Judean Desert (Arad to Ein Gedi via Masada) – 4 to 6 days Inn to Inn Trek

This is a challenging and very rewarding true Desert Trek. Secluded desert paths, Deep Dramatic Canyons, Desert Springs, Amazing views of Masada and the Dead sea. All of this combined with our “user friendly” Inn to Inn program.

Trek Metrics
Number of hiking Days6
Distance84 Km
Short Version4 Days / 55 Km
Start at Nokdim
LevelDifficult
BestDec - Mar
PossibleNov - Apr
Price From:600 USD / Person
Based on:
4 Days version.
Group Size of 4.
Two hikers in a room.
Trek is on Weekdays.
Check Your Priceget an Instant Detailed Quote
Price Includes:

  • Accommodation (4/6 Nights).

  • Breakfast.

  • Daily luggage transfer from one accommodation to the next.

  • Car Shuttles during the Trek.

  • 24/7 Customer service.

  • Printed Hiking maps for each day.

  • GPS Cellphone App for navigation with our Walking notes.

  • Detailed Briefing meeting at your accommodation on the 1st day.

  • (Transportation to/From the Start/End point is not Included)

Accommodation Class:Hotels, Hostels and Desert Inns.
Lodging options are very limited. Please book well in advance!
/ Start PointGoogle-Maps-icon-2020
/ End PointGoogle-Maps-icon-2020


Overview Map

Judean desert Inn to Inn hiking trek map

Click Map to Enlarge


A very “natural” Inn to Inn program with almost no vehicle transfers. (Two 5 minutes drives on the 3rd & 5th day!). During the trek you will visit two very well known spots. Masada and Ein Gedi. However, you will visit them in a very unique way. Avoiding the crowds and boosting the experience to a much higher level. Most of the trails are totally secluded and you are likely to meet only a handful of hikers during this 4-6 days hike. The last evening is at the Ein Gedi hotel and SPA . A great place to treat yourself after several tough days in the outdoors.
The best time of year for this trek are the winter month December-March. With mostly pleasant temperatures and still a very low chance for rain. In November and April it is still possible to hike, but with a higher risk of “suffering” hot weather.
Pay attention to the weather forecast regarding the risk from flash floods. In case of such a risk, we will guide you with the necessary changes in the route to stay safe.

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Wadi Kanfan

  • Wadi Kanfan
    Wadi Kanfan
Overview:

  • Distance: 16.5 Km (7-8 Hours) / Climb: 550 m
  • Starting Point: Wadi Kanfan
  • End Point: Arad
  • Overnight: Arad
  • Preferred Lodging: Inbar Hotel, Arad
Itinerary:
  • Our accommodation is in the pleasant desert town Arad.
  • A short taxi ride will take us to the trail head near Wadi Heimar.
  • Most of our path today is along the INT (Israel National Trail), In Wadi Heimar and then in Wadi Kanfan.
  • Wadi Kanfan is less famous then other paths in the area. Therefore  you should be expecting a quite day with very few travelers and true desert atmosphere.
  • A few kilometers before Arad you will leave the INT and take the Green marked dirt road into Arad and arrive on foot back to the same hotel.

Day 2 – The 4 Cisterns Trail and Rahaf Canyon

  • 4 Cisterns Wadi near Arad
    the "4 Cistern" Wadi
Overview:
  • Distance: 12.5Km (5-6 Hours) / Climb: 200 m
  • Starting Point: Arad
  • End Point: Nokdim Village
  • Overnight: Nokdim Village
  • Preferred Lodging: Kfar Hanokdim
Itinerary:
  • We start by walking to the Southern edge of Arad where the “4 Cisterns wadi” begins.
  • The short 2 Kilometers wadi is famous for the concentration of several cisterns that had been dug to collect precious rain water in ancient times.
  • At about midway, our route intersects and then follows for about 2 Km the minor road #3199.
  • We leave the road to it’s south side and enter the exciting Upper Rahaf canyon.
  • After a short but exciting section in this typical desert canyon we reach the Nokdim village desert inn where we will spend the night.

