Arad is a small town in the Judean Desert, about 30 minutes by car from the Dead Sea. There’s not much to do in Arad itself, but there are many hiking trails. About two weeks ago, I came to Arad for an overnight stay with my friends, and we went out to hike the Upper Nahal Praim trail. It’s a short yet enjoyable trail. We started early and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise over the desert.
Trail length: About 4.8 km. It’s a circular trail.
Trail duration: Around 2.5 hours, depending on your pace.
Difficulty level: Moderate. There are some places where you need to climb with your hands.
Best season: Spring (February-May) and Autumn (October-November).
Water along the way: There’s no water along the way. Make sure to pack enough.
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.
- If you plan to hike on a very hot day, make sure to start the hike as early as possible. We started at 5:30 AM. Otherwise, it would probably not be enjoyable and can end with heatstroke.
- This trail is most beautiful near sunrise. Check the sunrise hours and start the trail about half an hour before the sunrise, so you’ll be able to enjoy it.
- The phone signal is good throughout the trail.
- The trail is marked in green, red, and black colors.
How to get to the head of the trail?
There are several ways to reach Upper Nahal Praim. We started the trail from Moab Street 73, from a green-marked trail that goes to the Ofer Gorni Observation Point. To get there, we walked about 20 minutes from our accommodation, Desert’s Edge. There’s no public transportation so early in the morning, so the only options are to walk to the trailhead or to drive there.
If you have a car, you can drive to Moab Street 73 and park nearby.
The hike on Upper Nahal Praim Trail
Reaching the sunrise
We started the trail from Moab Street 73 and turned right onto Zohar Street (1), a green-marked trail. It’s a small road that leads towards Ofer Gorni Observation Point, named after a guide who died on a hike on Mount Harif.
To the right, we could see the houses of Arad and the morning fog stroking the desert hills. It was a beautiful view, just before sunrise.
After about 740 meters, we reached three small stone chairs that looked towards the horizon (2). Then, we left the road and started walking on a dirt path. A short while later, we started walking on a red-marked trail. And soon enough, we saw the sun rising above the Jordanian mountains and the Dead Sea. It’s a spectacular sunrise!
We stopped to enjoy the sunrise and then continued on the red-marked trail. In the distance, to the right, we could see a Bedouin village. Then, we started descending on the trail towards the wadi. The descent isn’t too difficult. About 1.6 km from the start of the red-marked trail, we reached the bottom of the wadi and a trail junction (3). There, we took the left turn onto a black-marked trail.
Walking through Upper Nahal Praim
The black-marked trail passes through Upper Nahal Praim. In Hebrew, “Praim” means “Asian wild asses,” or it could also mean just “wild.” In the early morning, the wadi was partly shaded, so it was pleasant walking there.
The wadi goes mildly upwards, so you’re always in a sort of ascent. Near the end of the wadi, there’s a point where the ascend becomes steeper and you need to climb up using your hands a bit.
About 1.3 km from the start of the black-marked trail, there’s a water hole (4). It’s not covered, so be careful not to fall into it.
After the water hole, the trail continues upwards until it reaches Moab Street, close to Margoa Hotel (5). Then, we turned left and walked about 480 meters on the street to the start point.
From the end of the trail, you can turn right and walk about 700 meters on Moab Street until you’ll reach Moab Observation Point. We didn’t go there, but people say there’s a beautiful viewpoint there towards the Dead Sea. Also, the observation point has a statue by Igael Tumarkin, which commemorates Operation Lot, a military operation during the 1948 Independence War. The operation’s aim was to claim Israeli sovereignty in the Dead Sea area.
Upper Nahal Praim is a short and lovely desert trail near Arad. It’s highly recommended for early birds who want to see the beautiful sunrise over the Dead Sea.
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