On my first day in Petra I did a truly insane amount of hiking. In addition to walking the entire main trail, I also hiked to well above the Treasury and conquered the 900ish stone steps that separated me from the gorgeous Monastery.
According to my iPhone ‘Health’ app, I walked a whopping 24.7km – and I did it all in my Birkenstocks and jeans!
I was aching from my toes all the way up to my head, and I am pretty sure that if hair strands had nerve endings those would’ve been aching too!
However, despite my soreness and stiff muscles, I was in Petra! I couldn’t let a day in the Lost City go to waste purely because of some physical discomfort. So after giving myself a little pep talk, it was time to tackle yet another hiking trail; and this time I was headed to the High Place of Sacrifice.
To reach this trail, follow the main trail from the Treasury down the Street of Facades, keeping to the left. If you hit the amphitheatre you have gone too far! On the left hand side, keep your eyes peeled for a big set of stairs – this is the beginning of the High Place of Sacrifice trail.
Maps and online guides told me that this would be a hard hike requiring up to 4 hours, however, I had come to learn that all these hiking trail maps significantly overestimate how long the trails take to complete.
Realistically, anyone with a halfway decent fitness level would be able to complete this hike in more like 2.5 hours, however, out of all the hikes I had done, I found this one the most technically difficult – but this was mostly down to my choice in footwear. There is a lot of loose sand covering the steps, making them very slippery. I stacked it multiple times and am very lucky that I didn’t end up with anything more than a few bruises. The moral of the story is, don’t be like me and don sandals for this type of thing – wear proper hiking shoes!
The initial run of stairs takes about 15 minutes to ascend, and once up you will likely be met by some furry locals. This part of the trail was actually exceptionally noisy, not because the goats were bleating, but instead because they all had bells around their necks!
After saying goodbye to the goats it was onwards and upwards. The latter part of this trail is totally exposed and the sun is unrelentingly brutal. It is a good idea to bring water, sunscreen, a hat and to cover up as much of your skin as possible.
This later part of the trail is not as well signed as it could be, and as such, you may find yourself needing to ask directions from one of the “bedouins” who hang out along the flatter parts of the trail trying to sell you their cheap souvenirs. Unfortunately, asking for directions will open you up to people insisting that you make a purchase – but as long as you firmly say ‘no’ they should quickly back off.
Getting up to the actual ‘high place of sacrifice’ does require a small amount of scrambling and climbing up some precarious-ish rocks, so take your time and proceed with your concentration cap on.
Once you actually reach the High Place of Sacrifice it can be a little bit polarising – some people find it amazing, others wonder why they bothered.
I gotta admit, I was very on the fence. Sure, it was a beautiful place and in a very well preserved condition, but compared to some other hikes that I had done around Petra, I just wasn’t as head over heels in love with it!
However, if you are interested in ancient sacrificial rituals, then this would probably be much more appealing and satisfying for you than it was for me.
In all honesty, I was more excited about meeting another Jordanian kitty than I was about the trail!
Even though the ‘high place’ may not have been as enthralling as I would have hoped, the views from the top were undeniably beautiful, and as a result, I was still so happy that I had made the effort.
Stay tuned for more Petra exploring, and as always, happy solo travelling!
Getting to Petra: Flights arrive to Amman from many airport hubs, from Amman you can drive or bus to Petra
Petra Gate Hostel: A basic but comfortable hostel – dorm beds start at $16/night
The Lost City of Petra: More information about ticket prices can be found here
Threads: My white top is by Tigerlily Swimwear
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Wear proper hiking shoes – you will be so glad you did!