Hike the 3 Negev Craters (Makhtesh) in one “Inn to Inn” Trek. Visit amazing viewpoints, canyons, and magical desert springs. A real desert experience!!

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Overview Map

5 Days Negev inn to inn trek overview map

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There are only a few towns and villages in the vast space of the Negev desert, posing a big challenge to plan an Inn to Inn Trek. To solve it, we had to use longer vehicle transfers compared to the other treks. However, the result is a challenging trek that connects the 3 Negev carters (Makhtesh) and passing through some of the most exciting paths the Negev Desert has to offer:

The best time of year for this trek are the winter months December-March. With mostly pleasant temperatures and still a very low chance for rain. In November and April, it is still possible to hike, 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.

  • 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 reasons are that many costs are not split, and many of our standard selected accommodations charge from a single in a room almost the same price as 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 Shared Dorms instead of private rooms.
  • Use a public bus or hitchhike instead of a taxi in some cases.
  • Available only for the 4 days version.

Low-Cost lodgings:

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

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Dimona

  • We will meet in the afternoon/evening in Dimona for a detailed briefing meeting to discuss all aspects of the trek, provide you with maps, and make sure that the GPS app function properly.
  •  Dimona is a small desert town, but it is easily reached by train from Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben Gurion Airport..
  • Preferred Lodging: Drachim Hotel, Dimona
  • The next morning a taxi will take you to the trailhead.

Day 2 – The small & Big Makhtesh

Ein Yorkeam

  • Distance: 14 – 21  Km. (7-10 Hours) / Climb: 550 m (Several distance options to choose from)
  • Starting Point: Head of the Scorpion Pass
  • End Point: The big Makhtesh
  • Overnight: Dimona
  • Preferred Lodging: Drachim Hotel, Dimona
  • A short taxi ride will take us to the trailhead at the head of the Scorpion Pass.
  • If you opt for the extended version, start by making the short 4 Km (Out and back) walk to a fantastic viewpoint over the Small Maktesh (Crater).  If you prefer to walk only 14-16 Km, you can skip this side trip.
  • The route then takes you through an ancient small fort, interesting rock formations, and down into the deep Hatira Canyon.
  • In the Hatira Canyon, the trail passes through two amazing spots: The “Nakeb el Yahud” Pass & Yorkeam Spring.
  • For dessert, we will climb to the top of the eastern wall of the crater for a great view of the Big Makhtesh.
  • After descending into the Big Makhtesh, a short taxi ride will take us back to the hotel in Dimona.
  • As a dessert, you climb on the eastern wall of the “Big Crater” (Hamakhtesh Hagadol) for another great vista, before descending to the crater’s base, where a taxi will pick you up and bring you back to the hotel in Dimona.

Day 3 – Daroch Horseshoe and Zin Valley

The Short Version Starts Here

  • A taxi ride will take you to the trailhead near the religious community of Merchav Am.
  • The walk starts in the wide Hatzatz Wadi. If you are lucky and making this walk in January, you have a good chance to encounter fields of beautiful Narcissus flowers. The scenery of the flowers blooming in the middle of the desert is truly unique!
  • From the ridge, at the end of the wadi, the trail descends into the Darroch canyon. The canyon features many unique rock formations, including the magnificent “Daroch Horseshoe”.
  • Shortly after the horseshoe, suddenly, the view opens up on the Zin valley below.
  • After a steep descent, you reach a dirt road at the bottom of the valley.
  • At this point (after 15 Km), you can end the hike and travel the remaining 6 Km with a “Jeep Taxi”. (Must be prearranged at an additional cost of 300 NIS for up to 6 persons)
  • Or follow the dirt road and reach on foot your accommodation at Midreshet Ben-Gurion.

Day 4 – To Ancient Avdat via Akev Spring

View from Hod Akev, Negev Desert, Israel

  • The hike starts directly from the accommodation.
  • The total walking distance is 19 km. However, you can “save” the first 6 km which are on a dirt road with a “Jeep Taxi” (Must be pre-arranged and has an extra cost of 300 NIS for up to 6 hikers)
  • The first highlight of the day is a climb to “Hod Akev” (translates to “Needle of the heel”). It is steep and at times, technical and vertiginous ascend. Many hikers find it very exciting; others might prefer to avoid it. (For those that prefer to avoid, there is a comfortable bypass).
  • The summit is a tiny flat area with cliffs on all sides and a breathtaking view of the Negev Desert.
  • The much easier descend to the other side takes you to another desert gem. Ein Akev spring. A magical desert spring with a deep pool and icy cold water. A fantastic swimming opportunity in the middle of the desert.
  • The trail continues up the Akev wadi to the upper Akev spring. A Much smaller spring, but still a great resting point.
  • Another 5 km further, you reach the end of the trail and the ancient Nabatean town of Avdat. This archeological site is well worth a visit. (Closes at 16:00)
  • A short shuttle will take you from Avdat to the accommodation in Mitzpe Ramon.

Day 5 -From Mitzpe Ramon to “Ramon tooth”

The visitors center hanging on the cliff avove the Ramon crater

  • On the edge of the Ramon, Crater cliff sits the visitors center. A mandatory station before a visit to the Makhtesh area. The visit includes observation from a panoramic window. A dynamic and interactive exhibit that combines videos and a 3D model of Makhtesh. Another section is dedicated to the story of Ilan Ramon (The first Israeli astronaut). It includes films and a display of exhibits from his journey to space. It is recommended to book ahead of time (English tour). Phone: +972-8-6216859
  • From the Visitors center, you descend rather steeply down to the bed of the crater.
  • After several kilometers, you reach the foot of the southern wall of the crater.
  • The trail now climbs to the top of the wall to the “Shen Ramon” summit (The “Tooth of Ramon”) where you get a 360° panorama of the Makhtesh and the surrounding Negev desert.
  • After a steep descent to the other side of the mountain, you reach another impressive landmark: The Ammonite wall.
  • From here, it’s a short distance to the main road #40 that crosses Makhtesh Ramon, where a Taxi will take you back to the accommodation in Mitzpe Ramon.
  • If you still have some power go on a Star Gazing tour. A fantastic night experience.

The Short Version Ends Here

Day 6 – Mount Ardon and Nekraot Horseshoe

The colorful Makhtesh Ramon viewed from the summit of Mount Ardon

  • Distance: 16 Km (7-8 Hours) / Climb: 600 m
  • Starting Point: Road #40, Makhtesh Ramon.
  • End Point: At the foot of Mount Ardon.
  • The morning starts with a short taxi shuttle to the heart of Mitzpe Ramon (Where the previous day ended).
  • After a few flat warm-up kilometers, you make a short but steep climb to Mount Saharonim. A knife-shaped ridge that is part of the crater’s wall.
  • To the left, you get great views of the Ramon crater. The trail follows the ridge near the top of the “knife” and descends on the other side to Nekarot Wadi.
  • The hike continues through this beautiful horseshoe-shaped canyon with its unique colors and rock formation.
  • A few kilometers further, you reach Mount Ardon’s base, the final highlights of the trek and a perfect dessert for the 6 days adventure.
  • The ascend is tough and steep, but worth every bit of effort. The views of the Makhtesh from the summit are superb.
  • After the descent to the other side of the mountain, a “Jeep Taxi”  will take you back to Mitspe Ramon to pick up your luggage.
  • Mitspe Ramon is connected by bus service to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben Gurion Airport.

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