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The Dana region crosses the full range of elevation and climate across the western front of the Edom mountains, dipping from the juniper-forested highlands to the parched Araba Valley and climbing back up again. A handful of Bedouin villages are the only sign of civilization you may see while hiking, but the remains of past civilizations still haunt the landscape. The ruins of an ancient mining operation at Feynan are surrounded by enormous slag heaps, evidence of ancient industry; Little Petra was a waystation and inn for merchants on the Nabateans’ long-distance trade routes; and Petra itself, needing no introduction, is one of the crown jewels of the world, with its thoroughly unique cliff-carved architecture and the exquisitely-fashioned facades of its royal tombs.

The route from Dana to Petra is a natural wonderland as well; students of geology and wildlife will find the desert mountains an inviting study in the region’s environment, and the wild beauty of the trail will captivate anyone. The trek is a challenging one, but every climb into the canyons and crags brings more breathtaking views, and the surprises like flowing, shaded streams and elegant cliff dwellings make sure there is never a dull moment along the way.

Four stages from Dana village to Petra divide the walk into a strenuous but doable itinerary; those opting to wild camp will find many more options for taking the region at their own pace. The trail can be done with vehicle support (a truck providing luggage transfer and supplies and food and water to each campsite ) or as an unsupported backpacking trip; in the latter case, travelers will need to bring enough food for the entire walk, and plan their route around the availability of water, which is shown in the maps, elevation profiles, and GPX files for the region.

Accommodations

Accommodations

A variety of guesthouses, hotels, and campsites are available throughout the Dana Region.  The more remote parts of the trail are not close to any organized accommodations, while the Wadi Musa/Petra area offers visitors a wide array of hotels, hostels, and Bedouin camps.

Stage Location Name Type Price # of beds Contact Information (+962) [country code] Amenities
1 Dana Dana Guesthouse G From $116/night 23 +962 3 2270497/8
dhana@rscn.org.jo
coffee shop, restaurant, tour desk, restrooms, air conditioning, television
1 Dana Dana Hotel H From $13/person/night Via secondary booking websites meals, wifi, restrooms, laundry, air conditioning
1 Dana Dana Moon Hotel H From $35/night 5 rooms Via secondary booking websites Restaurant, wifi, air conditioning, restrooms
1 Dana Tower Hotel H From $20/night 20 rooms +962 7956-88853
info@dana-tower-hotel.com
air conditioning, meals, tours, wifi, laundry
1 Feynan Feynan Ecolodge G From JOD 110/night, includes food and activities 26 rooms +962 6 464 5580
reservations@feynan.com
restrooms, meals, shop
2 Wadi Barwas Campsite C Free Cannot be reserved; just show up none
2 Wadi Abu Sakakin Campsite C Free Cannot be reserved; just show up none
2 Wadi Feid Campsite C Free Cannot be reserved; just show up none
3 Ras al-Feid Campsite C Free Cannot be reserved; just show up none
3 Qbour al-Wahdat Campsite C Free Cannot be reserved; just show up none
4 Wadi Musa Rock Camp T From $50/night 15 Bedouin tents, 12 luxury tents +962 6 5679050
info@therockpetra.com
restrooms, meals
4 near Little Petra Ammarin Camp T From $24/night 350 +962 79 975 55 52
info@bedouincamp.net
restrooms, kitchen, meals, tours
4 Wadi Musa Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp T From $21/night 44 tents +962 797958641
info@sevenwondersbedouincamp.com
restrooms, meals, transportation to local sites
4 Wadi Musa Al Rashid Hotel H From $45/night 25 rooms +962 (0)3 215 6800
info@alrashidhotel.com
air conditioning, restrooms, meals, wifi
4 Wadi Musa Sharah Mountains Hotel H From $50/night 43 rooms +962 (0)3 2157 294
info@sharahmountains.com
air conditioning, restrooms, television, wifi, meals
4 Wadi Musa Saba’a Hotel Hs Dorms from $12/night
Singles from $25/night
+962 779 730 533
sabaahotel@hotmail.com
meals, wifi, laundry, restrooms, television
4 Wadi Musa Valentine Inn Hs Dorms from $8/night
Singles from $25/night
+962 3 2156 423
info@valentine-inn.com
wifi, laundry, tours, meals, air conditioning, restrooms

Accommodations Key

F – Family Stay
G – Guesthouse (small, locally-owned establishment with private rooms)
H – Hotel
Hs – Hostel (accommodation offering dormitory options)
T – Bedouin Tent (usually dormitory-style sleeping on mats on the floor of a large tent)
S – Shelter (a few areas have free hiker shelters, which are a simple room with cots that hikers can use)
C – Camping (a paid or free place to put down a tent, may or may not have facilities)

Transportation

Getting to the Dana Region

Jordan’s main airport is Queen Alia International Airport, located 35km from Amman. Jordan has a good system of affordable taxis and an inexpensive system of basic buses, though buses tend to leave when they are full and thus can involve a lot of waiting and uncertainty regarding the availability of return journeys. Rental cars are available in Jordan, though roads are not always clearly marked in English—a good road atlas is advisable.

