Located in Jordan, in the Middle East, the Dana to Petra trek is a 73 kilometre hike through an ancient desert landscape, finishing at the historic city of Petra.
Part of The Jordan Trail, which spans the length of the country, the Dana to Petra trek is noted in the National Geographic magazine as being one of the most spectacular long-distance hike is the world.
Petra, also known as the Rose Red City, is a historic relic. The remains of a 2000 year old Nabatean capital city with buildings carved into sandstone rocks have to be seen to be believed.
Thanks to the dry climate in the region, the city is amazingly well-preserved, giving it a reputation of being a ‘wonder of the world’.
The Dana to Petra route is a landscape where little has changed since biblical times, and it is easy to imagine nomadic shepherds and holy men travelling the land, cooking meals and telling fireside stories.
- Mountains, canyons, wadis and gorges
- Diverse ecosystems
- Panoramic views and stunning scenery
- Bedouin culture and hospitality
- Camping under the stars
- Petra, an exquisitely preserved historic monument
The Dana to Petra trek takes you through the diverse habitat of the Wadi Dana Reserve and into a wilderness of rocky climbs, canyons and ravines of glowing red sandstone.
Staring in the village of Dana, this trek follows old Bedouin trails, and passes through Bedouin villages, showing you a glimpse of what it takes to live and thrive in this landscape.
The Wadi Dana Reserve has four ecological zones, making is a diverse place for plants and wildlife. Wadis are small pools and lakes, around which grows a variety of plant life and bring a welcome oasis in the desert climate. The Wadi Dana Reserve is lush, green area compare to the rocky climbs and sand dunes as you pass through the Great Rift Valley.
Along the route, you will climb up to 1100 metres to a viewpoint above Petra.
From this route, you enter Petra via the ‘backdoor’ a stunning entrance through a monastery carved into the sandstone rock.
Amman is the capital city of Jordan, and is approximately 2.5 hour drive to the village of Dana where the trail begins.
The Queen Alia international airport is in Amman.
Most tour operators will be able to arrange transfers to and from the airport, or into the city of Amman, from Dana and Petra.
Buses run from Amman to Petra and back. If using public transport, you will need to get a taxi from Petra to Dana.
The Dana to Petra trek is 73 kilometres in length, and takes 5-7 days to complete on average.
Grade and difficulty of the walk
This trek is graded 4/5.
The trail is not marked or well-defined, so unless you walk with a guide, navigation is a challenge.
Trekking in the desert climate is not something you should attempt alone or without experience.
The dry conditions mean that you have to carefully plan your water, and take plenty with you.
The terrain is a mix of flat open spaces across dry valleys and riverbeds, and there is rugged and rocky terrain with strenuous climbs and scrambling over rocks.
If you want to hike the Dana to Petra trek self-guided, you will need to be an experienced hiker.
Navigational skills, such as knowing how to use a map and a compass are essential. GPS devices work well, but should they lose power you will need basic skills to fall back on.
You do not need a permit to hike the Dana to Petra Trek.
However, if you want to hike without a guide it is a good idea to call in at the Jordan Trail office in Amman.
They can issue you with a letter from the Ministry of Tourism that you can show to officials should you get asked to explain why you are in an area.
It is possible to buy a Jordan Pass that gives you entry to many of the countries tourist areas. F
ees may apply to enter Petra.
Guided or Self-Guided
If you are not an experienced hiker who has navigational skills, then it is best to choose a guided trek.
This means that you will have support to carry your supplies, as well as having extra drinking water.
It is not mandatory to have a guide, and you will see many independent hikers along the trail. But, you do need to be experienced.
The trail is not marked. If you intend to hike the trail self-guided, you should have a GPS devices where you can upload coordinates to convenient stopping points, and make sure you are headed in the right direction.
If you do want to hike self-guided, it may be possible to arrange for water to be dropped at your overnight stops.
In springtime, the Dana Reserve is lush and green, contrasting with the desert and sand dunes of the Great Rift Valley.
During the summer, June to August, temperatures in the daytime can be extremely hot. Hiking in summer is not recommended.
Water is a precious commodity, there is even less of it to go around and you will need to drink more to stay hydrated in hot conditions.
Autumn and winter can bring pleasant hiking temperatures, however be prepared for any weather. Rain may cause flash flooding in canyon areas.
A typical itinerary would be:
Once you arrive in Dana, a typical itinerary is as follows:
Dana to Feynan
Feynan to Ras Al-Feid
Ras Al-Feid to Shkaret Msei’d
Shkaret Msei’d to Little Petra
Little Petra to Petra
Along the route, you are likely to be camping in the wilderness.
There may be Bedouin tents available, or lodges along some parts of the trail.
If you are choosing a guided hike, accommodation will be arranged for you.
Look out for wildlife such as desert foxes and vultures. There are also wolves and hyenas, however these are endangered species. Lizards bask in the sun on the rocks.
See the remnants of the 3000 year old copper mining history outside of Feynan, as well as ruined Nabatean and Roman buildings.
Little Petra is a smaller version of the large ancient city. It is worth spending some time here to look at the carvings. It is also much further off the tourist trail than the main city of Petra.
There are some amazing sights at Petra. This ancient city, only rediscovered in 1812, is well-preserved. Visit Facades Street, Urn Tomb, the Theatre, Colonnaded Street, Royal Tombs and Qasr al Bent, and the amphitheatre.
After you have experiences all the wonders of Petra and your hike is complete, spend a day or two at the Dead Sea. Here you can float without effort due to the high salt content. It is also the lowest point on Earth.
|Skills Required||Hiking, Walking|
|Starts at||Wadi Dana Reserve, Jordan|
|Finishes at||Wadi Musa, Jordan|
|Length of route||73 Km|
|Average time to complete||5 - 7 Days|
|Possible to complete sub-sections||No|
|Equipment needed||Camping equipment, food supplies, GPS device, Poles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots, Water Supplies|