Nekarot trail - Best desert trails in the word - Negev Trek - hiking in the Negev desert in Israel
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Horseshoe and Wadi Ardon

Parsat Nekarot Ve-Nahal Ardon

Duration

1 day

When

January – February

March – April

May - June

November – December

September – October

Mode of Transportation

Car

undecided


Stars

A medium length hike with a little bit of everything the Ramon Crater has to offer

Closest Town Mitzpe Ramon
Difficulty Easy-Medium
Length 9.5 km
Duration 4 hours
Recommended season Sep Oct, Nov-Dec, Jan-Feb, March-Apr,May0Jun
Recommended time Morning

Hike Description
Getting There

Starting Point: Ramat Saharonim CG
Finish Point:  Ramat Saharonim CG

From the gravel parking lot Head South along the Green markers for 1.5 to the Han Saharonim parking lot. Follow the footpath to the ruin of the old Caravan stop. This 1st century building was one of the stops along the frankincense route from Petra To Gaza. The Nabateans transported precious goods along this desert route and dominated the trade. In order to support such a financial operation, they built strongholds, water cisterns and Caravan rest stops like this one, where safety, supplies and water were offered to the caravan leaders and staff. Though not a fort, this is a fortified building, featuring storage rooms, a large kitchen with an oven and private rooms for distinguished  guests.

In order to find the source of water that supported the guests and inhabitants, go to the top of the hill and continue down, south, into the patch of dense vegetation at Ein-Saahronim. The largest natural source of water in the entire crater. Here you’ll find Tamarix and Reeds and Dutch rush- all water-loving plants. Their presence here, in this density, is an indication to the presence of water. Follow the Blue markers to the east (left). Be careful not to follow the blue markers heading west. You’ll find the actual spot of the water under a small Tamerix. During the winter and spring months water is present here- in a small but actual flowing stream or in pools under rock ledges. As summer and autumn progress, the level of the water drops below the surface, and disappears. Animals still come here and dig to reach the precious water, and up a generation or so ago- so did the human inhabitants and nomads of the desert.

Head East along the Blue markers into the horseshoe canyon. You’ll pass Ramon’s gate- the narrow pass where the main drainage of the crater exits the cliffs.
Shortly after you’ll be joined by Black markers and Markers of the Israel trail on your Right. Stay in the canyon and continue for another 1.5 km to the “Narrows” – a corridor of White hard limestone, polished by flow of sandy water during occasional floods. As you exit and the canyons widens again, keep your eyes to the right for the cave which will appear after 300 meters.

Stay on the Blue markers, pass green markers on your left, and reach an intersection of trails- Red crossing and Black continuing straight. Pick up the Black jeep trail northeast, passing a sign to the right for the Arava, The INT markers will leave your trail. Stay on the Black markers as they enter Wadi Ardon and slowly curve Northwest. Pass blue markers on your left. After a little over 1km, you’ll see the impressive Dike of Wadi Ardon- a Magmatic intrusion injected into the horizontal layers. After another 200 meters you’ll come to a sign and Red Markers on your Right (North). Climb along the red markers, north, out of the wadi and up to Harut hill.  When you come to the base of the hill you can either climb the top or simply follow the blue markers to the left (west) back to the wadi and to an impressive Acacia tree. After enjoying the shade, head on the black dirt road to the right (west) and up back to your car.

Attractions:  Ancient caravan rest stop, Hidden spring, Narrow canyon, cool cave, Colorful sand and rocks, Magmatic intrusions, Acacia trees, desert vegetation, Vistas.

Drive from Mitzpe Ramon south. After 11km you’ll come to the left turn, with a sign for Beerot Campground and Ein Saharonim. Turn left and drive on the dirt road until you come to the Bedouin Campground. Make the first right turn possible after the campground and continue along the dirt road. At the fork turn left and follow the signs to “Ardon”. Park at the large gravel parking lot.

ReviewsRead other people opinions

Judith

Highly recommendable trail with beautiful landscapes that change over and over again, going from green and watery to red, dusty and volcanic. Keep your eyes open during the hike to not miss all the details such as caves, differently formed stones, colorful sand and of course amazing views. Also do not be too lazy and the end of the hike and make sure to climb up to Harut hill. The view from up there is definitely worth it. This hikes will simply amaze you what nature can do!

Lee

I have done this trail many times and it does not get boring. It is so pretty and so diverse. It is a definite must if you have a car. Do not leave Mitzpe Ramon without hiking this great trail.
Prettiest desert hike in the Negev and fits all – not hard but interesting every second of the trail.

Dan

Amazing trail! Defiantly on of the most amazing trails in the Negev desert.
I was staying at The Green Backpackers hostel in Mitzpe Ramon and they where the ones that recommended this trail.
I was traveling by bus but met some nice people at the hostel who had a car and invited me to join them.

This trail is absolutely amazing. Just be sure to start really really in the morning (6:00) if you are hiking in the late spring – early summer, and print our the directions – You will need them.

Make sure not to miss out on this great experience – Best trail in Israel!!

Raz

This is one of the best hikes in the Negev desert if not the one.
You do need to get to it with a car unless you don’t mind hiking for two days in the Ramon crater which is a great experience on it’s own. This hike is very diverse and every time you turn, you see something new. Highly recommended.

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