Hike the Jordan Trail with Leon McCarron

14 Days
Unique Itinerary
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A Jordan Trail Hiking Experience

Join us and intrepid explorer Leon McCarron for two weeks of mesmerising Jordan Trail hiking.

We welcome you to join us and our guest leader Leon McCarron for two weeks of delightful Jordan trail hiking. Wonders of the Modern World, ancient historical sites and mind-blowing scenery are scattered like stepping stones along this remarkable trail.

Film-maker, author, lecturer (and tour guide solely for Silk Road Adventures), Leon has written a highly successful book about his 1000-mile walk through Jordan, Palestine and Israel. He has returned here many times since and led a very successful expedition for us on the Masar Ibrahim al Khalil in Palestine in 2017.

Jordan Trail hiking boasts some of the most staggering scenery in the world. The trail regularly features on  “must visit” and “top trips” lists and with good reason. Not only is the scenery diverse in appearance and epic in scale, but the hospitality is second to none. And this isn’t some glib comment in a tour brochure – we really mean it.

Hike the Wadi Rum Desert

 

The fantastic Wadi Rum scenery was used as a filming location for Star Wars, Dune and Indiana Jones. On our hike across the Wadi Rum, we will follow in the hoof-prints of Lawrence of Arabia (the real one) and sleep side-by-side with the local Bedouin.

There can be few places in the world with such open, warm and spirited human welcomes as you’ll find on a daily basis across Jordan. The best way to experience this country is by hiking the Jordan trail. Along the way, you will be asked in for tea, introduced to parents and offered food before even being asked where you are from. You’ll doubtless be deeply affected by this level of connection that is all too rare elsewhere.

Aside from the astounding hospitality, Jordan trail hiking is all about rocky mountains, crystal clear waters on the Gulf of Aqaba, desert gorges, dead seas, surprising oases, some of the oldest inhabited cities on earth and vibrant local culture.

 

Visit Petra

 

No Jordan tour is complete without a visit to Petra. Unlike most visitors, you will enter the Monastery via the ‘back door’. Your guide will lead you across ancient Nabatean trails that follow natural rock terraces and awe-inspiring plateaus. Far away from the throng of travelling tourists – you will visit Petra at your own pace and enjoy tea-stops along the way.

Embark on a Silk Road Adventure

 

You won’t find anyone else offering an itinerary quite like this and that’s just the way we like our trips to be.  The indefatigable Leon McCarron is a well known writer, film maker and adventurer with some fairly hardcore expedition credentials behind him.  We can’t think of a more enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genial host for this trip and we are delighted to be working with Leon once again.

Walk the Jordan Trail with Leon in 2019 and experience this wonderful country on your own terms.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATIONArrive at Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan

Depart from King Hussein International Aiport, Aqaba, Jordan.

DEPARTURE TIMEPlease ensure you arrive in good time for our scheduled departure from Amman
INCLUDED
  • Airport transfers in Jordan.
  • All food and accommodation.
  • Drinking water.
  • Luggage transfers each day – leaving you with only a day pack to carry.
  • A superb local guide who intimately knows the route and the people who live along it.
  • Experience of staying with the Bedouin peoples of southern Jordan
  • Boat trip and snorkelling in the Gulf of Aqaba
  • Leon McCarron!
  • Your Jordan Pass visa and all entrance fees to historical sites, including Petra.
  • Fresh filtered water + a Water 2 Go water filtration bottle, in order to reduce plastic waste
  • Professional route planning and logistics, backed by risk assessments, emergency procedures, satellite communications (where necessary) and medical support. We don’t take risks lightly and we plan for all eventualities, believing it is better to have prepared and not require a procedure than not to plan at all.
NOT INCLUDED
  • International Flights to/from Amman
  • Extras such as souvenirs and alcohol.
  • Your personal travel insurance

This is a two-week hike from the north to south of the Jordan, including what we believe to be the very best bits of the Jordan Trail with transfers in between.

