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|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Terrain View|
|Distance: 3.3km||Time: 2 hours||Difficulty: Moderate|
|Ascent: 273 m||Second Parking Lot||Second Parking Lot|
In the desert near Sde Boker sits a fantastic desert oasis: Ein Avdat. Ein Avdat is well known for its chalk white canyon and incredible reflective pools.
But there’s more to Ein Avdat.
This National Park is also home to one of Israel’s populations of Griffon vultures. Peer up towards the top of the canyon walls, and you’re likely to see a few of these majestic creatures swooping down.
This past week, we returned to Ein Avdat with our kids (and their cousins). We got to see vultures and cool pools. The kids had tons of fun climbing the canyon walls on ladders. And we even discovered a secret cave – it was a great place to escape from the crowds.
Here’s what we saw on last week’s journey through Ein Avdat on the one-way trail:
Strikingly Beautiful All Over Again
It takes quite a while for us to drive down to Ein Avdat from the Jerusalem area. But it’s worth it every time.
The minute you step out of the car and onto the trail, the natural beauty of the waterfall canyon spreads out in front of you. Little streams trickle between large, flat rocks. A palpable silence fills the space inside the canyon.
From chalk white rock to the springs and reflective pools, the scenery at Ein Avdat is unparalleled. Which is why the National Park attracts so many visitors.
As beautiful as Ein Avdat is, that morning our kids were still most interested in climbing rocks along the path. They also thoroughly enjoyed spotting Griffon Vultures atop the canyon walls up above…and pointing my camera in the right direction.
To the Reflective Pools
After a short walk, we reached the most popular area at Ein Avdat – the reflective pools. There were a lot of people hiking that day. But that didn’t stop our children from weaving their way through the crowds to find a spot on the other side of the water.
On a quiet day, this area is almost magical – the play of light and shadow on the water in the canyon creates an other-worldly atmosphere.
When it’s crowded, though, it’s hard to spend too much time contemplating the wonders of nature. So, after a few minutes, we backtracked towards the stone staircase and climbed up to take in the views from above the canyon.
This short segment is the scariest part of the trail to walk with children. We followed the narrow pathway along the edge of the canyon wall. Hand holding and extreme adult supervision were required to ensure that no little ones veered off track.
A minute later, we were rock hopping again, crossing the water towards a green area full of trees.
Almost all of us made it across without falling in!
From this point on, the trail becomes one-way. Anyone heading towards the ladders to climb the canyon walls can’t go back the way they came.
Luckily for us, we were two families with two cars. So earlier that morning, we had parked a second car at the end lot to take us back to the trailhead when we finished the hike.
We began climbing the walls.
Monkey Kids and a Secret Cave
I’ve learned from experience that kids are simply more adept at climbing than adults. My four year old scurried up the first ladder before I even had a chance to tell him to slow down. We assigned big kids to watch over little kids, then climbed our way up the side of the canyon.
Just when we were ready for a rest, one of my nephews noticed an awesome breakaway trail leading towards a dug out cave. We ran towards the cave, happy to have a place to ourselves.
The kids explored the rooms of the cave. After that, we let them have some snacks and took a few pictures. And when it seemed that the crowd on the ladders had finally thinned out, we returned to the climb.
Up and Over
We ascended the last fifty meters of the trail with a lot more space than before. The kids were having so much fun – they weren’t ready to stop hiking.
So when we reached the top, we continued on the trail past the parking lot to see what else we could find. We explored the lookout. The kids found lots of new places to climb. Then we went even further on the trail to see source of the spring from up above.
A while later, everyone agreed that it was time for ice cream.
We returned to the parking lot and sat there, enjoying our popsicles in the sunny weather. As always, the hike at Ein Avdat had been a winner with the kids and the adults. And we had even found a new and exciting cave along a familiar trail.
Beauty, climbing, and a bit of sunshine therapy – there’s really no better activity than hiking for family time. The Ein Avdat one-way trail is a great place for friends and families to experience the incredible beauty of nature in Israel.
Here’s what you need to know before heading out on this trail:
- To do the one way trail: before you begin, you must leave a car at the second parking lot. The ladders are one way – you can’t turn around and go back the way you came.
- No dogs allowed.
- No drones allowed.
- This is a National Park. There is an entrance fee and there are facilities on site. Free map with entry.
- No eating allowed on the trail. (Picnic areas are located at the beginning and end of the trail.)
- Suitable for all seasons.
- Wear sturdy walking shoes when hiking.
- Always check the weather for flash flood warnings before going on any desert hike.
- May not be suitable for those with a fear of heights.
- The trail is easy to follow. Enter the park, then take the blue trail all the way to second parking lot. You can follow the blue trail a little further to see the lookout and see the spring from above. Then return the way you came to the second lot.
- Take the short trail instead by turning back at point 7.
Don’t forget to read my guide to the navigational features in this post before you hit the trail.
Trail map from Amud Anan.
Questions? Have you hiked Ein Avdat? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!