Ma’ale Shaharut – Timna Park
Segment length: 55 km
Starting point: Shaharut Ascent
Ending point: Timna Park
Services on route: None
Average riding time:
Water: 10 liters per person
This is a long day; riders must set out at first light to complete this lengthy segment of the IBT. Make sure to stock up on plenty of water and food.
From the Shaharut Ascent, the IBT crosses Nahal Isaron, descends along the Nahal Zugan Riverbed to the ’Uvda Valley, and continues to the well of Be’er Milhan. Then the route ascends Mount Berekh and continues to Nahal Botem. A worthwhile detour from the path at Nahal Botem brings riders to a spectacular viewpoint at the top of the cliff above the Timna Valley. The trail continues west of Mount ’Etek, descends into the ’Etek Riverbed, and follows the riverbed to Nahal Raham. The IBT then turns northward to reach the lake in Timna Park.
- Nahal Zugan Riverbed and Zugan Ascent: This is one of a series of ancient ascents leading up the rift valley cliff. The ascent was one of the key passages in the ancient routes connecting Egypt, via the Sinai, to the copper deposits in the Arava. The top of the ascent has an observation point overlooking the Timna Valley.
- Be’er Milhan: The well’s water is salty and not good for drinking.
- Timna Park: Rare geological formations and ancient sites related to copper mining fill this valley. The park itself has many bike paths leading to its various attractions, including the famous King Solomon’s Pillars and Mushroom Rock. In the center of the park, there is a large manmade lake.
- Nahal Metek: The riverbed derives its name, which is Hebrew for sweet, from the sweet water well found in it. A concentration of fine gypsum can be found along the cliffs that line the riverbed’s banks.
- Finger of God in Nahal ’Etek: One of the most dramatic compressed flint layers in the Negev can be seen here. It resembles a great pointing finger.
- ’Etek Cisterns: There is a series of natural cisterns in the Nahal ’Etek ravine. The ravine is about 45 meters deep and at its head is a cistern that can retain water for a few years after a single rainy winter.