This is one of the most impressive days on the trail, where you’ll make the steep ascent to the top of the Escarpment Cliff to one of the highest points above the Arava, 470 m above sea level. You’ll climb along an ancient, narrow mountain pass in Wadi Ketura, once used by camel caravans and now especially prepared as a single track. The view from the top – of the Arava and the Mountains of Edom – is worth the effort. After the climb, the trail merges with the Shezafon Valley and leads to the community of Neot Smadar. The trail ends at the Neot Smadar roadhouse.
The ride begins at Yahel junction, on road 90 (Arava road). The trail will take you via an underpass to the eastern side of the Arava road. You’ll then cycle south for about 13 km along the Arava until you reach Wadi Ketura, where you’ll cross the road again via an underpass. Then you’ll begin the climb up Wadi Ketura toward the Ketura Ascent. Right after the beginning of the ascent is the small Ketura Spring, which has dried up in recent years.
The ascent has been prepared for cyclists – part riding and part walking. Steps have been cut the steepest points to make your ascent more convenient.
On the way, you’ll take in fabulous views of the Arava and the Mountains of Edom.
From the top of the ascent, you’ll pedal along a short single track toward the Ketura Valley and the community of Neot Smadar. A tower-like building here houses local arts and crafts. You can’t help but marvel at the flourishing agriculture and the produce here (as well as cakes, jams and wines), which is for sale at the Neot Smadar Inn at nearby Shezafon Junction. This is where the segment ends.
The average cyclist the is expected to finish this segment in a few hours. You might consider merging it with the next segment and rich Shahrut in the end of the day.