Petra, the antiquated city carved into rock in Jordan, is one of the world’s most intriguing archeological sites. This UNESCO World Legacy Location pulls in guests from all over the world, and one of the finest ways to experience it is through the Petra Climbing Trail.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Petra’s history, sights, and activities and give tips for exploring the Petra Climbing Trail securely and mindfully.
Brief History of Petra Trails
According to historians and archaeologists, the region of modern-day Petra was initially inhabited approximately 7.000 BC, since remains dating back to various Neolithic villages have been discovered. Around the 4th century BC, a nomadic Arab tribe known as the Nabataeans arrived in the area and decided to put their nomadic ways of life behind.
The Nabataeans began building their settlement, which many historians believe to be one of the most sophisticated ancient cities ever built, with enormous riches and advanced engineering abilities. Petra then became the capital of the Nabataean empire and grew into a significant trading center for opulent products like incense from Arabia, silk from China, and spices from India. Petra was home to around 30.000 people at its peak.
The international trade channels and the Nabataean kingdom’s and its people’s power, wealth, and prestige moved at some point. This enormous shift made Petra vulnerable to the Romans, who eventually conquered the rock-cut city in 106 AD.
Petra flourished once more during Roman administration, and in addition to the incredibly magnificent rock-cut buildings of the Nabataeans, the Romans added several new structures to the city.
Unfortunately, because of two earthquakes in 363 and 551, Petra was partially destroyed, causing it to be abandoned by its people and subsequently forgotten. ‘The lost city of Petra’ had been kept secret from the rest of the world for nearly a thousand years, despite the local Bedouin people knowing exactly where it was.
It wasn’t until the ‘rose-red city is half as old as time’ was unearthed by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812 that the ‘rose-red city is half as old as time’ was placed on the Western world map. Petra is now one of Unesco’s New World Wonders, with approximately one million visitors annually.
Description of the Petra Trails
The Petra hiking trail is a network of paths and trails that wind through the ancient city and its surrounding areas, offering hikers a chance to explore the region’s stunning landscapes and historical sites.
The most popular hiking trail in Petra is the Siq Trail, which starts at the entrance to the Petra Archaeological Park and leads hikers through a narrow canyon known as the Siq. The Siq is a natural geological formation that runs for about 1.2 kilometers, with towering cliffs on either side that reach up to 80 meters in height. As hikers navigate the Siq, they’ll see fascinating rock formations and carvings, including the famous Treasury, one of Petra’s most iconic landmarks.
Beyond the Siq, several other hiking trails in Petra offer visitors a chance to explore the ancient city’s many wonders. Some popular trails include the High Place of Sacrifice Trail, which leads hikers up to a mountaintop altar with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and the Monastery Trail, which takes hikers to the Monastery, another impressive rock-carved temple that is larger than the Treasury.
Ways to Get to Petra Trails
To fly into Jordan, you must go through Amman International Airport. Emirates Airlines offers one of the most comfortable travel experiences and a reasonable connecting trip to Amman through Dubai.
Take a JETT bus from their city headquarters in Amman, which should take 4 hours to reach the Petra entrance.
Details on Hiking Petra Trails
When to Go: Weather and Season
Rain and snow are frequently anticipated in December, January, and February, with nighttime temperatures in Petra dropping below freezing. April/May and October/November are considerably better for hiking and cycling, but this isn’t a secret, so expect to share some space. Spring and fall are considered the finest times to visit Petra and Wadi Rum, but if you don’t mind getting up early or bundling up to look at the starry sky, fortune favors the bold.
Various lodging alternatives are available for visitors who want to explore the Petra trails. Here are several possibilities:
Various hotels in and near Petra provide pleasant lodging for hikers. The Mövenpick Resort Petra, the Petra Marriott Hotel, and the Petra Guest House Hotel are popular choices.
2. Bed and Breakfasts: If you want a more intimate and cozy location to stay in Petra, consider renting a bed and breakfast. Various B&Bs in the vicinity provide a more personalized experience, such as the Beit Zaman Hotel & Resort and the Al Rashid Hotel.
For those seeking a more adventurous experience, various campsites may be found along the Petra trails. These campgrounds include basic facilities like tents, sleeping bags, and cooking facilities. The Petra Moon Tourism Camp and the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp are prominent campgrounds.
Consider staying with a local family for a more immersive cultural experience. Several families in the area offer lodging and meals in their homes, allowing you to experience Bedouin culture firsthand.
Whatever lodging choice you pick, preparing and making early reservations is critical, especially during peak hiking season.
Food and Water
When hiking the Petra Trail, it’s essential to make sure you have enough food and water to stay healthy throughout the trek. Here are some tips to make sure you get enough food and water:
1. Bring lots of water:
Petra’s desert climate can be scorching and dry, so bringing enough water to stay hydrated is vital. Carrying at least 2-3 liters of water per person daily and drinking water regularly throughout your trip is advised.
2. Packing snacks and meals:
You’ll want to bring plenty of snacks and meals to energize you throughout your hike. Good options include trail mix, energy bars, fresh fruit, and bread. If you plan to be on the trail for long, consider bringing a portable stovetop to cook hot meals.
3. Consider hiring an instructor:
Local guides can be an excellent source for sourcing food and water along the trail. They can also give you insight into the local cuisine and culture and help you find the best places to stop for a meal or snack.
