What to expect from the Red Canyon Eilat (photos + logistics)

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.

It’s one of the best hikes in Israel and relatively easy, making it a must see destination for anyone visiting Eilat.


The Red Canyon Hike, Eilat

Distance: 4.75km
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.

Read next: The best things to do in Israel and the most Instagrammable places

Entering the slot canyon

This is where it gets truly special.

The canyon suddenly narrows and the adventure begins. To descend into the canyon you will need to climb down a ladder fixed to the canyon wall.

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!

Read next: Ein Gedi - one of the highlights Israel and 10 memorable things to do in Jerusalem

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.

End of the loop at Red Canyon

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.

 

Read next: The highlights of the South of Israel - The Dead Sea, the Negev Desert, the iconic Dead Sea Tree and The Masada Snake Path


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.

Booking.com

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.

Booking.com

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.

Booking.com
Booking.com

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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!


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