I am coming to Israel for the first time in early March and would love to hike part of the INT (or other trails) to see the natural beauty of the country. I can do 4-6 days on trail and would love to find a section that focuses on beautiful wilderness landscapes and not necessarily historical sites (I will have a week to visit those separately). Any suggestions on a highlight 50-90 km section of the trail? I am a wilderness guide in the desert of SW United States so difficulty or navigation is not a limiting factor. Thank you.
You definitley want to hike in the desert. Start in Eilat and go north for 6 days.
Shizafon junction is 100 km hike from Eilat which is ~5 days. If you want to spend another day in the desert hitchhike
from Shizafon to Zihor and hike for one more day to Barak night camp and the village of Paran. It's a 30 km hike + 8 km
hitchhiking to the village. You will pass two nice canyons: Vardit and Barak.
Perfect. It looks like water caching is needed for that southern section but that we could also carry 2 days water to avoid that. If we did have another 3-4 days to do another section during that time of the year in a different part of the country what would you recommend?
Carrying water for two days is not really necessary. You can use private water caches.
Please download the preface to the guide and read about the available options.
There are many options for another 3-4 days. IMO the best two are:
1. Go to the north and start on Mt. Hermon (2000 meters). Hike until you run out of time.
I'd say it's possible to hike ~75-80 km which end in Dishon. The first 25-30 km of this section are described
in the INT alternate routes thread. Just download the file. Maps are in the guide. I'd leave this option to the
second half of March or later, it might snow at the top of Mt. Hermon above 1500 m. Check the weather forecast.
You can also start at 1400m which is ~3 km from the top. Check the hike description.
2. The three craters - 4 (5...) days.
In the morning of your last day of the southern section, take the bus that goes to Mizpe Ramon.
Ask the driver to let you off the bus in Nahal Gevanim. there is no bus station there but most probably he will let you off.
The exact location is on map 43 in the guide where route 40 and the INT intersect.
From that point cross the Ramon Carter - day 11s in the guide 19-24 km. You can skip the last 6 km of the
day and take a shortcut (recommended) on the ascent to Mizpe Ramon. (Check map 43).
From Mizpe Ramon take a bus to Midreshet Ben Gurion and hike for 2 days. (Days 14s and 15s in the guide). Large Crater.
From Oron hichhike to the top of the small crater and hike according to the description of day 17s - crossing the small crater.
If you chose option 2 I'd recommend to make an effort and hike 5 days. Follow days 11s + 14s-17s - a total
of ~95 km in 5 days.
If you are fit and can hike longer distance/day you can complete the 95 km in 4 days. Check page 32 of the preface.
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