4. Stock at the local market:
If you’re staying in Petra for an extended period or planning a few hiking trips, consider stocking up on food and water at the local markets in the area. This can be cheaper than buying food and water at the hotel or on the trail.
5. Beware of waste:
When packing food and water, pack items in reusable containers and bring a trash bag to pack all the trash. Littering is harmful to the environment,
Following these tips and monitoring your food and water intake can ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience on the Petra Trail.
There are no natural waters suitable for swimming along the Petra hiking trail. However, some hotels in Petra may have swimming pools for guests. For example, the Mövenpick Resort Petra and Petra Marriott Hotel have outdoor pools, a great way to cool off after hiking in the scorching desert sun.
It is important to note that swimming in the natural waters of Petra is not recommended. The area is known for its arid climate and scarce water resources and is often reserved for local uses. In addition, the water quality in natural bodies of water may not be safe for swimming due to pollution and runoff from nearby agricultural areas.
If you want to cool off on a hiking adventure in Petra, staying in a hotel pool or other designated swimming areas is best. And as always, it’s essential to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun while hiking in the desert.
Tips to know when hiking Petra Trails
1. Hire a Guide Tour
Tour guides usually guide visitors on hiking, individually or in groups, and ensure that timetables are met and that Hikers are interestingly informed about the Petra Trail. Don’t be concerned about how to find one. The site employs tour guides, which you can hire at the visitors’ center when you purchase your entry tickets, and plenty of them will be waiting for you.
2. Bring Cash
You won’t have any trouble finding provisions if you have Cash. Ensure you have enough to cover the tourist markup, and you’ll be alright.
It’s worth noting that you can pay for your admission tickets with a credit card at the visitors’ center. You’ll need the money after you’ve entered.
3. Go Early
Petra opens at 6 a.m., allowing the hike to start early. This will help hikers to tour for a longer time before it gets scorching. Petra gets crowded during the season’s peak, so going after sunrise will help you get pictures that aren’t swarmed with other people.
4. Wear Good Footwear
A lot of walking is involved in hiking Petra, and you may also be climbing around, such as hiking the High Place of Sacrifice or the Monastery.
Another reason to leave your sandals at home, regardless of what you read on Instagram: You’ll be hiking across sand that can get quite hot under the blazing sun, loose rocks, camel, horse, and donkey droppings. And none of those items should be in contact with your naked feet.
5. The weather in the desert is harsh.
It can be hot sweltering the day and frigid at night. No matter what season you visit Petra, I recommend wearing a pashmina to protect your head from the daylight heat and keep you warm at night.
6. Many Hikers wear keffiyehs.
Jordanian red and white ones can be purchased in any store close to Petra and the entrance gate.. They’re classic and provide enough sun protection.
Hiking the Petra Trail can be an exhilarating experience, but it is vital to consider some potential risks involved and take the necessary precautionary steps to stay safe. Some of these potential dangers include:
Heatstroke and dehydration
Petra’s weather is quite hot and dry, especially in the summer, so dress accordingly and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Falls and Injuries
Petra’s landscape can be rough and uneven, so wear suitable footwear and take your time hiking.
Flooding and Earthquakes
Natural disasters, particularly earthquakes, and flash floods, pose a threat to Petra. Due to sudden flooding, the government was forced to evacuate tourists from Petra in December 2022, and numerous people died in 2018.
If there are heavy rains, the area is prone to flooding, and due to the desert nature, you won’t get much notice when floods are brewing. Check the weather prediction beforehand and avoid visiting Petra if heavy rains are anticipated.
Petty crime is common in Petra. Pickpocketing is a type of theft that occurs occasionally but is so infrequent that there are no statistics. Keep an eye on your valuables in the park, just in case.
Take a zippered bag or place everything in easily accessible pockets. Be wary of popular pickpocket techniques, such as being informed that you have dropped something.
Thieves will frequently try to distract you from gaining access to your goods. Even if someone isn’t aiming to steal from you, you don’t want to be taken in by their diversion strategy. Pickpocketing is infrequent in Petra, although frauds are common.
Avoid anyone who attempts to resell unlawful tickets or offers to sneak you in for a lesser price. Jordanian officials do not tolerate people who try to evade paying their legitimate entrance charge.
Another prevalent fraud is animal rides. When you enter the park, you will be offered a ride by handlers on their animal through the Siq or canyon, via which you enter the site to get to the Treasury faster. They will argue that the cost of a horse or donkey ride is already included in your ticket price. This amount is not included in your ticket, and as you exit the animal (sometimes far from the Treasury), you will be approached by an aggressive attendant looking for compensation.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment is widespread in Petra’s park. Because women are easier targets for hawkers and local scammers, they target them significantly more often than men.
Prepare ahead of time to say no to everything and do your best to avoid constant calls. Many fraudsters specifically target women for love scams, which are a kind of sexual harassment.
The Petra Hiking Trail is a must-see for any visitor to Jordan. It provides a unique and remarkable experience for hikers of all levels, with its breathtaking environment, rich history, and rugged terrain. By following this advice and being aware of possible risks, you can explore the ancient city of Petra safely and responsibly, creating experiences that will last a lifetime.