We start at the far north of the country at hisotrica Umm Qais – one of the famed Decapolis League of Roman cities. The route winds it’s way south through the green hills, orchards and groves to Amman, taking-in Jerash and Aijloun on the way. After a brief stop to float and relax at the other-worldly Dead Sea, the route continues south through the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Wadi Malaga and Little Petra.

We then have time to visit Petra – one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. From there, via Wadi Gseib and Wadi Aheimar we will find our way to Wadi Rum.

Sitting at the head of the gin-clear waters of the Gulf of Aqaba, you’ll enjoy a boat trip, snorkelling over multi-coloured reefs and a startling array of marine life before your flight home from Aqaba’s King Hussein Airport.

With thanks to Leon for some of his photos from the Jordan Trail.

Hike the Jordan Trail with Leon McCarron
Minimum number for guaranteed departure 6 persons. Maximum group size 12 persons

1

Day 1. Saturday 5th October 2019

Arrive at Amman Airport, where we will meet you, assist with immigration and then transfer you to your hotel.
Amman is one of the oldest cities in the world, inhabited since the bronze age. The city is growing into a modern city, but retains its character and history. The drive from the airport into Amman takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your arrival time and traffic.
Overnight in Amman at Hotel Larsa or similar.

2

Day 2. Sunday 6th October 2019

Amman – Um Qais – Hike from Um Qais to Ziglab. Hiking distance 25.5km
This morning, we’ll leave the hotel in Amman and transfer by road north towards Um Qais.
It’s the first day, so nice to begin downhill. Starting at the basalt ruins of the Decapolis of Um Qais overlooking the Sea of Galilee, we head down towards the Arab Dam, reaching Tel Mazraa’ at the water’s edge.
We then follow the south side of the reservoir before climbing hills to a flat rich agriculture plain and the village of Zabda.
Beyond, we’ll drop down and follow Wadis Darraba and Quseiba to the west, finally heading south and crossing Wadi et Taiyiba to Ziglab Lake and Eco Park.
Overnight in the Eco Park.

3

Day 3. Monday 7th October 2019

Ziglab – Bait Idis. Hiking distance 22.4km
After a hearty breakfast at the guesthouse, we start our day’s walk to Beit Idis. The route heads south from the Eco Park gate, rising gently around hills directly above the sub-sea-level agricultural plain of the Jordan Rift Valley. We make a brief descent into this valley, passing through fields before rising again into the hills.
Our path runs across the hilltops, past a natural arch, beyond which lie the Greco-Roman ruins of Pella. We continue up the side of the impressive valley of Wadi el Jirim directly behind the ruins, to emerge through pine trees onto glorious upland meadows. Still following the line of the valley up, now called Wadi Sir, you’ll pass the ruins of a Byzantine church and on towards  the “Jesus Cave” before heading for the village of Beit Idis.
We’ll stay at a basic homestay tonight in Beit Idis.

4

Day 4. Tuesday 8th October 2019

Beit Idis – Rasoun. Hiking distance 15.2km
Small lanes lead out of the village and across the upper reaches of Wadi Sir. We head up through wooded countryside before descending into the delightful and thickly forested Wadi Zubia.  We’ll pass ancient cisterns and the ruins of Roman Qabla, cross Wadi Orjan and reach the village of Rasoun, where an excellent homestay provides our comfortable rest for the night.

5

Day 5. Wednesday 9th October 2019

Rasoun to Ajloun Castle. Hiking distance 16.9km + transfer to Amman.
Generally easy walking today, often on country lanes through the rural villages of Al Ayoun district. The trail then meanders over increasingly high semi-forested hills and past the ruins of the ancient church of Mar Elyas to the Islamic castle of Ajloun.
We’ll end our hike at Ajloun and transfer by road to Amman, where a hearty meal awaits.
Overnight in Amman.

6

Day 6. Thursday 10th October 2019

Amman – Dead Sea – Dana
Today we’ll give our limbs a rest! After breakfast, we will be collected from our hotel in Amman and driven to the Dead Sea – about an hour or so away.  We’ll spend the day floating and relaxing at the Dead Sea at one of the resort hotels. This is your chance to enjoy the sunshine at the lowest point on earth, whilst trying out the invigorating mud bath to cleanse the skin.
We’ll then be transferred to Dana for dinner and overnight at either Dana Guest House or Dana Tower Hotel.

