Sites to visit in Wadi Rum
Abu Khashaba canyon is one of the canyons in the Wadi Rum area that is worth a visit. This red and yellow sand canyon is surprisingly green with desert bushes and trees. It has the shape of an hourglass with a narrow middle section. To reach this section, you have to scramble up some rocks. The mountainsides look like artwork. Over time the beautiful shapes were formed by wind and rain. In some, you can recognise the shapes of animals and faces. A pleasant walk through the canyon takes about 45 minutes.
On the side of JabalAnfishiyyeh is a big rock wall. Here you can see some of the best Thamudic and Nabatean petroglyphs and inscriptions in Wadi Rum. Among the petroglyphs is a herd of camels. Some camels suckle their calves. Hunters ride some camels. And maybe most intriguing of all, some strange circle-and-line symbols and inscriptions. Most of the petroglyphs are believed to be drawn by people travelling in the big camel caravans in previous times. They passed Wadi Rum on their way from Damascus to Hejaz.
Barrah canyon is a 5-kilometre long corridor of rock that splits the Barrah massif into two parts. This yellow sand canyon is considered to be one of the most beautiful canyons in Wadi Rum. There are excellent opportunities for hiking, climbing and camel trekking. Hiking the canyon takes about 1,5 to 2 hours. Get mesmerised by the impressive vast multi-coloured cliffs and towers flank flat sandy sections, greener plant-rich areas, and dunes.
Natural water resources in the Wadi Rum desert are limited to a few springs. Bedouin tending animal herds need water to be available in more places. Therefore they constructed dams in hollow parts in the lower sections of mountains all around the desert. In these hollows, they collect the water which is running from the mountainsides during rainfall. During winter and spring, most reservoirs pretty much fill up. Parts are protected from the heat, slowing down the inevitable evaporation.
At the north ridge of Jabal Burdah stands the 35-meter high Burdah rock bridge. This bridge is considered one of the highest natural arches in the world. It is one of the most spectacular sites in Wadi Rum. You can see the bridge from across the valley. When you are reasonably fit and do not have vertigo, you can climb the rock bridge from the north side in about 3 hours. The views on Wadi Rum from the rock bridge are mesmerising.
Outside the famous heartland, in the Al Forah area close to the Saudi Arabian border, you can hike Jabal Al-Hash. Part of the beauty of this easy and fun hike is that you will get the feeling of having the desert to yourself as only little people visit the so-called ‘wilderness zone’. In some places, you can discover fossils. And the sun makes the salt crystals sparkle in the sand. They are the silent reminders of the water richness past of this area. The views of both the north and the south of Wadi Sabbat are among the best in Wadi Rum.
Jabal Al-Qattar is one of the iconic and most impressive mountains in the Wadi Rum desert. It kind of looks like a castle with many high towers. Most visitors only see it from a distance when enjoying the sunset in Um Sabatah. Jabal Al-Qattar, like Jabal Rum, has a granite base with limestone in the top. The stone type can absorb water. The water slowly descents until it reaches the granite. As granite cannot hold water, it is pressed out, forming little natural springs, which provide plants and trees growing there with water.
With 1854 meter above sea level Jabal Um Ad Dami is the highest mountain in Jordan. If the sky is clear, the views of Wadi Rum, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Aqaba are striking. The top of this mountain is home to the hyrax; a small rodent-like mammal that lives under the rocks. If you are very fortunate, you might spot them while hiking. Hiking Jabal Um ad Dami is quite straightforward and straight up over the rocky mountainside.
The Romans built the current structure of the Lawrence house upon the remains of a Nabatean building. Although there are stories about Lawrence staying here before travelling onwards to Aqaba, nobody has the defining evidence that this was the exact place. Other tellings mention that he used it to store weaponry. These days house itself is pretty much a ruin, and not very impressive. But the location is another beautiful spot not to be missed. Climbing the rocks behind the house will reward you with breathtaking views.
The location of this natural spring is only three kilometre south-west of Rum village. The Bedouin call it Ain Abu Aineh, but most people know it by its English name ‘Lawrence Spring’. Named after the British army officer T.E. Lawrence. Until today, this spring provides fresh water to the Bedouin. A scramble over the rock brings you to the fig tree and the spring. The views of the desert are spectacular. At the foot of the mountain, you can see multiple inscriptions of Thamudic origin
With its approximately 4 meter span, it is one of the smaller rock bridges in Wadi Rum desert. You can easily touch the bridge when standing on its base. Reaching the top of this rock bridge takes only a few minutes. And the reward is a superb view of the surrounding red sand valley. And in the backdrop, you see famous mountains like Jabal Khazali, Jabal Rum and Jabal Um Ishrin.
Rakhabat canyon links Jabal Um Ishrin to JabalAnsranieh. The entrance is a few kilometres east of Rum village. You can hike and scramble through this canyon that offers an abundance of shade, which protects you from the desert heat. It’s an excellent place to learn about the ecosystem inside a desert canyon.
Wadi Rum desert is dotted with dunes. Both yellow and red. Most of our tours include a visit to either the red dune near Khazali or the dune near Wadi Um Ishrin. The dune near to Khazali is the easier one to climb. From the top, you have beautiful valley views. More challenging is the dune near Wadi Um Ishrin. But you will be rewarded with impressive views. The dune in the Um Sabatah area is excellent for watching the sunset.
The natural water resources in the Wadi Rum desert are limited to a few natural springs only. When the Romans ruled in this area, they built some reservoirs. The dams are constructed from the typical big Roman stones, using the hollow parts in the lower parts of mountains as a basin. Water running from the mountainsides during rainfall collects in the pool. Partly protected from the sun and heat; the inevitable evaporation is slowed down. Nowadays, these dams are still used and maintained by the Bedouin.
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a stunningly shaped mountain opposite of the Wadi Rum visitor centre. If you look carefully, you will see that there are only six pillars. The mountain is named after the famous book of T.E. Lawrence back in the 1980s. He took the title from a verse in the Bible. In Proverbs, it says, ‘Wisdom has built her house; she has carved out her seven pillars’. Bedouin know this mountain as Jabal Al-Mazmar.
The red sand Um Sabatah area is about 10 kilometres from Rum village. It is one of the best places to watch the sunset. From a mountainside, a dune or just from the valley floor. You can enjoy the changing colours of the sky, sand and mountains as the sun starts to set. It is an excellent place to take stunning photos. Or sit down and enjoy the silence and the magic of sunset in Wadi Rum desert.
Um Fruth rock bridge is about 15 meters up from the desert floor. From the rock bridge, you have spectacular views over the surrounding area. It is one of the most photographed places in the Wadi Rum desert. Climb the bridge following the directions of your guide. Although steep, the climb is not that difficult. You will be on top of the bridge within 5 minutes. For those who suffer from vertigo, it can be a real challenge.