To the Tsfira Pools

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Distance: 3kmTime: 2-3 hoursDifficulty: Easy
Ascent: 111mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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Deep in the desert past Arad, there’s a quiet world of natural beauty.  Between jagged cliff edges and sand colored mountains, the Tsfira pools lay waiting for wet, desert fun.

This week, we decided to venture out for a full two days in the desert.  Our base: the Tsfira campground, a flat place to pitch a tent that’s also the starting point for several hiking trails.

Our first hike was to the Tsfira Pools.  These pools form in the wintertime from rainwater trapped between rocks.  We were sure that the warm, sunny weather and an awesome swimming hole would be a winning combination for our kids.

Fun for everyone.

And we were right.  The trip out to the pools was quiet and beautiful.  And the Tsfira Pools themselves were perfect places to play.

Here’s what we discovered along the way:

Head Out

Armed with swimsuits and bottles of water, we left our camping gear at the campsite and headed out towards the green trail.  Out in the sunshine after a long winter, we couldn’t help but feel energized.

Ready for fun.

There’s something about desert scenery that touches the soul.  The sky above is completely wide open, spread out in every direction – that day, it was a bright blue filled with puffy white clouds.  In the distance, desert mountains towered around us.

Our trail headed slightly downhill.  The kids had fun climbing over rocks along the way.  But for the most part, it was an easy walk in the late afternoon sun.

The Shallow Pool

We reached the first pool without even realizing we were there.

Around the bend.

Because of the way the rock blends into its surroundings, we couldn’t see that beyond the cliff was a channel, filled with water.

As we made our way to the other side of the little cliff, the first of the Tsfira Pools appeared: shallow and refreshing.

Water play.

First, we skimmed rocks off the top of the water.  Then we dipped our feet in.  Next, inevitably, the kids were full on swimming in the water, splashing around with glee.


While the little kids played, my husband and I took turns climbing rocks to explore the far side of the pool. 

The pools in Breichot Tsfira are actually just deeper sections of a long, dry riverbed.  As we walked, more and more swimming holes were revealed in the channel.

If we had been feeling adventurous, we would have climbed into the water and gone exploring.  But we had to get back to set up camp at before dark.  So, we spent our time in the pool closest to the trail.

When the kids had enough water play, they stretched out on the flat rocks above the riverbed, soaking up warmth left behind by the sunshine.

Let’s Explore

While everyone recovered from their afternoon burst of energy, I took my oldest son further along the trail to see the rest of the Tsfira Pools.

We climbed up the mountain, following the green trail.  So far, so good.  Then we reached the challenging part: a climb down the side of a steep cliff on metal rungs.

Slippery situation.

Down we climbed towards the larger pool that waited below.

Since the larger Tsfira Pool is (of course) the more popular one, this area was full of people.  Wet bodies climbed up the steep cliff, grasping onto rock and metal. 

We made our way down, careful not to slip.  When we reached the bottom, we realized that unless we wanted to get completely wet, we wouldn’t be seeing the large pool up close that day.  To get there, we would have to walk through high water and around a cliffside.

The pool from up above.

Instead, we turned back the way we came and enjoyed our rock climb back up the side of the mountain.

All in a Day’s Fun

Back at the small pool, the kids were fully rested and ready to go.  We packed up and set off towards the campground.

The sun was descending in the sky, keeping us cool as we hiked back up the hill.  Along the way, we gave the kids a mission: collect as much dry wood as you can find along the trail.  We would need it for that night’s campfire.

Sword fighting with sticks.

A half hour later, we were back at the trailhead.  For us, this little jaunt towards the Tsfira Pools had been a mini adventure.  But on a different day, we would have spent hours alternating between splashing and sunning by the pools.

We set up our tents, built a fire, and drank hot soup.  Our desert adventure had just begun. More excitement was waiting for us the next day. 

But first, we had a night of stargazing ahead –  in an isolated campground near the Tsfira Pools.

Camping fun.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know before hiking this trail:

  • Great for kids
  • Suitable for dogs.
  • This trail is good for fall, winter, and spring. The water level in early fall will be low or non-existent. As the winter rains fall, the pools get deeper. By the end of spring, the water level drops.
  • Post on the Hiking the Holyland Facebook group to see if anyone knows about current water levels.
  • Bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
  • To reach the shallow pool: follow the green trail until the black. Make a right onto the black trail. You’ll see the small pool.
  • To continue on to the deeper pools (for strong climbers and swimmers only), follow the blue trail from the shallow pool. Then follow the green trail down to the water.
  • The parking area is also a campground. There are no facilities whatsoever, but the stars sure are beautiful!

Check out another great hike in the area: Tsfira Mountain.

Trail map from Amud Anan.

Don’t forget to read my guide to the navigational features in this post before you hit the trail!

Questions? Have you hiked to the Tsfira Pools? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Dog in the desert.

Hiking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each hiker’s responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.

7 thoughts on “To the Tsfira Pools

  1. If you are not doing the challenging part, how long will the hiking take (not including playing in the water), approximately? Thanks

    1. Yes, I would imagine that there will still be water there. It may not be the freshest, but I would be very surprised if the pools were completely dry 🙂

  2. Sounds lovely. We’re looking for something which has a smooth path for a trail. It can have ups and downs, but minimal rocks or challenges on the walking surface itself. How’s the trail on this one, up until the first pool?

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