7

Day 7. Friday 11th October 2019

Dana – Feynan Ecolodge. Hiking distance 14km
Today’s hike starts from Dana at 1,200m above sea level and heads west into Dana Valley. The trail drops steeply at first and then levels into a more gradual descent through the Dana Biosphere Reserve towards the eco-lodge at Feynan.
The reserve, Jordan’s largest, includes four distinct bio-geographical zones, which means that Dana supports an astonishing diversity of animals (particularly birds) and plants. On your way down the valley, you may see Griffon vultures overhead as well as little rock-hopping hyrax (a sort of marmot/rabbit affair!) and copper-blue lizards on the rocks; and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of an ibex or a desert fox, or see the footprint of a wolf in the dust. Our walk finishes at the highly acclaimed Feynan Eco-Lodge. Depending on availability, we will eitiher stay at the lodge or close-by in a wilderness camp constructed just for us.
Every day, a short sunset walk (guided, around 20-30 min) leads from the lodge up to a nearby hilltop, for freshly brewed Bedouin tea and stunning views westwards as the sun sets over the vast Wadi Araba deserts. The sunset walk is well worth the visit!
Overnight in Feynan Ecolodge or wilderness camp.

8

Day 8. Saturday 12th October 2019

Transfer from Wadi Feynan to Wadi Malaga. Hike to Ras Al Feid. Hiking distance 14km
We’ll start today with a 1-hour transfer by Bedouin trucks to Wadi Malaga, where today’s route starts.
There is a steep ascent across rocks and small boulders that eventually ends up on a twisting goat-herder’s track which will lead us ever upwards for the next 3 hours. The payoff is a dramatic narrow defile valley that presents wonderful views through the Wadi Araba Desert. Another steep and challenging section of our route leads to a high saddle, from where our descent to the river valley beyond begins.
In the afternoon, you‟ll reach the camp at Ras Al Feid set up specially for us by our crew
Overnight Wilderness Camping at Ras Al Feid.

9

Day 9. Sunday 13th October 2019

Ras Al-Feid to Little Petra. Hiking distance 22km
We leave Ras Al Feid along rocky sandstone terrain. There are often spectacular views of barren desert landscape and possible surprise encounters with desert flora and fauna. Approaching Little Petra, there are increasing signs of human habitation; Bedouin camps, sheep pens, and small agricultural plots.
Little Petra is fascinating, and we are very happy that you’ll see it before its bigger and far more popular brother up the road. Take tea with bedouins, marvel at why Little Petra was built. Some say it was a decoy city, carved to ensure no outsiders ever got to see the real Petra. Others say it was built as the stabling or housing for visits to Petra itself. Whatever you discover to be your truth, this is a beautiful introduction to the Nabataean way of life. We exit the small sandstone canyon and wind our way through to the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp, where a warm welcome  – not to mention a warm shower – awaits.

10

Day 10. Monday 14th October 2019

Little Petra to Petra. Hiking distance 14km
Today we enter Petra via the ‘back door’, thus avoiding most of the tourists. From the Seven Wonders Camp, our route passes through the sentinel mountains that guard the approaches to Petra.  This is the old Nabataean route that skirts the final mountain on a natural rock terrace, now “improved” for the safety of tourists. The trail remains impressive, however, as it reaches a high plateau above spectacular Wadi Siyyagh. Just beyond this point, carved into the cliff face is the Monastery – a great chance for a cup of Bedouin tea before venturing down the steps into Petra itself.
You’ll walk through the landmarks of this ancient site – it’s more than 200km2 in total – including the famous Treasury and Siq, before popping out into the town of Petra (actually called Wadi Musa), where we’ll spend the night at one of the good local hotels. There is also a chance to enjoy a cold beer at the Cave Bar next to the entrance to Petra.

