The Jordan Bike Trail is a 730km, mixed-surface bike route that travels the length of Jordan from North to South, starting in Um Qais and ending in Aqaba. Roughly 60% of the route is paved, including most of the major climbs, while the remaining 40% follows mostly dirt roads. (South of Dhiban, 50% of the route is unpaved.)

 

The trail passes through the main historical and natural wonders of Jordan. It starts in the rolling hills, olive groves, and farms of the North; continues across the dramatic canyons of the Dead Sea region; and passes the remarkable landscapes of Dana, Petra, and Wadi Rum, before finishing by the Red Sea in Aqaba.

 

We’ve organized the trip into 12 single-day stages averaging 61km and 1600m of climbing per day—you can reasonably expect to complete the entire route (including travel and some rest to see sites) in two weeks with three weekends. Each stage ends in a location with both food and accommodation, so you can easily bike the route self-contained without carrying camping/cooking gear. Of course, this stage breakdown is just a suggested itinerary—you can certainly plan your trip for more/fewer days.

 

The structure of oversight of the bike trail has developed over time.  Initially developed by the team at Experience Jordan Adventures as a private initiative starting in 2014.  In 2018 US Aid generously provided funding for Experience Jordan Adventures to further develop the trail, the website and videos, and training of local services providers.  Now a collaboration of private companies has got together to work together to promote and develop the trail.  These companies can assist with tours on the trail, bike rental or other support.

History

How did the Jordan Bike Trail come into being?

The Jordan Bike Trail is built on a long history of traveling across Jordan, with trade routes crossing the land since ancient times. The scouting and development of the trail was done by Experience Jordan Adventures, one of Jordan’s leading adventure tour companies.

 

The team was also involved in the development of the Jordan Trail, a 650km hiking route across the country.  The expertise and knowledge gained during the scouting of the hiking trail massively helped with the development of the bike trail. In some sections the bike trail follows the hiking trail. However, a hiking trail has different design constraints to a biking trail, so in many parts better alternative routes for cycling were scouted and chosen. The bike trail also offers some optional day trip detours to pick up sites not directly en route, such as the Jerash, Amman and the Dead Sea.

Creating an epic trail...

The geography of Jordan is such that there were three main route options to cross the country: the flat along the Jordan Valley dropping to 400m below sea level; the flat on the high plateau to the East over 1,000m above sea level; or the much more interesting route zigzagging between the valley and the plateau, taking in the best of all the terrain and crossing the East-West canyons of the Dead Sea. Choosing this route enabled the trail to be truly stunning with a variety of landscapes and terrain. But, it also means that the trail is a very challenging cycling route with over 20,000m of ascent and descent along the full 700+ km trail – with some long climbs worthy of any mountain stage of a Grand Tour.

 

Jordan is a land of epic wonders, so only an epic trail would fully do justice to the wonderful landscapes. This is not a trail for beginner cyclists wanting to stay on flat roads – it is for riders who love adventure. The terrain is not very technical: the off-road sections are suitable for riders with little off-road experience. The elevation changes do make the trail a challenge though. While this trail includes a lot of ascent and descent, the route was chosen with more gradual ascents on firmer terrain. Occasionally, you will need to get off your bike to pass a stream or rocky section, or push up a particularly steep section. It is possible to do the trail self-supported with bike packing, but we recommend a supported trip for groups. A supported trip allows cyclist to ride without carrying luggage and experience the hospitality of the guides, and the variety of homestays, hotels, bedouin camps, and wilderness campsites.

 

This trail is not meant to be a collection of the best individual sections of riding in Jordan. Rather, it aims to be the most fun, interesting, exciting, and scenic route across the country, connecting the main historic and natural wonders along a variety of terrain.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

A little note from the founder of the trail, Matt Loveland, of Experience Jordan Adventures:

 

“Cycling in Jordan is still a relatively young sport, but it is rapidly growing in popularity, both on and off-road over the last few years.
I moved to Jordan in 2008 and have fallen in love with the country and its people and landscapes. After managing Climbat Amman, I formed Experience Jordan with a friend, Mark Khano, out of a desire to promote and develop the adventure tourism potential of Jordan. Establishing a tourism business in a peaceful country surrounded by noisy neighbours has had its challenges over the year, but the wonders of discovering treasures across the country and being able to then share those with others has made it all worthwhile.
This bike trail has been inspired by the hard work done to promote cycling and adventure in Jordan by so many people. Having lived in Jordan for several years, I have made many friends amongst the outdoor community, and this trail has been created standing on the shoulders of local pioneers who do so much to promote an outdoor life in Jordan.

 

I want to mention a few of those people who I respect for all the hard work they have put in:

 

From the Experience Jordan Adventures Team:

  • Mark Khano, my business partner,  who keeps out of the limelight but has put so many hours in to promote and develop adventure in Jordan.
  • Ayman Abd-AlKareem, my other business partner, the best adventure guide in Jordan, and a great friend. Thank you for all the adventures.
  • Andy Nurse for being up for an adventure and making this website a reality.
  • Jawad Abu Rumman who has spent many hours driving around the country with me to scout this route.
  • Jessica, my daughter, who helped scout the route with me and has a great spirit of adventure.
  • Jack Mandelkorn who took a risk and took time off school to travel to an unknown country to help develop the trail.

 

Others:

  • Nasser Tabbaa
  • Nader Zakibeh
  • Sari Husseini
  • Hussam Sweidan
  • Ammar Satari
  • Dr Tareq Khayyat
  • Batoul Arnout
  • Samir Fakouh, Pascal and Marie Hoyez
  • Hakim Tamimi
  • Rakan Mehyar and Anas Shishani
  • Tony Howard and Di Taylor
  • Lina Annab
  • Muna Haddad

 

..and many others. This list is could grow each year as more people contribute to the growing outdoor adventure scene in Jordan.”

Photos
Bike maintenance with a view
Stocking up for the 10-day scouting trip
Nursing puppies found on the side of the road
Sunset near Petra
Woken up by furry new friends
Scouting crew half-way celebration
First complete ride of the trail.