A magical hike near the Dead Sea

Hiking in beautiful Nahal Og combines climbing and amazing desert views of the lowest place on earth.

dead sea 521 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
dead sea 521
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The northern part of the Dead Sea and the beautiful rivers that flow through the canyon attract many hikers this time of year.
People flock to these magical mountains, canyons and trails – but only once the weather is cool enough.
As soon as the scorching summer days were over and before the winter rains began (which make the canyons extremely treacherous places to hike) we went for a hike through Nahal Og, a gorgeous trail that combines climbing up ladders and walking along the river with fantastic desert landscapes and spectacular views of the Dead Sea.
The trail begins at the eastern foot of Mount Scopus between the Kadmon River and Wadi Kelt. Because of the steep incline, when it rains in the area, the canyon immediately floods and the trail is absolutely inaccessible (and dangerous). So if you go for a hike on this trail in the winter months, make sure to check the weather forecast before setting out.
You can leave your car in the parking area near the entrance to Kibbutz Almog. Before beginning, you’ll need to decide if you want to climb up or down the ladders. If you’re not looking for the most strenuous hike, or don’t like steep ascents, I suggest you climb down into the canyon. The hike in the opposite direction up the canyon is perfect for families with small children or people who are afraid of heights, since climbing down the ladders seems a little scarier.
We decided to climb up the canyon and it made us feel young again as we scrambled up the ladders impatiently to see what we’d find up top.
Cross the parking lot and look for the red trail marker, which will lead you down towards the riverbed. The descent is a tad steep.
When you reach the bottom, turn right and follow the green trail markers.
The first feeling I had when we entered the trail was how small we are and how mighty nature is. If you glance upward, you’ll see that you’re walking inside an impressive canyon.
Further up, the path becomes narrower, and after a few meters you’ll enter a winding gorge with extremely high walls.
Soon after, you’ll arrive at the first waterfall. To reach it, climb up the first ladder, which is 10 meters high.
But wait a moment, don’t get too excited: this is the point when you’ll realize you’re not alone on this hike.
Just before you reach the ladder, you’ll most likely discover there’s a long line of families with small children wait-ing to climb up (like I said, this is a great time of year to hike here). The moment each person begins to climb up the ladder, everyone suddenly gets cold feet, and then the traffic jam begins to build up. If you prepare yourself for such an occurrence, it’s not a big deal.
After you’ve successfully climbed the first and most challenging (in my opinion) ladder, continue walking along between the large boulders until the next ladder, which leads up to the second waterfall. This is also a great spot to stop, rest in the shade and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings.
The third ladder is the shortest of the three, at four meters high. After you climb up, continue walking along the path until you exit the gorge and reach the open air.
At this point, you will climb a little through the mountains, and from every direction there are absolutely breathtaking views. Continue until you reach a fork in the road, at which point you will want to follow the black trail markers. Walk along the black trail until you find the blue trail marker, where you should turn right and return to the starting point where you left your car.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Location: Northern Dead Sea Area Type of hike: For the whole family, includes climbing on ladders Level of difficulty: Medium Length: Up to two hours (or more, depending on bottlenecks at ladders) Directions: Drive on Road 1 from Jerusalem towards the Dead Sea. Before the turnoff to Kibbutz Almog, turn right into a parking lot.