to navigate on your own, but don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the Bedouin guides.


From here, head south through the desert of Wadi Araba and the sands of Lawrence of Arabia. Tip: Though hot in daytime most times of the year, the desert can be fickle and frigid at night, so pick your time to venture carefully. Avoid the hottest summer months and the colder winter months. Late fall and mid-spring are ideal times to visit.


When leaving the desert, climb the rugged Sharah Mountains before arriving in Petra. Your final hike begins, winding along the entrance path, or the Siq. All downhill and just under a mile, don’t miss the ancient water system and clay pipes that brought water into Petra from Wadi Musa. As the Treasury emerges from the rose red rocks, your seven-day hike will come to an end, but it’s only the start of your UNESCO World Heritage Site exploration. Save energy for the climb to the Monastery and the uphill hike back to present-day civilization.

A Glimpse of Jordan

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