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Israel Hikes
23 Jan

Guide to Beautiful Desert Hikes in Israel

Beautiful Desert Hikes in Israel and What You Should Know Beforehand

Israel Hikes

Israel is a country of rich culture, delicious food and warm people. Many visitors never venture outside of major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. If you do, however, there are amazing natural wonders to behold.  Hiking in the desert of Israel comes with certain preconditions. Like many places, it can be helpful to know the traditions and nuances of the land. Here are some things to keep in mind places to consider visiting.

Nahal Jilabun

If your experience with the Golan Heights is only through news reporting, take the opportunity to explore this beautiful part of Israel firsthand. This hike is of moderate effort, but the waterfall at the end is a payoff tourists and locals are willing to work for.

Plan for about three hours to complete this trip. Bring your swimsuit, since you’ll be able to swim in the pool beneath the towering waterfall. This desert hike calls for sunscreen, of course. The middle-eastern sun is hot!

Wadi Kelt

This hike leads to a historic Greek Monastery. Even though it’s in the middle of the desert, this is another adventure where you can bring your swimsuit, with pools located at the end of the hike.

St. George Monastery Israel

Wikimedia Commons by: Dr. Avishai Teicher

The route winds through twisting desert canyons and leads to the ancient structure set into the stone cliffs. It’s best experienced during the weekend, as local people will be there and you’ll have the opportunity to see the monastery and surrounding villages come alive.

Red Canyon

Hiking through the slot canyons in Eilat is a genuinely world-class visual experience. Plus, you don’t need the hiking chops of Bear Grylls. Most of the trails can be walked in around an hour. They’re all clearly labeled for difficulty.

The easiest way to access the trails is to catch a shuttle from the city of Eilat. It takes about twenty minutes to get to the trails, so you can make this trip any time of day and still explore the city or take part in additional activities.

Mount Sodom

For a more challenging hike worth the effort, try Mount Sodom. You’ll be hiking next to a truly unique rock formation, as this trail in the Dead Sea skirts a mountain made entirely of salt.

Mount Sodom Israel

Wikimedia Commons by: Hoshvilim

This part of the country carries major religious significance. While you could rush through it, many people take several hours to absorb the impressive visuals, unlike anywhere else in the world.

Hamakhtesh Hakatan

Israel’s desert is home to five craters, of which this is the smallest. Located in the Negev desert, there are multiple hikes available in this area. You can explore on-foot hiking from the road or, to access remote hikes, you can use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to travel into Satan’s Mouth.

With a name like that, you should go for the tee shirt alone. However, it’s more than a tourist trap. This area features a dramatic landscape, and the hike along road 227 allows you to look out across the impressive crater.

Plan to Hike Israel? Follow These Tips for Travelers

Israel offers a multitude of opportunities for hikers. To get the most out of your Israeli experience, you’ll want to get familiar with the customs and standard practices of the region. There is a great deal of history here, and by tapping into it, you’ll not only learn something, but you might make a few new friends.

Pakal Cafe

Like much of the world, Israel loves coffee. Israelis are not beyond enjoying their coffee while on the trail. In fact, it’s something of a convention. The term Pakal Cafe is an adage that translates directly to “everything a soldier must carry at all times.”

You won’t find any weaponry in a Pakal Cafe kit. Instead, it’s a means of brewing up delicious Turkish coffee while in the field. If you’re doing it right, plan to take a coffee break or two during your hikes.

Getting Around

Public transportation is the best way to get around in Israel. Use the trains to get from city to city. For shorter trips, however, it’s best to rely on buses and taxis.

You should never hitchhike in Israel. Many tourists don’t view this as an option, regardless of where they are. However, it can have serious consequences.

Hostels

Israeli hostels are great places to find an affordable bed and meet other travelers. In this part of the world, it’s a common form of lodging for people visiting the area. Take the opportunity to stay at one or several.

It might be wise to do some research ahead of time so you can feel confident the accommodations will be up to your standards.

Shabbat

From nightfall on Friday until evening on Saturday, people observe the Jewish holy day. Local businesses will close, and people spend time with family, indoors or at the temple.

It can get boring if you’re not observant and can throw off plans if you don’t think ahead. Have an idea of how you’ll spend this free time.

Exploring Israel

Israel is a great place to explore if you enjoy the outdoors, great food and rich culture. You don’t have to be someone with ties to the Jewish heritage to appreciate this area. Israel’s history is meaningful to the entire world. You should enjoy its cities and natural splendor.

If you’re someone who’s visited and you have advice to share, post a comment below!

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About The Author:   Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about the outdoors on his site. Check out Just a Regular Guide for similar articles, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!