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Wadi Mujib’s lower gorge

“The view which the Mujib represents is very striking… the valley looks like a deep chasm formed by some convulsion of the earth, into which there seems no possibility of descending to the bottom.” (J. L. Burckhardt, 1812)

Experiencing Jordan’s Grand Canyon involves swimming, jumping, abseiling and floating. its sheer red walls tower skyward while its all width is filled with running water, plunging through an awe-inspiring 15 m waterfall.
Beautiful pools are located near the confluence of Wadi Mujib and Wadi el Hidan, tempting the trekker to swim against the current into the majestic gorge of Wadi el Hidan.

Wadi El-Moujip Lower Gorge: Type of route: Circular.
Altitude difference, Distance and Walking time: 200 m ascent and descent with some level stretches in between, 6 km, 9 hours.
Rating: Strenuous. Abseiling is unavoidable. The route includes swimming sections.
Falls: One waterfall. A few sections where hiker’s rope is necessary.
Special equipment: Two 20 m ropes and ordinary abseiling gear. Unless you have a waterproof bag everything you carry will get wet.

Water: Gushing stream. The water is not recommended for drinking. Consider carrying 3 liters each.
Season: The Mujib gorge is open from the 1st of April to the 31st of October. Be aware of flash flood risk even during this period! The route is most enjoyable in mid-summer.

During the last Ice Age the water level of the Dead Sea reached 180 m below sea level, about 230 m higher than today. The lake flooded the lower reaches of the canyons along its banks, which became bays and begun to accumulate sediments. As the climatic conditions changed, about 20,000 years ago, the water level of the lake dropped, leaving the re-emergent canyons blocked with lake marl. Most canyons managed to cut through their plugged outlets and to resume their erstwhile lower courses. However, Wadi Mujib abandoned its former outlet by breaking through a cleft in the sandstone. This narrow cleft became the bottleneck of an enormously large drainage basin with a huge discharge. During the years the cleft was scoured deeper and the gorge of Wadi Mujib was formed.

The Ibex Trail (2-3 hours dry trail): begins at the Mujib Bridge Reception by the Mujib Bridge on the Dead Sea highway, from where a guide will escort you south for a short distance along the highway before turning onto a steeply ascending trail into the nature reserve. After the first steep climb it diverges to the south, following a wide track running parallel to the Dead Sea. The Sea provides a startlingly blue backdrop throughout the hike. About one third of the distance along the trail, there is an optional detour up the mountainside to Qasr Riyash, a ruined fortification of uncertain date. Villagers say that it is one of four castles in the area, occupied by a powerful Bedouin sheikh known as Riyash. Each of his sons reputedly occupied a castle, until a fight erupted over grazing rights and all of them were killed. The climb to the castle is arduous but offers breathtaking views over the Dead Sea.
Returning to main track, the hike continues towards the Raddas Ranger Station, dipping up and down across a number of dry wadis. There are an amazing variety of rock colors and formations along the route and as you near the ranger station, the famous rock “statue” of Lots wife can be seen on the seaward edge of the reserve. It is said that while fleeing the villages of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife ignored the warning not to look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. It takes 3 hours to get to the rangers station (4 km)At the station, there is a large fenced enclosure in which you can see a small breeding herd of magnificent Nubian Ibex– a wild ‘mountain goat’ with long, impressively curved horns. This animal was once common in the region but has been decimated by hunting. Mujib is one of the few safe havens for Ibex, in the reserve, there is a captive breeding programme to boost the wild population. In recent years, many Ibex from this enclosure have been released into the reserve to replenish the wild population that was devastated by hunting. After a rest at the station, visitors hike from the station to the entrance of the reserve through a road that takes 1.5 hours.

Malaqi Trail (9 hours water trail): This is an exciting trail, offering a chance to swim in the cool, clear waters of the Mujib and Hidan rivers. It starts at the reserve reception like the “Ibex Trail” and follows the same route into the nature reserve (see description). This trail leads quickly to a striking area of creamy-white hills made of soft lissan deposits, reminiscent of the American Badlands. After passing through these hills, you begin your descent to the river Mujib, crystal clear, fast flowing and teeming with life. Small fish are plentiful, as well as frogs. Bright kingfishers are often seen speeding along the river channel, as well as circling birds of prey. Dense vegetation lines the rivers sides, making a stark contrast to the arid, naked mountains that surround you. The hike continues upstream along the river edge, to its confluence with the Hidan River. There are deep pools here, ready made for swimming, where you can linger, eat a picnic and just enjoy this wild paradise. Then you can either go back the same way to the reserve’s entrance or you can go through the Mujib gorge to descend a waterfall (20 m) and finish the trail at the Mujib Bridge. The hike takes 9 hours of hiking and swimming.

Mujib Canyon Trail (Water Fall): this trail is like the Malaqi trail, offering the same route which goes all the way to the Hidan river (please see the description above), but as for this trail, its only 4 hours. (The beginning of the hike is under the sun (1 hour) but it becomes cool when you reach the water).
(Open from the 1st of April until the 31st of October)

4. Mujib Trail (7-8 hours of dry trail): a tough, exciting trail. The experience begins near the village of Fag’ua, on the eastern edge of the nature reserve. Fag’ua is reached from the famous King’s Highway that leads out of Amman, through the town of Madaba (famous for its mosaics). Your guide will meet you at RSCN office in Fagua, from where you will be led to the ranger station to start the hike. The trail descends rapidly into the Reserve following a precipitous Wadi with spectacular scenery. The hike follows the Wadi to the Raddas Rangers Station at the Ibex enclosures taking 5-6 hours to complete (15 km). (Open all year through)
5. Siq Trail ( 2-3 hours water trail): easy trail of swimming in Mujib Reserve to a waterfall and back to Mujib Bridge. Please note that the water level is relatively high this year 2005 (not less than 2 m) and the swimming distance is relatively long (15 m sometimes) but we are having ropes fastened to the gorge wall for people to hold when they get tired.