In a previous blog we’ve mentioned The Jordan Trail, in the upcoming blogs we’ll walk you through every single detail for the journey.
First four days:
In the most northerly and greenest part of Jordan, the hills and canyons are packed with the ruins of many ancient civilizations. The fertility of the hot Jordan Valley, the grasslands on the hills above it, and the oak forests of the highest mountains provide an enchanting natural backdrop to the trek between historic sites from the past two millennia and beyond. Hot springs, huge ancient olive trees, caves, mysterious prehistoric structures, Roman cities, and villages pioneering community-based tourism are some of the attractions of this northern corner of Jordan.
Length: 80 Km
Main sites in the region:
- Ruins of Roman Decapolis cities at Um Qais and Pella
- Ecopark at Wadi Ziglab
- Byzantine monastery ruins at Tel Mar Elias, traditional birthplace of the prophet Elijah
- Community tourism and rural scenery in the al-Ayoun villages
· Medieval mountaintop site of Ajloun Castle
Let’s start with day #1 from Um Qais to Ziglab
It’s the first day, so nice to begin downhill. Starting at the basalt ruins of the Decapolis of Um Qais overlooking the Sea of Galilee, we head down towards the Arab Dam, reaching Tel Mazraa’ at the water’s edge. We then follow the south side of the reservoir before climbing hills to a flat rich agriculture plain and the village of Zabda. Beyond, we drop down and follow Wadi Darraba and Quseiba to the weat, finally heading south and crossing Wadi et Taiyiba to the Ziglab Lake and Eco Park. A beautiful hike especially nice in the Spring.
Day #2 from Ziglab to Beit Idis
The way heads south from the Ecopark gate rising gently around hills directly above the sub sea level agricultural plain of the Jordan Rift Valley to which it briefly descends, passing by fields before rising into the hills. Continuing south, paths and tracks cross the hilltops before a good track descends SW to the hot springs and natural arch beyond which a country lane leads to the Greco-Roman ruins of Pella with the Rest House on the hill above and the Countryside Hotel and homestays in the village of Tabgat Fahl below. We continue up the side of the impressive valley of Wadi el Jirim directly behind the ruins to emerge through pine trees onto upland meadows. Still following the line of the valley up, now called Wadi Sir you pass the ruins of a Byzantine Church and on to the ‘Jesus Cave’ before heading for the village of Beit Idis.
Day #3 from Beit Idis to Rasoun
Small lanes lead N out of the village and across the upper reaches of Wadi Sir to a road rising up though wooded countryside before descending NE into the beautiful and thickly wooded Wadi Zubia. Dependent on the season there may be water in the stream. Follow the valley up until the trees thin out, revealing the cisterns and ruins of Roman Qabla up to the left. A lane then goes S up the hillside to where the main road is followed W before descending a wooded valley and hillside and crossing Wadi Orjan to reach Rasoun village and homestays.
Day #4 from Rasoun to Ajloun Castle
Generally easy walking today, often on country lanes through the rural villages of Al Ayoun with opportunities for a pre-arranged lunch in one of Al Ayoun’s homestays. RSCN’s Soap House and Calligraphy house are also nearby for an interesting visit. Then the walk meanders over increasingly high semi-forested hills and past the ruins of the ancient church of Mar Elyas to the Islamic castle of Ajloun on its dominating hilltop with a Visitor Centre, cafés and hotels (currently rather mediocre) in the town below.