The Judaean Desert, is a stony plateau that lies between Judaean Mountains in the west and Dead Sea and Jordan Valley in the east. In the east it ends in a steep escarpment dropping down for about 600 m to the Dead Sea coast witch is about 400 meters below sea level. On the 70 km west cost of the Dead Sea there are several Nature reserves. A lot of marked trails through wadi, plateau and to summits are available.
Many of the trails are very old. They existed for thousands years. A typical hiking route in Judaean Desert usually consists of an ascent to the plateau, a desert trail leading to some point in the desert or to some descent trail leading back to the Dead Sea coast. The trip can be planed as an ascent route to the plateau and descent by the same trail, as a one way route to the desert point or a circle route. There are no camping grounds in the desert and it is forbidden to stay there in dark, so planed trips should not be longer then one day.
Dead sea is not only the lowest place on the Earth but also one of the hottest and winter is the most suitable season for visiting the desert. Remember that Jesus also choused winter to spend his 40 days in the desert after being baptized, so coming there in January one have a real possibility to walk the same trails in the similar conditions as Jesus walked two thousands years ago, feel the great passion and see the hart braking beauty of the place.
The En Gedi Nature reserve is the largest reserve on the eastern edge of the Judeaen Desert.. Two valleys run through the reserve: Wadi David in the north and Wadi Arugot in the south. Wadi Arugot is 40 km long and only part of it about 10 km long is opened for visitors. Wadi David is more compact and most of the organized excursions visiting En Gedi reserve go to Wadi David. Four sweet-water springs flow in the reserve. The abundance and quality of water make it possible for a variety of flora and fauna to survive within the territory. Good trails are available in both wadis and on the borders of the reserve.
By car: Dead Sea coast 244 km Road 90
The En Gedi oasis contains sources of water and food that are vital to the wildlife’s existence. The limited number of hours that the reserve is open makes it possible for the animals to reach this resources safely and quietly.
The reserve is open from 8-00 to 16-00 in winter and from 8-00 to 17-00 in summer.
Starting time for all ascent trails is not later than 8-00.
There is an overnight parking and camping area on the En Gedi Publick Beach. Three km to the south by road 90 there are En Gedi spa hotel and 30 km Ein Boqeq Dead Sea hotels.
There are simple walking trails in both wadis, 5 ascent trails to the desert plateau and 3 recommended circle trails
1. Mt Zeruya Ascent (green trail).
From Kibbutz En Gedi entrance to Mt Zeruya Lookout - 2,5 hours
2. Ha’issiyyim Ascent (red trail).
From Wadi Arugot entrance to Plateau Lookout – 4,5 hours
3. B’nei Hamoshavim Ascent (black trail).
From Wadi Arugot entrance to Plateau Lookout – 3,5 houres
4. En Gedi Ascent (black trail).
From Tel Goren to En Gedi Lookout (Flower Hill) – 3,5 houres
5. Mt Yishay Ascent (black trail).
From En Gedi Field School to Mt Yisshay – 3,5 hours
1.Kibbutz En Gedi entrance. Mt Zeruya Ascent. Desert plateau trail. Ha’issiyyim Ascent. Wadi Arugot entrance - 7- 9 hours.
2.Tel Goren. En Gedi Ascent. Flower Hill. Desert plateau trail. B’nei Hamoshavim Ascent. Wadi Arugot entrance – 6-8 hours.
3.En Gedi Field School. Mt Yisshay. Desert plateau trail. Flower Hill. En Gedi Ascent. Tel Goren – 7-9 hours.