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A few weeks ago, we did something really weird.
We shelled out a good chunk of cash to pay for a two night stay in an immobile RV in Park Timna. This stay cost the equivalent of two nights at a nice hotel room in nearby Eilat. But some strange spirit moved us to choose the tight space of an RV at Park Timna over a cushy hotel with fluffy towels and white sheets.
Perhaps what inspired us to “rough it” was our previous experience at Park Timna – the park in Israel most similar to the vast National Parks of United States. In the wintertime, my husband and I had hiked there for a full day. We loved it so much that we decided right then and there to return with our kids in the near future. Although Park Timna does have an entrance fee, the place is vast and beautiful. The park is full of fun, user friendly features that make it feel different from other parks in Israel.
We wanted to get the full Park Timna experience, from dusk till dawn and beyond. To that end, a three day stay in a six person RV at a campsite near the lake seemed like just the thing.
And it was! We felt that we got a lot of value out of the late nights and early mornings at the park. The RV was actually pretty comfortable, and it was nice to sit outside under the stars at night, eating dinner at the picnic table while the bonfire crackled nearby.
During our trip, we had the opportunity to hike a few trails with the kids, particularly early in the morning and towards sunset when the weather was coolest. On the first morning at Park Timna, we hiked the Canyons Trail, a 5.5 kilometer loop trail that we had missed on our last trip to the park.
In order to beat the heat, we started early – just after 7 AM. And we took our kids through as much of that trail as we could before the hot desert sun chased us away.
Here’s how we hiked this fun loop trail through the canyons at Park Timna:
Step Outside to the Canyons Trail
One of the nice things about staying in Park Timna was that we didn’t have to travel too far to get to any of the trails. After a quick cup of coffee, we drove on over to the trailhead of the Canyons Trail.
There were two ways to hike this trail: the longer option included an additional loop on the green trail, making the hike about 7.5 kilomters long. The shorter one skipped the green trail altogether. We were hoping to complete the full trail.
In my mind, I envisioned ladders and climbing, as one might expect out of a trail that leads through desert canyons. We scoped out our trail on the map and set out on our journey.
On this first stretch of trail, the kids began to really appreciate the beauty of Timna Park. Cool rock formations and desert lanscapes are available on just about any trail you tackle at the park, Canyons Trail included.
We followed the black marked trail through the open desert until we reached the blue trail. There, we turned to follow the blue trail into the canyons.
One of the most amazing things about Park Timna is the colorful rock formations. In ancient times, Timna was used as a copper mine. Walking along the trails, we found little green rocks (copper) which the kidse scooped up in the palms of their hands.
In this particular canyon, we were surrounded by wavy walls of red, orange, and pink. At our feet were white rocks mixed with little green pebbles. We proceeded through the technicolor half-tunnels, happy to find ourselves in the type of canyon that was so characteristic of this area.
What we didn’t find on the trail were any ladders (typical in canyons). This was an easy walking trail, with only a bit of up and down over a few large rocks. For our kids, climbing is a major bonus on desert trails. So when we reached the green trail, I really tried to convince the kids that we should extend the hike and complete the green loop as well. Perhaps we would find some ladders there?
I was elected to go scope out the green trail and check it out. My husband and youngest son decided to join me. So we wandered off into another colorful and beautiful canyon.
After a few minutes of walking, we made our decision – there were no ladders on this trail, so we weren’t going to make the other kids hike it.
Despite the lack of ladders, the green trail was beautiful, and there was much more rock climbing than we had seen thus far on the blue. We filed it away for our next trip.
Back to Blue
Then, we continued along the blue trail which took us out of the canyon and back into the open desert. I say open, but, Timna is not a monotonous desert filled with sand dunes. From our spot on the trail, we were surrounded by spectacular mountains, golden and glistening in the early morning sun.
We stumbled across a small “fin” (narrow ridge on top of a hill) which we all decided to climb. It was beautiful up there.
Great Start to the Day
After that, we were officially out of any desert canyons. We followed the blue trail up and down over smooth rocks and sand, hopping from stone to stone as we made our way back towards the trailhead.
Our morning hike had been a great start to the day. It seemed that just as we reached our car, the sun became too hot to bear. We piled in for the short drive back to our RV in Park Timna. In my mind, I envisioned the elaborate (but simple!) Israeli breakfast that I would create – to be eaten at the wooden picnic table upon our return to our campsite.
This easy Canyons Trail was a perfect start to our first day of adventure at Park Timna.
Here’s what you need to know to hike the Canyons Trail in Park Timna:
- There is a fee to enter Park Timna (49 NIS per adult, 39 NIS per child). Those who stay in the park do not have to pay the entrance fee.
- This trail is best suited to cooler days in the fall, winter, and spring.
- This is a circular trail.
- Great for kids.
- Wear good hiking shoes, and bring plenty of water, a hat, and sun protection to hike this trail.
- To hike the trail, follow the black trail until you reach the blue trail. Make a left onto the blue trail. If you'd like to hike the longer loop, turn right when you reach the green trail. Otherwise, stay straight on the blue trail until you can make a left onto the green trail. Follow the green trail back to the black trail which will take you back to the parking lot.
- Make sure to pick up a Park Timna map when you enter the park which will help guide you on your journey.
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 the Canyons Trail at Park Timna? Let’s hear about it in the comments!