In addition to the hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice, a number of longer walks away from the center of Petra provide important vistas of this extraordinary place. These walks involve some amount of climbing as well as scrambling over rocks and ruined pathways; therefore, it’s best to have companions with you. Guides at Petra will escort you for about JD 35 to JD 50. Note: You’re required to have a guide when you go to more remote areas.
Jabal Haroun (the Mountain of Aaron, brother of Moses) is a climbing trek that can take as much as 4 to 8 hours depending on your route and requires a guide. The way passes Ad Deir (the Monastery), Petra’s largest carved tomb, built in the 1st century a.d., with an interior adorned by carved and painted crosses from the Byzantine period. Across the canyon from Ad Deir is Jabal Haroun, the highest peak in the area. A small, white church containing the tomb of Aaron stands at the top of the mountain. In winter, you might ask your guide to descend on the route that passes Wadi Siyah, where winter rains create a waterfall. This difficult but beautiful winter hike will take at least 3 hours, and a few additional hours if you return via Wadi Siyah. Wadi Turkimaniya is a pleasant 45-minute round-trip walk down the wadi that starts behind and to the left of the Temple of the Winged Lions. The easy road through the wadi supports rich vegetation in winter and leads to Petra’s only tomb with a Nabatean inscription.
Qasr Habis (the Crusader’s Castle) is a climb that goes from near Petra’s museum to the not very impressive ruins of Petra’s Crusader stronghold; however, the pathway leads to wonderful vistas that overlook beautiful canyons. The round-trip can run from 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
The High Place of Sacrifice is one of the most popular destinations for hikers, heading to the great altars carved from rock (with drainage channels for the blood of sacrificial animals) far above the city. The panorama of Petra is dazzling; the round-trip hike can take from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours and is not for visitors who are out of shape.
Additional treks to the Snake Monument and to Jebal Numair entail a minimum of 5 or 6 hours and require guides. There are also car tours and hikes available to Al Madras and Al Barid, nearby satellite towns of Petra. Al Barid is a kind of mini-Petra, entered through a smaller version of Petra’s Siq; its filled with carved canyon structures. Unlike at Petra, some of Al Barid’s structures carved into cliff sides seem to have served as houses. Archaeology buffs can also take a taxi excursion (or hike with a Bedouin guide, about a 6-hr. round-trip) to the site of El Beidha, a Neolithic village from the 8th millennium b.c. A full-day or overnight-camping tour from Petra to the beautiful desertscapes of Wadi Rum is also highly recommended.