Lower Nahal Og (or Wadi Og, if you prefer) is a beautiful, 4-km circular hike in the Dead Sea area, that also involves climbing up three waterfalls. It is a perfect trail for families or hikers looking for a nice, interesting trail, that has some moderate-level challenges along it and lasts about 3 hours.
I discovered Nahal Og while I was on a tour with the Israeli Tour Guide course this month. There are two ways to hike the trail: going down the Wadi or up it. If you’re afraid of heights, you should go up the Wadi, as it is much less scary to go up the waterfalls than down them. We took the trail going up the Wadi as well. But before I start telling you about the trail itself, let’s go over safety instructions and general notes:
* The hike is under your own responsibility, so please be careful.
* Make sure you hike with good hiking shoes, have at least 2 liters of water and wear a hat.
* Pay attention to sunset hours (in Summer around 5-6 PM, in Winter around 4-5 PM) and begin your hike at least four hours before sunset.
* During the rainy season, check for flood hazards after every rainfall. If there is a flood hazard, do not hike in the Wadi!
* There are three major bar ladders along the trail and a few more spots that you will need to climb a few bars. If you are hiking with children, make sure to secure them from behind as they climb the ladder. Put your hands on theirs and secure their backs. Also, it is recommended that a strong person will climb the ladders first, to be able to help pull the other hikers up at the end if needed.
* Be aware that there is no phone signal in the Wadi.
* During holidays and weekends, this trail is usually full with families, so if you don’t want to wait in line for the ladders, it is recommended to come here not during those times.
Now, after we’ve finished with that, let’s talk a bit about Nahal Og. The Wadi (or “Nahal” in Hebrew) is called after the thorny og (scentific name: Rhus tripartita), a plant that can be seen along Upper Nahal Og. I will be writing about Lower Nahal Og, which means there won’t be any og along this trail. If you like, you can hike the whole trail from Upper to Lower Nahal Og, but that will lengthen your hike by about 9 km and 3-5 hours. Upper Nahal Og is a hard-level hike and also goes through a firing range, so it is only possible to hike it during Saturdays. Lower Nahal Og is possible to hike all week long.
How to Get to the Head of the Trail?
The head of the Lower Nahal Og trail is located in the Northern Dead Sea area, near Kibbutz Almog. If you’re coming from Jerusalem with a car on road number 1, you can turn right at Almog Junction (1) and drive on a dirt road until you reach the dirt parking lot near the beginning of the trail. Make sure not to leave any valuables in the car. If you’re coming by public transportation, take bus number 444 or 486 from Jerusalem Main Station and get off at Almog Junction Station (צומת אלמוג, Tzomet Almog). Then, hike along the dirt trail going south from the junction until you get to a pavilion overlooking the wadi. If you go right from the pavilion, you’ll see a descend into the wadi. This is the head of the trail. The hike to the pavilion from the road is about 2 km, but it is on a plain, which means you can hike it in about 20 minutes.
After a short introduction at the pavilion (6), we made our way down the red trail into the wide wadi. At the end of the descend, we got to a point with signs signaling to the different trails (2). We turned right to the green-marked trail leading to Lower Nahal Og. This area is where the wadi meets the soft maristone and drains towards the Dead Sea, and that is why it is so wide at the part. We hiked along the wide trail, stopping here and there to talk about the flora along the way. After about 15 minutes, we got to the point where the wadi goes through harder chalk and dolomite stone.
We began entering the beautiful canyon of the wadi and a few minutes later we were at the foot of the first waterfall (3). This waterfall is about 9 meters high and is, in my opinion, the most challenging of the waterfalls along the way. The climb has an easy beginning, but at the end of the climb there is a bit challenging slope. Make sure to catch the bars and you’ll make it.
A short distance from the first waterfall, there’s the second one, which is also 9 meters high, but is vertical all the way up, so it’s not very challenging. We continued on the trail and a few minutes later, after climbing up about three bars stuck in the stone, we got to the last high waterfall. This waterfall, 8 meters high, is also a bit challenging, but you just need to keep track of the bars. At the end of the climb, there’s a spot where you might not see the final bar, so keep looking until you find it. It’s supposed to be to your right, if I’m not mistaken.
We continued a bit after the final climb and got to a shaded area, where we could stop for a tea break. You can bring a portable burner and a small metal ketal with you as well and take a few minutes’ break from the hike. It’s a refreshing moment.
Then, we continued and walked through the beautiful gorge until we got to the point where we left the wadi, going right on the black-marked trail (4). Now we were hiking on a wide route again, with the sun up high over us.
After about 15 minutes of hiking, we got to a high plain overlooking Kibbutz Almog and the whole Northern Dead Sea area (5). From here, we descended on the blue-marked trail towards the starting point (6).
I trully enjoyed this short and fun trail on the Northern side of the Dead Sea. Hope you will, too!
How much time does the trail take? About 3 hours, depending on your fitness and how many people are on the trail (because there could be lines).
Difficulty: It’s an easy trail with moderate-level climbs along the way. Can be a great trail for families.
It’s a circular trail, about 4-kilometers long.
When is the best time to hike? During the Spring (April-May), when there is less chance for rainfall and less chance for hot days.
I wish you a great hike in the desert!
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