On my last visit to Israel in 2017, I had the opportunity of hiking 3 mile through the
Zin Valley (sometimes called the Tsin Valley). The scenery in the valley was breathtaking and we saw several
Ibex during the hike. In addition to the Ibex, we came across the Tsin River, a waterfall, stagnant pools of water
and a variety of plants and trees that live in the arid valley. We concluded our hike with a near vertical climb
to the rim of the canyon. According to 2017 Tourist Israel, the hike and the concluding climb
“is really reserved for advanced hikers because it requires climbing metal rungs.” Metal steps and handrails had been
carefully drilled into the bedrock walls at strategic points allowing us to properly place our hands and feet on the
steep climb up and out of the canyon. Indeed, the climb was over narrow rock stairways, a trail with numerous switchbacks
and a few sections of steel ladder or “metal rungs”. The hike took some two-plus hours and – for me – was a bit exhausting,
but it was most definitely more than worthwhile.
The Ein Avdat National Park in the Zin Valley is undoubtedly one of Israel’s
most striking and beautiful sites. It is set in the center of Israel’s Negev Desert. The spectacular canyon is the result
of the power of the waters at Ein Avdat (the Avdat spring). It forms part of the longest wadi in the Negev, the Zin
Valley, which stretches over more than 10 miles. The Avdat spring, an oasis amid the barren and rocky Negev Desert which
covers all of Southern Israel, has carved a deep, narrow canyon through the rock. A waterfall has formed, and the pools
below it provide a source of life to animals – ibex come to drink, and the plants and trees which are able to flourish
despite the challenging conditions.
The most spectacular view of Ein Avdat and the Zin Valley can be seen from beside
David Ben Gurion’s Grave at Sde Boker. There are two entrances into the Ein Avdat National Park: one here,
and one about 3 miles further south. My Zin Valley hike in 2017 started a Sde Boker and ended 3 miles
At the end of the 3-mile hike you arrive at Upper Ein Avdat. There, you start climbing
the cliff face. This takes you directly above the pool to a little woodland,
then past caves that were once inhabited by monks and finally over the top. The climb itself takes a good half hour.
By the way, if you get halfway up the cliff-face and decide you need to go back down because of the difficulty of the climb
– FORGET IT! You are only allowed to go up – it’s ONE WAY only!