Mount Timna: A Beautiful Hike on the Israel National Trail near Eilat

I’ve visited Timna Park many times throughout my childhood. My parents liked taking us in the car and stopping next to the beautiful rock formations over there. You can even read my guide to Timna Park. But today, I always prefer walking than riding the car. So, my partner and I decided to go off the beaten path in Timna Park and hike the Mount Timna trail. It overlaps the Israel National Trail and takes you up Mount Timna, with a fantastic view of the Arava strip. It’s a one-way trail, and we had to get back to the park’s entrance at the end, so we returned by walking alongside the park’s roads, but there are also other options, which I’ll discuss in the post.

Here’s my experience from the trail.

Recommended >> My full guide to the Israel National Trail.  

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no extra cost to you. These links help me keep the website alive and not depend on sponsors! Thank you in advance.

Trail length: The one-way trail is about 6 km from the entrance to the lake. If you want to make it a circular trail, it is approximately 13 km.

Trail duration: Around 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Challenging. The climb up and down the mountain is very steep, and there are some places where you really have to lift yourself up using your hands.

Best season: Winter (December-January), Spring (February-May), and Autumn (October-November), as long as there is no rain.

Water along the way: You can fill water at the beginning of the trail and at the center next to the artificial lake, the end of the official one-way trail.

View the full trail on a map here.

Safety instructions and general notes

  • The hike is under your full responsibility, so please be careful.
  • Make sure you hike with good hiking shoes, have at least 1.5 liters of water, and wear a hat. You can pack some snacks for the way. Also, make sure to bring a garbage bag so you can take your trash with you.
  • This hike is not recommended when it’s hot. But if you do plan to hike on a very hot day, start the hike as early as possible, when the park opens at 8 AM. Some parts are exposed to the sun, especially the way up the mountain, and hiking it in the heat could be less fun.
  • Some parts of the trail are very steep and require raising yourself up using your hands. In the very steep points, there are also hand bars. 
  • The trail is located in Timna Park, and there is an entrance fee. 
  • There are places on the trail where there is no phone signal.
  • The trail is marked in the colors of the Israel National Trail – orange, blue, and white. There are also red-yellow arrows once in a while, which were put by Timna Park.

How to get to the head of the trail?

The trail starts next to the visitors’ center at the entrance to Timna Park. No matter where you’re coming from, the best option would be to get there by rental car because no bus goes into the park. If you do want to get there by public transport from Eilat, you can take any bus that goes northward on road number 90 from Eilat Central Station. Stop at the Eliphaz Junction. From there, cross the road and walk about 3 kilometers on the road leading to Timna Park. The walk would take approximately 40 minutes.

If you’re coming by car from Eilat, you need to exit the city on road number 90. Continue driving northward for about 25 kilometers until you reach the left-hand turn to Timna Park. Then, continue on the road for about 3 kilometers until you reach the parking lot next to the visitor center. The ride should take approximately 20 minutes. Get off, purchase tickets to the park, and find the beginning of the trail next to the roundabout beyond the parking lot.

If you’re coming by car from another place, such as Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, you will eventually get on road number 90. Drive on this road to the south, toward Eilat, until you see the turn to Timna Park on your right-hand side.

The Mount Timna hike

The map and elevation chart are from Israel Hiking Map

We arrived at Timna Park by car and parked next to the visitor center at the park’s entrance. We bought tickets, used the restroom, and glimpsed at the small exhibition, which talks about the different rock types and human history in the park. I asked the woman at the ticket counter if she knew where the Mount Timna trail begins, and she had no idea. I guess we were the only ones who ever asked her that. So, we exited the visitor center and started looking around.

We found the start of the trail quite quickly. There’s a roundabout right after the parking lot, where there’s a non-functioning ticket booth. To the left of the roundabout, there’s a rock with the Israel National Trail mark on it (1), a mark with the orange, white, and blue colors. That’s the beginning of the trail.

The trail mark led us onto a gravel trail, which soon after took us into the wadi of Nahal HaLachson (“Slant Stream”). It’s called this way because it looks like a slant on the map. There are lovely trees and also some beautiful rocks inside the wadi. At some point, we passed by a lot of pinkish rocks. There was a sign that explained that the rocks were pink because they were made from a mineral called potassium-feldspar.

This is where the trail starts - to the left
The beginning of the wadi

The climb up to Mount Timna

About 1.7 km from the start of the trail (2), it curves a bit to the left and then slowly-slowly starts ascending. Right after the curve, there’s a wall that you need to climb. Then there’s another wall. When we were there, there was a puddle of water at its base, which shows that this wadi does get some water when it rains. The small walls continue for a while until you get to a flat path again.

Then, we got to another sign situated next to a black rock that cut through the granite. The sign said that it’s a dyke, a geological phenomenon that happens when magma intrudes along fissures in another rock, cools down, and then solidifies.

