Judean Desert (Arad to Ein Gedi via Masada) – 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
BestDec - Mar
PossibleNov - Apr
Price From:570 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:

  • 6 Overnights

  • 6 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

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Wadi Kanfan

  • Wadi Kanfan
    Wadi Kanfan

  • Distance: 16.5 Km (7-8 Hours) / Climb: 550 m
  • Starting Point: Wadi Kanfan
  • End Point: Arad
  • Overnight: Arad
  • Preferred Lodging: Inbar Hotel, Arad
  • 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
  • Distance: 12.5Km (5-6 Hours) / Climb: 200 m
  • Starting Point: Arad
  • End Point: Nokdim Village
  • Overnight: Nokdim Village
  • Preferred Lodging: Kfar Hanokdim
  • 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
  • Distance: 16.5 Km (7-9 Hours) / Climb: 300 m
  • Starting Point:  Road #3199
  • End Point: Masada
  • Overnight: Masada
  • Preferred Lodging: Masada Hostel
  • 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
  • Distance: 8-10 Km (3-6 Hours) / Climb: 350 m.
  • Starting Point: Masada.
  • End Point: Masada.
  • Overnight: Masada.
  • Preferred Lodging Masada Hostel.
  • 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
  • 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 Hostel

  • 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
  • Distance: 7.5 Km (3-4 Hours)
  • Climb: 500
  • Start / End Point: Kibbutz Ein Gedi

  • 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.