Most people visiting Eilat will head directly to the sea and prefer the excitement of swimming with the beautiful fish and marine wildlife. I suggest that you find some time to also head in the other direction into the mountains just west of the city. If you take the road (Road 12) going up the mountains you will soon reach the sign to Ein Netafim. “Ein” in Hebrew means both “eye’ and “spring.” “Netafim” means small drops. Bear in mind you are visiting one of the driest areas of Israel and do not expect much water!
Hiking in Ein Netafim
Park at the parking bay just by the road and walk northbound on the signed trail until you reach the edge of the canyon. The scenery is very unique, yet it is a route that is suitable for children of almost any age. The way down, is a bit difficult with metal handles on the cliff but it is worth the decent as the surprise awaiting at the bottom gives you a real feeling of the Israeli attitude towards wet places. Once down you will discover the poorest and smallest spring you ever saw. A few drops of water collected into a miniature pond with a flake of green color on the base of the cliff, is all that you will find!
Try to arrive at dawn or towards dusk (but make sure that you are not trapped on the trail in the dark), and then you will be able to meet a family of wild ibexes approaching the pond for a short drink. There is not much water, for miles around and you can feel the wilderness of the desert, just a few miles from the city. You have walked this short route on the Israel National Trail which goes along the country for more than 500 miles, and you have walked one of the most beautiful parts of it. If you are up to a half day walk in the Eilat Mountains, then see the Shchoret Canyon hike description.
Please remember that walking in the desert, even such short distances can be dangerous if you are not prepared, the air is very dry, and in the summer the temperatures are very high, dress accordingly, wear a hat and sun screen and take a lot of water.