1 Day Dead Sea Hiking Tour
Drive down to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve near the Dead Sea. We hike through the rich tropical vegetation of Nachal (Wadi) David. Here the Ibex and Hyrax grass freely. After watching the big waterfall, we climb up to Shulamits Spring, rich with pure, sweet water. We also visit the nearby Chalcolitic Temple, and the Ein Gedi Spring, where we can cool our feet off in the fresh water. Returning to our car, we drive along the shore of the Dead Sea to the famous fortress of Masada. There is a possibility to ascend King Herodes well-preserved desert palace by cable-car, but the hikers would prefer to ascend the famous mountain on “The Messengers Path”, that enables us a close look at the huge Herodian water cisterns and the Roman siege system built against the Jewish rebels in the year 73a.d. After visiting Masada thoroughly we descend to our car by the famous, historical “Snake Path”. We end the day with the exceptional experience of swimming (floating…) in the Dead Sea.
This is an interesting whole-day hike, that does not involve too many hardships, that combines some spectacular desert-landscapes, with a deep insigt to the Nabatheans and their way of life.
Our bus takes us to the ruins of the ancient Nabatean city Avdat, once a major stopover for the caravans that transported the incense and frankincense through the Arabian Desert to the port of Gaza and Rome. After a thorough visit of the remnants of the once blooming city we continue by foot into the desert, passing the remnants of some old agricultural installations, which the Nabateans built in the desert, and finally arriving to the Ein Akev spring, where we even have an opportunity to swim and cool ourselves off after the hike. After a picnic lunch in Ein Akev, we hike along the cliffs overlooking the wide Tzin valley and end the day by Ben-Gurion's tomb, where our bus will be waiting for us.
Drive down to the Dead Sea, the deepest place on earth. Ascend the Ma’ale Shalem road, over the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. After a short stop for the view we drive to the beginning of the canyon of Wadi Meshash. We leave our vehicle and hike down the Meshash-gorge, climbing down and through the waterholes with the help of cables and handles attached to the solid rock. After a rainy winter, we might find those waterholes filled with water. Reaching Wadi Muraba’at, we take a path that leads us up the slope and into the Muraba’at caves, where the first Bar-Kochba letters from the Roman period were found. A steep path brings us back to the dirt road, where our car awaits us. On our way back to Eilat we can seize the opportunity to float (not swim…!!) in the healing waters of the Dead sea.
Those are all short hikes (not more than 4 hours hike) in unique, interesting landscapes. They can be reached by regular cars (no need for jeeps) in less than 2 hours drive from Eilat. As the hikes themselves are short, you can combine them with sites or short hikes nearby or on the way.
The Saharonim Ridge
Drive through the wild parts of the Negev Desert to the Ramon "Crater", a unique geological phenomena, only to be found in the Negev. Short hike to the "Ammonite Wall" – a concentration of hundreds of huge, fossil Ammonites, in a large, tilted, limestone "wall". After a short drive to Nachal (Wadi) Gewanim, we arrive at the bottom of the Saharonim Ridge, where we start a 2 hour hike by foot: We walk on top of the ridge, between two cliffs that enable us to enjoy a wide view over vast areas of the Negev Desert. Then we walk down to the oasis Ein Saharonim, where our car will wait for us by the ancient Nabathean Caravanserai, and take us to some other sites in the Ramon Crater. This hike can be combined with the following "Nekarot Horseshoe" as a 5-hour hike.
The Nekarot Horseshoe
Drive through the wild parts of the Negev Desert to the Ramon "Crater", a unique geological phenomena, only to be found in the Negev. Short hike to the "Ammonite Wall" – a concentration of hundreds of huge, fossil Ammonites, in a large, tilted, limestone "wall". Then we drive to the Oasis Ein Saharonim, where our bus will be waiting for us. We will take the time to look at the oasis and visit the Nabathean Caravanserai, once an important part of the "Incense Road", where the caravans used to stop on the way from Petra to the port of Gaza. We continue to hike on the ancient "Incense Road", down the "Ascend of the Palms" and into the wide Canyon of Nachal Nekarot. The canyon becomes a narrow gorge, with bizarre forms, carved by the water in the white limestone. After another half hour we arrive back to Ein Saharonim, where our bus (hopefully…) will be waiting for us.
The Barak Waterholes
This challenging gorge can be reached by a dirt-road that starts from the Arava-highway. After this drive we arrive at the bottom of the Barak-Gorge. Here we leave the bus, which we will meet again at the same place at the end of the hike.
We continue by foot, climb on rope-ladders over the Barak-Water-Holes that are only filled with water after a winter with sufficient rainfall. A path that was once used by the Bedouins brings us back to the Barak Canyon, where our car waits for us.
The "Little Fin" of the "Big Crater"
This hike is a good way to take a look of the unique geological formation called the "Machteshim" in the Negev. The car will drop us at the "Colored Sand Campsite" where you can seize the opportunity to collect the colored sand that is so characteristic to the bottom of the "Craters". Then we start to climb on the back side of the cliff called "The Fin", because it has steep cliffs on both sides. Once we reach the top, the "magic" view of the Big Crater reveals itself to us. After we climb down the "Fin" we are back at the "Colored Sands Campsite".
This hike can be done as a longer 4-hours-hike called "The Big Fin" and can also be combined with a short hike to an interesting spring in the middle of the desert, called "Ein Yorke'am".