What better way to get to know a place than a yomp through its wildernesses? On the new 370-mile Jordan Trail, you can ramble the entire length of this vastly varied kingdom, getting to know its landscapes via ancient trails that have felt footfall for thousands of years. This 36-day journey can be done in eight stages, conquering a range of climates and terrains and taking on some brutal climbs of up to 3,300ft — but with just rewards.
Start in the north of the country in Umm Qais, where zigzagging through the Jordan Valley takes you past oak forests, hot springs, ancient olive groves and deep canyons that cradled ancient civilisations. Near the village of Fuheis, take the opportunity to cool down and booze up with a Whisky Ale at Carakale Brewery — the country’s first microbrewery — while looking out over the Blue Canyon.
Reaching the Dead Sea region, the climate becomes arid, Bedouin camps abound and you’ll take in rugged canyons from the edge of soaring plateaus. As you make your way further south, fertile plains around Al-Iraq sprout orchards and olive groves.
If you only walk one section, make it the route from Dana to Petra, which crosses epic mountains and bucolic countryside before ending at the rose-pink sandstone city of Petra, whose buildings are hewn out of rock. From here, take a week-long trek to the Mars-like sandstone desert landscape of Wadi Rum. Go west to end your adventure on the Red Sea’s warm shores, and dive in: you’ve earned it.
New trails to tackle
Nudging the Russian border, here you’ll find lakes, rivers and pine forest. It’ll become Finland’s 40th national park on 17 June, with 62 miles of hiking trails, 37 miles of canoeing routes, plus Stone Age rock art.
The Great Trail
This epic 15,000-mile web across Canada will be the world’s longest network of recreational trails when connected this August. Weave your way from Newfoundland island to the Arctic Ocean.
England Coast Path
England is catching up with Wales with this 2,800-mile coastal trail, set to be completed in 2020. Two 62-mile sections are now open: one through Scarborough and Whitby, the other along Kent’s coast via Dover.
Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)