Day 3 – The Grand Zeelim Canyon

  • A view down to Zeelim canyon from the top of the Naama trail
    Zeelim Canyon from Above
Overview:
  • Distance: 16.5 Km (7-9 Hours) / Climb: 300 m
  • Starting Point:  Road #3199
  • End Point: Masada
  • Overnight: Masada
  • Preferred Lodging: Masada Hostel
Itinerary:
  • A very exciting day is ahead of us! We start with a short car shuttle to our trail-head.
  • After a few easy warm-up kilometers we reach the cliff-top of the mighty Zeelim Canyon. It is one of the biggest and most beautiful canyons in the Judean desert. A good stop for a short break before we descend into the gorge.
  • The descend is via an ancient desert foot path. at the bottom we arrive at the Naama pool. The depth of the water can be 1-2 meters depending on the rainfall in previous weeks.
  • The walk down the canyon between the tall walls is a great experience. After about 2 Kilometers we reach Ein Namer (The “Leopard” spring). Another attractions that calls for a break.
  • The name reminds us that in the past this rare water source was used by the local desert leopards that once inhabited the Judean desert. They are now nearly  extinct. (Recent studies claim that there are 1-2 leopards still living in the Judean desert)
  • The next section is called the “Shiny valley”. it is a deep narrow gorge made of white shinny rocks.
  • This is an exciting section that involves crossing pools, getting wet and negotiating a few dry waterfalls. (Bring extra dry shoes and cloth)
  • If this genre is not for you, you can easily bypass it with a trails that follows above the gorge.
  • We then leave the canyon on another ancient path and make our way to the base of Masada and to our accommodation the Masada Hostel.

Day 4 -Meet Masada in an unexpected and unique way!

  • Light and Shade around Masada
Overview:
  • Distance: 8-10 Km (3-6 Hours) / Climb: 350 m.
  • Starting Point: Masada.
  • End Point: Masada.
  • Overnight: Masada.
  • Preferred Lodging Masada Hostel.
Itinerary:
  • An amazing hike! We circle around Masada on the mountains surrounding it and get unique views from different angles on this legendary fortress.
  • Plus we have the option to visit Masada in the middle of the hike.
  • For full details check our Masada Hike page.

Day 5 – Mishmar Canyon

  • climbing ladders in mishmar canyon
    The narrow gorge section
Overview:
  • Distance: 20 Km (9-11 Hours) / Climb: 800 m
  • Short alternative: A round trip in Wadi Mishmar (12 Km / Climb 350 m)
  • Starting Point: Wadi Mishmar
  • End Point: Kibbutz Ein Gedi
  • Overnight: Kibbutz Ein Gedi
  • Preferred Lodging: Ein Gedi Hotel
Itinerary:
  • A short taxi ride with take us a few kilometers north to the entrance to wadi Mishmar.
  • Another great Judean desert canyon. An excising and challenging hike up the narrow gorge will bring us to a horseshoe dry waterfall and another desert spring, Ein Mishmar.
  • This is an exciting section that involves crossing pools, getting wet and climbing a few metal ladders. (Bring extra dry shoes and cloth)
  • If this genre is not for you, you can easily bypass it with a trails that follows above the gorge.
  • A great spot for an extended break.
  • From here we have 2 choices:
  • The longer version climbs steeply to the north side of the canyon and follows the desert plateau and down to Kibbutz Ein Gedi, reaching our accommodation by foot. (Total of 20 km).
  • If this is too much for you, return along the trails that goes above the canyon back to the starting point. And from there, with a taxi shuttle, a 10 minutes drive to the accommodation.

Day 6 – Ein Gedi Reserve – The grand circuit

  • the hidden waterfall in arugot stream
    The "Hidden" waterfall
Overview:
  • Distance: 7.5 Km (3-4 Hours)
  • Climb: 500
  • Start / End Point: Kibbutz Ein Gedi
Itinerary:
  • A delightful dessert to end a great trek with a hike in the famous Ein Gedi natural reserve.
  • 95% of the visitors to the reserve will walk up and down the Arugot or David stream and settle with that.
  • We will of course take a a different approach and make a real desert hike.
  • Starting with a tough ascend on the ancient and beautifully built Ein Gedi pass. Enjoy great views on the Dead sea from high above and finish for dessert with the gushing water of the Arugot stream.
  • Don’t forget your bathing suit and enjoy a swim at the pool beneath the hidden waterfall!

This a relatively short day and you can use the extra time to enjoy some other activities in and around Ein Gedi.