Our Hike in Wadi Qelt (Ein Prat) will take you through Springs, Pools, deep Canyons and an old Monastery. If you are not up to a long Hike, use our GuideBook to visit the main attractions of Wadi Qelt without sweating.
| Guided Group Hikes
|Short versions||1 - 5 Km|
|Best||Dec - Mar|
|Possible||Nov - Apr
(Short version - All year)
|/ Starting Point|
Wadi Qelt contains monasteries and Several aqueducts (The oldest dating to the 2nd century BC). The aqueducts transported water from its 3 main springs all the way to Jericho. It was also home to the winter palaces of the Hasmonean kings and Herod the Great. (Further reading in Wikipedia)Today:
Wadi Qelt is one of the most exciting hikes in Israel. You have it all in one route:
➢The Faran Monastery.
➢Ein Prat Spring.
➢Deep pools with great swimming opportunities.
➢Dramatic desert scenery.
➢The classic view on St. George’s Monastery.
What can one ask for more? and all off these goodies just 20 Km from Jerusalem.
- Important Note: Most of the hike is on rocky terrain. There are some exposed sections equipped with Metal handles.
- Starting point – parking area at En Prat Natural Reserve (1). (entrance fee required)
- Follow the ‡Blue‡ marker upstream on the road for 200 m to reach Ein Prat (Spring). (2)
Ein Prat is the biggest spring of Wadi Qelt. The flow of the spring is constant and the influence of the seasons is minimal. The daily flow rate is about 1,500 cubic meters per day on average. (A very unique quantity for this dry desert area!)
As of 1927, Ein Prat supplied drinking water to the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The use of spring water was halted after the connection of East Jerusalem to the water supply of West Jerusalem. The original “pump house” is today the office building of the National Park Authority and is used as tourist service center.
- Hanging Up on the southern cliffs high above the valley you can see the Faran monastery.
- Retrace to the starting point and continue with the ‡Red‡ markers down stream for about 700 m until the junction with the ‡Blue‡ marker. (3)
- Keep right on the ‡Blue‡ marker into the canyon.
- Stay with the ‡Blue‡ markers for about 3.5 Km along the stream until the junction with the ‡Red‡ markers. (4).
- For the short version walk as long as you feel like along the canyon and retrace your steps.
- This is the most exciting part of the route. The canyon becomes deeper with many small waterfalls and pools.
- From time to time you should notice ruins of ancient aqueducts that carried the water of Ein Prat to Jericho in ancient times.
- At point (4) The ‡Red‡ markers continue down stream all the way to St. George monastery. A distance of about About 12 Km.
- however, we turn left on the ‡Red‡ markers. Cross the stream and climb up on the north ridge of the canyon.
- This trail is much less crowded and offers fantastic Birds-Eye view over the Canyon you just walked!!
- Follow this trail for 3.5 Km back to point (3).
- Continue additional 700 m to reach your car. (1)
- Complement the day with the classic view of St. George Monastery from cliffs on the opposite side of the Canyon.
- Check out the full details in our GuideBook.
- Use the extra maps of the viewpoint area that are supplied together with the detailed hiking map to easily find your way.
Get the Detailed Hiking Maps and GPS files for this hike for just 5$
- Detailed Hiking Map of the route area optimized for printing on an A4 size paper or for browsing on your device.
- Zoomed in Maps for the sensitive areas (When needed).
- GPS track files for navigation on your IOS/Android App.
- Map Legend and labels are in English
Automatic immediate email with a download links upon checkout!
If you are not up for a Hike, we prepared for you a reference GuideBook to visit the main attractions without Sweating!
The Ultimate guide for touring Wadi Qelt.
A detailed GuideBook for visiting all the main landmarks in Wadi Qelt
About half an hour’s drive from the busy and noisy center of Jerusalem hides Wadi Qelt. There you’ll find serene desert silence, disturbed only by the sound of water rushing through a gorge. Wadi Qelt is a stream that runs from the northwestern slopes of the Judaean Desert just outside Jerusalem and down to the city of Jericho. It’s one of the biggest and only sources of running water in the Judean Desert.
The area has a long human history. Look around, and you’ll be able to spot the ruins of the ancient aqueducts that once delivered precious water to Jericho. The area attracted monks from the early days of Christianity. The monasteries are built hanging from the cliffs of the canyon, creating an overwhelming sight.
