Ein Avdat: a true desert hiking gem!

Ein AvdatLocated in an amazing canyon in the Negev desert, the Ein Avdat National Park is the cool, largely unknown sanctuary where the stunning Ein Avdat spring flows…

The canyon in which Ein Avdat park lies is part of Nahal Zin, which is the longest wadi in the Negev desert.

This amazing desert park -actually formed by natural erosion – is home to many different animals, includes ibexes. And thanks to nature’s magic, there are also many different springs in the Ein Avdat park that you can check out, starting from the upper section of the park.

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These springs create multiple waterfalls that, at the lower part of the canyon, form into stunning natural pools. One of these springs is called Ein Ma’arif, known for its small waterfalls that flow together; further north is the spring of Ein Avdat itself, including an impressive 15 meter high waterfall; another spring, which is located in the northernmost part of the national park, is called Ein Mor.

There are lots of salt-loving trees that grow in the park such as atriplexes, commonly known as saltbush, and Euphrates poplar trees. And when it comes to animals, aside from ibexes, you can also discover vultures, eagles, rock pigeons, crabs, and hawks.

In the northern part of the park, you will see caves which were once used by Byzantine monks, some of which still have carved shelves, benches, chairs, and even water systems made from rocks that were sculpted by the monks. Prayers and crosses are also engraved in the rocks.

Hiking the Ein Avdat park should definitely be on your must-do list when visiting the Negev desert, and for a good reason. It’s generally an easy hike, but there is some climbing, some of which is via ladders and some in steps.

The hike often starts near Ben-Gurion’s grave in Sde Boker, which is in the northern and upper part of the
park. There are blue trail markers to guide you; follow the path that will lead you to a waterfall and a pool with a man-made dam. Next to this, you’ll have to do the ancient steps that were originally carved in the 1950’s by Israeli youth. These steps will lead you upwards to the southern part of the nature reserve, where more pools of water await, as well as trees, especially poplars that have rooted themselves on the steep slopes. You will also see horizontal layers of sedimentary rocks with an occasional dark line of flint.

If you hadn’t noticed already, Ein Avdat is an oasis that will leave you in awe!

Swimming in the pools is strictly not allowed as it is meant for use by the animals only. During winter, the park is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and in the summer, they extend to 5:00 PM. You will also have to pay for an entrance fee that includes exploring the upper and lower parts of the park.
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