Wadi Rum Trail
The Wadi Rum Trail is a new 120km hiking circuit in the deep, southerly deserts of Jordan. It is the first project of its kind to centre squarely on the iconic deserts of Wadi Rum and the only one of the Middle East's long-distance hiking trails to integrate rock climbing into its main route. It takes hikers on a journey through the magnificent sandstone heartlands of Wadi Rum along with lesser-known, little-trodden tracts of wilderness in its hinterlands, scaling five mountains on the way, including Jebel Um Adami; Jordan's highest summit at 1854m. A sister project of the Sinai Trail and Red Sea Mountain Trail in Egypt, the Wadi Rum Trail was created over a period of three years, with a similar vision, way of working and set of goals guiding its development from the beginning. Bedouin tribesmen from Wadi Rum oversaw the scouting of the route and took a leading role in shaping the project into what it is today and it stands now as a community tourism initiative, harnessed to the Bedouin community of the region. Five different Bedouin tribes live together in Wadi Rum today and Bedouin guides from any one of these tribes have the same right to work on the trail as all the others. The Wadi Rum Trail seeks to show the best of its homeland's landscapes, history and heritage to the world, raising the profile of slow, sustainable forms of travel in the area and encouraging them as a viable alternative to the 4x4 tours and often heavily-stylised Bedouin cultural experiences that dominate its tourism today. Opening in early 2023 the Wadi Rum Trail is the newest of the three sister trails united by the Bedouin Trail and the Bedouin Trail integrates most of its 120km circuit, following it clockwise from the point it joins from Petra in the north to Wadi Abu Baytherana, where it exits towards Aqaba in the west.
Wadi Rum's Bedouin
Wadi Rum stands in the northernmost fringes of the Hisma; a much bigger desert of which the greater part stands in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The Hisma is home to Bedouin of several tribes, including the Anaza, Howaytat and Bani Atiya, all of whom have been settled in or around the deserts of Wadi Rum for at least the last few centuries. Bedouin families from other tribes live in Wadi Rum too including those of the Tarabin and Billi. These tribes live as neighbours today, forming a diverse tribal community. Bedouin tribes in Wadi Rum are present in neighbouring regions too; the Tarabin are found on the first parts of the Sinai Trail and the Red Sea Mountain Trail stands entirely in the territory of the Bani Atiya, who are known in Egypt as the Maaza.
Wadi Rum Trail: highlights
The Wadi Rum Trail connects old trade, travel, Hajj, shepherding and climbing routes to show both the iconic sandstone heartlands of Wadi Rum and its more remote, outlying tracts of wilderness. Vast, sweeping wadis, narrow, winding canyons, rock bridges and five high mountains, including the two highest summits in Jordan, are traversed and everything from early tombs to Nabataean temples, sites of petroglyphs and ancient inscriptions are passed too. The Wadi Rum Trail is the only long-distance hiking trail in the region to integrate rock climbing into its main route and although these sections can be avoided they will be a highlight for many, allowing hikers to traverse some of the earliest known rock climbs in the Middle East and perhaps the world.
The Bedouin Trail
The Bedouin Trail integrates a 100km, seven day stretch of the Wadi Rum Trail, following it clockwise from Wadi Um Ashreen in the north to Wadi Abu Baytherana in the west. This is the long way around the circuit and hikers who want a shorter, faster way can move anti-clockwise instead, following the northernmost section of the route for 20km between Wadi Um Ashreen and Jebel Barra el Samayeen. When followed this way, the rock climbing traverse of Jebel Rum - which is much harder when done in this direction - is best avoided on a walking passage through its southern crags. The Bedouin Trail connects the Wadi Rum Trail with Petra in the north and Aqaba in the west. For more information on the route, see Bedouin Trail: Thru Hike and Bedouin Trail: Aqaba & Petra.