Embark on a captivating adventure across the southern expanses of the Judean Desert. During this journey, you will navigate through stream channels and ascend to awe-inspiring summits, all while enjoying breathtaking vistas of the Dead Sea.
Trail Length: 24 km, marked
Road Condition: Good
Entrance: Approximately half a kilometer west of the western entrance to Masada (access via Arad)
Exit: Junction of a black-marked trail with Road 31, half a kilometer east of Tamrur Cliff
Maps: Judean Desert South Trail Markings – 1:50,000 Nature Reserves Sheets 3, 4 1:100,000
Travel southward on the designated 4X4 track, following the green markings. The path winds through an open and expansive basin, crisscrossing the paths of seasonal streams. During your journey, you will pass through Nahal Kna’im, where clusters of vibrant anemones blossom in spring, emanating a fragrant aroma.
While progressing on the green-marked trail, you will encounter a point where a black-marked trail diverges southward. Opting for a short detour along this route will unveil a truly awe-inspiring sight: Nahal Rahaf. This spectacular ravine carves its way through the rugged terrain, eventually leading to the Dead Sea via a sequence of picturesque waterfalls and swift currents. Don’t miss the chance to spot herds of wild ibex, a common sight as they graze along the rocky slopes, enhancing the already captivating natural scenery.
Retracing your steps, continue on the green-marked trail southward. As you navigate the expansive desert plains, you will cross several stream channels. Approximately 7 km, into your journey, you will come across another branching, black-marked trail, this time leading northward. While traveling along this route, you will be treated to a stunning panoramic view that overlooks Nahal Yaelim Canyon. The impressive walls of the canyon, the graceful waterfalls, and the lush vegetation will undoubtedly draw your attention. The stream gracefully winds its way towards the shores of the Dead Sea, further enhancing the natural splendor of the landscape.
Upon your return, continue on the green-marked trail southward for approximately half a kilometer, at this point you will intersect with a blue-marked trail, following this trail westward, you will travel parallel to Nahal Yaelim and Nahal Morag. When you reach the point where the road meets a black-marked trail, turn to the south and venture into the untamed desert expanse, a habitat that often accommodates herds of camels. Those eager to explore further can park their vehicles after approximately 5 km along the black-marked trail and hike approximately 2.5 km to a viewpoint overlooking Nahal Bokek. From this vantage point, you can fathom the green oasis of Ein Bokek and the hotel complexes nestled along the shores of the Dead Sea, with the red-hued Moab Mountains gracing the horizon.
Continuing southward along the black-marked trail, you will pass by the majestic Tamrur Cliff, an imposing geological feature that dramatically ascends from the landscape. When you eventually emerge onto the road that connects kilometers 66 and 65, you’ll conclude your journey by making your way back to Arad.
Source: “Route B 50, 4X4 Off-Road Trails” by Nili Greitzer and Dvora Yunai.