Wadi Mujib, Jordan: Scariest. Hike. Ever. | Boomer Travel

December 6, 2021

wadi mujib

Jordan is a country full of adventures to be had! One of the absolute highlights of my trip there was a hike through the Wadi Mujib Siq Trail. This thrilling 2-4 hour hike takes you through a rushing river in the middle of a gorgeous slot canyon, rock climbing, swimming, several waterfalls, waterslides, and culminating at a beautiful double-waterfall.

The Mujib Reserve of Wadi Mujib is located in the mountainous landscape to the east of the Dead Sea, in the southern part of Jordan valley, approximately 56 miles south of Amman. The 82 square mile reserve was created in 1987 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature.

Part of the Mujib Biosphere reserve which is the lowest biosphere in the world,

Wadi Mujib also reaches 3,000 feet above sea level in some places. This 4,300-foot variation in elevation, combined with the valley’s year-round water flow from seven tributaries, means that Wadi Mujib enjoys a magnificent biodiversity that is still being explored and documented today.

Wadi Mujib is also believed to be the historical site of Arnon Valley, which once separated the Amorites from the Moabites.

Disclosure: Most of the photos are screenshots/captures taken from my GoPro videos. They are not the best quality because everything moved so quickly. But you’ll get the “picture” (pun intended).

Wadi Mujib at a Glanc

  • Length: 43 mi
  • Area: 81.85 mi²
  • Source elevation: 3,117′
  • Mouth: Dead Sea
  • Management: Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
  • Established: 1987
  • Country: Jordan

Approximate Costs

  • $30 entrance fee
  • $7 water shoe rental
  • $14 dry bag rental
  • $40 guide for group
  • $150 tour from Amman

Getting to Wadi Mujib

Wadi Mujib is located on the Dead Sea Highway, about an hour and a half from Amman. There is no public transportation from Amman to Wadi Mujib. You can rent a car or sign up for a tour with a driver to take you which includes the admission price like I did. Note: these tours do not include a guide within Wadi Mujib.

When to Go

This popular Jordan hike is seasonal and closed in the winter (usually April 1st to October 31st) but often opens late if there are heavy spring rains. The trail is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s around two miles round trip but will take from 2 to 4 hours to hike due to the difficulty of scrambling against the current, time to climb the slippery boulders, traverse the waterfalls, and wait in line hanging onto ropes when there are a lot of people ahead of you.

Make sure you check the weather before you go. Wadi Mujib closes when it rains.


You must be 18 to do this hike and it requires a significant amount of upper body strength as ropes and ladders are used to climb throughout the water.

You will get wet and you will likely find yourself fully submerged in the water, so even though you will be wearing a lifejacket, you must know how to swim.

Scrambling over wet, slippery boulders and forging against a river current are part of the experience. You need a sense of adventure and be in good physical condition; however, you can turn around at any point that feels like it is out of your comfort zone.

Do You Need a Guide?

Wadi Mujib is a spellbinding experience, but it’s also one that can require expertise in navigation. A guide is optional for hiking the Siq Trail in Wadi Mujib. It isn’t essential and you can happily walk as far as you would like without one.

However, unless you are with a large group with several strong people to help out if you get stuck, or (hopefully not) get hurt, I would recommend hiring a guide.

Wadi Mujib wasn’t part of the G Adventures Jordan tour I took, but I’m sure your G Adventures host would be more than happy to set up transportation and a guide for you.

Guides can:

  • Give you an extra hand climbing over some of the more difficult obstacles of the canyon;
  • Know the best ways to climb up the waterfalls;
  • Help you navigate your way through the trail and among other groups when the trail is full of traffic from both directions.

You can either hire a guide at the Visitor’s Center or pick one up within the canyon (which I did, as you’ll read below).

What to Wear

wadi muib

Every hiker is required to wear a lifejacket. Sturdy water shoes with good treads are a must to climb the boulders and walk on the stones. You can rent them, but they are plastic, flimsy things, and I was glad I’d brought my own.

