Ein Avdat – WOW!
Ein Avdat is a place to look up and say “Wow!” White cliffs occasionally flecked by dark flint rise above the Zin Valley, while three springs feed several small rock pools year round. A rare water source in the desert, Ein Avdat’s springs sustain a variety of plant and wildlife.
One of the great things about Ein Avdat is that it’s a hike for people of all skill levels. For hikers who just want to see Ein Avdat’s famous clear and reflective pools, they can take the short trail. And there’s the long (and steep!) one-way trail for the more adventurous hikers! Then there’s an “in-between” trails for the hikers of beginner or intermediate skill, for families with kids, or for those who are just looking for a leisurely walk.
Easily accessible by car, Ein Avdat National Park in the Negev Desert offers one-to-three hour hike routes ranging in levels of difficulty, from easy to moderately challenging. A brochure with a site map is available at the admission booth. There are toilet facilities and water next to the lower parking area.
Recommended walk in Ein Avdat National Park
If you have come to Ein Avdat with two cars then it is possible to hike entirely in one direction, after having ferried one car to the upper parking lot of Ein Avdat NP, otherwise plan on returning to the same point. Please note that the hike to the upper parking lot requires climbing ladders. The trail to the upper parking lot is one way!
Setting out from the lower parking lot, follow the marked trail south. While it is wise to watch your step, make sure to look up and ahead to take in the view of the canyon as it rises above you.
The trail occasionally crosses the stream bed, mostly dry most of the year, and passes beneath impressive cliffs. Along the way you may spot some ibex. Ibex are a species of wild goat, which thrive on the vegetation of Ein Avdat, which is abundant relative to the Negev Desert Highlands. Adult male ibex stand out for their large scimitar-shaped horns.
At a trail junction, take the lower trail, cross over a small dam, and follow the trail on the opposite bank to a ledge overlooking one of the pools of Ein Avdat fed by a small waterfall tricking down the rock at its far end.
From here double back to the trail junction and head up the steps cut in the rock to reach the top of the waterfall. Look back down the canyon in the direction that you came from. Then continue up stream to Ein Maarif, crossing the stream bed as marked. At the pools of Ein Maarif cross over to the opposite bank to enjoy the scenery from the shade of a grove of Euphrates Poplars. On the cliff above are several small caves which served as monks cells in the Byzantine Period.
If you have come with only one car, then turn back and retrace your steps from the poplar grove. Hiking back to the parking lot affords a different perspective on Ein Avdat as you watch the landscape opening in front of you.
If you are doing the hike in one direction (two cars required), then continue to follow the trail uphill and ascend by ladders to reach the upper parking lot. Before heading to the car, take in the views of the canyon from above at the observation point.
Required equipment for touring in Ein Avdat
Hats, at least 1.5 liters of water (we do not recommend drinking the water from the springs), sturdy walking shoes, and clothing appropriate for the season.
Near to Ein Avdat National Park in the Negev
Getting to Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat is located on Road 40 between Mitzpe Ramon and Beer Sheva in the Negev Desert.
Near to Ein Avdat
Ben Gurion’s home is very close at Kibbutz Sede Boker. Ben Gurion’s grave is very close to the lower entrance to Ein Avdat. The Nabatean site of Avdat is also close by.