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Hiking through history in Jordan

The Jordan Trail winds through some of the most historically significant land in the Middle East, as well as some of the most beautiful. The 650-kilometre trail opened earlier this year, and tourism officials hope that the trail will be an economic boon to the 52 villages situated along the trail.

Hiking through history in Jordan

There are likely few places in the world that offer hikers the chance to experience Biblical history, ancient ruins, and otherworldly landscapes that Jordan has. The country is home to the 650-kilometre Jordan Trail, which begins in the northern part of the country in the city of Um Qais and ends in Aqaba in the south. The trek takes roughly 40 days to complete.

Though it is often classified as an adventure trail, the Jordan Trail is actually accessible to hikers at multiple levels of skill and experience. Mahmoud Bdoul, a guide along the trail, says that hiking the Jordan Trail gives one the opportunity to escape modern life.

The Jordan Trail passes through numerous historical sites, such as Little Petra, as well as its larger, more well-known namesake. But Mahmoud believes that in addition to the country’s remarkable landscape, the most vivid memories hikers will have of their trek will be the striking hospitality of the Jordanian people.

Mahmoud says that:

“The trail really lets the trekkers enjoy dealing directly with locals in their Jordanian environment, seeing them in their villages and experiencing their daily lives.”

The trail offers many scenic points, beginning at its northernmost point at Um Qais, where the trail is surrounded by dense forests, an unexpected site in the Middle East. Along the trail, hikers progress through four ecosystems: the fertile valleys in the north to the rugged terrain along the Dead Sea to the springs and waterfalls in the central regions, and finally to the Wadi Rum desert in the south.

Wadi Mujib, a valley which cuts through the central part of the Three Wadis region, is another fascinating spot along the trail. The area, a designated reserve, opens up to the Dead Sea. In south-central Jordan, Wadi Hasa, is characterized by its waterfalls and babbling streams.

The area is also historically significant, having been mentioned by name in both the Bible and the Torah.

The trail incorporates old Roman and Ottoman roads through Petra, arguably the most famous location in Jordan. The Jordan Trail opened in February of this year, and is being billed as a new tourism initiative based on inclusivity. The trail features 52 local villages, where hikers can stay overnight, offering an economic boom for towns newly introduced to the tourism industry. 

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