This is a challenging and very rewarding true Desert Trek. Secluded desert paths, Deep Dramatic Canyons, Desert Springs, Amazing views of Masada and the Dead sea. All of this combined with our “user-friendly” Inn to Inn program.

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Overview Map

Judean Desert trek map

Click Map to Enlarge


ABOUT THIS TREK
A very “natural” Inn to Inn program with almost no vehicle transfers. (Only two short drives on the 1st & 3rd days!). During the trek, you will visit two very well-known spots; Masada and Ein Gedi. However, you will visit them in a unique way. Avoiding the crowds and boosting the experience to a much higher level. Most of the trails are secluded, and you are likely to meet only a handful of hikers on the trails. The last evening is at the Ein Gedi hotel and SPA. A fantastic place to treat yourself after several tough days in the outdoors.
The best time of year for this trek is the winter months, December-March. With mostly pleasant temperatures and still a low chance for rain. It is still possible to hike in November and April, but with a higher risk of “suffering” hot weather.
Pay attention to the weather forecast regarding the risk of flash floods. In case of such a threat, we will guide you with the necessary changes in the route to stay safe.

HOW DOES IT WORK ?
  • Your hike from one accommodation the next with a small day back-pack. We transfer your luggage from “Inn to Inn”.
  • Handpicked Hikers-Friendly Accommodations.
  • Hiking Maps. (See Sample1 & Sample2).
  • Trek Guidebook (e-book – See Sample)
  • GPS mobile Navigation App. (See Sample)
  • A briefing meeting at your accommodation the evening before your journey starts.
  • 24/7 Customer service support.
Are you a Single Hiker?
The standard price with full service is very expensive for single hikers. The reason is that many costs are not split, and many of our standard selected accommodations charge from a single in a room almost the same price for a couple.

We have a solution for you if you are willing to reduce the service level:

  • Settle for a Phone/Skype briefing instead of a face-to-face briefing.
  • Sleep in dorms instead of Hotels/private rooms:
    Arad: Salt Sea Lodge
    Masada: Masada Hostel
    Ein Gedi: Ein Gedi Camp Lodge
  • Hitchhike instead taking a taxi from Arad to Tzeelim trailhead on the 1st morning.

Select a “LowCost”  Trek from the Treks list in the price calculator to get the budget price


Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 –  Arrival at Arad

  • Arrive at your convenient time to the small desert town Arad.
  • The town is well served by public buses from Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion Airport.
  • We will meet in the afternoon/evening for a detailed briefing meeting to discuss all aspects of the trek and ensure that the GPS app functions properly.
  • Preferred Lodging:
    Regular version: Inbar Hotel, Arad
    LowCost Version:  Salt Sea Lodge (Shared Dorms)
  • The next morning a taxi will take you to the trailhead.

Day 2 – The Zeelim Canyon

Zeelim Canyon

Overview:

  • Distance: 16.5 Km (7-9 Hours) / Climb: 300 m
  • Starting Point:  Road #3199
  • End Point: Masada
  • Overnight: Masada
  • Preferred Lodging: Masada Hostel
    Regular Version: Private room with bathroom.
    Lowcost Version: Shared Dorms.
Important note regarding Masada Hostel!
The hostel is the only accommodation option at the foot of Masada mountain. Therefore it is in very high demand. In many cases, if the booking is not made several months in advance, there will be no vacancy.
In such cases, we are using a hotel at Ein Bokek instead. What does it mean for you?

  1. EIn Bokek is a 10-15 minutes drive south of Masada.
  2. You will need to use the public bus to get to/from the trailhead to the hotel. (There is a bus every 30 minutes)
  3. There are about 15 hotels in an extensive price range at Ein-Bokek. But Also the cheapest one could be more expensive than Masada Hostel.
  4. We will notify you that this is the situation and will offer two options:
    Option 1: We will book for you the cheapest option at Ein-Bokek. It will usually cause an additional cost of about 300 NIS per room. (700 Nis per person in the LowCost version).
    Option 2: We will deduct from the quote 1000 NIS per room (300 NIS per person in the LowCost version). You will book by yourself any hotel you choose at Ein Bokek.

If you want to spoil yourself with a high-class hotel at Ein Bokek instead of sleeping in Masada hostel. You can notify us at the time of booking. We will deduct from the quote 1000 NIS per room (300 NIS per person in the LowCost version). You will book by yourself any hotel you choose at Ein Bokek.

