Waterfall in the Canyon of Wadi Qelt

Wadi Qelt (Ein Prat) – Full GuideBook

Our Guidebook to Wadi Qelt (Ein Prat) will take you to all the Springs, Pools, and Monasteries along the canyon. The guide is accompanied by detailed maps and a full day hike section.

Touring Map of Wadi Qelt

Table of content

FULL DAY HIKE

Hike Metrics
Guided Group Hikes
Self-Guided Hike
Distance9 Km
Short versions1 - 5 Km
Climb200 m
DifficultyModerate
BestDec - Mar
PossibleNov - Apr
(Short version - All year)
LocationGoogle-Maps-icon-2020
/ Starting PointGoogle-Maps-icon-2020

TRACK DESCRIPTION:

Detailed hiking map

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  • Important Note: Most of the hike is on rocky terrain. There are some exposed sections equipped with metal handles.
  • Starting point –  parking area at Ein Prat Natural Reserve (1). (entrance fee required)
  • Follow the ‡Blue‡ marker upstream on the road for 200 m to reach Ein Prat (Spring). (2)

Casacde and pool near Ein Prat

EIN PRAT

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 unique quantity for this desert area!)
As of 1927, Ein Prat supplied drinking water to the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The use of spring water 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 a tourist service center.

  • Hanging  Up on the southern cliffs high above the valley, you can see the Faran monastery.
Faran monastery in Wadi Qelt
Faran monastery

FARAN MONASTERY
The monastery of Faran (also known as the Chariton Monastery) is the first Christian monastery to be built in the Judean Desert around 330 CE. The monastery was built by the monk Chariton, who was considered the founder of the Judean desert nuns. The monastery was destroyed by the Persians in 614 CE but was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century by the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • Retrace to the starting point and continue with the ‡Red‡ markers downstream 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.
  • It is the most exciting part of the route. The canyon becomes deeper, with many small waterfalls and pools.

Detailed hiking map

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  • From time to time, you should notice the ruins of ancient aqueducts that carried the water of Ein Prat to Jericho in ancient times.
  • At point (4) The ‡Red‡ markers continue downstream 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!!

The Canyon of Wadi Qelt viewed from the north rdige

  • Follow this trail for 3.5 Km back to point (3).
  • Continue an 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.
Wadi Qelt famous Monastery Viewed from the high cliffs on the opposite site
St George Monastery
  • 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 find your way easily.


Get the Detailed Hiking Maps and GPS files for this hike for just 5$

  1. Detailed Hiking Map of the route area optimized for printing on an A4 size paper or for browsing on your device.
  2. Zoomed in Maps for the sensitive areas (When needed).
  3. GPS track files for navigation on your IOS/Android App.
  4. Map Legend and labels are in English

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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

WADI QELT
Ancient times:
Wadi Qelt contains monasteries and Several aqueducts (The oldest dating to the 2nd century BC). The aqueducts transported water from its three 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.
➢Old Aqueducts.
➢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.



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 swimming.

However, if you are up to it, our top recommendation the experiencing Wadi Qelt is by going on a Full Day Hike.


Touring Map of Wadi Qelt
Click on the map to download it in full quality


EIN PRAT

Casacde and pool near Ein Prat

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 desert area!)
From 1927, Ein Prat started to supply drinking water to the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. It terminated after the connection of East Jerusalem to the water system of West Jerusalem. The old Pumphouse serves now the National Park Authority and functions as a tourist service center.
In the adjacent area of the 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.


WADI QELT ACCOMODATIONS GUIDE

Accomodations near wadi qelt are very sparse, however with our guide you will be able to sleep within walking distance to the natural pools in the canyon.

Wadi Qelt accommodations map

Kfar Adomim and Nofey Prat:

These two villages are the only places within walking distance to the wadi that have accommodations.  There is even a 1.5 Km marked hiking trail (Black color) that connects the northern edge of the villages to the main hiking trails of Wadi Qelt. You can either join our hike just after point 3, or go down into the canyon and relax in the pools. There are three friendly apartments you can choose from.