11

Day 11. Tuesday 15th October 2019

Wadi Gseib to Wadi Aheimar. Hiking distance 15.6km

A 2-hour transfer takes us to Wadi Gseib and the start of today’s hike. After retracing your steps up Wadi Gseib for about 1km, the route makes its way back into the mountains, heading South East for about 3km through a beautifully coloured sandstone Wadi.
You’ll then descend into sandy Wadi Al Seeq before another climb over dunes into Wadi Rakiya and on into Wadi Aheimar. We have a lovley wilderness camp site tonight in Wadi Aheimar, where our tents will have been set up for us. Hopefully, we’ll have clear skies for stargazing tonight and plenty of chance for chatting around the fire.

12

Day 12. Wednesday 16th October 2019

Wadi Aheimar to Humeima. Hiking distance 26.3km. Transfer to Wadi Rum.
Today, we head south along the twists and turns of Wadi Aheimar. It also deepens, not only in depth but in colour, as the dark granite provides shade for several kilometres. We’ll keep walking until we reach the Bedouin villages of Abbasiya and Humeima where our Bedouin trucks will whisk us off to the Milky Way Bedouin camp, deep in spectacular Wadi Rum, our home for the night.

13

Day 13. Thursday 17th October 2019

Wadi Rum – Aqaba – Boat trip – Aqaba
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred an hour south by road to Jordan’s window to the Red Sea, Aqaba. This brings a wholly refreshing variation to the sands and rocks of Wadi Rum and Petra. We’ve chartered a boat that will collect us between 9:30-10am and return to port at 2 or 3pm. We’ll provide snorkelling kits, lunch and a soft drink, and you’ll be able to enjoy gliding through some of the clearest waters we’ve ever swum in. There are numerous (intentionally sunk) wrecks that provide habitats to a dazzling variety of marine life. It’s a lovely reward at the end of the hiking trip and you’ll feel utterly transformed after your walk. You’ll have time in the afternoon to relax, explore Aqaba and enjoy a celebratory meal with the group.

14

Day 14. Friday 18th October

Aqaba – King Hussein Airport, Aqaba – Home

Afternoon pick-up from your hotel and transfer to King Hussien Airport to catch your flight back home.
The trip is now over, and hopefully your memory banks are overflowing with great experiences and a new-found love of all things Jordanian!
If you need a transfer to Amman – in case you’ve booked a return flight from there – we can organise this for you. Just let us know.
TourStart DateEnd DatePrice
Leon McCarron Jordan Trail 201905/10/201919/10/2019£3,620.00Taking Bookings

Who is Leon McCarron?

Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer, filmmaker, writer and motivational speaker. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an advisor to the Ted Simon Foundation and he specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions.

In Winter 2011-2012 Leon walked 3000 miles across China, filming for a National Geographic TV show along the way. The journey took him six months; walking a marathon a day for six days a week and carrying a 30kg pack. Two days after returning home, Leon was honoured to carry the Olympic Flame along a section of the Northern Irish coast as part of the London 2012 relay.

Previous to this he rode a bicycle 14,000 miles from New York to Hong Kong, documented in a television show which is currently airing in over 60 countries worldwide. At the end of 2012 he trekked 1000 miles through the Empty Quarter desert in Oman, following in the footsteps of the late British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger. A feature length film entitled ‘Into The Empty Quarter’ was premiered at the Royal Geographical Society in London in Autumn 2013. His most recent journeys include following the longest river in Iran from source to sea (documented in ‘Karun’), travelling across Argentina on horseback to investigate the imminent demise of the last free-flowing glacial river in Patagonia, and walking 1000 miles through the heart of the Middle East – www.walkthemasar.com

Leon is a passionate storyteller and a firm believer in the power of an adventurous mindset as a key element of fulfillment and success. He loves this part of the world and knows this route very well indeed.

Where will we be staying?

On this expedition our accommodation will range from hotels, to homestays and shared space in Bedouin settlements.

What size of group will it be?

Our groups are always small and intimate, and this will have a maximum of twelve guests. We like there to be plenty of space around the camp fire each night and for everyone to get to know each other.

What will the weather be like?

October is generally a lovely and warm time of year to travel – around 20-26 degrees during the day. But bear in mind that some sharp showers could be expected, that it will be colder as we gain altitude and that nights could feasibly be between 10 and 12 degrees in some places.