Itinerary:

  • An exhilarating day! You start with a short taxi shuttle to our trail-head. (LowCost version hikers need to hitchhike or call a taxi).
  • After a few easy warm-up kilometers, you reach the cliff-top of the mighty Zeelim Canyon. It is one of the biggest and most beautiful canyons in the Judean desert. A good location for a short break before the descent into the gorge.
  • The descend is via an ancient desert footpath. At the bottom, you arrive at the Naama pool. The depth of the water can be 1-2 meters depending on the rainfall in previous weeks.
  • The walk along the canyon between the steep walls is a great experience. After about 2 Kilometers, you reach Ein Namer (The “Leopard” spring). Another attraction that calls for a break.
  • The name reminds us that this rare water source was used by the local desert leopards that once inhabited the Judean desert in the past. They are now nearly extinct. (Recent studies claim that there are 1-2 leopards still living in the Judean desert)
  • The following section is called the “Shiny valley”. It is a deep narrow gorge made of shiny white rocks.
  • You climb out of the canyon on another ancient path. As you climb, the Dead Sea suddenly comes into view.
  • The trail ends at the base of Masada and your accommodation, the Masada Hostel.

Day 3 -Meet Masada in an unexpected and unique way!

View of Masada from Elazar Mountain
View From Elazar Mountain

Overview:

  • Distance: 8-10 Km (3-6 Hours) / Climb: 350 m.
  • Starting Point: Masada.
  • End Point: Masada.
  • Overnight: Masada.
  • Preferred Lodging: Masada Hostel
    Regular Version: Private room with bathroom.
    Lowcost Version: Shared Droms.
  • The trail circle around Masada on the mountains surrounding it and provides unique views from different angles on this legendary fortress.
  • Plus, you have the option to visit Masada in the middle of the hike. (Through the Roman ramp)
  • For full details, check our Masada Hike page.

Day 4 – Mishmar Canyon

Mishmar Gorge - Judean Desert

 

Overview:

  • Distance: 20 Km (9-11 Hours) / Climb: 800 m
  • Short alternative: A round trip in Wadi Mishmar (12 Km / Climb 350 m – Extra transport charge – 350 NIS)
  • Starting Point: Wadi Mishmar
  • End Point: Kibbutz Ein Gedi
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Ein Gedi
  • Preferred Lodging:
    Regular Version: Ein Gedi Hotel
    LowCost Version: Ein Gedi Camp Lodge (Shared Dorms)

Itinerary:

  • A short taxi ride will take you a few kilometers north to the entrance of wadi Mishmar.
  • Another famous Judean desert canyon. An exciting and challenging hike up the narrow gorge will bring you to a dry horseshoe waterfall and desert spring  (Ein Mishmar).
  • Walking up the gorge involves crossing pools, getting wet, and climbing a few metal ladders. (Bring extra dry shoes and cloth)
  • If this genre is not for you, you can easily bypass it with a trail that traverses above the gorge.
  • From Ein Mishmar, the are two options:
  • The regular version climbs steeply to the canyon’s north side, follows the desert plateau, and down to Kibbutz Ein Gedi, reaching the accommodation on foot. (Total of 20 km).
  • If this is too long, return along the trails that pass above the canyon back to the starting point.  From there, a taxi shuttle (10 minutes drive) will bring you to the accommodation. (Extra charge 350 NIS)

Day 5 – Ein Gedi Reserve – The grand circuit

Ein Gedi - The Hidden Wtarefall

 

Overview:

  • Distance: 12 Km (4-6 Hours)
  • Climb: 500
  • Start / End Point: Kibbutz Ein Gedi

Itinerary:

  • A delightful dessert to end a great trek with a hike in the famous Ein Gedi natural reserve.
  • 95% of the visitors to the reserve will walk up and down the Arugot or David stream. However, Ein-Gedi has much more to offer to the serious hiker.
  • The day starts with the iconic view of the Dead-Sea peeking through the “Window” Waterfall.
  • From there, a tough ascend on the ancient and beautifully built Ein Gedi pass with more views on the Dead sea from high above.
  • The last part of the day is along the gushing water of the Arugot stream with its refreshing pools and cascades.
  • Don’t forget your bathing suit and enjoy a swim at the pool beneath the hidden waterfall!

It is a relatively short day, and you can use the extra time to enjoy some other activities in and around Ein Gedi.

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