Makhtesh Katan to Meizad Tamar
Small Crater to Meizad Tamar
Makhtesh Katan to Meizad Tamar
By Car- This hike requires an arranged drop-off and pickup.
The closest taxi services can be found in the city of Dimona.
*Through-hikers of the Israel trail will arrive on foot.
Hike Description: (Click here for other direction)
Starting Point: Makhtesh Katan CG
Finish Point: Meizad Tamar CG
From Makhtesh Katan campground, head Northeast along the Red markers. Follow this trail, for 2km, as it climbs the slope and then descends towards the edge of the cliff of the crater (INT markers present as well). Once at the view point you’ll see a sign post.
Take a moment to enjoy the scenery. You can see the entire Small Makhtesh (not really a crater- something far more exciting…). The cliffs you are standing on are about 400 meters above the lowest point below you. You can also see all the way to the Arava valley and the southern tip of the Dead Sea.
As you start descending this solid lime-stone cliff keep you reyes open for fossils of the marine creatures that used to live in the ancient ocean that covered this are 100 million years ago.
The trail is very steep and includes narrow ledges and a short climb down a hand-hold ladder. There is also a railing along a narrow rock slide.
Congratulations! you’ve made it to the bottom and have gone back in time about 120 million years. You’ll be walking through the realm of sandstone from now on. Follow the trail for about 6.5 km in this vast colorful sandy-rocky kingdom. You’re headed directly towards the only opening in the cliffs- the exit Wadi Hazera.
As you get close to the gap you will pass two small buildings that house the pumps and the machinery for several wells that were drilled here. You’ll join a dirt road and will be joined by blue markers on your left.
The trail goes left along the blue markers, but the crater's gap (Also known as "Satan's mouth" is worth a detour:
For the detour: stay on the red and merge to the dirt road. The road will enter the opening in the cliffs and exit the Makhtesh through. You’ll notice twigs and branches caught and tangled in the electric pole on the northern side of the road. These are a great indicator for how different this place can be during a flash flood. In 1994 and again in 2004, this area saw record breaking amounts of rain over short periods of several hours. Since this is the only opening in the walls of the Makhtesh, all of the water that fell here had to find its way out and the height of the water at the peak of the flood is evident in the debris that got caught and abandoned by the flood.
You’ll also notice the tilted layers of rock climbing up on either side of the trail. The Makhtesh was created were an island was once pushed up from the seafloor. These layers, bent to 90 degrees in the most extreme places, are the result of the same warping force that lifted the island.
Head back on the red trail and turn right (North) on the blue trail and climb up with it to the top of the Makhtesh.
This section is called "Ma'ale Hatzera" (The Hatzera ascent). Hatzera is the name of the mountain ridge in which the small crater is located in). This ascent too was an ancient road. At the top, take a moment to enjoy the scenery as this is the last chance for a view of the Small crater.
Continue north on the blue trail and climb down into Nahal Tzafit.
Hike down into Nahal Tzafit. You can make a small detour and go to Ein Tzafit: For the detour you climb up the black trail going North west. If it rained lately, the Tzafit Spring (Ein = Spring) might be full with water - this is a great spot for a dip.
Go back to the blue trail and continue northeast. go up the short steep climb and continue down to the highway.
Cross highway 25 carefully and you after around 200 meters you will arrive at Meizad Tamar campground.
Attractions: Majestic view, Steep Ascent, fossils, Colorful sand, Tilted layers, desert vegetation.