At some point, the trail took us to the right, out of the wadi. It led us to a pile of beautiful, light-colored, smooth rocks. I tried to catch their beauty on my phone’s camera, but it’s just not the same. You need to go see it yourselves.

From the rocks, the trail does a kind of turn backward and then reaches a lovely stone “mushroom” made from sandstone (3). Shortly after, the real climb begins.

The climb goes on for only about 350 meters, but it is VERY steep. We had to use our hands for support. At the end of the climb, there were even hand bars that helped us raise ourselves up the cliff and onto the flat table, which is Mount Timna’s peak (4).

Climbing one of the small walls
What remains of a larger natural water pools that probably formed here
The beautiful rocks that were hard to catch on camera
The "Mushroom" on the trail

From Mount Timna peak to the lake

When we reached the top of the table mountain, we went a bit off the trail to the viewpoint toward the east. From this viewpoint, we could see the beautiful Arava strip, the settlement of Eliphaz, and the Edom Mountains in Jordan. Then, we returned to the trail and looked at the view toward the south, the view of Timna Park. It’s stunning!

The view to the east
The view to the south

But very soon after, we reached the left-hand turn that took us down the mountain (5). There were a bunch of trail marks over there, all pointing in different directions, but after a minute, we understood that we needed to start the climb down to the left. Like the way up, the climb down is also very steep and maybe even more challenging than the climb up the mountain. There are no hand bars and you just need to carefully climb down the boulders. It goes on like this for about 1 km until the trail becomes flat again.

About 500 meters from the end of the descent, we reached a trail junction with a green-marked trail that went to the right (6). This trail leads to Solomon’s Pillars. We wanted to go to the lake and later to Solomon’s Pillars, so we didn’t take this route, but you can do it if you want to shorten the trail or if you want to check out Solomon’s Pillars before continuing on your way.

From then on, the trail was very wide and easy. After about 480 meters, we already saw the palm trees of the artificial lake on the horizon and walked towards them. We got to the lake (7) after about 800 meters, and the first thing we did was to go check out the Tabernacle. It’s a huge tent that was built as a precise model of the Tabernacle, the portable earthly dwelling of GOD, which was used by the Israelites during their time in the desert before conquering Canaan (the Land of Israel). Unfortunately, when we arrived, a guide told us that the entrance to the Tabernacle was only allowed as part of a guided tour and that we had to pay to visit. We didn’t want to pay, so we just saw it from the outside.

Then, we went to view the artificial lake, which wasn’t as beautiful as I remembered it, maybe because there were almost no people around it. There were some swan-shaped pedal boats docking at the lake, waiting for people to come.

And we started making our way back to the park’s entrance.

The artificial lake

Back to the park’s entrance

If you’re coming with other friends or family members and there are two cars, you can leave one car at the lake and then easily drive back to the park’s entrance after finishing the hike.

Another option is to hike back the same way that you came or continue the hike on the Israel National Trail toward Eilat. There’s a camping site next to Timna Lake, where you can camp in your own tent or in one of the park’s accommodation options. Either way, you will need to pay to stay the night.

We didn’t choose any of these options. Instead, we decided to return to the park’s entrance by walking alongside the park roads. The woman at the entrance told us that they were reconstructing part of the road that went out of the lake complex, so we had to retrace our way on the Israel National Trail for about 280 meters and then continued left on a dirt road that took us to Solomon’s Pillars (8). Those are huge stone pillars rising to a height of about 40 meters that were formed due to erosion over millions of years. At the foot of the pillars, there’s an ancient Egyptian temple built in honor of the goddess of the miners, Hathor. They are called after King Solomon because, in the past, people believed that the mines in Timna Park were owned by King Solomon back in the 10th century BCE.

From Solomon’s Pillars, we continued alongside the park roads all the way to the park entrance. Some cars passed by us, but overall, we enjoyed the walk back because we walked through the open landscape of the vast Timna Valley, and it was stunning! We could see mountains all around us and even spotted some interesting rock formations from the road, like the Spiral Hill, which is shaped like a screw.

The way back from the lake to the entrance on the park’s roads is about 7 kilometers and took us approximately two hours, including a short stop for lunch near Solomon’s Pillars.

Walking alongside the road
Solomon's Pillars
The Spiral Hill in the distance

Travel insurance

No matter where you travel, it’s always a good idea to consider travel insurance. 

If you plan to hike in Timna Park or take part in other adventurous activities while in Israel, you might want to consider travel insurance, just to be on the safe side. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.

Disclaimer: I receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. I do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Conclusion

Timna Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Israel, with a lot of stunning rock formations. Most people come with their car and travel around the different sites, but if you’re looking for a short and pleasant challenge, you can try the Mount Timna hike. It takes you through stunning landscapes to the top of the table mountain of Timna. I really enjoyed it!

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Yours,

Lior

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