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  • תמונת הסופר/תYael Lerner

The Red Canyon- breathtaking hiking trail in Israel desert

עודכן: 15 בנוב׳ 2020

Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel, is enveloped by a dramatic landscape that brings together the desert wilderness, the majesty of the Eilat Mountains – a commanding rock formation colored with the desert shades of red, black, brown and white that towers over the city, and the sparkling waters of the Red Sea that shimmer in endless shades of blue at the city's feet.

This breathtaking amalgamation, combined with Eilat's proximity to Ramon International Airport, makes the city a hiking enthusiast's dream.

Whether you're traveling alone or in a group and regardless of whether you're looking for a casual day trip, a fun family hike, cycling trails, or a challenging trudge, the city and its surroundings have something you are sure to like.

Eilat borders the Negev Desert, which is home to an eclectic collection of flora and fauna, as well as to some of the most famous tourist attractions in Israel, making it one of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the country and in the world.

This time, we recommend you take the do-it-yourself approach to excursions in the area, with a list of day trips and hikes that are suitable for all ages and budgets. These suggestions include some of the best locations the city and its surroundings have to offer: Pristine, scenic landscapes; paths that meander through mountains and rocks formations in all shapes and colors; coves, animals and desert-typical vegetation, and observatories – and all within a short distance of the city and free of charge!

The Red Canyon

The Red Canyon is one of the most popular hiking routes in the Eilat Mountains. This classic day trip is located a 20-minute drive from the city, and takes visitors on a short trip through the colorful, narrow gorge, which is surrounded by rock formations only Mother Nature could have come up with: Bright red sandstones with layers of green and turquoise clay.

Track description:

Follow the green trail. After about 1 kilometer you will reach Shani stream – the Red Canyon is the narrowest and most beautiful stretch of the stream. It is only 300 meters long, but it glows with rich reds, browns and yellow rocks. Moving forward there are three dry waterfalls and sharp turns as the canyon becomes narrower. This part can be carefully crossed using a natural rock slide, ladders and handles – a thrilling experience in and of itself.

After the third waterfall, the canyon becomes wider again. Here, pay close attention and turn right, following the black trail. A rope is placed on the riverbank to help you make out the turning point. Continue up the path, again following the green markers, which will lead you back towards the parking lot.

Those who want to explore further can continue for another 1 km downstream and turn right, following the black trail, heading south through the dry waterfall. Follow the black, red and green trail back to the parking lot. This makes for a two-and-a-half-hour hike.

Please note: at the starting point there is a sign detailing the routes, as well as maps in Hebrew, English and Russians for hikers to take with them.

How to get there?

Drive from Eilat north about 20 km on Route 12. Between the 19 and 20 km markers, turn right to a road with red markers (there's a sign). Drive about a 1 km and you will reach the parking lot.

· Ask Waze to get to: The Red Canyon

· Driving distance from Eilat: 20 minutes

· Best to visit during: Fall, winter and spring.

· Fees: None

· Distance: 3 km

· Duration: 3 hours

· The essentials: Comfortable hiking shoes, at least 3 liters of water per person, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks.

Don't miss out on pausing at the heart of the canyon and taking in the scenery. Enjoy the fresh air and let your imagination do the rest.

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