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Wadi Rum desert sites

Wadi Rum desert sites

Wadi Rum is a vast desert with endless opportunities to explore and discover fascinating sites and areas. From breathtaking landscapes to hidden gems, Wadi Rum has it all. Still, the beauty of Wadi Rum goes beyond just views and sites; it is an experience that will leave you in awe. Immerse yourself in the stunning nature and let the tranquility of the desert rejuvenate your soul. However, knowing about the places and areas you can visit is useful. Therefore, this page provides more information about various Wadi Rum desert sites. For each place, you will find a brief description and a picture, along with links to a blog post or one of our tours that covers the site. Please note that most places are part of multiple tours and are mentioned in various blog posts.

Table of Contents

Abu Khashaba canyon​

Abu Khashaba canyon is a stunning canyon boasting a unique combination of red and yellow sand, and it is surprisingly green due to the presence of desert bushes and trees. The canyon’s shape is reminiscent of an hourglass, with a narrow middle section that requires a bit of rock scrambling to reach. As you make your way through the canyon, take a look at the mountainsides - they look like works of art, with various shapes and forms carved out over time by wind and rain. Some of these shapes even resemble animals and faces. The walk through the canyon is a pleasant one, taking approximately 45 minutes.

Anfishiyyeh inscriptions

Wadi Rum’s rock art spans from the Neolithic to the modern era. Located on the southern side of Jabal Anfishiyyeh, a massive rock wall boasts some of the most remarkable Thamudic and Nabatean petroglyphs and inscriptions in Wadi Rum. These stunning petroglyphs and inscriptions are believed to be made between 2500 and 2800 years ago. Take a moment to explore the petroglyphs, and you will discover a stunning record of camels and their interactions with humans. And if you take a closer look, you will also find scenes of hunting, armed men, intriguing circular and linear symbols, inscriptions, and more.

Barrah canyon

Barrah Canyon is a 5-kilometer-long canyon that divides the Barrah Massif into two parts, offering incredible diversity. From sandy stretches to lush vegetation and dunes flanked by colorful cliffs and rock formations. Whether you are a hiking enthusiast, a climbing pro, or a camel trekking adventurer, this destination is excellent for everyone. The hiking trail takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. While many consider Barrah Canyon one of the most stunning canyons in Wadi Rum, there are other hidden and less crowded gems waiting to be discovered, each with its unique charm and allure.

Burdah rock bridge

The Burdah rock bridge is an amazing sight, standing tall at 35 meters and spanning 20 meters. It is located on the north side of Jabal Burdah, at an altitude of just under 1350 meters, making it the highest-elevation arch in Wadi Rum, and one of the world’s most elevated natural arches. This site is perfect for adventurous travelers looking for an exciting experience. To reach the bridge, you will need to climb around 260 meters, which involves rock scrambling and a short rock climb. The climb typically takes about 3 hours round trip, and the views from the bridge over Wadi Rum are simply stunning.

Cow Rock

The Wadi Rum desert boasts numerous stunning rock formations, including some solitary rocks with distinct shapes. One of the most prominent is Cow rock, also known as Chicken rock. Over time, the relentless forces of nature, mainly wind erosion, have shaped Cow rock into a unique and photogenic structure. When you visit this rock, take a stroll around it and decide for yourself whether it resembles a cow, a chicken, or something else.

Dams, reservoirs, and sunken cisterns

Water is scarce in Wadi Rum, with only a few springs available. To ensure access to water, people have constructed dams, reservoirs, and sunken cisterns across the desert since at least the 4th century BC. Most of these structures are built in the hollow parts of the mountains that are mostly shaded throughout the day. This slows down the process of evaporation, which is crucial in preventing the loss of water. During rainfall, the water flows down from the mountainsides and fills the basins, providing a vital water source for the Bedouins during the hot and dry summer months. All these structures serve as a testament to the ingenuity and determination of the Nabateans, Romans, and Bedouins, who have thrived in this harsh environment.

Jabal Al-Hash

Jabal Al-Hash, situated in the southern part of Wadi Rum, close to the border with Saudi Arabia, is a gem waiting to be explored. Hiking this mountain offers a unique opportunity to see fossils, sparkling salt crystals in the sand, and traditional medicinal plants we use. There are numerous routes to choose from, each with its own level of challenge and leading to different points on the mountain. You will be amazed by the breathtaking views of both the north and the south of Wadi Sabet, which makes this place one of the most magnificent spots in Wadi Rum.

Jabal Al-Qattar

Jabal Al-Qattar is one of the most iconic and breathtaking mountains in the Wadi Rum desert. It stands tall and proud like a castle, with towering peaks that are visible from afar, especially during the enchanting sunset in Um Sabatah. Similar to Jabal Rum, Jabal Al-Qattar has a granite base with limestone at the top. Limestone is a type of stone that can absorb water, which then slowly descends until it reaches the granite. As granite cannot retain water, it is expelled, resulting in the formation of natural springs that provide water for plants, trees, animals, and the Bedouins.

