The Harei Eilat, or Eilat Mountains, offer some of the most breathtaking views and spectacular desert routes in all of Israel. This large mountain range is located just miles north of Israel’s most southern city,Eilat. Known for its stunning beauty, hikers and adventurers marvel at the rich yellow, red and brown colors of the mountain’s rocky landscape. Erosion overtime has resulted in narrow canyon areas as well, where visitors walk through spaces only one or two meters wide, but hundreds of meters high. The area is home to animals such as the Striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, and Dorcas Gazelle, and can be explored on foot or with 4×4 jeep tours.
Visiting the Eilat Mountains
Courtesy of Avi Morag from Flickr
Most begin at the Eilat Mountains Nature Reserve, which has desert routes and general trails that follow ancient trading routes and the Great Rift Valley. The most rocky nature reserve in Israel, here visitors can choose from a variety of different routes. Depending on the trail and the weather, from certain observation platforms you can see four countries: Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
If you choose to enter the reserve from Solomon’s Canyon, it is about 4 km south of Eilat. You will first come across the rock, Ha-Metsuda, to the left. The path continues from there for 16 km into the mountain. You will pass beneath towering Har Yehoshafar, then Har Shlomo and then Har Uziya. The trail crosses the Moon Valley Highway and continues until the Red Canyon.
The Red Canyon is one of the most beautiful places in Eilat. The sandstone walls reflect shades of red, purple and white. It cannot be reached by car, but some visitors prefer to drive to the car park and walk the average 45 minutes into the canyon.
Another notable spot within the reserve is the Pillars of Amram, two natural rock formations caused by the erosion of sandstone. From there, many hikers venture on to the peak of Mount Amir for a fantastic view.
Planning Your Hike
As you plan your hike, it is important to keep in mind the time of year you are visiting. During the summer months, the temperature during the day can be extremely high. It is always a good idea to have a map as well as plenty of water. Jeep tours and tour guides can be easily booked through many of Eilat’s hotels.
A hike in the Eilat mountains can easily paired with a trip or a tour to Timna Park. Accessing the Eilat Mountains is easiest by car. To get to the Red Canyon area, take Route 12 out of Eilat for about 15 km. The Red Canyon is on the east side of the road. Follow signs onto an unpaved road to the parking area.
Whether you plan to spend the entire day exploring or simply want a break from sunbathing on Eilat’s beaches, the Eilat Mountains have plenty to offer.