Starting point
Mitspe Ramon
Ending point
Be’erot
Subject of the trail
Desert cycling
Length
37
Difficulty
Easy
Total climbing
270

Makhtesh Ramon is the largest of the four makhteshim in Israel (The three are Small Makhtesh, the Great Makhtesh, and Mount Arif). These crater-like formations are a phenomenon unique to Israel, created as a result of water erosion undercutting the rock. Because of its physical configuration, riding through Makhtesh Ramon (or above it) will enable you to observe interesting geological formations and spectacular views to the crater.

The trail, about 40 km long, passes along the edge of the makhtesh, through wadi beds and along a section of an ancient Nabatean trade route, known as the 'Spice Route'.  This trail that begins in far-off Oman and ends on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, near the Gaza Strip, was recognized in 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The characteristics of the trail and its surroundings require skilled riders.

The segment begins in Mitspe Ramon. A peaceful town that offers a visitors center and other tourist attractions. It is also the home for artists and nature enthusiasts. The city has a variety of restaurants and accommodation styles, ranging from lavish hotels to campgrounds. Mitspe Ramon and its surroundings offer many attractions, first and foremost being the visitors’ center, the cliff-top promenade and an alpacas farm.

Located at 800 m above sea level, Mitspe Ramon enjoy a comfortable weather for most of the year, although in mid-summer it can get very hot and in the peak of winter, with luck, one can enjoy a snowfall.

The trailhead is located on the eastern side of the parking lot adjacent to the pine grove at the entrance to the city. Just past the entrance sign, the trail turns northward, where you’ll pedal through an interesting sculpture garden with a spectacular view into the makhtesh – it’s worth a stop to have a good look. The path out of the sculpture garden takes you along a comfortable, volunteer-built single track.

After about 3 km, the trail moves away from the edge of the makhtesh cliff and enters the bed of Wadi Hava. The section is known as Single Track Nahal Hava (nahal is the Hebrew word for wadi), which twists back and forth across the wadi banks. In winter and spring, which is flower-blooming season in Israel, the ride is splendid, and even aromatic, with dozens of species of plants blossoming along the trail. The bed of Wadi Hava expands and deepens, at which point the trail leaves the wadi and climbs back up along a single track to the jeep path that follows the edge of the makhtesh.

Pedal along the jeep trail (marked in black next to the Israel Trail marking) for about 12 km until the Machmal Fort, which was part of the network of guard posts along the Nabateans 'Spice Route'. built by the Nabateans in the early first century CE. We recommend ascending to the lookout – the view is gorgeous.

The continuation of the trail from here is a combination of single tracks and dirt roads, until the start of the 'Noakh Ascent', which you’ll be taking downhill. Although Noakh means 
comfortable in Hebrew, the route is actually not true to its name. We recommend that you walk your bike along the first part (which is a double track) and be very careful. About 300 m down the slope, that path will turn to most enjoyable Single Track, all the down to the floor of the makhtesh.

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The trail turns south and continues its last section adjacent to the 'Spice Route', ending at Khan Be’erot. This campground is maintained and operated by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and has an area for private tents, a large hospitality tent, a snack bar, showers and toilets. The parking lot is accessible to private motor vehicles from road 40, which crosses the makhtesh.

Starting point: At the edge of the unpaved parking lot east of the grove at the entrance to Mitspe Ramon.

By car from the north: From Be’er Sheva, take road 40, or take the Be’er Sheva detour road, to Mitspe Ramon. The grove where the trail begins is located at the main junction of Mitspe Ramon, near the gas station.

By car from the south: From Eilat, take road 90 to the turnoff to road 40. Turn left and continue on road 40 to Mitspe Ramon. The grove where the trail begins will be on your right at entrance to the city, after you’ve left Maktesh Ramon.

By bus: Bus no. 60 or 64 from the Be’er Sheva central bus station (you can stow your bike in the bus luggage compartment). Click here for the bus schedule.

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