What is Nahal Arugot and where is it located?
This is the longest running river on the western coast of the Dead Sea. The hike along the river can take up to 4 hours in various combinations. One can choose between a dry hike on the river banks, overlooking the river from a high steep cliff, or a walk in the water. The latter is fairly easy but never the less it is quite adventurous, including some climbs against running water, river crosses with slippery stepping stones, definitely a lot to enjoy and see.
The water of Nahal Arugot (Arugot River) is fresh and if not for the thousands of hikers infiltrating it with their shoes, more than drinkable. Kibbuts Ein Gedi, on the hill to the south of the river mouth, uses the water not only for its own consumption, but also markets this high-quality resource as excellent bottled mineral water. Next to the ticket office there is a free of charge gift of nature cooler, which is much recommended for filling up any half empty bottles. The hike is about 3km long and the temperature is around 30 °C most year round. A hat or better a Bedouin Kaffiya is a good protection from the blazing sun. Sun screen might also be a good idea.
Once well protected the hiker will walk for about a mile along the sloping northern bank of the river, and can gradually enjoy the wild bare shoulders of the erect slopes. The first branching of the path leads us left into a ‘cave’ of Reeds and Tamarisk trees over running water.
What can you see on the track?
A careful observation of the vegetation can teach us about the rivers’ wild life. The numerous mammals, birds and reptiles in this habitat have long ago learned that the reserve shuts down at 17:00 (summer-clock, and 16:00 in winter), that is when they come in multitudes to drink water and feed on the vegetation (and each other). Souvenirs from that evening feast can be clearly spotted around: ibexs’ tuft of hair caught on a bush, a porcupine’s spike, and the most exciting would be footprints of the single leopard that has survived here, sometimes next to some clear signs of a kill.
The path alters between wet and dry again, but would lead all visitors to The Hidden Waterfall. This is the only spot where it is allowed to eat anything and is perfect for a lunch-break. Bathing in the pool and a cool shower under the waterfall is almost irresistible.
Taking the dry-path back makes the return quicker. From the high cliffs the green river bed is a spectacular view. Among the Reeds and the Tamarisk who govern the territory, the Duch Rush, the Capparis, the Calotropis Procera (the apple of Sodom) and the saltbush can be seen. During the hike many animals that have became indifferent to the presence of man might come across, among these are the Spiny Golden Mouse, the Ibex, the Hyrax, and sometimes Crabs and Agama Lizards.
Please advise local tourist authority on weather conditions and track conditions before you begin any track in the Dead Sea Region.