Officially named Siq Al Barid, Little Petra is a former Nabatean settlement located a ten-minute drive north of Petra. Its canyons walls and carved facades explain its colloquial name, and the site itself is worth seeing for a peaceful alternative to the much better known sister site.
However, one of the best reasons for visiting is for the hike from Little Petra to the Monastery. An adventure in itself, the hike is a fun way to spend a couple of hours and it also provides the opportunity to enter Petra through the back route, avoiding all the stalls and souvenir touts that line the path up to the Monastery on the other side. The hike from Little Petra to the Monastery also provides the best first impression of the colossal structure, with it slowly creeping into view over the rocks.
How to get to Little Petra:
If you are staying in Wadi Musa, near the main entrance to Petra, you will be able to take a taxi to Little Petra for around 10-20JD. The journey takes around 10 minutes. The driver might try to take detours and suggest other sights during the journey, but be sure to say that you just want to go straight to Little Petra.
How long it takes to hike from Little Petra to the Monastery:
The hike from Little Petra takes between 2 and 3 hours, depending on how fast you walk and how many times you stop for photos. You will then need to hike for about another hour from the Monastery back to the main entrance, passing the Treasury along the way.
Starting point for the hike from Little Petra to the Monastery:
The starting point for the hike is at the ticket booth at the entrance to Little Petra – located on the left-hand side of the car park.
There will be guides waiting at the ticket booth, and you can choose to do the hike with or without a guide. The route does have signposts, so a guide is not essential. They will tell you that you must take one and that you will get lost without them, but just be forceful and tell them that you know where you are going and you do not need a guide.
The route from Little Petra to the Monastery:
With the ticket booth on your right-hand side, walk straight ahead until you follow the cliffs around to the right. You can then follow the path from there.
The route is signposted but they are few and far between, and some have been scratched out. However, with a little common sense and close attention to the direction you need to walk, it is easy enough. Most of the diversions lead to small houses and dead ends that are within view, so it is fairly simple to figure out which path you need to take.
Best time of day to do the hike from Little Petra to the Monastery:
There are certain advantages and disadvantages when doing the hike at different times of day, so it’s best to think about the most important factors to you.
By doing the hike in the morning, you will avoid the hottest part of the day, but you will arrive at the Monastery when it is at its busiest and still in the shade. By doing the hike just after lunch, you will have to tackle the afternoon heat, but you will arrive at the Monastery when it’s at its quietest and lit up by the sun.
What you need to know for the hike from Little Petra to the Monastery:
You must have your Jordan Pass or entrance ticket with you on the hike because there is a ticket inspector randomly placed about half way into the hike.
Most of the hike is on flat ground, but some of it is quite steep and there are some precarious parts along the cliffs, so you must have a reasonable level of fitness and keep the potential dangers in mind if you plan on doing the hike with small children.
Unlike the hike to the Monastery from the other side, there are no stalls or sellers located along the route. It is very quiet and remote, so be sure to bring enough water with you as well as essentials like a phone, map and sun cream.