Nahal Hemar trail - Best hikes in the desert Israel
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Heimar Canyon

Nahal Hemar

Duration

1 day

When

January – February

March – April

November – December

Mode of Transportation

Bus

Car

undecided


Stars

The Israel National trail Day 1 in the Negev

Closest Town Arad
Difficulty Medium
Length 20
Duration 7-8 hours
Recommended season Nov-Dec, Jan-Feb, March-Apr
Recommended time Early morning

Hike Description North to South
Hike Description South to North
Getting there

Starting Point: Arad, Central Bus station
Finish Point: Beer Efee CG.

The first part of your hike is a walk along the streets of the Arad industrial zone to the old Arad Airstrip. We recommend catching a cab to save this stretch (less than 50 shekels).
If you choose to walk head to the traffic circle at the entrance to town and walk south along Hataasiya street, all the way to the corner of Derech Hagaz street. Make a keft turn onto Derech Hagaz and follow the paved road out of the industrial zone and all the way onto the old airstrip.

Find the dirt road with the Green Markers and follow it for 3.5 km south east at first and southwest, until it is joined by red markers. make a right turn onto the red marked trail and follow it for half a kilometer to Black markers. Turn left to the black trail and it will shortly drop into the canyon of Nahal Kanfan. For the next 7 km you’ll be hiking down-canyon, with the same black markers, mostly along the canyon floor and occasionally on ledges above it. Impressive boulders and hidden ledges are shelter to the birds and reptiles of this area. Be mindful about the weather, this canyon can be extremely dangerous during times of flash floods in the winter.
At the meeting of Nahal kanfan and Nahal Heimar switch to Blue markers and turn left (southeast). Walk for two km and when you see a large acacia in the place where two wadis meet- look on the canyon wall to your right to find a cave about 5 feet from the ground. Climbing into the cave might be a little hairy, but this is one of the most important archeological sites in the Negev. the Hemar canyon cave was home to prehistoric dwellers who left behind stone tools and carved masks. These were early nomadic farmers and shepherds who found shelter in the cave where two major ancient roads meet- The Edom road, leading from Beer Sheva and Arad to the southern part of the dead sea and onward into Jordan, and the Atarim road, (the way of the sites), mentioned in the bible and leading from Arad to central Sinai.
Head to the tree and rest in the shade. Continue east along the blue markers and into a wide right-curve in the wadi. follow the wadi for another 1.5 km, passing an abandoned quarry on the right and arrive at green markers along a dirt road. Continue southeast along the road for 1km. Be careful of the trucks that use this road as well. You’ll arrive at road 258, and your campsite.

This campsite is messy and noisy and occasionally used as a temporary parking site for heavy machinery. You might prefer to camp further back at the blue-green trail meet, 1km northwest.

Attractions: Narrow Canyon, Seasonal water holes, Acacia Tree, Occasional camel, Prehistoric cave.

Starting Point: Beer Efee CG.
Finish Point: Arad, Central Bus station.

From the Road Head west along the dirt road for 1.5 km following the green markers. Be careful as there are trucks driving along this road. When the green markers  branch off to the right (north), switch to the blue markers and continue north-west for another 1km, passing an abandoned quarry on the left, and arriving at a wide left curve in the wadi. Complete the curve and you’ll see an impressive lone Acacia tree, at a meeting point of two wadis. Rest in the shade for a bit. Turn into the canyon on the right (north), staying on he blue markers, and immediately look for a small cave about 5 feet up on the cliff to your left (west). Climbing into the cave might be a little hairy, but this is one of the most important archeological sites in the Negev. the Hemar canyon cave was home to prehistoric dwellers who left behind stone tools and carved masks. These were early nomadic farmers and shepherds who found shelter in the cave where two major ancient roads meet- The Edom road, leading from Beer Sheva and Arad to the southern part of the dead sea and onward into Jordan, and the Atarim road, (the way of the sites), mentioned in the bible and leading from Arad to central Sinai.

Continue along the blue markers for another 2km and arrive at another wadi crossing, and find the black markers branching to the right (north-northeast).

Follow these markers into wadi Kanfan. For the next 7 km you’ll be hiking up-canyon, with the same black markers, mostly along the canyon floor and occasionally on ledges above it. Impressive boulders and hidden ledges are shelter to the birds and reptiles of this area. Be mindful about the weather, this canyon can be extremely dangerous during times of flash floods in the winter.

You’ll exit the canyon on  wide plateau with Bedouin settlements visible on the Northeast.

Follow the markers for another 1km and meet with red markers. continue northeast along the jeep track for another 0.5 km and arrive at a dirt road marked in green markers.A pipe is laid along the the road.
From this point a pickup can be arranged at waterdrp.com.

If you choose to walk , turn left and follow the dirt road for 3.5km, passing a sharp left turn and a blue trail on your right. Arrive at the old Arad Airstrip.

You can call a cab from the city to take you the rest of the way (less than 50 shekels), or turn north along the paved road and follow it for 4km, through the streets of the Arad industrial area all the way to the center of town.

Attractions: Lone acacia tree, Prehistoric Cave, Narrow canyon, seasonal waterholes, roaming camels, open vistas.

For North-To-South hikers:
Take a bus to Arad and get off at the Central Bus station. You can start walking from here along the streets of the industrial area of Arad, but we highly recommend getting a cab to drive you the first part of the hike to the old airstrip (less than 50 shekels).

*Through-hikers of the Israel trail will arrive on foot.

For South-To-North hikers:
Beer Efee CG is accessible by private car, but no bus line arrives here. You may get a cab from the town of Dimona or Arad (less than 100 shekels). An arranged dropoff can also be booked at waterdrp.com

If you are driving a car- from Arad head east along rd 31 for 7km, to Hatorurim intersection. Turn right to rd 258 and drive south for 9.5 km to Nahal Heimar, and the dirt road with INT markers.

ReviewsRead other people opinions

Lee

I have seen better….
The Negev has a lot more to offer so if you are not on the Israeli national trail, I would not pick this as a day hike. There are much better trails around the Negev.

Dan

I Knew that this is the first desert day of The Israeli national trail (from North) and decided to try it. I took a cab from Arad to the begging of the trail (I don’t remember how much I payed but it was less than 100IL).
I give this trail 3 starts cause it was really “nothing to write home about”. It was ok. It must be a lot prettier in the winter & beginning of spring. (I was hiking on a very hot day in April – a bit too late).

Since than I hiked a lot of trails near Mitzpe Ramon and Sde boker area (which were amazing).
My conclusion is that this trail is a great trail if you are doing the national Israeli trail or parts of it.. but not as a on day trail on it’s own – there are much better and more accessible trails of that.

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