About 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 and 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. Further, you find links to other tours on the bottom of each tour page, and on the right side and below of a blog post you find links to related posts.
Abu Khashaba canyon
Abu Khashaba canyon is one of the many beautiful canyons in the Wadi Rum desert. 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.
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 is a 5-kilometer long corridor that splits the Barrah massif into two parts. Although the canyon is made up almost entirely from yellow sand, there is a lot of variety. It is an alternation of 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 of Wadi Rum 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 fabulous canyons.
The natural water resources of Wadi Rum are limited to a few springs. But 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. 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. For the steep part close to the bridge, we use a rope for safety reasons. Hence this climb is not a fit if you are unsure on your feet or afraid of heights. The views from the bridge over Wadi Rum are mesmerizing. For those who don’t want to climb, there is a place where you can see the rock bridge from the valley floor.
Wadi Rum desert has a couple of famous, solitary, unusual rock formations. Cow rock, also know as chicken rock, is one of them. This photogenic rock, like all other rock formation, over time, was shaped naturally by erosion.
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. Further, we most likely also see some of the medicinal plants used in traditional Bedouin medicine. The views of both the north and the south of Wadi Sabet are among the best in Wadi Rum.
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
With 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 quite straightforward and straight up over the rocky mountainside. So a certain level of fitness is required though. Jabal Um ad Dami 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. When the sky is clear, your reward at the top is striking views of Wadi Rum, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf of Aqaba.
Currently, we don’t offer hiking this mountain in one of our tours.
Related post: Our 3 favorite Bedouin roads in Wadi Rum desert
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. As the first part contains the numerous petroglyphs and inscriptions 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 time. Ultimately, this is the best place to see the variety in petroglyphs and inscriptions in Wadi Rum.
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, nobody has the 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 not very impressive. Nevertheless, the location is another beautiful spot that you want to see. Climbing the rocks behind the house will reward you with breathtaking views. And if you know the right place, you can try a great echo.
Lawrence spring – Ain Abu Aineh
The location of this natural spring is only three kilometer south-west of Rum village. We 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 and their animals. The drainage system in place brings the water down to amongst others the reservoirs next to the the parking area. Because of the drainage system, the spring itself almost dried up completely. A scramble over the rock brings you to the fig tree, and the what is left of the spring. The views of the desert are magnificent, though. Lastly, at the foot of the mountain, on one of the big rocks, 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. 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.
Wadi Rum desert has a couple of famous, solitary, unusual rock formations. Mushroom rock is one of them. This photogenic rock, like all other rock formation, over time, was shaped naturally by erosion.
Rakhabat canyon links Jabal Um Ishrin to Jabal Ansranieh. The entrance of the canyon is a few kilometers east of Rum village. You can join a guided 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. There are a few steep parts that require good scrambling. So, this canyon hike is not a fit for those who are unsure on their feet or afraid of heights.
Red sand dune
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 the higher one, we prefer to visit the dune hear 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 board along.
The natural water resources in the Wadi Rum desert are limited to a few natural springs only. 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 – Jabal Al-Mazmar
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a beautifully shaped mountain opposite of 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.
Related blog: Following the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia
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 the magic of 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.