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Wadi Pratzim and Mount Sdom

Bicycle tracks

Wadi Pratzim and Mount Sdom

Between Mound Sdom and the Haatakim (shifts) Cliff at the Dead Sea, there is a plane consisting of white marl earth that has two famous streams running through it, Wadi Pratzim and Wadi Sdom. The streams have formed a branching network of narrow, meandering canyons that are great fun for cyclists. 

The route passes through the narrow, convoluted Wadi Pratzim, passes on the way next to the flour cave that has been blocked for many years by a local landslide, but which used to be an impressively beautiful cave. There is a climb to the flat Amiaz Plain, from which one climbs to the peak of Mount Sdom to see an exciting vista, before descending back down the meandering Wadi Sdom.

How to arrive:

From Arad, one drives towards the Dead Sea on Highway 31 – taking care on the descents. One reaches Zohar Junction, where one turns right for Highway 90 (towards Eilat). After 500 meters, on the right, a right turn to a broad path at Wadi Heimar (the turn is approximately 700 meters before the fuel station. If you reach the fuel station, turn back and look for the turnoff on the leftץ 

If you are coming from the north, via the Dead Sea, you travel southward on Highway 90 to Zohar Junction, turn left towards Eyal) and the rest of the route is like coming from Arad.

Route:

Length of the route:- 27 km  

Difficulty level - medium  

Recommended cycling seasons: Autumn, spring and winter, it is important to check on rainfall because the site is prone to flooding. The route is not advisable in the summer because of the heat.

Cycling type: Circular, in dry river beds.

Ascents – approximately 300 meters cumulative, suitable for cyclists with experience in off-road cycling and good physical fitness 

 Route is suitable for: Suitable for beginning and experienced cyclists alike.

Technical level: Light / medium

Physical difficulty level: Medium

Attractions in the area: The Dead Sea Hotels built along the shore, desert lodging

Description of the route:

We start from Wadi Heimar, crossing its ridged bed towards the “mushroom” rock. We turn right towards Wadi Pratzim and ride up a gentle ascent on white desert soil for a few kilometers until we reach the beginning of the exciting Canyon part of Wadi Pratzim. 

We ride along the consulted canyon and see some amazing stunts that nature has created, in the white walls around us and the undulating narrow path, rising and descending and playing with our wheels. This is undoubtedly great fun but also requires care. We shall pass the flour cave that is blocked off (entry is forbidden owing to the fear of collapse) We shall climb a brief but steep slope to Amiaz Plane, where we can take a morning break for a snack, fruit and a drink. After resting up, we continue to ride along the enormous, smooth Amiaz Plain until we reach the foothills of Mount Sdom, which is a mountain made of salt that has crystalized and hardened. At the bottom of the mountain, we shall rest up and climb, by cycling or on foot, to the top of Mount Sdom to the vista with an amazing view of the Dead Sea. We shall see sinkholes, which are recesses that have formed in the ground by a natural process, forming due to the dissolution of limestone layers that form voids in the ground, due to the decrease in the level of the Dead Sea. We shall also see evaporation pools and the magnesium works of the Dead Sea below us. This is an excellent place for a coffee break and anyone who has brought a thermos flask or gas stove should unpack it now. We backtrack for a very swift descent of Mount Sdom to Amiaz Plain. We turn right and start an amazing, quick and enjoyable slalom ride in the Wadi Sdom canyon. The wadi meanders constantly. We end up feeling like kids in a circus during the quick ride down the river and the great smile on our faces will not disappear when we reach the bottom after a few kilometers either.

Difficulty - MEDIUM

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