Little Petra to Petra

  • Little Petra
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Near the start - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Little Petra - © Flickr user - Tympsy
  • Little Petra - © Flickr user - Tympsy

Key information: Little Petra to Petra

  • Siq al Barrid (the cool siq), or Little Petra, is an intriguing place: a trading and supply suburb of Petra itself, tucked into its own sandy little canyon some 8km from Petra itself, entered through a ludicrously narrow bottleneck one camel wide, it has charm rather than grandeur.
  • Head off, the other side of the tat-sellers from Little Petra, rounding a cliff to an area of dry fields surrounded by outlandish cliffs, domes and stacks.
  • Through a gorge and over a plain of sun-baked fields woven with sandy little starter-wadis, is the ridge-top at the head of the so-called Three Valleys, a trio of gorges that drop, drily and dramatically, down to the Petra basin.
  • Wadi Muaysra as Sharkiyya, the central and easiest of the gorges, soon narrows into a dramatic orange sandstone canyon, tombs start appearing later on.
  • Siqs (slot canyons) are vulnerable to flash-flooding. Be absolutely certain of the weather (both recent and approaching) before entering.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating93
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest15
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points1
  • Total rating93
  • Note: Negs: Crowds at Little Petra

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 3hrs
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
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© William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

Siq al Barrid (the cool siq), or Little Petra, is an intriguing place: tucked into its own sandy little canyon some 8km from Petra itself, entered through a ludicrously narrow bottleneck one camel wide, it has charm rather than grandeur. It is quiet, almost intimate, compared to Petra ville centre, once the morning tour buses have headed on, although it would be a famous site in its own right were it not for its show-off neighbour.

Little Petra is thought to have been a trading and supply suburb of Petra itself. Explore its tombs and, dining rooms, including the Painted House, which boasts faded ceiling paintings of birds and foliage.

Then, it is Packs-On Time. A good track heads off, the other side of the tat-sellers from Little Petra, between a cliff and a riverbed across which there are the black goat-hair tents and browsing livestock of a Bedouin settlement. Across some humps of low rock is a group of dry fields surrounded by outlandish cliffs, domes and stacks.

Through the Wadi Gurab gorge, you climb a bank to a little plain of sun-baked fields between more outcrops, woven with sandy little starter-wadis. Skirting this, you reach the ridge-top at the head of the so-called Three Valleys, a trio of gorges that drop, drily and dramatically, down to the Petra basin.

Choosing your gorge isn't that easy, but if you aim at the middle you will hit something which will get you to Petra (check the Cicerone carefully before choosing which gorge is for you). We descended Wadi Muaysra as Sharkiyya, the central and easiest of the gorges, which starts in parched little fields under a grand cliff, but soon narrows into a dramatic orange sandstone gorge brightened by vivid oleanders on the riverbed. After a long, enjoyable, scrambly trudge, tombs start appearing. Further on, we rested in the kindly shade at the back of a large chamber, mesmerised by the bright, wavy stripes of its sandstone walls.

You eventually have to climb out of the gorge to miss an unreasonably placed drop. Crossing a low hilltop, the earthquake-smashed detritus of the Petra basin appears below, its severity softened by the vivid reds and greens of a thick strip of oleanders beside the nearly riverbed.

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

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Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© William Mackesy

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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© William Mackesy...
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