Hiking Jordan’s Best Valleys – The Dead Sea Wadis
One of the most fun things to do in the summer heat in Jordan, is taking a refreshment in the water during a hike. The top places to do that for nature lovers, are the valleys near the Dead Sea. While some of the Wadis are action loaded adventures, others are more of an easy walk and others have a perfect combination of difficulty, accessibility and beauty. I would like to give a short overview of five of the best Wadis along the Dead Sea. Some of them you can also access from their spring and then hike down including some abseiling. However, all the valleys described here can be easily accessed from the Dead Sea Highway. Most of them have no entrance free. Finally, this list is subjective of course. I compiled it based on my personal experience from living in Jordan for several years.
How to Access and What to Consider When Hiking Valleys in Jordan
Hiking is not necessarily dangerous, but a few things should always be taken into consideration. The best climate for visiting and traveling Jordan is March to May and September to October. The summers can get extremely hot. However, the valleys at the Dead Sea all provide shadow and you can cool down in their water streams. I have visited some of the wadis with tour agencies such as Wild Jordan, TREKS or Experience Jordan. You can also visit the places on your own but need to be prepared.
A good advice is to never go alone but in a group of a few people. Usually, there is no phone reception in the wadis. Therefore, you cannot call for help in case something happens. Make sure to use sunscreen, take a hat, hiking or running shoes, comfortable synthetic sports clothes, and lots of water. With exception of Wadi Mujib for the Siq Trail, there are no amenities, rangers, or any other facilities near the entrance of the wadis. Make sure to inform someone where you go and only take with you what is essential.
Winter is the rainy season also in Jordan. Flash floods can happen suddenly and make the canyons dangerous and deadly. That is why it is absolutely necessary to check the weather in advance. That includes the area where you going as well as where water can possibly come from. In doubt it is better to avoid those wadis in the Winter.
With these precautions in mind, you should be all set for some awesome adventures, great hikes and take home some great memories and pictures. Now let us start with the list sorted from North to South.
Wadi Mujib – Siq Trail
Let’s start with the most famous valley. Wadi Mujib is an exception on this list for many reasons. It is managed by the RSCN and Wild Jordan and the only one subject to an entrance fee. You also need to be 18+ and must know how to swim, as you will be in the water up to the chin. Therefore, pure action is guaranteed when hiking this dead sea valley. You only need swim wear and a pair of shoes, nothing else. Staff will provide you with a swim vest and guide you through the canyon that is well-known for its stunning views. Enjoy this true highlight between April and end of October, only!
Wadi Karak is probably the greenest Wadi as it has many plants and even palm trees. It also hosts some huge waterfalls. You can also access it from the Karak region and make your way down. It is a great valley with relatively low water levels which makes it also more suitable for kids and beginners.
Wadi Assal at first seems to be not the most beautiful valleys among the five but features some really interesting rock formations and colors. It is rather dry with low water levels. On the other hand, the two waterfalls that you encounter are a great source for refreshment. The walls of Wadi Assal are impressive and guarantee some great photos.
Wadi Numeira is also known as the Water Petra. Numeira has medium water levels and at some point, it has really narrow walls. As the water flowed through it shaped waves into the mountain walls. Together with the different color nuances between red, orange, yellow and grey, it makes it one of the most beautiful valleys. Once you cross a small obstacle where you must climb up, you can also be pretty assured that you will not meet many other people.
Wadi Al-Hasa is one of my personal favorites as it combines beauty with action. The water levels sometimes reach your waist, so you definitively will be challenged a bit. It combines the features of all the other valleys with an open area in the beginning, some steep narrow canyon like Wadi Numeira, some parts with nice plants and some action, close to Wadi Mujib. Hiking this Dead Sea Valley is really great. There is also the option of a two-day hike through the whole valley for about 26 Kilometers.
Other stunning valleys include Wadi Al-Rayan and the Pomegranate Valley in the North of Jordan as well as Wadi Ghuweir in the Center of Jordan. There is a lot to explore and discover, especially apart from the well-known highlights Petra and Wadi Rum. Jordan has much more to offer whether you look for an easy hike or a canyon adventure.