Park Timna: The Arches Trail

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Trail MapHike it with Google EarthTerrain View
Distance: 2.5kmTime: 2 hoursDifficulty: Moderate
Ascent: 142mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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Park Timna: This vast desert landscape is a place of silence and beauty, only about fifteen minutes from Eilat, Israel’s most popular vacation destination.  Filled with cool geological formations, colorful rocks, and desert mountains, Park Timna is the place any hiker would want to visit near Eilat.

And Park Timna is more than just a pretty face.  This reserve also has a fascinating history – hiking through the park, one can see ancient temples from thousands of years ago, along with ancient mines and cave drawings.

On our trip down south this spring, we decided to take our kids to Park Timna.  Rather than just pop in and out for a day trip, we booked lodgings in the park (an immobile RV near the lake).  And although it wasn’t as cushy as a nice hotel in Eilat, the bonfires under a starry sky and early morning hikes more than made up for it.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
The climbing trail we were waiting for!

On our second morning in the park, we hiked the Arches Trail.  My husband and I had hiked this trail before as part of a longer journey through the park.  But this time around, we would be hiking the Arches Trail all by itself with the kids, allowing us time to slow down and really enjoy the special beauty and history of this awesome little hike.

My kids really loved this hike.  They loved climbing up and down ladders, taking in the impressive views from great heights, and crawling through mining tunnels.  At 2.5 kilometers, it was the perfect distance for an early morning hike before breakfast (the coolest time of day).

Here’s how we hiked the Arches Trail at Park Timna:

Ready to Climb

As with many trails in Park Timna, there are lots of ways to hike the Arches Trail. For our trip, we planned out a hike that would include as many of the special sights along the trail as possible.

After a short drive from our RV to the Arches Trailhead, we set off on the red trail into the desert.  It didn’t take long before we reached the crossroads to the green trail where we started to climb.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Up we go.

Try convincing a bunch of kids (including teenagers) that it’s a good idea to tackle a steep ascent first thing in the morning.  Nobody was too thrilled about the climb, despite the colorful red toned rock.  But bit by bit, we tackled this little ascent.  And once we reached the ladders, everyone was super thrilled to get climbing.

The Views

Once we reached the top, we paused in the shade of a rock archway.  From here, the views out to our surroundings were simply spectacular.  We took in the majesty of the desert in the early morning.  The silence.  There’s really nothing quite like it.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Kind of worth it.

Next, we headed back down in a circle.  For some people, this small part of the Arches Trail is all they’ll ever hike.  At the bottom of the hill, you can easily return to the trailhead, and congratulate yourself on a nice climb to see an awesome view.

But we were just getting started.  From the bottom, we continued to follow the red trail, which led us up again towards another fabulous archway.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Into the sky.

Even if we hadn’t wanted to hike the whole trail, we would have climbed up here just to get a photo or two in this awesome desert arch.  As my little son climbed the rungs on the side of the rock face, it looked like he was climbing into the sky.

Of course, just on the other side, there’s a flat surface and a continuation of the trail.  But nobody would ever know that from the pictures!

The Trail Continues

Here, we were greeted by more ladders.  This time, we were headed down into the darkness.  We climbed down a super tall ladder into the shadows below.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Climbing back down.

Then we followed the trail this way and that, through the rocky desert.  We were greeted by tall pillars of rock, mountain backdrops, and generally gorgeous scenery.

Before our next big ascent, we paused in the shade for a break from the desert sun.

The Black Trail

Now we had reached the black trail, and the miner’s cave.  The word cave is kind of deceptive when it comes to this place.  Although you do climb into a cave (which by the way, was once used as an ancient copper mine), you also climb up another really tall ladder, towards another one of those jaw dropping views.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Made it to the top!

My kids, who were dismayed at first about entering the cave, were very happy to climb this ladder into the sky.

So Colorful, So Beautiful

Next, we continued along the trail, through smooth and swirly layers of colorful rock.  There were a few obstacles along the way, but the kids navigated past them like champs.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Colorful sand.

Of course, the desert sun is exhausting.  So when we reached another patch of shade, we took a break.  As my kids sifted through colorful sand, pepper with copper rocks, I thought about how crazy beautiful this place really was.

Going Underground One More Time

As we made our way towards the end of the trail, we reached one last underground crawl space – another mining tunnel.  This one was multichambered, with many openings leading out into the light.  We climbed through in the shadows, enjoying the cool shade and the feeling of living like moles in a tunnel.

Eventually, we climbed back out and continued in the open sun back towards the trailhead.  This 2.5 kilometer hike at the Arches Trail in Park Timna had been the perfect way to start the morning.  As we walked back to the car, all eagerly anticipating breakfast at a picnic table outside of our RV, we congratulated ourselves on a job well done.

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Moles in a tunnel.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know to hike the Arches Trail at 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 follow the trail, use the trail map and Google Earth file. Also, make sure to pick up a map at the Timna Park Visitor's Center. That's your best bet for following the trail properly as the trail marker colors on the ground may differ from those on Amud Anan.

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 Arches Trail at Timna Park? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Arches Trail Park Timna Eilat hike
Totally ancient.

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.

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