When you visit Petra, you’ll need to hike the short trail to get to the start of the site. However, there are various other Petra hiking trails that also exist, allowing you to explore deeper into the stunning desert landscape that surrounds Petra.
To help plan your trip, here’s everything you need to know about doing a Petra hike.
Hiking Petra Jordan
Petra hiking offers an extraordinary experience amidst ancient ruins and breathtaking desert landscapes. If you’re looking for adventure during a visit to Jordan, then you’ll definitely want to experience hikes in Petra.
The most iconic trail in Petra is the Siq, a narrow canyon pathway flanked by towering cliffs that lead to the magnificent Treasury (Al-Khazneh).
Beyond the Treasury, numerous trails branch out to explore other significant sites such as the Monastery (Ad Deir), the High Place of Sacrifice, and the Royal Tombs, each offering its own historical and architectural wonders.
You need to do this short desert hike to get to Petra. However, there are also various other hiking trails around Petra that let you experience more of this magnificent desert area.
Hikers should plan their routes in advance, considering the trail difficulty and the time needed to cover the distances, as Petra is a vast archaeological site covering over 100 square miles. This is also important when doing combined tours of Petra that include things like Wadi Rum hikes.
It's essential to wear comfortable walking shoes suitable for uneven terrain and the desert climate, and to carry sufficient water, especially during warmer months, as the hike can be physically demanding.
Starting early in the morning helps avoid the crowds and the heat, enhancing the overall experience.
Visitors can immerse themselves in Petra's history, marvel at the intricate rock-cut architecture, and capture the stunning beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site while respecting its preservation and historical significance.
Petra Jordan Hiking Trails
Want to do a Petra hike? Then you have a couple of different options to choose from.
If you’re going to experience Petra, then you need to walk the Siq Trail.
The Siq Trail is the primary entry point to Petra, a mesmerizing narrow canyon pathway stretching about 1.2 kilometres in length.
Enclosed by towering cliffs rising up to 200 meters high, this trail leads visitors on a captivating journey, gradually unveiling the famous Treasury (Al-Khazneh) at its end.
Along the way, ancient rock-cut tombs, aqueducts, and intricate rock formations add to the allure of the passage, creating an immersive experience that culminates in the breathtaking sight of the Treasury, bathed in sunlight.
Monastery Trail (Ad Deir)
The Monastery Trail, a more challenging hike, extends approximately 3.5 kilometres from the city centre.
This trail takes adventurers up a steep ascent, featuring about 800 rock-hewn steps. As hikers traverse this path, the captivating views of Petra's landscapes unfold, rewarding their efforts with panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The trail culminates at the Monastery (Ad Deir), an enormous and intricately carved structure similar in design to the Treasury but less frequented by tourists, offering a sense of seclusion and wonder.
High Place of Sacrifice Trail
The High Place of Sacrifice Trail, accessed from the city centre, spans around 4 kilometres round trip.
Ascending through rugged terrain and stone-cut steps, this trail leads to the ancient altar perched atop a mountain.
As hikers ascend, they encounter fascinating rock formations, monumental tombs, and ancient Nabatean structures. Arriving at the summit, visitors are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views overlooking Petra, providing a sense of reverence and awe at the historic sacrificial site.
Petra Back Door (Al-Madras Trail)
For a less-travelled route, the Petra Back Door trail starts near Little Petra and winds through captivating landscapes, spanning approximately 12 kilometres.
This trail offers a quieter and more secluded experience, leading hikers through winding paths and rocky terrains.
Along the way, trekkers encounter stunning vistas of sandstone formations and archaeological remnants before connecting with the main attractions of Petra, providing a unique perspective on the ancient city.
Royal Tombs Trail
Accessible from the city centre, the Royal Tombs Trail allows visitors to explore Petra's impressive royal burial sites.
This trail, covering a moderate distance, showcases ornate and well-preserved facades of monumental tombs carved into the rock faces. Hikers can admire the intricate details and grandeur of these ancient structures, gaining insights into the history and burial practices of Petra's elite.
Beginning from the Beidha area, the Al-Wu'ayra Trail spans through the picturesque Wadi Araba landscape for about 15 kilometres.