I’m a solo traveller – is this for me?

Yes. More than 85% of our expedition clients travel alone as part of our group.

Do you charge single supplements – I can’t see them in your information?

Normally no. We don’t believe that solo travellers should be penalised with extra charges.  It goes against our ethos. However, we have taken feedback from previous guests on this expedition and made it possible to include single accommodation for a premium of £300 per person. We have tried to incorporate this but feel that it is better to keep the overall cost as low as possible and offer the chance to extend solo sleeping arrangements where possible, at extra cost.  Some nights are spent all together – e.g. Bedouin settlements, so bear this in mind if you are a light sleeper.

What kit do I need to bring?

We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful. For this walking expedition, comfortable clothes, good boots and a day pack are the key ingredients to a happy time!

Is there a back-up vehicle?

Sometimes our expeditions require a back-up vehicle. For our Jordan Trail with Leon McCarron trip, we don’t use a vehicle because daily distances are small, and proximity to medical care is relatively good. We do however employ the services of local drivers to take luggage from our morning departure point to our evening accommodation. This will mean all you need to carry with you in a day pack is your camera, any extra clothes, waterproofs, snacks and water bottle. We also have a back-up donkey and driver on some days where terrain is rough. This is to ensure that

How much are flights?

This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London, the cheapest flights to Tel Aviv can be via EasyJet or similar carriers, but as always the lowest price tickets can be pot luck to obtain. Several major carriers fly direct to Tel Aviv from all over the world, or if you are feeling adventurous and have the time, the cheapest flights at the time of writing were via Ukraine on Kayak.com. Expect to pay around £200 from London on average.

What will the food be like?

The food in this part of the world can be spectacularly good – full of flavour, spice, fruit and seasonings. In the main, local people eat a lot of maqluba. This is a dish made of rice, vegetables and often chicken, inverted at the point of serving hence the name, which translates literally as ‘upside-down’. This is often served with yoghurt and salads. Breakfasts are often pitta or other flat breads, served with fruits, cheese and other accompaniments. You’ll eat a lot of tasty hummus, babaganoush and olive oil on this trip.

Will I have to share a room?

Yes, at times. There will be some hotels and guest houses where we will aim to provide separate rooms, but there will also be times where we are staying at homestays or in Bedouin encampments when there is no option but to share rooms. This is all part of the adventure, and a reason we love to travel here. It makes sense for light sleepers to bring earplugs, in case of snorers or the host family waking early. See notes above for info on supplementary single rooming costs where possible.

How fit do I need to be?

You need to be fit enough to be able to walk on rough and hilly terrain for an average of 12/13 miles per day. If you have any doubts or worries over whether you might not be able, perhaps a trial walk somewhere local to you would be a good idea to gauge your fitness levels before signing up? We have kept daily distances relatively low so as to be able to enjoy the scenery and culture and not feel rushed along.

Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?

Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone if there is any danger of being out of signal in the places we travel through. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.

I can’t do your dates but love the sound of your expedition – can you be flexible?

Yes. We offer set group dates for our expeditions, but we can organise and deliver bespoke expeditions to groups and individuals to suit your itinerary and budget. More information is available on our tailor made expeditions page.

Is this for me?

Although this is an extremely enlivening way to spend two weeks of your life, it’s also potentially dangerous – walking across rough terrain can be dangerous in your own back yard, so being fit enough to walk an average of twelve miles per day on boulder strewn mountain tracks is a prerequisite of this trip.

This is a beautiful, enchanting and ancient place to travel through but in many of the areas we will pass through, tourism is in its infancy. This of course, is what draws us – and hopefully you – to travel there in this experiential way.

There’ll be very little Wi-Fi or mobile reception for most of the hike. Shared rooms, local hospitality and simple amenities will be the norm, so if your idea of heaven is starting each day with a full English breakfast and having a swimming pool and a private suite, then we’d suggest this isn’t for you!

But if you want a proper, life-enriching experience of the kind that you won’t find elsewhere, then you are in luck.

Enquire

From£3,620.00