Ad Deir (the Monastery) is one of the most important and fascinating structures in the ancient city of Petra. Ad Deir trail is the second most visited trail after the main trail in Petra. The trail begins at the end of the main trail near Bastin restaurant and includes climbing up 800 rocky steps up to the monastery. Ad Deir trail is moderately challenging and requires a good level of fitness. I highly recommend starting the trail as early as possible in the morning to avoid direct sun radiation when climbing up the stairs making the hike a little bit easier. Petra in general has very minimal shade coverage so hiking during the afternoon is not recommended.
Ad Deir (Monastery) Trail Overview
Distance – 11 kilometers
Duration – 3-4 hours for the entire return loop
Route – return loop
Elevation Gain – 500 meters
Difficulty – moderate
Restrooms – yes, several on the way
Ad Deir Trail Map
Best Time to Do the Ad Deir Trail
It can be very hot in Jordan during the summer months between May and August. Temperatures can rise up to 104°F (40°C) in Wadi Musa where Petra is located. You will be hiking for many hours in exposed areas under the sun, that’s why I recommend avoiding those months if you want to enjoy hiking in Petra. The main season for hiking in Petra is in Autumn (September to November) and Spring ( March to May). Those months offer milder temperatures and reliable weather with enough sunshine to make your hike enjoyable and unforgettable. In winter in Petra can be occasional flooding due to heavy rains. Overall the best time to hike the Ad Deir Trail is between the end of February and March or October/November. You will have fewer crows while still enjoying the nice weather and views.
Opening Times and Entrance Fees to Petra
Petra is open daily from 6 AM to 6 PM during the summer and 6 AM to 4 PM in winter. Children under 12 years old can enter Petra for free. The ticket costs 50 JD for one day and 55 JD for two days. It might sound a little bit expensive and it definitely is but you may save some money if you purchase the Jordan Pass before arriving in Jordan. Let’s do the math. Most of the tourists will need a visa on arrival when entering Jordan, which currently costs 40 JD for single entry and 60 JD for two entries. The Jordan pass starts at 70 JD. It includes a 1-day entrance to Petra, a tourist visa fee, and entrance to over 40 attractions in Jordan. So you will save 20 JD and more if you purchase it upfront before entering Jordan.
How to Get to the Trailhead in Petra
Most travelers start their journey through Jordan via Amman. There are several ways to get from Amman to Wadi Musa, where Petra is located.
Obviously the most comfortable and flexible option for getting from Amman to Petra is renting a car or taking a taxi. If you opt to drive yourself, the best route from Amman to Petra is by the Desert Highway (Highway 15) which takes about 3 hours. Getting a taxi from Amman to Petra is quite expensive. One way ride will cost you 85 JD(120 USD) and up. If you decide to take a taxi to Petra, pick the official provider. The fairs at official providers are fixed by law and communicated upfront.
If you prefer taking public transportation to Petra you can take the so-called JETT bus from Amman. The JETT bus departs early in the morning at 6:30 a.m. and takes about 4 hours to arrive in Petra. The bus has air-conditioning and can be booked in advice online or at the JETT bus office location. A one-way ticket costs 10 JD. If you prefer to stay only one day in Petra you can return back to Amman on the same bus. The last departure is at 5 p.m. (please double-check the schedule at the ticket office or online because the timetable might change). I highly recommend staying in Petra for 2 days otherwise you will miss out on a lot of things.
If you are staying at least one day in Amman and wondering what you could do there check out my One Day Amman Itinerary.
First Part of the Route: Al Siq Canyon
Technically speaking, the Ad Deir trail starts at the Bastin restaurant after finishing the main trail, but the only way to get there is by hiking through the narrow canyon called Al Siq and then continuing walking along the main trail before you reach the Basting restaurant and start climbing the 800 stairs. The total distance from the Treasury to the Monastery is 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles). After buying your entrance tickets at the Petra Visitor Center head southeast toward Petra Guest House, where you will find the trail leading to Al Siq. After about 800 meters you will reach the entrance to the canyon. This part of the route is very crowded because all the visitors wishing to see the famous Treasury will have to pass through this narrow canyon. The good news is that this part of the route, is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking, plus you will be protected from direct sunlight thanks to the shades made by magnificent cliffs. After walking about 1 kilometer you will reach the Treasury -the main structure of the ancient city of Petra. It is an indescribable feeling when you see this magnificent ancient structure rising high in front of your eyes after leaving the canyon. It’s simply jaw-dropping, but crows and camels will quickly remind you about the reality.
Main Route: Treasury to the Bastin
After arriving at the treasury, the path will follow 1.8 kilometers along the main trail in Petra until you reach the Bastin restaurant. Here is where you will find most of the ancient structures of Petra such as the Great Temple and the Nabatean Theater. You will find some bathrooms on the way before reaching the theater. There are also many souvenir shops on the way so you might get distracted like I did and spend longer time than planned on buying some gifts and souvenirs.
While walking along the main path you will notice that it branches out to other hiking routes such as the Al-Khubtha trail or paths to the High Place of Sacrifice and Royal Tombs.
You can find the overview and more information about those hiking trails in my comprehensive Guide to Hiking in Petra.
Ad Deir Trail: The Bastin to the Monastery
Once you reach the Bastin restaurant and take some rest, the official trail to the Monastery aka Ad Deir will begin. The total length of the track is about 1.6 kilometers including hiking up 800 steps. The climb is technically not difficult however it might be a bit tiring. But don’t worry, there are enough places in the shade to rest a bit and enjoy breathtaking views over the Arabian desert and rocky formations. Alternatively, you can opt to ride a donkey all the way up to the monastery. Locals happily offer this service to tourists. However, I found it quite disturbing and partly dangerous for other hikers, as the path is quite narrow and there is not much space to step aside to allow a donkey with a passenger to pass by.
If you don’t want to climb up 800 steps to see the monastery, check out my guide on how to visit the Monastery via the Back Door Entrance.
You will find little shops and tiny restaurants that sell some tee and handmade souvenirs on the way. If you are not planning on buying anything don’t show interest, otherwise, the locals might become a bit clingy.
After tedious climb, you will start to descend towards the end of tour and the Monastery will reveal itself. From a distance, it doesn’t look that big but once you get closer, you will be able to access fully the massive size and beauty of this ancient Nabatean monument. In front of the monastery, you will find a small restaurant where you can buy some food and drinks and take a well-deserved rest.
Ad Deir: Best Viewpoints of the Monastery
After observing the monastery from a close distance, I highly recommend going up to one of the elevated viewpoints nearby for the best views and some nice pictures. There are two main viewpoints of the monastery. The first and the highest one is directly behind the restaurant. The steps are quite steep and narrow so be careful and watch out for your steps. The second viewpoint is on the left side of the monastery and is not that high. Hiking up is quite easy and straightforward. However, you will find more tourists here and will have to wait for your turn. The view is amazing though and well worth waiting for your turn to take some nice photos.
What to Take
During the Ad Deir track, you will be walking for many hours in an open area and be exposed to the sun. That’s why it is important to have enough water with you. Take at least 2-3 liters of water and dry snacks such as nuts to keep you hydrated and full of energy. Also don’t forget sunscreen and something to cover your head to protect it from the sun. The path is rocky and involves climbing up 800 steps so wearing comfortable sporty shoes is essential for this hike. While it is generally allowed to wear shorts in Petra, don’t forget that you are in an Islamic country and if you want to stay respectful of local culture and customs, consider wearing long sleeves and pants. This will also protect you from sunburn and sand.