Jordanian volunteers to develop 600km-long hiking trail

In a bid to encourage experiential tourism, the Jordan Trail Association (JTA) has developed a hiking trek that connects Um Qais in the northern tip of the country to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, passing through areas with distinctive features.

Founded by a group of volunteers in July 2015, the association seeks to make the 600-kilometere-long trail a national product that encourages visits to less discovered areas, the association’s president, Muna Haddad, said in a recent interview.

The main task of the association is opening up the hiking trail, and making it more accessible to tour companies and tour guides, as well as individual hikers, she said, noting that guided trips are recommended for inexperienced hikers as the trail is not way-marked yet.

The trail passes through various villages and badia regions with unique dishes, famous juices and traditions, a matter that enriches the experience of hikers who interact with the local communities, said trail manager and JTA co-founder Amjad Shahrour.

“You start in the greener part of Jordan in the north, Um Qais, Ajloun and all the forests, and then you go down to all the Wadis and the dramatic scenery in Wadi Mujib, Wadi Zarqa and Wadi Hedan. Then you move to the south’s deserts passing Petra and Wadi Rum,” he said.

Although the entire trail takes around 40 days to finish, people can go on short one-day hikes or two or three-day stretches, Haddad said, adding that “very few” people end up doing the whole trail.

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