Wadi Rum desert sites

Wadi Rum desert sites

On this web page, you find more information about many of the Wadi Rum desert sites that we visit during our tours. For each place, you find a short description and a picture. And we also share links to a blog post or one of our tours that includes visiting the site. Keep in mind that most places are included in multiple tours, and also, most sites are mentioned in various blog posts.

Abu Khashaba canyon​

Abu Khashaba canyon is one of the many beautiful canyons in Wadi Rum. In this canyon, you find both red and yellow sand. And you will see that it is surprisingly green with desert bushes and trees. Also, it has the shape of an hourglass with a narrow middle section. To reach this section, you have to scramble up some rocks. Lastly, have a look at the mountainsides. They look like artwork. Over time wind and rain carved out these forms. In some, you can recognize the shapes of animals and faces. A pleasant walk through the canyon takes about 45 minutes.

Anfishiyyeh​

On the southside of Jabal Anfishiyyeh is a big rock wall. On this rock wall, you can see some of the best Thamudic and Nabatean petroglyphs and inscriptions in Wadi Rum. Among the petroglyphs is a herd of camels. For example, camels suckle their calves. And hunters ride some camels. Probably most intriguing of all are some strange circle-and-line symbols and inscriptions. In previous times, trading people traveled in the big camel caravans from Damascus to Hejaz. En route, they passed by Wadi Rum. Experts believe that they were the ones who made most of the petroglyphs.

Barrah canyon

Barrah canyon is a 5-kilometer long corridor that splits the Barrah massif into two parts. Although this famous canyon is made up almost entirely of yellow sand, there is a lot of variety. It alternates impressive vast multi-colored cliffs and towers flanking flat sandy sections, greener plant-rich areas, and dunes. Therefore this canyon offers you excellent opportunities for hiking, climbing, and camel trekking. Hiking the canyon takes about 1,5 to 2 hours. Many visitors consider this canyon to be one of the most beautiful canyons in Wadi Rum. We agree, but at the same time, there are many more lesser-visited incredible canyons.

Bedouin dams

The natural water resources of Wadi Rum are limited to a few springs. But Bedouin need water to be available in more places. Therefore they constructed dams in hollow parts in the lower sections of mountains across the desert. To slow down the evaporation process, they made sure that parts of the basins are in the shade most of the day. The ponds fill up from the water that runs down from the mountainsides during rainfall. Usually, the reservoirs are pretty much full by the end of spring. So, during the dry, hot summer, the Bedouin can use the water from these dams for their livestock.

Burdah rock bridge / Jabal Burdah

At the north ridge of Jabal Burdah stands the 35-meter high Burdah rock bridge. This bridge is the highest arch in Wadi Rum. And it is considered one of the highest natural arches in the world. For adventurous travelers, without a doubt, this is one of the most spectacular sites in Wadi Rum. Climbing up to the bridge takes about 3 hours going and coming back. Along the way, there are some steep parts. Hence this climb is not a fit if you have balance issues or are afraid of heights. The views from the bridge over Wadi Rum are mesmerizing.

Cow Rock

Wadi Rum desert has a couple of famous, solitary, unusual rock formations. Cow rock, also know as chicken rock, is one of them. Like all other sandstone rock formations, this photogenic rock was shaped naturally by erosion over time.

Jabal Al-Hash

ّIn the lesser-visited south part of Wadi Rum, close to the Saudi Arabia border, lies Jabal Al-Hash. Hiking this mountain offers the opportunity to see fossils, salt crystals sparkle in the sand, and medicinal plants used in traditional Bedouin medicine. Multiple routes vary in difficulty and lead to different endpoints on the mountain. The views of both the north and the south of Wadi Sabet are among the best in Wadi Rum.

Jabal Al-Qatar

Jabal Al-Qatar 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-Qatar, like Jabal Rum, has a granite base with limestone in the top. Limestone is a type of stone that can absorb water. Then it 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 with water.

Jabal Um ad Dami

At 1854 meters above sea level, Jabal Um Ad Dami is the highest mountain in Jordan. From the base, you can climb to the top and return in about three hours. Hiking Jabal Um ad Dami is relatively straightforward and straight up over the rocky mountainside. So a certain level of fitness is required. Jabal Um ad Dami is home to the hyrax, a small rodent-like mammal. If you are very fortunate, you might spot them while hiking. When the sky is clear, your reward at the top is striking views of Wadi Rum, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf of Aqaba.

Khazali canyon

Without a doubt, Khazali canyon is the most visited canyon in the Wadi Rum desert. For that reason, you must be fortunate to have the canyon to yourself. Although the canyon is much longer, you only visit the first 100 meters. The first part contains numerous petroglyphs and inscriptions that decorate the walls at different heights. The Nabateans and Thamudic people made most of them. Among them are drawings of people, camels, horses, mountain goats, pairs of feet, and writings dating back to the pre-Islamic and Thamudic times. Ultimately, this is one of the best places to see the variety in petroglyphs and inscriptions in Wadi Rum.

