Wadi Mudhlim – Alternative Route into Petra, Jordan

3 04 2011
Don’t think of using this as a free route into Petra – you still have to pay as it’s past the gate!

When I was in Jordan on one of my many trips in 2001/2, I read about an alternative to The Siq route into Petra from Wadi Musa. That is via Wadi Mudhlim – the dry river valley of the Moslem. This starts at the entrance to The Siq and begins with a 90 yard Nabatean tunnel immediately to your right. It was a little tense when I did this route the first time as I couldn’t be absolutely certain of the route, especially as there are some forks in the wadi. Also there are 2 waterfalls to jump down off which would be extremely difficult to reverse, I was alone, pretty sure I was in the right Wadi but not absolutely certain, and of course your mobile doesn’t work in such a deep gorge!

Nabatean tunnel

After the tunnel you enter a fairly wide, sandy and pretty gorge – at this point about 15 feet wide and open.

Wadi Mudhlim start

This soon narrows dramatically with the rock walls closing in and getting sheer and much higher. You are soon confronted by a waterfall (dry) to descend – probably only about 6 foot high but undercut. You have to jump/lower off this.

Looking back after jumping down first dry fall

Not long after that, you are confronted with a more serious fall – probably about 10 feet high, again undercut. The sides are quite narrow here so you can jam yourself down it. I spent some time at the top of both of these wondering whether I should continue – I was fairly sure you could get out of the exit of the Wadi but obviously things in watercourses change and my book was written a few years before. Anyway, I bit the bullet and jumped/lowered down.

Looking back after lowering down second dry fall (2nd chockstone is top of fall)

There are then some forks in the wadi but I guessed that, as Petra should now be to my left, I’d take the left fork.

Wadi Mudhlim

This was exceedingly narrow in places, sometimes you were lying with your back against a diagonally slanting wall and squeezing through a winding passageway – all fascinating stuff! Luckily I’m not fat!

The winding way ahead

Wadi Mudhlim diagonal squeeze

Soon unfortunately the excitement was over and the gorge walls started to lower, it got lighter, there were a few more winds of the channel and then, there was Petra! (albeit the bottom end)…

Wadi Mudhlim end

Petra Coloured Cave

Petra Coloured Rock

Petra – start of Ed-Deir (monastery) route

Path from Ed-Deir

The Siq-Treasury



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