(photo credit: EREZ SPEISER)
Makhtesh Ramon needs no introduction for both passing visitors and hikers. However, this month we turn our focus to the Southwestern tip of the crater. A wild windswept area that is almost empty of people when compared with the standard known attractions around Mitspe Ramon and road #40. Peaceful desert atmosphere and dramatic views are guaranteed. We will present 2 short and easy hikes than can be tackled also by families with children, but are also interning and rewarding for any hiker looking for a shorter excursion.
Go to Israel by Foot Website for more short hikes in and around Makhtesh Ramon.
The Lots cisterns, are a series of 17 man-made water-holes, dug during King Solomon's period (10th century BCE). Today, 3000 years later, they still get filled with water each winter. This year with the relatively heavy rains they are at their prime.
Starting point: End of the Blue Marked dirt road (GPS 30.503353, 34.609570
Distance: 4 Km.
Climb: 60 m.
Difficulty: Very Easy.
Drive North on the Blue marked dirt road (Suitable for any passenger car) for about 1 Km unit you reach a parking area and a campground. From here there is a 4 Km circular Red marked trail that passes near several of the 17 cisterns. The trail is clear and easy to follow. Beside the attractive site of the cisterns themselves, It is a very pleasant desert walk with wide views on the sounding hills, and usually not crowded."Karney Ramon" (Horns of Ramon):
"Karney Ramon" are a group of 7 Black hills rising from the bottom of the crater. Each hill is named after one of the 7 astronauts that died in the Columbia space shuttle crush in 2003. On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentering Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut was One of the crew members on board. The fact that Ilan's last name is the same as the biggest Makhtesh in the word lead to the idea to set up a memorial site in the area. The specific spot was chosen, because it has an amazing vista on the 7 black hills that rise from the base of the crater just below. Each hill is named after one of the seven astronauts.
Starting point: End of the Red Marked dirt road (GPS 30.506696, 34.621439
Distance: 3 Km.
Climb: 70 m.
Difficulty: Very Easy.
Drive South on the Red marked dirt road (Suitable for any passenger car) for about 1.3 Km unit you reach a parking area. The road quality is not so good and deteriorates as you go. When it feels too rough you can park and continue by foot.
From the parking area follow the Red marked trail to the summit of Mount Ramon. The highest point in the Negev Desert (1037 m ASL). From the top descend to the edge of the Makhtesh cliffs where you get a dramatic view of the crater with the 7 black Basalt hills dominating the scenery. The trail now follows along the cliff until a junction with a black marked trail, where the memorial site is located. A moving and emotional site that is also a truly amazing view on the crater below. Follow the Black marked trail back to the parking spot.
Hikes courtesy of Israel by Foot