Photos of HaDarom Wildlife Trails

6 months ago

Nahal Barak is a classic desert hike that has great desert scenery, some class 4 scrambling and then climbs down into a canyon that depending on the time of the year could be dry or have some nice pools to swim across. There are ladders permanently in place from the Israel National Parks Authority. The trail head is off Route 90, you will see a small brown sign telling you where to turn off, but it comes up on your quickly. You turn onto a dirt road that in most times is fine for the average vehicle. However, depending on the rainy season and any recent flash floods the trail could be damaged and require a 4x4 vehicle. Most of the year you can drive about 7 km down the road to a barely marked, but pretty obvious parking area. After this point there is a jeep road, but it is not in great condition. Most hikers will need to hike from here. If you can make it to the parking lot then the hike itself is a 7km hike in and out.
This is a great area for spotting wild Gazelles in the parking lot area. As you progress on along the wadi river bed/jeep road the canyon walls will slowly begin to come closer together. This area is well marked. About 2.5 km in you should see the canyon walls really starting to come together ahead of you and a green and white marker telling you to go up. Turn left and begin the ascent, easy scramble up on top of the canyon walls. The trail is easy to follow. You wind around on top of the canyon, until you see the blue and white markers.
This starts the descent into the canyon. Much of the year it is a dry canyon, but water stays in many of the pools for months out of the year. Ladders are in place to take you down into the pools. Be prepared to swim across the pools, so have a dry bag for your phones and such. The canyon itself is not long, but it has three or four sections with ladders, metal hand holds and rope in place to help you descend. The biggest drop is about 40 feet. The pools are not deep enough to jump down to, you must use the ladders and assist devices in place. However, there are times of the year the only way to cross the pools is to swim across.
Eventually the canyon flattens out and the encroaching walls widen. You will come back to the green and white sign that took you up. This signals the end of the canyon and walk back out the way you came in. The trails is always beautiful with great desert landscapes. You must hike in with all of your water. In the summer you need to go early enough to have some shade of the northern canyon walls providing respites of shade.
The hike itself took us about 2 and 38 minutes, we were able to drive to the end of the car friendlyish road, so our total hike was 7 KM. We had only two people so that speeds up waiting at ladders. Larger parties will need to take more time to descend. we wadded through the pools, if there is more water, the swimming will take longer as well. We went in early July started at 6:30 am and used about 1-1.5 liters of water each, but had canyon wall shade to cool things off. Recommend a minimum of 2 liters of water each person, but would go higher as there is absolutely no potable water along the trail and the hike in and out could be longer if road conditions are not friendly. This is a great hike, mostly easy flat trail for the first 2.5km and the last 2.5km out.