Hiking Wadi Assal from the Dead Sea
With Hiking Wadi Assal, I completed hiking five different Wadis near the Dead Sea including Wadi Mujib, Wadi Al-Karak, Wadi Al-Hasa and Wadi Numeira. It is located in the center of Jordan, along the Dead Sea Highway a bit after Potash city, before Wadi Numeira. Wadi Assal is probably the driest among these Wadis. However, all the valleys have something interesting and unique. In Assal it is the straight cut crystal-like stones both in beige and black as well as the small waterfalls that I liked the most. A few weeks backs I joined TREKS on one of their daily hiking trips. TREKS operate an Outdoors and Sports gear shop in Nau’r and organize hiking tours both inside and outside of Jordan. In Jordan they arrange a variety of different trips from 1-day tours to 5-day long outdoor adventures.
Like the other Wadis, you should consider the season, be aware of the floods in Winter and the heat in the summer. From the wide-open area in the beginning (the end of the Wadi), massive stone walls surround you. At some point the gorge narrows and the water stream will be a bit higher, but never above your knees. If you are lucky you might find a crab hiding in the cool shady water. There also some interesting colorful stones that shine in grey, red, yellow, and purple. In a few spots pink flowers, wild figs and even palm trees grow.
At two points there are small waterfalls that are a welcome refreshment. You can climb around and go further. When we reached the second waterfall, we had our lunch break in that area. The TREKS team prepared a wonderful, vegetarian, and spicy Galayet Bandora, a typical Jordanian meal. It is mainly tomatoes cooked with plenty of hot chili, pepper, salt and onions in a pan. You simply eat with the flat bread and it is delicious. Of course, we had the obligatory Bedouin tea as well. After our well-deserved break we cooled down again under the water and returned the same way. Although sometimes, it might seem boring to go the same way, it is nice to see everything again from a different perspective. It also allows to take different photos in an alternate light.
Things to consider when hiking near the Dead Sea
In the afternoon luckily there is more shadow, so it allows for a bit relaxation, while in general it is a pretty open space with little shadow. Overall, the hike is easy with no difficult obstacles and no climbing involved. Only the two parts where you must go around the waterfalls require a bit scrambling. Again, taking kids on a hie like this depends much on the age and the weather conditions. Do not forget that all the Dead Sea Wadis are very remote, it is usually between six and 10 degrees warmer than in Amman and there is also no mobile reception once you enter a Wadi. So, it is always good to join an organized group such as TREKS for security reasons. if you do go alone, make sure to take plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.
You can maybe combine this with a visit to Karak Castle, if you don’t hike for too long. After the hike you can consider a visit to the Al Numeira Environmental Association before getting back to Amman. You can also do the Wadis along the Dead Sea during a stopover on the way to Aqaba.
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Information on Wadi Assal
Starting point: https://goo.gl/maps/ReC2aTUsSA5dAfc47
GPS coordinates: 31°11’39.1″N 35°32’22.8″E
Duration: 3-6 hours or as far as you want,
From Amman: 2 hours
Accessibility: easy to get from the Dead Sea Highway, later only walking
Difficulty: moderate, slippery stones, some climbing, hot weather. Not suitable for children under 6 I would assume.