West Ramon Loop
West Ramon Loop
Maarav Haramon- Maale Lotz Ve-Har Ido
By Car- From Mitzpe Ramon Head North on hw 40. Turn left (West), at Ha-Ruhot junction onto rd. 171. Drive west for 29 km and turn right (North) at the sign for Lotz Cisterns. Drive north on the dirt road a little more than 1km and park at the parking lot.
Starting Point: Lotz Cisterns CG
Finish Point: Mt. Ido CG
Length: 17 km
Duration: 7 hours
Head South Along the Dirt road marked in Blue markers back to rd 171. Cross the paved road and continue south along the blue marker on the dirt road for 3km, Arrive at a a trail crossing and Turn right (South) to the road marked in Red. Walk for 300 meters and turn southeast onto a foot trail marked with black markers. You’ll climb onto a small ridge and descend into the wadi on the other side. Follow this wadi south for 1.5 km until it connects with the Eliav wash.
Turn left and walk upstream in Wadi Eliav along green markers, passing occasional Tarabinth trees. You can pick one for a late breakfast break or just to sit down and enjoy the peace of this remote area. After 4 km you’ll reach the amazing viewpoint of Lotz ascent.
After a few good pictures head North along the black markers. Follow them down a narrow canyon for a little over 3.5 km. The canyon will gradually widen until it reaches wadi Arod. Keep your eyes open for Onagers as this is one of their favorite grazing areas. Once you hit the jeep road in wadi arod, turn right (east) and follow it along blue markers for 1.5 km to the campground.
Attractions: Onager sighting opportunities, Terebinth trees, old terraces, flowers, impressive viewpoint
Starting Point: Mt. Ido CG
Finish Point: Lotz Cisterns CG
Length: 18 km
Duration: 7-8 hours
Head east along the blue marked jeep road from the campground for 300 meters and find the red-marked foot trail leading north. Follow it up a gully for 1.5 km to a flint covered saddle.
You can leave your heavy packs here and climb to the peak of Mt. Ido on your east side. Don’t forget your camera. After you get down continue along the red markers as the trail takes you over one more saddle and to a pass overlooking the Ramon crater. As you head down the trail into the crater, keep your eyes open for the giant leaves of Rivas flowers that blossom here between late winter and early spring.
You’ll descend between rolling hills of colorful sand and clay, and arrive at Wadi Ramon- the main drainage of the crater. The flow of water has exposed Basalt Hexagons visible in the dry creek-bed.
Leave the red markers and head Northeast along the jeep road marked in Black markers for 1.5 km. Turn left (Northwest) along the green markers of a foot trail that will take you into a small canyon carved into a black hill of Basalt. As you reach the top of the canyon the trail will turn left (Southwest) and lead you to one of the ancient passes that climb up the Northern cliffs of the crater. As you approach the final part of the climb, keep your eyes open to the west along the cliff line, close to the trail. You’ll find a small shelf and two MATAMIR- a Bedouin seasonal stash. This is a great spot for a break, in the shade and protected from the wind.
Once rested, pick up the green markers again and follow them down a small flat wadi for 0.5 km to a trail crossing with blue markers. Turn left (southwest) along the blue markers inside another wide wadi until it raches the cliff again and meets with the red trail. Head right (southeast ) along the cliff line and the red markers for 2km. You’ll reach the memorial site for the seven Astronauts, crew of the Columbia space shuttle, that died. Each once of the black hills of Karney Ramon was named after one of the crew members. Continue along the Red markers (you can take a shortcut on the black trail) and follow down southwest, away from the cliff and across a small wadi. the trail will climb again and you’ll arrive at the peak of mt. Ramon- highest peak in the Negev and 3rd mountain in Israel.
Keep your eyes open for the sign for K-line. This mysterious prehistoric structure probably relates to the burial site that was also found on this mountain. Measured 4km in length and only 70 cm wide, this completely straight line of rock serves no apparent defensive purpose and leaves archaeologists wondering about it’s likely religious use. As you continue along the read trail you’ll also pass several TUMULI- ancient 4000 year old graves left behind by nomadic cultures along some of the main trails of this region. When you reach the parking lot continue west on the dirt road to rd. 171.
Turn left (west) and walk along the road for 1.5 km to the dirt road leading to Lotz cistern parking lot. Turn right (North) and follow the dirt road back to your car.
Attractions: stone monuments, impressive view of the crater, Basalt prisms, colorful sand, ancient pass, memorial site for Colombia space shuttle, ancient burial site, K-line