This 4-5 hour hike through the Judaean Desert is along three valleys; Nahal Zohar, Nahal Yitzrach, and Nahal Rom, which are located closely to each other just west of The Dead Sea. This is a perfect trip for families visiting The Dead Sea, as this hike begins and ends along the Dead Sea coastline. You will see beautiful views of the Judaean Desert while climbing small mountains and rocks.
Take bus 284 from Be’er Sheva and get off at Neve Zohar after about an hour and fifteen minutes. Once you get off the bus, feel free to enjoy a view of the Dead Sea from up close right near the roundabout where the bus stop is. Afterwards, head back up the road in the direction that the bus came from. Once you reach the main road, cross it and start walking on the blue trail.
The blue trail will take you past several pretty mountains. You’ll pass an intersection with the black trail on your right (this is where you can park your car if you choose to drive instead of taking public transportation to get here); this is where the trail you’ll be hiking on today will start. However, we recommend walking past the black’s starting point and continuing on the blue trail for about five minutes until you reach Mitzad Zohar (מצד זהר). This ancient Roman fortress was originally carved out of a mountain and served as a taxing station for travelers who crossed through the Negev region on their journeys.
Once you’re about wrapped at Mitzad Zohar, turn back around and head towards the start of the black trail. Throughout the course of this hike, you’ll walk along three dry streams: Nahal Izrach, Nahal Rom, and Nahal Zohar. You’ll start out walking through Nahal Izrach, which is surrounded by high canyon walls. The trail on which you’ll be walking closely resembles the African savannah.
After 2.5 kilometers of walking capped off by a bit of climbing, you’ll arrive at the top of a mountain, where you’ll have your first viewpoint of the Dead Sea pools. If you’re with a big group, this may be a good place to stop for lunch. However, smaller groups should wait off until you’ve ventured on down Nahal Rom and find a better spot (more on these details later).
As you make your way down the steep descent, you’ll have to climb down several dried up waterfalls. You will pass many beautiful areas with large rocks, which is a great place for a small group to stop and rest or have a snack.
The descent is moderately difficult at times due to it’s steepness. There are many rocks to hold on to, so it can be easy if you take your time. During the descent you will be exposed to amazing views of the Dead Sea and mineral pools nearby. After about 45 minutes of descending, you will reach flat ground just below the highway.
You’ll continue to follow the black trail on the flat ground until the end of the hike. Just before reaching the road, you will pass through a concrete tunnel, which is also marked black.
After passing through the tunnel you will be at the end of the trail leading to the road along the Dead Sea pools. From here you can take a bus back to the starting point if you parked your car, or you can take a bus all the way back to Be’er Sheva.
For more pictures, check out our Facebook page!