Do I have to hike it all?
Can I finish more quickly?
No. You can hike however much you want, walking anything from half day to full day to multi day sections. Secondary routes exist around the main trail that allow hikers to design alternative short itineraries within the broader trail network too. A selection of other stand-alone circuits that can be finished over one or two days are also outlined in 10 Classic Hikes & Scrambles.
Yes. The Wadi Rum Trail is a 120km hiking circuit that will take most hikers around 10 days but there is no fixed timeframe. The fittest, most active hikers, with rock climbing experience and a well-practised set of rope skills will be able to do it more quickly, perhaps even within a week. Hikers might also prefer to slow the whole hike down, doing it over a longer period if required.
Will it be too hard for me?
How difficult is the climbing?
It ranks at the easiest grades of modern rock climbing, which is no higher than grade three in the British and French numerical climbing systems. Only short, single pitches of climbing are involved on the route. Holds are generally big and obvious and most sections can be well protected. Nevertheless, exposure is encountered, which can make even an easy climb feel very different.
What is scrambling?
Scrambling is an activity that sits somewhere in the zone between walking and rock climbing. It involves crossing rough, rugged terrain where using hands is necessary to secure progress, but which is not vertical or technical enough to count as rock climbing. It is technically easier than rock climbing but can still involve serious exposure, so great care is key and rope protection may be required.
Can I avoid the climbing bits?
Yes. Every technical difficulty on the Wadi Rum Trail is 100% avoidable. All sections of climbing and scrambling can be bypassed on alternative walking trails. These remain close to the main trail, traversing similarly spectacular lines through the landscapes, and rejoining it when the difficulties are over. The Wadi Rum Trail can be done as a more straightforward hike in its entirety.
How can I fix a hike?
The Wadi Rum Trail is a project harnessed to the Bedouin community of Wadi Rum Village. Local operators organise all journeys on it today. Many specialise in hiking, scrambling and climbing expeditions, although the focus of others is on camps and other kinds of tourism. Hikers must do their own research and contact operators independently to book.
Which operator is the best?
The Wadi Rum Trail cannot give any advice on which operators are the best ones to use. Wadi Rum is home to excellent operators who know their deserts exceptionally well, who have decades of experience in tourism, and who bring their own special style and philosophy to any journey. Out of the interests of fairness to all hikers must choose which operators to use independently.
How busy will it be?
Wadi Rum is one of the most heavily visited parts of Jordan. It gets busy with 4x4s and tour groups, especially at peak times. Nevertheless, most tourism is contained within a relatively small area. Once Jebel Birda has been passed, usually on the third day, everything becomes little-trodden, quiet and remote and it is unusual to see people for long periods, at least until the very end.
Are there good guidebooks?
Most fit, active hikers used to scrambling and exposed terrain will find the climbing sections well within their capability, especially with the safeguard of a rope. The more challenging climbing does not come until Jebel Rum at the end so hikers will have opportunities to see how they feel on easier scrambling sections, avoiding any section that follows thereafter if necessary.
Can I do anything to prepare?
We recommend every hiker intending to complete the main route has at least some basic climbing experience. An outing with climbing friends or a short climbing course giving an introduction to single pitch climbing and self-lowering abseils will give a good idea of what to expect and the more you do it, the easier it will be when you arrive to actually walk the route.
Can I walk the route alone?
The Wadi Rum Trail is not an independent hiking route. It is designed to be walked with the support of local Bedouin tribes. It runs deep into remote wilderness areas where there are no water sources for extended periods nor any settlements for restocking with food. It is our belief that the trail truly becomes the special, unique project it is when guided by the Bedouin of Wadi Rum.
Can I organise a hike with you?
No. The Wadi Rum Trail is a hiking route, not a tour operator. The Wadi Rum Trail Organisation oversees the route today, producing maps, guides and other public resources and working to raise a wider awareness about the project. We are a 100% voluntary set-up; we have no part in any booking process and we do not and will not take any commission for trips that happen on the trail.
What is the Jordan Trail?
The Jordan Trail is a country-length hiking route that runs 675km across Jordan, from Um Qais in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. It takes a direct line south through Wadi Rum, traversing it to the Bedouin hamlet of Titin, from where it leads down to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is a spectacular route that can be hiked independently, showing the best of Jordan as bigger, cohesive nation.
Are there any good maps?
Topographical maps at a suitable scale for navigation are hard to find for Jordan. The best are old Russian maps from the Soviet era, which can be found at various scales including 1:50,000 on the website Vlasenko Maps. The only downside is these are all in Cyrillic script. Public satellite imagery of the kind available on Google Earth can be extremely useful for navigation too.
Is water safe to drink on trail?
Yes, but not many. The classic is Tony Howard's 'Treks & Climbs in Wadi Rum, Jordan'. Sketch maps and route descriptions for several routes integrated into the Wadi Rum Trail are outlined here. 'Jordan: Walks, Treks, Caves, Climbs & Canyons' by Tony Howard & Di Taylor also has information on Wadi Rum. French mountain guide Wilf Colonna is set to publish a guidebook soon too.
Are there dangerous animals?
Yes, but encounters are rare. Scorpions and snakes are active mostly in hot months. Take care when picking up rocks or firewood and when walking or sitting near trees or bushes. Keep tents zipped up, and do not lay sleeping bags out until you sleep. Wolves are present in some areas but almost never approach people. Shepherd dogs are a much bigger risk. Sand flies are also active.
Should I tip?
The Wadi Rum Trail advocates a fair exchange in which local operators are fairly paid in return for high, safe standard of work. Approximate rates are outlined on organising a hike. There should be no pressure to tip on a hike, but it is common in the Middle East and if you feel happy with the journey it will always be appreciated. Around 5-10% of the total cost is a normal amount.
Is there vegetarian food?
Bedouin support teams will usually handle cooking. Much of the food prepared on a hike will be suitable for vegetarians, such as bread, rice, cheese, salads, beans, fruit and nuts. Taking the next step to make it 100% vegetarian is easy. The Bedouin are used to catering to vegans and other kinds of diets too but always make any special requirements well-known before your trip.
Water is scarce along the Wadi Rum Trail. Open pools may be found weeks and even months after rain but there is only one perennial spring on the main trail itself, at the very end of the route, on Jebel Rum. Whilst water is generally safe to drink from natural springs, it is always safest to purify. The Bedouin team who support the hike will generally bring bottled water for hikers.
Is there a phone signal?
On most of the route, no. Hikers will remain out of signal until the summit of Jebel Rum is crossed, usually on the ninth day. Even on Jebel Rum, the phone signal is shaky and unreliable. Always let nearest and dearest know you will be totally out of reception and if it is essential to stay in touch consider bringing a satellite phone or a GPS device capable of receiving and sending messages.
What is there's bad weather?
Bad weather isn't common, but it can come. Rain can produce flash floods, especially hazardous in narrow wadis. Low clouds and sandstorms can limit visibility. Check a long term forecast before a hike. Watch the weather and take the lead of your Bedouin guide. Bring suitable clothing, change the route if needed and choose camp sites carefully in case of rains and floods at night.
What is there is an emergency?
The Wadi Rum Trail goes into remote desert areas for extended periods of time, faraway from settlements and for the most part out of any phone signal. In the event of an emergency, guides will walk to the nearest point at which people or a phone signal is likely to be found. Help could take at least 24 hours to come and it will be basic when it arrive, underlining the need for care throughout.