Hiking Petra (part 2: Adventures in the Rocks)

Hiking adventure in Petra off the beaten track: the alternative Siq and a look from above the Treasury.
  • Start at: Visitor's Centre.
  • End at: Visitor's Centre.
  • Distance: ~ 8 km.
  • Time: ~ 4 hours.
  • Difficult parts: A long and steep climb to the cliff against the Treasure, then descend the same path. Three 1-2 m deep steps do go down in the rocks.
  • Food: N/A
  • Water: N/A
  • Wear: solid hiking shoes; if possible, take a pair of gloves and ankle protectors.
  • Warning: You'll be going for an hour in a flash flood zone. Never use this route if the forecast gives even the slightest chance for rain. If caught by a flood, there is no escape; people have died there not once or twice.  
Start at the Visitor's Centre. Follow the main road for about 15 minutes past the Ginn Blocks and few tombs until you reach the small platz before the Siq (some of the tombs on the right-hand side can be explored). Do not enter the Siq, but turn right and follow a small gorge with sandy bottom and many blooming oleanders (enjoy their delicate vanilla aroma). In the beginning of the path there is a tunnel in the rock about 50 m long. Go through it and continue through the gorge which slowly goes up ward and narrows. Soon the gorge will become only a few meters narrow and will start winding through high rocks. At this point you are in a place that looks like the Siq, but is narrower and the bottom is clearly polished by thousands of years of rain. There are 3 difficult places where you'll have to go down 1-2 m. Do not jump, but try to hold yourself to the rock while going down; do this only facing the rock. Enjoy the beautiful forms, smoothly carved by the water in the steep cliffs - more colourful and more exciting that in the Siq. Close to its end the gorge will expand into a small opening, forming what was probably a chapel. Clearly visible are artificial niches on the walls. When you exit the gorge, you'll stand higher than the Colonnaded street. Go towards the Roman Amphitheatre that you know from the previous hike. On your way take a look at the tomb of the Roman procurator. Shortly after it, watch on your left for a narrow crack in the rocks which has a staircase carved. Follow it up for about half an hour to the summit, then cross the ridge with a slow descend. At the end you'll find yourself right across the Treasury with a spectacular view on it. Turn back and get down via the same staircase. Continue to the Roman Amphitheatre, exploring the tombs on your left. Some of them are multi-stories (!) and one has a fantastic colonnade, which was carved entirely from the rock. When you reach the Amphitheatre, turn left to the Treasury and then follow the Siq back to the exit. Tracks: KMZ file (Note: coordinates are approximate, because they were taken from Google Earth and not from GPS device.)
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