To the Sea…

We’ve left the urban greenery of Jerusalem and ventured off into the Judean hillside. The terrain begins to shift to rugged rocky desert and we are just beginning to feel the expansiveness that only a desert view can afford.

That’s part of the beauty of Israel. You can wake up in the morning in the city of Jerusalem and a short while later be in the desert. The terrain is just as diverse if you travel north, south, east or west, but the trip down to the Dead Sea has its special charms.

Browse below for some of the highlights this trail might include.

From High to Low

Stopping on the sheer cliffs overlooking the ancient city of Yericho we’ll take in the stunning view. This is the area where the Israelites, led by Joshua, first crossed the Jordan River entering the land of Israel for the first time.

An historic moment, for them and us!

We’ll wind our way down to this desert oasis where swimming holes beckon us with the promise of a break from the desert heat. We can hike down a trail which snakes along the paths of a stream, dipping in as the sun tries to dry us and we try to stay cool.

Now down by the coast of the Dead Sea we’ll spend some time at this unique archaeological park, thought to be originally inhabited by an unusual sect called the Essenes. We’ll climb through the ruins and view the caves where the famous Dead Sea scrolls were found.

Hover for Fun Fact: What is written in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The Ein Gedi nature preserve is filled with hiking trails, desert wildlife and water – lots of it!

Hike up the refreshing stream, home of the ibex (native mountain goats) visiting every splash pool on our way to the Nachal Dovid waterfall. I bet your glad you brought your waterproof hiking shoes, as water hikes and hidden waterfalls are pretty popular here in Israel.

Next stop is Masada! Herod the Greats desert fortress with elaborate palaces and warehouses served as his well guarded winter retreat.  It also served as an ideal hideout and last stronghold of the Jewish rebels as they fought the Roman conquerors.  This was the last vestige of Jewish independence that finally fell to the Romans in the year 72 CE, 2 years after the fall of Jerusalem.

We’ll take the cable cars up and explore Herod’s majestic palaces.

“Swimming” in the Dead Sea:  430 meters below sea level and 10 times more saline than regular sea water.  The buoyancy keeps you effortlessly afloat. Mineral baths and Dead sea mud are  highly therapeutic and sought after by travelers from all over the globe.  Try the Spa experience in of the 5 star hotels on the Dead Sea beaches.

Get behind the wheel of an all terrain vehicle and explore the reaches of the desert not accessible by foot or by car.  Bring your valid driver’s license to experience desert landscapes and moonscapes up close.

Where is that exactly?