Trekking and canyoning in Jordan can be undertaken throughout the year although spring and fall are considered by many as the best periods. November to March is the rain season. It can get quite cold in the highlands, with temperatures occasionally dropping close to zero (32 F). However, along the Dead Sea and the 'Araba Valley day temperatures are usually comfortable (around 15 C, 60 F). Unless you are allergic to rain, this is a good period to explore the southern part of the Dead Sea Rift (from Wadi Musa to the Gulf of 'Aqaba) as well as to visit Jordan's better-known historical sites while they are free of crowds. The season is unsuitable for trekking in most of the northern canyons, whose waters are rather cold, and there is always a risk of flash floods. However, if the sky is clear and the forecast is unclouded, descending down canyons with thermal springs can be a rare treat.
Jabel Umm Asawir (Ittai Glaich)
Mid-March is usually the beginning of spring in the lower valleys, but there can still be some rainy days. It is usually only in April that flowers begins to spread over the higher places. Dana Nature Reserve is then in its best attire and all the routes in this guidebook can be followed. Canyon waters, however, may still be chilly. May is usually comfortable, allowing enjoyable hiking along most of the routes though you can expect some hot days.
June, July and August are the hottest months, with day temperatures occasionally around 30-40 C (85-105 F) - an ideal period to escape into the wet, tropical shelter of several canyons north of Wadi Musa. Most of the routes in the southern regions are not recommended. Visiting historical sites when it is hot, may be a tiring experience.
September and October have beautiful days, but there is always a slight risk of rain, which increases towards November. Because of flash flood hazard the Mujib Gorge is officially closed between November 1st and March 31st.
the upper waterfall of
What to carry
Although daytime can be very hot, especially in the summer, the nights are usually chilly, and in the elevated places it can get very cold (in winter the temperature may drop below zero). Long cotton trousers, a cotton shirt and a sun hat are the best outfit for the day. Carry short trousers for walking in flowing canyons. A warm jacket and a warm hat are usually enough for the night. In the rainy season, take a rainproof jacket and an extra layer of thermal underwear for the night. Light walking boots are recommended footwear. When canyoning, sandals allow sand grains to injure your feet. Trainers are your best choice for walking in the water, but unless you don't mind carrying an arsenal of footwear with you, it is better to leave them behind. Sandals are always good to have, for instance when your boots are wet.
Bear in mind that the commercial water bottles are usually too small. If you plan to camp, you will need a stock of at least 4.5 liters. Plastic beverage containers are excellent. Water purification tablets are useful. Sunglasses, suntan lotion and a lip ointment are mandatory.
Sunset over the Dead Sea (Itai Haviv)
A sleeping bag and a mat are usually enough during the summer, when
there is no real need for a tent. Spending the night under the star-spangled
desert sky is highly recommended. During the rainy season you will need
a tent and a sleeping bag which gives you a rating of at least minus
A fuel stove or a gas cooker are both adequate, though gas cartridges are a bit hard to obtain (they are mostly available in Amman, Wadi Musa and 'Aqaba). Other necessary equipment includes a torch, a compass, a pocket-knife and a first-aid kit. A waterproof bag can be handy on a few routes and is a must on some others.
If you intend to follow routes which include abseiling consult the section about special equipment in the guidebook 'Trekking and Canyoning in the Jordanian Dead Sea Rift'.
of white sandstone domes viewed from
A large choice of books about Jordan is available in the bookshops of Amman and 'Aqaba. Natural history books can also be found at the souvenir shop in the Dana Nature Reserve. The first and only trekking guidebook about the Jordanian Dead Sea Rift is:
For a full description of this guidebook see 'The Guidebook'
Among the general travel guides are:
Recommended companions for your explorations are:
If you are planning to trek in Wadi Rum, get hold of:
Reading the descriptions of the early explorers is fascinating, both before and after your visit. Unfortunately some of the books are hard to obtain and are only found in the larger libraries. ·
Fine-scaled Maps of Jordan and the Dead Sea Rift are very hard to obtain. The maps in the guidebook 'Trekking and Canyoning in the Dead Sea Rift' suffice to get you through 68 routes from the northern tip of the Dead sea to the Gulf of 'Aqaba. Geological maps of the Rift area on a 1:50,000 scale (!), but with faint contours of 40 m intervals, can be purchased at the cost of 4 JD each at the:
National Resources Authority (NRA), 8th Circle P.O Box (7) or (2220). Code 1118. Amman. Jordan. Tel: 962-6-5857600.
The Royal Jordanian Geographic Center produces a fine 1:750,000 road map of Jordan which is distributed free of charge in the tourist information centers. Also available is an excellent 1:5,000 map of Petra.
Royal Jordanian Geographic Center, P.O. Box 20214, Al Jbeha, Amman, Tel 962-6-534188.
A good choice for a general view of the Rift is a 1:250,000 map that was published by:
The Survey of Israel, 1 Lincoln Street, Tel Aviv, 65220, Tel 972-3-6231911.
Spectacular satellite maps which include the Dead Sea Rift and its canyons can be purchased from ROHR Productions Ltd. (Info@rohrproductions.com).
Several other general maps of Jordan are available in bookstores throughout the world.
Long treks and routes which include abseiling are listed on the following tables. The routes were rated as easy, moderate and strenuous, by taking into consideration the length of the route, the character of the trail, the altitude difference and the number of daily walking hours. The rating does not take into account abseiling skills.
THE LONG TREKS
ROUTES WITH ABSEILING