We spent three weeks in Israel and spent much of it visiting some of the country’s most spectacular canyons. Red Canyon was the most beautiful of all.
Venturing into the narrow deep red canyon walls is like entering another planet. It reminded us a lot of some of the canyons we visited in Arizona in the US, but without the entrance fees, crowds or mandatory guides.
The Red Canyon Hike, Eilat
Time: 1 hour 20
Difficulty: The walk itself is not difficult, although to enter the canyon you will need to use several ladders and metal rungs that are carved into the canyon walls. If you take the longer route you will need to climb a steep cliffside.
Starting the hike
The start of the hike is through a wide open section of canyon. You will be walking on the stony canyon floor and, whilst there is the odd up and down, it is largely flat.
The terrain is uneven though we recommend bringing a good pair of shoes. This part of the walk is pretty but the true beauty is yet to come. It should take around 20 minutes to reach the start of the slot canyon itself.
Unlike other canyon hikes we did in Israel these were not sturdy metal ladders but slightly bendy ones that could curve with the canyon itself.
However they might look a little flimsy but as soon as you are on them you will find that’s it’s not too difficult. However, if you suffer from vertigo it might not be for you!
After the first ladder you’ll quickly see a section which has a couple of metal rungs to cross over to another ladder.
Again it looks worse than it actually is and it’s not difficult once you get going. It’s actually really fun and we wished this section lasted longer!
There will be a further smaller ladder after this before changing to a largely flat walk through the narrow and swirling red walls.
This epic section of track is over all too quickly before you can decide on whether to walk back to your car on the short track, which should take around 20 minutes, or the longer loop track, which adds on around 3km.
We chose the longer loop!
Finishing the loop
Whilst you have already done the most fabulous section of the hike, we still enjoyed the rest of the loop. You’ll be back in the wider open section of desert for the most part before you head up a steep cliffside.
It’s not too difficult but there are metal rungs and a rope in place at one point to help you up (this definitely makes it sound harder than it was!).
From the cliff top you’ll get some fabulous views of the area before you begin hiking along a ridge line which you follow all the way back to your car.
Essential info about Red Canyon
Red Canyon Entrance Fee
The Red Canyon is free to visit, which is hard to believe when it’s as incredible as it is!
The best time to visit the Red Canyon
The best time to visit the canyon is in the early morning. We visited at 8am and there was no one around at all for the entire time we were on the hike. The light was also beautiful at this time of day.
Apart from the slot canyon (which only provides a little shade) the hike is exposed, so if you are visiting in the hotter part of the day definitely bring sun protection.
Don’t visit if rain is forecast as flash floods can happen really quickly and they can be very dangerous.
Getting to the Red Canyon
Red Canyon is easy to get to. Go to Highway 12 that heads out west from Eilat and keep going for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll see a sign on the right which leads to a dirt track and the car park for the trail through the Red Canyon.
Where to stay in Eilat
There are lots of fantastic hotels in Eilat as it’s a popular holiday destination. We stayed during Passover when everything was super expensive.
We stayed at the Tzofit Apartments but we booked last minute in a peak holiday time so I think you can do better for the same price, our thoughts on it if you also end up with limited options are below.
Sunshine Suite Boutique is currently getting rave reviews online in the same price bracket -
Mid-Range: Sunshine Suite Boutique
This is another little studio like the one we stayed in but it looks a little larger and more modern with nice little touches. We’d have picked this one had it been available.
For something altogether more luxurious the Dan Eliat Hotel is currently getting the best reviews and is regularly sold out.
Luzury: Dan Eliat Hotel
The newer rooms look fresh and modern and most have desert and sea views. The pool and communal areas look beautiful and very relaxing.
Where we stayed: Tzofit Apartments
The apartment block is in a really central location just a few minutes from the major 5 star hotels (as with all hotels in this area that can mean it gets a little noisy). It’s a basic but comfy place to stay with a little kitchenette if you want to prepare a basic meal. There is plenty of free parking just outside the apartments. It’s not fancy but it’s affordable.
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Are you planning to hike the Red Canyon? What’s your favourite slot canyon? Let us know in the comments below!