The Israel Bike Trail does not yet reach Arad, but desert biking enthusiasts visiting Arad need not despair. They can enjoy these three single track options, that range from difficult to easy. Before setting out, a map of the area is needed (Trail Map No. 11 or Shvilnet’s map for hikers and bikers, Judean Desert South; both are only in Hebrew) and, of course, water and safety equipment for desert hiking and biking. Do not use these trails on rainy days because of the risk of flash floods.
Retamim Single Track
Prepared and signposted by the Arad Local Council, the track descends from Arad via Nahal Ze’elim to the Retamim cisterns and thenreturns to Arad via the Arad Cemetery.
Length: 27 km
Starting and ending points: 100 meters west of the small park on Shaul Hamelekh Street in Arad.
Itinerary: The trail starts with a single track marked in blue. It crosses a small eucalyptus grove and 500 meters further on, turns left at the trail junction. The single descends along the upper tributaries of Nahal Ze’elim, crosses a few ridges, and reaches Nahal Domiya. Then it circumvents the Retamim cisterns from the north and descends to the Domiya Cistern. From there, the trail continues to the Arad Cemetery, reaches the trail junction that was passed at the beginning and returns from there to the starting point.
Nahal Bokek Single Track
This track runs along an ancient desert path that descends from Arad to the Dead Sea.
Length: 18.5 km
Starting point: Moab Street, Arad
Ending point: Junction of Route 31 with track marked in black.
Itinerary: The trail descends south on a jeep track marked in green, west of the hotels on Moab Street. The jeep track turns into a single track, also marked in green, and continues to the trail marked in red in Nahal Ye’elim. The track continues to the left for another 1.5 kilometers past a small Bedouin encampment. Take the left turn onto a dirt road and 1.3 kilometers later, turn left at the trail junction, along the dirt road that leads to a dirt road marked in blue. Turn left on the blue-marked road and ride for 200 meters to reach the Nahal Bokek single that descends east along Nahal Bokek. The single track descends along the deepening riverbed and reaches a dirt road marked in black. Turn right on the dirt road to reach Route 31 (between kilometer markers 65-66), the end of the single track.
The single track along this white marl canyon is a favorite among bikers and hikers, especially on nights with a full moon. (Be careful! Bike lights are a must as is riding very carefully.)
Length: 13 km
Starting and ending point: Junction of red- and black-marked dirt roads, 1 kilometer north of the camping ground on the Amiaz Plateau (Mishor Amiaz).
Itinerary: The track descends along the red-marked trail in Nahal Pratzim. It passes the entrance to the Flour Cave, which has been closed due to danger of collapse, and continues for five kilometers to the Nahal Sdom Riverbed (be careful not to miss the junction). Continue up Nahal Sdom along the trail marked in black. The trail ascends to a small canyon along the western slopes of Mount Sdom. The trail markings turn from black to blue. Continue for 1.5 kilometers to a trail-dirt road junction. Turn left and take the dirt road marked in black back to the starting point.