The hiking paradise of Jordan? That would be Dana! The mountain village itself may not be much, but it provides access to a protected biosphere reserve where you can hike to your heart’s content. We combined two of the best hikes into one two-day trip, the Wadi Ghuweir Trail and the Wadi Dana Trail. What’s more, we did it all without a guide. Highly recommended and perhaps the most memorable two days of our entire trip through Jordan!
- In this article
- A two-day plan without a guide
- Day 1: Wadi Ghuweir Trail
- Overnight stay in Feynan
- Day 2: Wadi Dana Trail
- Staying in Dana
A two-day plan without a guide
Reading about the Wadi Ghuweir Trail online, we were immediately intrigued. The photos made this relatively undiscovered hike look breathtaking, and the promised climbing and scrambling seemed right up our alley. What made us hesitate, however, was that many blogs suggested hiring a guide. We prefer to hike independently, and besides, a guide can be quite expensive, with prices going up to almost 100 JOD (€130), including lunch…
On top of that, for both the Wadi Ghuweir Trail and the Wadi Dana Trail, you will also need a driver to pick you up at the end of the trail. The drive back to Dana takes about two hours, so you will need to dig deep into your wallet. We read that the cost for the trip can easily be around 50 JOD (€65) and we preferred to skip this expense…
So we came up with an alternative! We discovered that these two trails don’t end far from each other. In fact, they both meet in the dry desert around Feynan. We also found a great tent camp to spend the night. The result? We could hike the Wadi Ghuweir Trail on day one and then hike the Wadi Dana Trail back to Dana on day two. Sounds like a plan!
The only transportation we had to arrange was from Dana to the starting point of Wadi Ghuweir. We were even able to book it at the last minute through our hotel. The trip took 45 minutes, and we paid 25 JOD (32.5 €) to our private driver, who also made a quick stop at the supermarket for some snacks. We were ready to go!
Day 1: Wadi Ghuweir Trail (12,5 km – 4 to 5 uur)
This extraordinary hike takes you through a canyon with incredibly high red walls. The drawings on these rock walls are extraordinary on their own, but in some places the walls are covered in palm trees, creating a kind of ‘hanging gardens‘. Is this paradise?
Usually little water flows through the wadi from April to October. However, during the winter the route can be dangerous due to possible flash floods. Always check the weather forecast and ask local people for advice.
We did the trail in April. Prior to our trip, we had been in contact with people who had done the trek a few weeks earlier and had walked through an almost dry riverbed. In addition, they mentioned the presence of ropes and ladders on the more “tricky” sections. This was the final push we needed: “We can do this!”
And we did it! But um… those ropes or ladders? Nowhere in sight! Besides, at one point we were wading through water up to our hips… What a laugh we had! We can imagine that this might be a bit of a thrill for some travelers and they might be more comfortable with a guide. But honestly… we loved the extra dose of adventure! At no point did we find ourselves in a dangerous situation, and with a bit of creativity, the average hiker should be able to navigate the canyon. We really wouldn’t have wanted to miss this!
Overnight stay in Feynan
The last few kilometers of the Wadi Ghuweir Trail no longer cross the gorge, but still follow the river. Follow the river until you see a sign on the left side: ‘Feynan Wild Camp‘. Even though our booking details mentioned ‘Wadi Ghwere Camp‘, this was the place! And we were delighted as we were greeted with a warm welcome and delicious tea. How could it be any different in Jordan?!
We were assigned a small stone block with a simple bedroom and bathroom inside. The common area was much more comfortable. There were two big tents where we could relax after our efforts! Two cuddly cats kept us company.
About fifteen minutes before sunset, the staff gathered all the guests to climb the small hill next to the tents for a beautiful view, and then everyone sat down for dinner. The food was sooooo delicious! We could help ourselves to as much as we wanted from a huge buffet. Later we were served a piece of baklava and invited to the campfire. What a perfect evening!
Another option is to stay at the more luxurious Feynan Ecolodge. It’s three kilometers up the road, but still on the route to Dana. Staying here shortens the route for the second day.
Day 2: Wadi Dana Trail (17 km – 5 to 6 uur)
On the Wadi Dana Trail, online sources suggest that you can do it without a guide, but it’s crucial to walk in the opposite direction. In other words, start in Dana and end in Feynan, because “you really don’t want to walk up that mountain”. Good thing we love challenges! So we set off from Feynan with about a thousand vertical meters on the agenda. This is almost all in the second half of the hike. The last part of the trail is indeed challenging, and we found ourselves working up a sweat as we tackled the climb. But it’s definitely manageable!
The second day’s hike is very different from the first. Instead of a narrow gorge, you’ll walk through a wide valley, which means you’ll be exposed to more sunlight. While the surroundings near Feynan are quite dry, you pass through some sparse steppe vegetation to finally reach the relatively green Dana. Along the way we saw many goats and a few donkeys.
Staying in Dana
The old village with its stone houses is currently undergoing extensive reconstruction. Many former residents moved to the city and Dana was gradually depopulated. Thanks to hiking tourism, life is coming back to the village and more and more hotels are being built.
We stayed at the Dana Moon Hotel, which was affordable but didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Later we visited the Dana Tower Hotel, which had more charm, especially thanks to its cozy rooftop terrace. We enjoyed a delicious buffet, accompanied by the stories, songs and dancing of the owners. For a more unique experience, Dana Eco Camp is also a worthy choice. located just outside the village, with rooms or Bedouin tents offering a picturesque view of the valley. Reservations in advance are recommended!