In the Dana Region, Wadi Musa, Tafila, and Qadisiya are all public transportation hubs accessible from Amman; Qureiqra is serviced once a day by bus from Amman. Smaller villages like Dana Village and Feynan can be reached from these centers.

Public transport is nonexistent to any point along the trail besides the city of Wadi Musa, adjacent to Petra, but many recommended campsites can be accessed by 4×4 vehicle, for those hiring truck support. There are no accommodations between the Feynan ecolodge near Dana and the several Bedouin camps in the area of Little Petra, so hikers should plan on camping without services.

Airport Transport to the Dana Region:

Shuttle buses from Queen Alia International Airport to downtown Amman depart every half hour between 6am and 4:30pm (50min, 3JD, 06-4453200). Private taxis have posted prices depending on destination, with an average cost of 20JD to downtown Amman.

From Amman’s southern bus station, buses depart for Wadi Musa, Tafila, Qadisiya, and Qureiqra; from these towns, taxis can be arranged to the nearby villages.

Alternatively, travelers can choose to travel from Amman by private taxi; a taxi from Amman to Wadi Musa should cost around 50JD ($70). As always, be sure you have agreed on a price with the driver before beginning your journey.

The Amman airport and city center also offer numerous rental car companies (average cost of $75/€60 per day, gas/petrol €0.89/liter, $4.20/gallon).

Arriving from land or sea borders:

To/from Israel/Palestine: Jordan shares three border crossing points with Israel/Palestine: Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein in the north, Allenby/King Hussein in the center and Aqaba/Eilat in the south.  An advance visa is necessary if crossing from Israel/Palestine to Jordan via the King Hussein/Allenby crossing; this visa can be purchased at the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv or the Jordanian consulate in Ramallah. The northern and southern borders do not require advance visas.

  • Crossing at Allenby Bridge/King Hussein (central): Advance visa required for Jordan. Shared taxis to/from Jerusalem (Damascus Gate) leave regularly for the border (38 NIS/ ~$10 per person). Taxis from the Jordanian side of the border to/from Amman cost 20-25 JD. The border hours are Sunday to Thursday  from 8am-midnight and Friday and Saturday from 8am-3pm.
  • Crossing at Beit Shean/Sheikh Hussein (north): A direct bus connects Nazareth to Amman via the northern border (+972-(0)4-601-0458, 75 NIS/~$20). The Israeli side of the border can also be accessed from Beit Shean by taxi (5 min, 30 NIS/$8). Taxis on the Jordanian side have fixed prices; a journey to Amman should cost 40-50JD. This border is open Sunday-Thursday from 6:30am-9pm (last entrance 8pm) and Friday-Saturday from 8am-8pm (last entrance 7pm) – view current details.
  • Crossing at Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba (Eilat/Aqaba – south): The Israeli border is accessed by taxi (1km, 40NIS) from Eilat. From the Jordanian side, take a taxi to Aqaba (12JD) and take a bus or taxi from Aqaba to your desired destination (see JETT buses, daily for around 8-10JD). A taxi to/from the Jordanian border costs 50-80JD to Amman. The border hours are Sunday to Thursday from 6:30am – 8pm and Friday-Saturday from 8am-8pm.

From Syria: While direct buses used to connect Damascus and Amman, it is no longer advisable to travel through Syria due to the current civil war.

From Egypt: A fast ferry from Nuweiba operates once a day Sunday-Friday, leaving at 1pm from Aqaba and at 4pm from Nuweiba (http://www.abmaritime.com.jo/). The journey takes about 1 hour and costs $70 USD one-way or $140 USD round-trip. Tickets must be paid for in US dollars in Nuweiba, while dollars and dinar are both accepted in Aqaba. Several private ferry companies can arrange transport for groups. The ferries are notorious for delays and complications, so it may be advisable to travel overland through Eilat and avoid the ferry.

Visas:

A 30-day single entry visa costs 40JD (about $56 USD), and a multi-entry 90-day visa costs 60JD ($84). Most nationalities can purchase the visa at the airport or land border upon arrival, but check http://www.visitjordan.com/visitjordan_cms/Default.aspx?tabid=61 to see if you need to purchase your visa in advance.

The visa cost is waived if entering by land via Aqaba (free trade zone) or when entering in a group of five or more with a licensed Jordanian guide when you will stay at least two nights in Jordan.  The exit fee for leaving Jordan is 5JD ($7) per person.

Sites in the Dana Region:

Dana


Magnificent lithic formations abound in the largest nature reserve in the country.  Wander your way through all four biogeographical zones of the region in the span of only two days.

Feynan


Nestled in the midst of the majestic Dana Nature Reserve, Wadi Feynan’s archaeological remains tell the secrets of neolithic peoples who began a long history of copper mining in the region.  The ruins and the official archaeological site are a must-see on your way south toward Petra.

Little Petra


An afternoon spent in this isolated and ancient suburb of Petra offers many opportunities to experience Nabataean history without the crowds.  Those willing to make the trek will be rewarded with a glimpse of rare Nabataean artwork.

Petra


Let the ornate facades of this ancient Nabataean capital captivate your gaze as you wander its worn paths.  Breathtaking cave dwellings, the infamous treasury, and a grand palace will transport you to another time when this site was a bustling center of trade and commerce.