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The Arad Region is the gateway to the wilderness of the Negev Desert. Though the path through the region begins in populated areas, it stretches south into remote desert, where striking landscapes and immense canyons appear in the Rift Valley and civilization is no longer close at hand. Evidence of ancient usage still fills the region, though; millennia-old fortresses stand atop ancient routes up and down the sides of the rift, and caves near the trail hold Neolithic remains, evidence of human habitation 10,000 years ago.

From the northern Negev plains where Abraham dwelled, the Arad Region of the Abraham Path descends to the scorching shores of the Dead Sea. Here is the traditional location of Sodom, the ill-fated city that was once home to Abraham’s nephew Lot; today, the name Sodom has been given to a geologically unique mountain nearby filled with caves and salt formations, while an eye-catching rock pillar in the cliffs along Highway 90 has earned the nickname of “Lot’s Wife.”

The Arad Region consists of a main route (stages 1-5), which is part of the longer, continuous route of the Abraham Path, and a side route to Masada (stages A1 and A2). These stages branch away from the main route at Arad and provide an easier but still scenic alternative to the isolated wilderness of the main trail.

Several sections along the Arad route do not have water resupply; if long-distance hiking, you’ll need to cache water at Beer Efe and Amiaz Plateau, both of which can be accessed by normal cars. If you’re doing a longer hike continuing south into the Craters region, haArava Junction is your supply point – but groceries are available only by traveling to Dimona, 30 minutes west on Hwy. 25 (take a bus, taxi, or hitchhike there and back).


Sites in the Arad Region:

Dead Sea

After a long day’s hike to the lowest point on Earth, float calmly on the salty surface of the Dead Sea.

Masada

In a mountaintop stronghold between the desert hills and the Dead Sea, walk among ruins filled with the history of kings, warriors, and monks.

Mt. Sodom

Visit this amazing geological phenomenon for the chance to witness a mountain that actually grows taller over time.

Tel Arad

To walkers without a background in archeology, the fortress on the hill may appear as another site with walls and stones strewn around. But Tel Arad is a site of mystery and drama in the development of monotheism.

Mt. Zin

The view of this impressive table-topped mountain and its surrounding foothills is worth a brief jaunt away from the path.

Wadi Hemar

Temporarily abandon the nomadic life to rest where some of the earliest initiators of the Agricultural Revolution settled.

Zohar Fortress

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Enjoy the view down to the Dead Sea from these strategically positioned fortresses built high above an ancient river bed.