The characteristic large canyons and wadis of the central region quickly becomes apparent as you leave the Madaba plateau descending to Wadi Zarqa Ma’in, then climbing up a canyon past Mukawir, before plunging back down into Wadi Hidan.
Day six starts by heading south on quiet roads across the plains of the Madaba plateau and through the village of Ma’in. The route then starts a long descent following Wadi Zarqa Ma’in on smooth roads passing the Zarqa Ma’in dam and continues following the river. This portion of the trail is another scenic highlight with brown-rocky mountains on one side and lush green mountains on the other.
At this point, the trail switches to dirt track, and the river opens up into a canyon. The Jordan Bike Trail then follows the south rim of the canyon, with great views. There are some slightly more technical sections crossing the rocky paths.
From the rim of the canyon, the trail has a long-steep ascent to the town of Machaerus / Mukawir, the site of Herod’s fortress where he had John the Baptist beheaded. After the climb, the trail continues on level country roads, passing through the village of Al-Judayyidah. The trail then descends with beautiful views on winding roads hugging the mountainside and onto a scenic dirt track into Wadi Hidan. At the bottom, cycle across the rocks, or get your feet a little wet walking across the narrow river. Upon descending, you will likely get a glimpse of the first cacti on the trail as you have now left the green Northern region and have entered the canyons and wadis of central Jordan.
Difficult – A mixture of long steep climbs and various track surfaces. Over 1,000m of ascent. Some uphill on rugged terrain requiring rider to push bike. Contains off-road track in Wadi Zarqa Ma’in and then one long-steep hill on road with many switchbacks. Relatively rural and hot- make sure to have enough water.
Optional Detour: On reaching the Zarqa Ma’in plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, the route has an optional detour down to the Dead Sea. The detour heads west, overlooking the Ma’in Hot Springs in the valley to the north, and then descends on winding roads hugging the mountain side to the Zara springs and the Dead Sea Highway. Then, head north along the highway overlooking the Dead Sea on your left, and passing the bottoms of several of the Dead Sea canyons on your right. Pamper yourself with a well-earned rest at one of the many hotels and spas at the Dead Sea.