This less-travelled route meanders through captivating scenery, including valleys and canyons, before reaching Petra's archaeological wonders. The trail offers a serene and scenic journey, allowing hikers to appreciate the natural beauty of the region before immersing themselves in Petra's historic sites.
These diverse trails cater to different interests and fitness levels, providing hikers with opportunities to explore Petra's rich history, architectural marvels, and stunning natural surroundings from various perspectives.
Each trail offers a unique blend of adventure, history, and natural beauty, making Petra an unforgettable destination for hiking enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Trekking Petra: Overnight Hikes
If a one-day Petra hike isn't enough, there are a couple of options for overnight hiking. This is an awesome way to experience more of the landscapes and sights of Jordan’s desert.
The Jordan Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that spans the entire length of Jordan, around 650 kilometres (400 miles) in total. While not directly passing through Petra, it comes relatively close to the ancient city.
The Jordan Trail hike starts in the north at Um Qais and extends to the southern Red Sea, passing through diverse landscapes, including forests, deserts, and historic sites. Hikers can join the Jordan Trail at various points along its route, potentially including sections near Petra, providing an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and cultural richness of Jordan.
Petra to Wadi Rum Hike
The Petra to Wadi Rum hike is a multi-day hiking adventure that allows adventurers to traverse the desert landscapes between these two iconic sites.
This hike covers a distance of approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles) and typically takes around four to five days to complete, depending on the route and pace.
The trail leads from Petra, passing through rugged desert terrain, canyons, and valleys, eventually arriving at the stunning desert valley of Wadi Rum.
Along the way, hikers can experience the beauty of the desert, camp under the stars, and immerse themselves in the Bedouin culture before reaching Wadi Rum.
It’s important that you’re well-prepared for your Petra hike. Here are a few travel tips for Jordan and Petra in particular to keep in mind for this activity.
Entry and Tickets
If you’re going to hike to Petra, you’ll still need a ticket to enter this ancient site. Entry to Petra is through the Visitor Center. Ensure you have a valid ticket, and keep it accessible throughout your visit.
Ticket prices vary based on the duration of your stay. Opening hours fluctuate with the seasons, so check the schedule in advance to plan your hike accordingly.
Wondering when to visit Petra? Early mornings offer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, providing a more comfortable and serene experience.
Petra offers various trails with differing lengths, difficulties, and highlights. The iconic Siq Trail is a must, leading to the Treasury. The Monastery Trail (Ad Deir) and the High Place of Sacrifice Trail are more challenging but rewarding.
Obtain a Petra hiking map or guidebook from the Visitor Center to understand the trail options and decide based on your fitness level and interests.
Permits and Guides
Some trails might require additional permits. Check at the Visitor Center or with local guides if your chosen route needs special permission. Consider hiring a local guide who can provide historical context, navigate the trails, and offer insights into lesser-known areas, enriching your experience.
Evaluate your fitness level before choosing a trail. The terrain can be rugged, involving climbs and descents.
Sturdy, comfortable footwear with good traction is essential for walking on uneven surfaces. Dress in light, breathable clothing suitable for the desert climate, and carry layers for temperature changes. Don't forget sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Hydration and Supplies
Petra's arid climate demands hydration. Carry an ample water supply to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially during warmer months.
Pack snacks like nuts, dried fruits, or energy bars for quick energy boosts. A backpack with essentials like a map, flashlight, first-aid kit, and a camera will be handy.
Respect for the Site
Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Show respect by refraining from climbing on or touching fragile ruins, littering, or defacing any historical sites.
Stick to marked paths to preserve the area's integrity and avoid disrupting ongoing archaeological work.
Petra experiences hot days and cooler nights. Be prepared for temperature fluctuations by carrying extra layers if you plan to hike during early mornings or late afternoons.
If available during your visit, consider attending Petra by Night. It's an enchanting candle-lit walk through the Siq leading to the Treasury, creating a magical atmosphere with storytelling and music.
Accommodation and Services
Petra offers various accommodation options in nearby Wadi Musa, catering to different budgets. Plan your stay in advance to relax and recharge after your hiking adventures.
If you have the time and energy, then definitely try to factor in a Petra hike during your visit. This is a truly magnificent part of Jordan, and hiking through the landscape lets you experience the magic of the area.