There many springs, pools and waterfalls along the stream that provide great spots for picnicking and refreshing swimming opportunities.
However, if you are up to it, our top recommendation the experiencing Wadi Qelt is by going on a Fuul Day Hike.
Ein Prat is the largest spring in Wadi Qelt. The outflow of the spring is constant and there is almost no fluctuation between the seasons. The daily flow rate is about 1,500 cubic meters per day on average. (A very distinctive amount for this dry desert area!)
from 1927, Ein Prat started to supply drinking water to the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. It was terminated after the connection of East Jerusalem to the water system of West Jerusalem. The old “Pump house” serves now the National Park Authority and functions as tourist service center.
In the near area of the main spring are a few grooves and pools perfect for a picnic.
Access to the Spring is by a short and easy walk from the National Park entrance. (GPS 31.831546, 35.306844)
National Park Opening Hours:
Summer hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00 – 17:00, Friday and holiday eves: 08:00 – 16:00.
Winter hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00 – 16:00, Friday and holiday eves: 08:00 – 15:00.
Faran monastery Hanging on the Cliff
A bit further upstream hanging on the southern cliff of the canyon is the Faran monastery. The monastery (also known as the Chariton Monastery) is the first Christian abbey the Judean Desert. It was built-in the 3rd century. The abbey was built by the monk Chariton, who was founding father of the Judean desert nuns. The abbey was destroyed by the Persians in the 6th century, however was reconstructed at the end of the 19th century by the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery is surrounded by orchards, agricultural terraces and cisterns, as well as the remains of buildings that once housed pilgrims, revealing its importance on the ancient pilgrims’ route. some of the rooms and chapels are built around caves in which the first monks lived. At the heart of the monastery is the traditional tomb of Haritoun. The monastery is still intermittently inhabited.
visiting inside the monastery is possible only in coordination with the local monk. Phone: +972-52-5399075. Access the same as for Ein Prat.
Aqueducts along the Wadi
The ancient aqueduct from the time of King Herod, which transferred water to the Kipros Fortress near Jericho is mostly destroyed. But clear remains of it can be spotted along the hiking trail that connects Ein Prat and Ein Maboa.
Another concrete aqueduct was built during the British mandate in Palestine. The upper section is now dry and partly destroyed, but the lower section east of Ein Qelt still runs water serving the fields around Jericho.
Ein MaboaEin Maboa is a unique natural phenomenon. the spring’s pool empties completely and refills again throughout the day. The cycle occurs every few hours or every few days depending on the water flow in the spring. Access is with a very short walk from the road down from the village Alon (GPS 31.838297, 35.352349). Entrance is free. The spring water flows into a square stone pool and the surroundings are regulated with sitting areas. It’s a very popular picnic spot that sometimes get very crowded.
Ein QeltEin Qelt is the main spring at the lower section of the Wadi. The water flows down a nice waterfall into a beautiful natural pool. A great picnic spot. Access is via a Black marked dirt road that starts near the village Mizpe Yericho. (GPS 31.838297, 35.352349) From the end of the road walk further about 20 minutes to the spring along a black marked foot path . (Free entrance).
Monastery of St. George of Choziba
The Monastery of St. George of Choziba is the most famous landmark in Wadi Qelt and justly so. The cliff-hanging complex, first established around AD 500, with its ancient chapel and gardens, is active and inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks to this day. Established during the Byzantine period, it was destroyed by the Persians in AD 614, rebuilt in the 12th century during the Crusader period, abandoned after their defeat, and rebuilt again by Greek monks starting at the end of the 19th century.
Visiting the Monastery:
Access in via a very narrow and winding road near the village of Mitzpe Yericho GPS 31.843310, 35.414901 (Marked with “P” on the map)From this point there is a steep 1 km road (With no car access) that goes down to the Monastery. Go first to the Iconic view-point where all the famous pictures of the complex are taken. The view-point is a few minutes walk from the parking on an easy but unmarked path that starts to the left of the junction. To visit the monastery you can either walk down the road or ride a donkey (for a negotiable fee).
The monastery is open daily except on Sundays and certain holidays, between 9 am and 1 pm. There is a strict dress code. No shorts for men; no trousers of any sort for women, women must wear a long skirt, and a modest top.