Jerusalem:

If you want to sleep in Jerusalem with good and fast access to Wadi Qelt (Ein Prat), you can stay in the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood, which is only 10 Kilometers away from the natural reserve entrance. There two apartments there that get a score of 9+.


FARAN MONASTERY

Faran monastery hangs on the clif above ein Prat
Faran monastery

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 in the Judean Desert. It was built in the 3rd century. The abbey was built by the monk Chariton, who was the founding father of the Judean desert nuns. The Persians destroyed the abbey 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.

More hikes near Jerusalem ➢


AQUEDUCTS ALONG THE WADI

The aquaduct running above Wadi Qelt

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 MABOA

Ein Maboa in Wadi Qelt
Ein Maboa by Dr. Avishai Teicher [Creative Commons]
Ein Maboa is a unique natural phenomenon. The spring’s pool empties 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 that goes down from the village Alon towards Wadi Qelt.

  • Parking: GPS 31.838297, 35.352349
  • Price: Free
  • Opening Hours: Winter 08:00-16:00, Summer 08:00-18:00

The spring water flows into a rectangular stone pool, and the surroundings are regulated with sitting areas. It’s a very popular picnic spot that sometimes gets very crowded.

Don’t miss a stop at “Orit Lookout” for a fantastic view of the surrounding desert. The lookout was built in memory of Orit Segel from the nearby village Alon, that died at a young age.

Ein Maboa Map


EIN QELT

Qelt spring - Pool and waterfall
Ein Qelt by Esti Kaplan [Creative Commons]
Ein 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 31.825883, 35.387598) . Follow the dirt road until the end (about 800 m). From the end of the dirt road, walk further about 20 minutes to the spring along a black-marked footpath.

Ein Qelt Map


MONASTERY OF ST. GEORGE OF CHOZIBA

View on St. George Monastery

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. 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 is 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 one 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 minute’s 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.


THE GOOD SAMARITAN INN MOSAIC MUSEUM

Mosaic floor at the good samaritan inn museum

The museum is not inside Wadi Qelt. But if you are here, don’t miss this Amazing Museum showing a collection of Mosaic floors found in ruins across the West Bank and Gaza.
The museum is located in a restored in from the ottoman period. However, the location situated on the main road from Jerusalem to Jericho was and active inn since ancient times and  According to the tradition, it was the location of the Event of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10 30-35). (GPS 31.816159, 35.359228)

WADI QELT FAQ’s

Are there Guided hikes in Wadi Qelt?

Israel by Foot organizes every Tuesday a Guided Group Hike in Wadi Qelt with transportation from Jerusalem. You can sing up here. The activity is taking place between November and April

How long is the Hike in Wadi Qelt?

The complete length of Wadi Qelt if you walk from Ein Prat to Jericho is about 25 Kilometers. However, there are many variations that span from 3 to 10 kilometers. The most recommended one is an 8 Kilometers circular hike that starts at Ein Prat.

How long does it take to reach Wadi Qelt from Jerusalem?

Wadi Qelt is located about 15 Kilometers from Jerusalem city center. The drive takes about 30-45 minutes depending on the traffic.

Can I reach Wadi Qelt with public transportation?

You cat go until the settlement Almon by Bus. From there, it is about a 2 Kilometers walk to Ein Prat Natural reserve.

Is wadi Qelt mentioned in the bible?

Many believe that the “valley of the shadow of death” from Psalm 23 in the old testament is Wadi Qelt, but there is no actual proof to it. It is also believed to be part of en route of the parable of the Good Samaritan from the new testament Luke 10:29.

Is it possible to swim in Wadi Qelt?

Sure!! There are several amazing pools along the stream that invites for a swim.

What is the best season to hike in Wadi Qelt?

November-April is the best for a real hike. During the summer it is ok to visit for a short hike and a swim