The Rift valley mountain trek is a long distance hiking trail connecting Dana Biosphere Reserve, with the proposed Shobak protected area and Little Petra which is part of the larger Petra Archaeological Park. Components of the trail include hiking through a wilderness areas, cultural landscapes in the rural countryside, and through several thousands of years of history.
The day 3 section is a 15 km hike that begins from the Al Bustan area to Wadi Tartar and ends at Shobak Castle. I found the first half of the hike along the mountain slopes to be epic, with the mountains of Dana Biosphere Reserve behind me as we followed the deep canyon of Wadi Tartar. We left Wadi Tartar and followed a countryside trail that meandered through the picturesque hills of the Shobak cultural landscape. We walked through orchids, alongside shepherds grazing their goats, and passed numerous abandoned cave dwellings and other archaeological sites, some of which are several thousands of years old, until we reached the imposing mountaintop crusader castle of Shobak.
Petra and Little Petra were built to impress. There is an unforgettable euphoria about entering the majestic Nabataean settlement after spending hours or days of walking. One can only imagine how the trade caravans must have been awed after seeing Petra for the first time after a journey of several weeks or more. The ending in Little Petra was certainly an exclamation point to the trip.