As far as dress, you can pretty much wear what you like. I wore swimshorts and a tee-shirt and was very comfortable. Whatever you choose, I’d recommend that they are made from quick-drying material. Any fabrics that retain water will weigh you down when trying to traverse the river or climb the rocks.

Check out my full What to Wear in Jordan guide, which includes Wadi Mujib.

What to Bring

You’ll need a dry bag to store your phone and anything else that you do not want to get wet. You can rent them, but again, I had a small one that I brought with me that was perfect. Note: be sure to sling it across your body or clip it to your lifejacket so it doesn’t get carried away with the rushing river.

A GoPro or other waterproof camera is a must. The Siq Trail is beyond gorgeous and you’ll want to preserve your memories. I could voice-activate my GoPro to take videos and photos, which was imperative since I could not use my hands in the rushing water. Be sure you have a handle that floats as well as something that tethers it to your wrist (I had to let it dangle when I was climbing the rocks and needed both hands).

Towel and dry clothes.

I left a bag with my towel, clothes, and other non-valuables with my driver, who was waiting for me, but you can also rent a locker.

The canyon is almost completely in the shade and the river is cool so I did not bring water or wear sunscreen and did not regret it.


After lots of pre-trip research, I only decided to hike this extraordinary natural site with much trepidation. I watched a lot of YouTube videos, some of which recorded the hike from the beginning.

I noticed right away that they were all young and hiking in groups, or at least as couples. I did not see any “women of a certain age” hiking solo. So there’s that.

I was also able to map out the trail in my mind, including all the spots that would need some technical physical skills, namely successfully navigating a dozen or so waterfalls and/or rapids and climbing over slippery boulders while hanging onto ropes for dear life. I even pretty much had pinpointed the spot, traversing the first waterfall, where I thought I’d have to turn back, and I was okay with that.

Honestly, I was not even sure I was going to do it until a few days before my flight to Jordan. At that point, my serious FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I bit the bullet. I mean, why not? I could turn around at any point that made me uncomfortable and I’d still have part of the experience and a ton of dazzling photos.

But I won’t lie…while I was anticipating a great adventure, I WAS SCARED TO DEATH SILLY.

Aka the “Grand Canyon of Jordan,” awe-inspiring Wadi Mujib is a fast-running river that runs through a narrow slot canyon ending at the Dead Sea. I did the strenuous Siq Trail, a 2–4 hour trek (depending on fitness level and the number of people on the trail) which had me pushing against the rushing river, scampering and struggling to get over huge, slick boulders, tenuously crossing multiple waterfalls, and sometimes plunging neck-deep in the rushing water while pulling myself forward and hanging on for dear life to a rope along the canyon wall.

The Incredible Trek

I do love hiking, mostly when there’s a reward of a gorgeous view or photo opp. Hiking through pushing water was a new experience for me.

wadi muib

After checking in at the Visitor’s Center, I walked down the bridge until I got to a rock landing and a metal ladder leading down into the canyon. If you look to your right, you’ll see the Dead Sea; to the left is the beginning of the Siq Trail. I’d gotten there at around 10 a.m. and there were still not very many people yet.

siq trail

The thrilling moment you step ankle-deep into the water, you can feel the current going against you.

I walked against the current into the gorge until the water gradually got deeper, until it reaches mid-thigh. It’s refreshing but it makes it harder to master.

Not far up, the water reaches your waist and escalates to an all-out adventure. I could not help but giggle out loud at this point.

slot canyon

Suddenly the canyon narrows, forming a true “slot” and the sun all but disappears. It’s truly a magical scene that leaves you breathless.

I reached the first set of rocks that I’d seen on all the videos I’d watched. A small but strong waterfall of water rushed over them, making them slippery as hell. Next to the boulders were two metal rungs installed into the cliffside to assist climbers.

Now here’s the problem… upper body strength is not my strong suit. The bottom rung is about chest high. I grabbed the second rung, put my feet on the crazy slippery first rung, but could not hoist myself up with my weakling arms.

Fortunately, there was a guide stationed at this point. He reached down and pulled me up and I scrambled in and up a crevice between two large boulders.