Lawrence house

The Romans built the current structure upon the remains of a Nabatean building. Although there are stories about Lawrence staying here before traveling onwards to Aqaba, there is no defining evidence that this was the exact place. Other tellings mention that he used this building to store weaponry. Over time, the house itself became a ruin and, therefore, is less impressive. Nevertheless, the location is beautiful. And climbing the rocks behind the house will reward you with breathtaking views.

Lawrence spring - Ain Abu Aineh​

The location of this natural spring is only three kilometers southwest of Rum village. We call it Ain Abu Aineh, but most people know it by its English name, ‘Lawrence spring’. Until today, this spring provides fresh water to the Bedouin and their animals. The drainage system in place brings the water down to the reservoirs next to the parking area and the nearby living Bedouin. Because of the drainage system, the spring itself almost completely dried up. A scramble over the rock brings you to the fig tree and the spring. The views of the desert are magnificent. Lastly, at the foot of the mountain, you can see multiple inscriptions of Thamudic origin on one of the big rocks.

Little bridge

With its approximately 4 meter span, it is one of the smaller rock bridges in Wadi Rum. And you can easily touch the bridge when standing on its base. Scrambling up to the top of this rock bridge maybe is one of the easiest ones in all of Wadi Rum. 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. All in all, a fantastic place to visit.

Mushroom rock

Wadi Rum desert has a couple of famous, solitary, unusual rock formations. Mushroom rock is one of them. Like all other sandstone rock formations, this photogenic rock was shaped naturally by erosion over time.

Rakhabat canyon​

Rakhabat canyon links Jabal Um Ishrin to Jabal Ansranieh. The entrance of the canyon is a few kilometers northeast of Rum village. You can join a guided hike and scramble through this canyon that offers an abundance of shade, protecting you from the desert heat. It’s an excellent place to learn about the ecosystem inside a desert canyon. There are a few steep parts that require good scrambling. So, this canyon hike is not a fit for those who have balance issues or are afraid of heights. Currently, Rakhabat canyon is only available in tailored tours.

Red and yellow dunes

Wadi Rum desert is dotted with dunes from both yellow and red sand. So, no worries, for sure, you will see many dunes. And, of course, all our tours include at least one stop at a dune. Even though the dune near Wadi Um Ishrin is higher, we prefer to visit the dune near Jabal Khazali. This dune is more accessible and offers some of the most impressive views over Khor al Ajram. The dune in the Um Sabatah area is excellent for watching the sunset. We have a couple of sandboards. So, for those who want to try, let us know upfront. Then we can bring a sandboard along.

Roman dams

The natural water resources in the Wadi Rum desert are limited to a few natural springs. So, when the Romans ruled in this area, they built some reservoirs to provide their people with water in multiple places. They used the typical big Roman stones to construct their dams, using the hollow parts in the lower parts of mountains as a basin. Water running from the mountainsides during rainfall collects in these pools. As evaporation is inevitable in the desert, they choose hollows that are partly in the shadow. Nowadays, these dams are still used and maintained by the Bedouin.

Seven pillars of Wisdom

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a beautifully shaped mountain opposite the Wadi Rum visitor center. Bedouin mostly use the Arab name, Jabal Al-Mazmar. The name Seven Pillars of Wisdom comes from the famous book of T.E. Lawrence, which was published back in the 1920s. 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'. Funny detail, if you look carefully, you will see that this mountain does not have seven 'pillars'. Jabal Al-Mazmar is not part of one of our tours. But you can see it on your way to our office.

Um Sabatah - sunset area​

The red sand Um Sabatah area is about 10 kilometers from Rum village. It is one of the best places to watch the sunset. Throughout the area, there are many places fit for enjoying this feast of colors. There are great spots on the valley floor, while others are up on a dune, rock, or mountainside. Enjoy the changing colors of the sky, sand, and mountains as the sun starts to sets. This time of the day is excellent for taking stunning photos of our magnificent desert landscape. But above all, we recommend sitting down and enjoying the silence and magic of the sunset in the Wadi Rum desert.

Um Fruth rock bridge

Um Fruth rock bridge is another one of the natural arches in Wadi Rum. The bridge is about 15 meters up from the desert floor. From the rock bridge, you have beautiful views over the surrounding area. It is one of the most photographed places in the Wadi Rum desert. And therefore, it is hard to find a quiet time to visit the bridge. Mostly, quite a large number of other travelers will be around. 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 a couple of minutes. For those who are afraid of heights, it can be a real challenge to climb the bridge.