Andrew Evans is an award-winning author, travel writer and TV host. He is the author of five books and a contributor to over a dozen titles. As National Geographic’s original Digital Nomad, Andrew completed over 40 assignments across all seven continents, publishing over 700 stories combined online and in print.
He continues to write for National Geographic, National Geographic Travel, Afar, BBC Travel, Smithsonian, Chicago Tribune, and Readers’ Digest. Andrew’s writing has won him two Lowell Thomas Awards, three NATJA, and two Folio Awards. As a host for National Geographic Channel and CBS, his TV shows have been viewed in over 250 million households in 70 countries. His travel memoir The Black Penguin (University of Wisconsin Press) can be purchased on Amazon.
On March 31, 2017, Andrew Evans departed from Um Qais on a 600-km walk through the Jordan Trail, reaching his final destination of Aqaba and the Red Sea. This 40-day hike, comprised of 8 sections, is referred to as the Thru-Hike.
Get an up close and personal look at Jordan’s new trail and immerse yourselves in Jordan’s rich cultural experiences and interact with the communities along the Thru-Hike. Discover Andrew's journey as he walks the entire country; embraces the unexpected, risks old assumptions and gains new perspectives.
The Jordan Trail Thru-Hike is a long distance hiking trail in Jordan connecting the length of Jordan from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. Offering 40 days of hiking over more than 650 kilometers of trail, and travelling through 52 villages and towns on its way. The trail traverses the diverse landscapes and vistas of the country, from the rolling wooded hills of the north, the rugged wadis and cliffs overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley, the rose rock of Petra, the dramatic sands and towering mountains in Wadi Rum, to the crystal waters of the Red Sea. For more information about planning a trip to the Jordan Trail, check out the Jordan Trail Association.
In the most northern region of the trail, lush, green hills and canyons carry you to ancient Roman sites, over rolling hills, and through oak forests. The diverse and fertile landscape here with its ancient olive trees and hot springs bursts into bloom every spring, with the trees laden with fresh fruit. The villages here are pioneers of community-based tourism with homestays, home-cooked meals, and handicraft stalls adding a true cultural experience to this beautiful northern corner of Jordan.
This section weaves through farmland and a spattering of rural villages as you leave Ajloun and its hilltop castle behind. The trail crosses the King Talal Dam, before ascending a hilltop following rich farmlands to the village of Rmeimeen with its beautiful church spire and minaret. Winding down through fertile valleys, the trail reaches the town of Fuhais.
Here you leave the more northern regions and Amman behind and head towards the Dead Sea. Walk past the ancient palace of Iraq Al-Ameer before descending along the spectacular King Hussein’s Rally Road to the Jordan Valley. The climate and scenery changes as the Dead Sea looms from a plateau and Bedouin camps scatter the path. The trail now follows a roman road, encountering basalt cliffs and Wadi Zarqa Ma’in with its year-round stream.
By this point on the trail you encounter some of the spectacular Dead Sea wadis. First, Wadi Mujib, one of the grandest wadis in Jordan, Fertile farmland with rich red soils and Bedouin tents create a dramatic landscape. The ruins of Majdaline lead you to Wadi Ibin Hammad before descending into Wadi el Tawahin. Finally, Wadi ez Zaiyatin takes you to the imposing crusader castle of Karak, impressively situated to overlook the surrounding landscape.
The crusader landscape continues in this section as you exit Karak, passing the old crusader village of Shehabieh and the abandoned village of Khirbet Ainun. Orchards and olive groves grow abundantly through fertile plains. Crossing another Dead Sea canyon, Wadi Hasa, the landscape becomes a series of towering limestone cliffs and ridges before reaching Edomite ruins at Sela and Ma’tan. After moving on through the deep Wadi Labun, the trail turns to easier terrain as it passes over the next hill to the restored village of Dana, its hotels and campsite resting on the rim of Wadi Dana at the edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve.
A truly awe-inspiring section of the Jordan Train and named by National Geographic as one of the 15 best hikes in the world. The trail descends the hilltop village of Dana into Wadi Feynan and onto the dramatic mountain plateaus of Wadi Araba. This region crosses several climate zones, diverse ecosystems, hidden canyons, and dramatic labyrinths of hills and valleys displaying the full spectrum of the region’s geology. The scenery spans from majestic and epic mountaintops to peaceful, fertile farmlands with new landscapes presenting themselves every few kilometres. This section’s most dramatic and memorable aspect is the departure at the Nabatean masterpiece, Petra. A chance to enter the city through the ‘back door’ to walk in the footsteps of ancient traders. Few other trails can boast a site as spectacular as Petra.
Connecting the two legendary sites of Petra and Wadi Rum is a week-long trek across one of the longest stretches of wilderness on the Jordan Trail. Here in the empty but striking desert, with its dramatic rock formations, stargazing and peace are found at their best. Starting with deep, rugged wadis and moving into open, sandy plains, this section of the trail takes you deep into the places where humans seldom go. Finishing at Wadi Rum village offers a taste of Bedouin life after the remoteness of this section.
Leaving Wadi Rum village behind you, the trail passes beneath the towering cliffs of Jabal Rum and Jabal Um Ishrin through the iconic landscape of Wadi Rum – vast, echoing and godlike wrote T.E. Lawrence. Continuing through the magnificent desert landscape, the trail passes the cliffs of Jabal Khazali, Jabal Qattar and weaves between the unique and colorful backdrops of Wadi Rum’s sandstone desert mountains. The trail here follows old shepherd paths, winding its way west across desert wadis and over granite mountains striated with basalt dyke intrusions. At the last pass, the first view of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, beyond which lie the mountains of Sinai. The final destination is the warm waters of the Red Sea and the port of Aqaba.
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