Which are my go-to parks at the Judaean Desert?! So before going into that matter, let’s talk about the Judaean Wilderness. So the Judaean Desert lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea. This amazing wilderness is marked by natural terraces with escarpments. It ends in a steep escarpment dropping to the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley. The Judaean Desert is crossed by numerous wadis from northeast to southeast and has many ravines, most of them quite deep. So that is why the Judaean Wilderness is one of my favorite locations to tour Israel. So what are the parks at the Judaean Desert worth going to?
To begin with, there is the Ein Gedi National Park. For sure one of my favorites. Imagine this beautiful oasis perched in the middle of the desert. So yes that is Ein Gedi National Park. Now there are two main routes to visit in that area, and I would recommend going to Wadi Arugot. For sure a better trail by far. Why you might ask? Well, it just has usually much fewer people in that part of the reservation. Also, you have better chances to cold off in freshwater springs compared to Wadi David which is the one most people go to.
Wadi Darga National Park
Another one of my go-to parks at the Judaean Desert is Wadi Darga. Even though it is a very challenging hike for most people I recommend it to those that are looking for a more adventurous hike. It’s a long hike that you should start very early that you could end at a reasonable time. Also, you should bear in mind that it takes about eight hours to finish the route. Plus you’ll need about 30m of rope (that is a must-have!). The best time to visit it is after the rains in Israel around March is best! Also, take into account you will get wet since there are water cisterns along the trail and in some cases, swimming is required.
Saint George Monastery Ein Prat National Park
Wadi Qelt which is also known as Ein Prat Nature Reserve is for sure one of my go-to parks at the Judaean Desert! Prat Stream is originating near Jerusalem and running into the Jordan River near Jericho; shortly before it flows into the Dead Sea. The hikes there are just breathtaking and leave a strong impression on you. Again I recommended starting early to avoid the crowds and that you won’t be bothered by the heat. Also, if you have time and you feel you want to see an ancient Byzantine monastery. So go and check out the famous Saint George Monastery.