The Jordan Bike Trail is a physically challenging route (climbing nearly 20 000m over 730 km). The terrain of Jordan – between the high plateau in the East and the Jordan Rift Valley in the West — contains numerous canyons (wadis) that cross the country from east to west. Traveling north to south means that you have to cross most of them. It’s beautiful riding, but hard work!
The route is not technical, however. 60% of the route follows paved roads, while the vast majority of the remaining 40% follows dirt roads—it might feel like a lot of pavement, but the route was intentionally designed to make climbs rideable. There are very occasional short sections of technical riding—all easily walkable if you’re not comfortable riding. You don’t need to be an experience technical mountain biker to ride this route. Around Wadi Rum a number of kilometers are quite sandy, and you may have to push your bike—it’s not particularly technical, but it can be slow going.
The first half of the route, before Kerak, has significantly more climbing and is therefore considerably more physically demanding than the latter, southern half of the route (which also happens to cover some of Jordan’s most visually stunning terrain).
We’ve used the following rough challenge rating system for estimating stage difficulty on the Jordan Bike Trail:
up to 500m of ascent
Little effort required.
500-1250m of ascent
Some effort required, but easily manageable.
1000-1500m of ascent
Some of the ascent is on unpaved surfaces; moderate effort required.
1500-2000m of ascent
Includes demanding long and/or steep climbs, or long stretches of slow, inefficient trail surfaces (sand).
2000+m of ascent
Includes very long and/or steep climbs, some of which are on less efficient surface-types; strenuous!