158.75 mi

Elevation gain

18,806 ft

Technical difficulty


Elevation loss

16,033 ft

Max elevation

2,835 ft


61 5

Min elevation

-48 ft

Trail type

One Way




March 26, 2020


January 2010
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2,835 ft
-48 ft
158.75 mi

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near Taba, South Sinai (Egypt)

The desert section of the Israel National Trail (Shvil Israel) has dramatic scenery with wadis, canyons, mountains and ancient remains. It also includes some exciting sections at height, up and down ladders and metal rungs set in the rock. I have documented the trip in my blog (, and attached is the route I walked, including diversions off trail to collect groceries and for accommodation. This is part 1 of my route, part 2 is at
If you are thinking of walking the Israel National Trail please buy the guidebook ("Israel National Trail: Hike the land of Israel" available from With detailed maps it assists navigation and gives the background on sights you pass, without which you will miss the significance of some heap of stones. More importantly it references essential practical information, such as details of how to obtain water and where you can buy groceries.

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Barak canyon

This is a narrow canyon with ladders and metal rungs to climb down. Along the bottom of the canyon there are pits which may be full of water. An exciting part of the route!

Barak Night Camp

Night camps are places you can camp in the desert, elsewhere, being mostly Nature Reserve, camping is not allowed. Apart from a sign and some stones there is not usually much at these campsites. Barak Night camp was particularly bare.

Be'er Ora Grocery store

The first grocery store north of Eilat is at Be'er Ora, a clean and tidy commuter village where there is also some low cost accommodation.

Be'erot Khan campsite

Be'erot Khan campsite is a National Parks Service site with showers, toilets, Bedouin style tents (or use your own) and a shop selling coffee, coke and ice creams.

Camel riders khan

At the Camel Riders Khan you can camp or sleep in a Bedouin style tent. Meals are available. Toilet and showers are basic.

Gishron stream

Nahal Gishron is the first canyon you reach coming from Eilat (after a few mountains). The rocks are beautiful and there is a ladder and rocks to climb.

Ilan Ramon Visitors' Centre at Mitzpe Ramon

Mitzpe Ramon is a town that stands on the edge of a high cliff with great views from the promenade. There is a visitor centre as well as various accommodation options, cafes and a supermarket.

Kasui sand dunes

The Negev is a stony, rocky desert. These "sand dunes" get a big billing but they are just some sand piled up against a rocky hill.

King Solomon Khan

The Timna park has a vegetarian restaurant, camping site, artificial lake and some nearby sites, these include Hathor's temple, where Egyptian copper miners worshipped.
Archaeological site

Moah ruins

These are the ruins of a 2000 year old fortress and khan on the incense route between the Yemen and the Mediterranean coast. Taxes were applied to the spice and incense that passed through. When I visited Archaeologists from Haifa University were sifting through a Roman era rubbish tip.

Mount Timna

It is a steep climb up and steep climb down with a plateau on the top where hard dolomite has resisted erosion. The Timna Park visitors centre is at the base of the mountain on the north side.

Nahal Raham

This is a wadi with a couple of dry waterfalls. In one you climb down what is almost a tunnel (see photos). Eventually the wadi widens out as you reach Raham-Etek night camp, where there is a tank of water to refill your supplies.

Neot Smadar

Neot Smadar is a kibbutz with guest rooms where you can stay. The kibbutz has artistic aspirations with an unusually decorated water cooling tower. Nearby at the road junction there is a restaurant run by the kibbutz where you can buy soup etc..

Shehoret Canyon

A narrow canyon with unusual "pock marked" cliffs

Shehoret Night Camp

This was my first night camp walking from Eilat. There is very little at these night camps other than a sign and some stones.

Start of Israel National Trail

This is where I started the Israel National Trail, which is where it leaves the Eilat - Taba road. Maybe the official start is in the Field Study centre nearby.

Vardit canyon

A narrow canyon with pits in its floor and ladders to climb out of the canyon where it ends. Some of these are filled with water making deep pools. I decided to avoid the risk of crossing such a pool and took the bypass route, which itself required a certain confidence for walking above steep drops.

Wadi Mangan Campground

Mangan nightcamp has a sign and some stones, plus a few acacia trees.

Zofar Grocery shop

Zofar is a Moshav that has a small supermarket and some accommodation options (I stayed at the "Art house"). Do not believe Google maps, there are no cafes or restaurants in the settlement.


  • Photo of Bruce Bundt

    Bruce Bundt May 22, 2020

    awesome trail!! Good on ya

  • Photo of seif_

    seif_ Jul 30, 2021

    You mean Palestine.

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