Maps and Navigation
The Abraham Path is divided into regions made up of individual, day-length hikes that can be connected to form continuous, multi-day trekking routes. The overall route combines footpaths, dirt roads, shepherd’s trails, and occasionally the inevitable paved-road sections to create a continuous route through each region. These paths have been scouted and developed locally and often consist of repurposed ancient ways or old trails familiar to local farmers, Bedouin, and other pedestrian travelers.
This online guidebook provides walkers with many of the tools needed to successfully navigate these routes: maps, GPS tracks, and atlases with turn-by-turn walking instructions are available for each existing stage of the Abraham Path. Please consider carefully how you can best utilize these and other resources as you plan your walk.
High quality topographical maps are hard to come by in many parts of the Middle East – especially in English. For this reason, we publish a set of Abraham Path hiking maps showing topography, landmarks, streambeds, dirt roads, and useful information about where to find amenities (accommodations, grocery shopping, etc.). The maps are divided into day-length “stages,” which are usually between 10-20km; as much as possible, these stage maps are meant to be usable for individual day hikes or as pieces of your navigation system for longer trips. Whenever feasible, stage ends are at points where there is public transportation or at least road access.
Maps can be downloaded individually or in atlas form. Atlases contain maps, along with other information for each day stage and region. Elevation profiles, which show a graph of distance versus height for each stage, indicate how much up-and-down will be found on that section and give another visual reference for the locations of landmarks. Atlases also contain data books corresponding to each map – lists of turn-by-turn instructions paired with distance along the trail for each turn or landmark. When downloading maps, make sure that you also get the data book corresponding to each stage – the maps and data books are meant to be used together!
Our maps are based on OpenStreetMap data, and we encourage users to contribute to this crowd-sourced database that is quickly becoming one of the best sources for maps in the Middle East. Our recommended reading list also references other relevant hiking guidebooks, many of which also include maps that may overlap with certain sections of the Abraham Path.
As most sections of the Abraham Path are not currently waymarked, a GPS unit can greatly help both in active navigation and as a safety backup to your paper maps. All GPS data for the Abraham Path routes can be downloaded from this online guidebook. For more information on how to use this data, see our page specifically devoted to GPS navigation.
There is no universal waymarking system for the Abraham Path. Currently, some sections of the Abraham Path are waymarked and others are not. Each individual stage page and map available in this online guidebook provide information regarding the specific availability of waymarking on that particular section of trail.
The Ajloun Region is waymarked (from Ziglab to Ajloun Castle) using a simple two-stripe blaze system inspired by Europe’s Grand Randonnee trail blazes – red and white stripes with turns indicated when necessary.
Regions in Israel (Gilboa, Beersheva, Arad, Craters, and Arava) are blazed as part of the Israeli marked trail network; here, there is no consistent blaze for the Abraham Path – instead, hikers should refer to Abraham Path maps and data books to make sure they keep following the correct blaze, as blaze color generally changes several times throughout a day of hiking and marked trails often intersect with other trails.
When walking waymarked stages, make sure you are thoroughly familiar with the trail marking style before relying too heavily on blazes for your navigation. In general, if you do not see any markings for several minutes, go back to the last marker you saw and try to evaluate if you may have missed another path option.
Navigation is a safety concern: be smart and confident in your method.
Be sure to have a hard copy of the relevant topographical maps with you on the trail at all times. At least two members of a group should have a copy of the map; ideally, each member should have a map in case the group becomes separated.
Never rely entirely on one navigation method: trail markings can fade, go missing, or be obscured. GPS units can run out of batteries, malfunction, get wet, fall off a cliff, etc. Maps can get wet, tear, or be lost. Utilize at least two navigation methods.
If you are not confident in your independent navigation skills, strongly consider hiring a guide. Local guides know the trail and terrain extremely well; they can also provide historical and cultural context to the paths you walk, adding depth and richness to the experience.