Jabal Um ad Dami

Rakhabat Canyon is a complex network of ravines that cut through the Jabal Um Ishrin massif. You can find the entrance to the canyon just northeast of Rum village. The hike and rock scramble through the canyon typically takes around three to four hours, and having good balance and no fear of heights is essential. The canyon provides ample shade, protecting you from the harsh desert heat. It is an ideal location to learn about the ecosystem within a desert canyon, and throughout the hike, you can enjoy the breathtaking mountain and desert scenery.

Khazali canyon

Khazali Canyon is one of the most famous and frequently visited places in Wadi Rum. The canyon starts with a narrow crack filled with numerous petroglyphs and inscriptions at different heights on the walls. The Nabateans and Thamudic people created most of these historical markings, including depictions of camels, horses, mountain goats, ostriches, people, pairs of feet, and writings dating back to pre-Islamic and Thamudic times. Additionally, there are a couple of handmade water pools. A steep and slippery climb is required to access the higher part of the canyon, which is typically not included in most tour programs.

Lawrence house

The current structure built by the Romans stands on the ruins of an earlier Nabatean building. Although there are stories about Lawrence staying at this site before heading to Aqaba, there is no conclusive evidence to prove it. Some tales suggest that he used the building to store weapons. Over time, the house fell into disrepair and is now less impressive. However, the location itself is stunning. If you climb the rocks behind the house, you can reach a plateau offering breathtaking views of the desert.

Lawrence spring - Ain Abu Aineh​

Ain Abu Aineh, also known as Lawrence Spring, is a natural spring three kilometers southwest of Rum village. It provides a constant source of fresh water for the Bedouins, their animals, and other wild animals. A drainage system has been installed to transport the water to the reservoirs beside the parking area and near Bedouin settlement. Two large rocks at the mountain’s base contain numerous Thamudic inscriptions. To reach the spring, which is almost dry, you must scramble over rocks to the fig trees. From there, you can take in the spectacular views of the desert.

Little bridge

The Little Bridge is one of the smaller rock bridges in Wadi Rum, spanning approximately 4 meters. You can easily touch the bridge from its base, and scrambling up to the top of this rock bridge is one of the easiest in all of Wadi Rum. Your reward for making it to the top is a superb view of the surrounding red sand valley called Khor al Ajram, including famous mountains like Jabal Khazali, Jabal Rum, and Jabal Um Ishrin in the backdrop. Overall, it is a fantastic place to visit.

Mushroom rock

The Wadi Rum desert is home to a variety of breathtaking rock formations, including several solitary rocks with unique shapes. Mushroom rock is arguably the most well-known and most photographed solitary rock in the entire desert. Over a long period of time, the relentless forces of nature, mainly wind erosion, have sculpted Mushroom rock into a one-of-a-kind and visually appealing structure.

Rakabat canyon

The Rakabat canyon is a complex series of ravines that cut through the Jabal Um Ishrin massif. The entrance of the canyon is located northeast of the Rum village. The hike and rock scramble is challenging and adventurous, taking about three hours to complete. This hike is recommended only for those who are reasonably fit and do not have balance issues or a fear of heights. The abundance of shade in the canyon offers some protection from the desert heat. You will enjoy breathtaking mountain and desert scenery while learning about the ecosystem of the desert canyon.

Red and yellow Sand dunes

Wadi Rum is home to numerous red and yellow dunes that dot the desert landscape. The dunes are mostly located near rock formations, but some can also be found in open valleys. It is impossible to visit Wadi Rum without seeing and exploring one or more of these dunes. The highest dune in Wadi Rum is Al Hasany Dune while the most popular one is the dune close to Jabal Khazali, which is easier to climb and offers breathtaking views of Khor al Ajram.

Seven pillars of Wisdom - Jabal Al-Mazmar

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a mountain opposite the Wadi Rum visitor center, known as Jabal Al-Mazmar by the Bedouin community. The name of this mountain was popularized by T.E. Lawrence’s book, which was published in the 1920s. He derived the name from a verse in Proverbs which reads, “Wisdom has built her house; she has carved out her seven pillars.” Interestingly, the mountain itself does not have seven distinct pillars. Although Jabal Al-Mazmar is not part of any of our tours, you can still see it from the visitor center or when driving to our office in Rum village.

Um Fruth rock bridge

Um Fruth rock bridge is one of the stunning natural arches in Wadi Rum. It is about 15 meters high and offers great views of the surrounding area. This place is one of the most popular and photographed tourist spots in the Wadi Rum desert, so it can be challenging to find a quiet time to visit. You should expect to encounter a large number of other travelers while you are there. However, with the help of your tour guide, you can climb the bridge to reach the top. Although the climb is steep, it is not difficult and should only take a few minutes. But if you have a fear of heights, it can be a real challenge.

Um Sabatah - sunset area​

The Um Sabatah area, renowned for its vibrant red sand, lies about 10 kilometers from the Rum village. It is known as one of the finest places to experience the awe-inspiring sunset. The valley floor, dunes, rocks, and mountainsides in this area offer the perfect locations to witness the visual feast of colors. As the sun sets, the sky, sand, and mountains gradually change colors, creating a stunning view perfect for photography enthusiasts. However, we highly recommend you put your camera aside and simply sit down to savor the magical sunset amidst the serene and beautiful surroundings.