Here’s the kicker – the guide, Ali, stayed with me for the rest of my journey.

wadi muib

Traversing the first waterfall was where I had anticipated I would have to turn back. You have to stretch your legs quite far between two rocks with menacing water rushing forward threatening to slam you back down into the river.

It’s not just me. In the videos I’d watched pre-trip, there were plenty of people who had difficulty at this point.

wadi muib

Fear began to slip its icy fingers around me. But before I could procrastinate more than a few seconds, I took a (literal) leap of faith assisted by Ali, and lickety-split, I was over that bullying waterfall without much effort on my part.

I think this might be about halfway through the hike, and since I hadn’t planned to make it this far, everything after that was the icing on the cake.

The scenery was so picturesque that I had to just stop and gawk at the towering cliffs that seemed to almost touch at the top. And take pictures.

wadi muib

Then the water got progressively deeper, but there were ropes on the sides of the canyon to hold onto and pull your way forward. I found this pretty easy and quite a bit of fun, even as the rapids grew stronger. The ropes were a lifesaver, preventing me from washing away, and I held on tight.

wadi muib

After crossing another waterfall and being hauled up a large steep rock wall, the water was over my head and I had to swim across to the other side of the canyon where there were more ropes pinned to the gorge in a zig-zag pattern and, of course, more rocks to climb.

More boulders, rapids, ropes, and swimming, and we got to a spot where there was a larger waterfall with another wall of rocks with a ladder to climb next to it. Ali was urging me on, but I was stuck in place. It wasn’t climbing the rocks or the waterfall that were intimidating me…

Between the waterfall and the rock to climb up was a large rock waterslide. Climbing down the rocks did not seem to be possible and no one was coming down that way. The returning people were sliding down the waterslide into the rushing water.

I’d reach my red line. I did not want to slide down the rock. What could possibly go wrong? The possibility of getting hurt and spending more time in a foreign hospital was just too nerve-wracking, not to mention my travel insurance does not cover canyoning.

So I declined going forward and did not feel guilty about it. I’d made it around 85% of the way, which was way more than I’d expected.

Just for the record, I didn’t see any Baby Boomers sliding back down that ominous-looking rock.

wadi muib

Going back down was equally frightening as the rapids tried their best to push me headlong off the rocks, sometimes spinning me around.

I’d timed it just right, because on the way down there was a horde of people trying to make their way up, leading to long queues of people hanging on the ropes for their turn to climb up the boulders and waterfalls.

floating down the siq

The rest of the journey back was done floating on my back, letting the current do the work.

I took time to gaze at the incredible surroundings while floating downstream and they were enchanting. The unique beauty of Wadi Mujib was mesmerizing, and I mused yet again, how big the world is and how small I am. I took in the slot canyon’s striated purple, orange and red, walls, effervescent emerald water, and the golden sun barely peeking through the top of the cliffs.

Emerging out of the siq, I could see the vertical ladder up the rocks off in the distance and the Dead Sea on the horizon. Too soon! I did not want to leave this mystical place, filled with endorphins from my accomplishment.


wadi muib

Truth be told, my experience in Wadi Mujib was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. My adrenaline was spiked the entire time (except for the float back down). I did not think I’d be able to do it, but after recovering 90% from my 2014 South African car crash, I try to push myself beyond my comfort zone.

A big shout out to my guide, Ali, who several times towed me up the rocks by sheer physical strength as well as take videos for and of me. Because of him, I did manage it, and that sense of accomplishment will stay with me forever.

my guide, Ali

No words and no amount of GoPro videos can accurately capture what it feels like clambering over gigantic boulders (sometimes on all fours), traversing waterfalls amid forceful rapids which could literally sweep you off your feet, or floating down the calm water back down the gorge.

Hiking Wadi Mujib is one of the best things you can do in Jordan…and that’s saying a lot for the country that offers Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea!

Click below to PIN so you can find Wadi Mujib again:

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Disclosure:  The author partnered with G Adventures during her visit to Jordan, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

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  1. Pingback: Jordan Itinerary: How to Ideally Segment Your 5 Day Trip

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