This and That

Random bits of my life

Nahal Prat Hike

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 10, 2012

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

My husband was working yesterday and my son went up north with friends, so I accepted an invitation to hike along Nahal Prat/Wadi Kelt. I haven’t seen this area for a long time. If you don’t like crowds, this is not the hike for you during the Passover holiday! The pools and parks are jammed with picnickers. However, if you are fit enough to hike the trail (medium difficulty, not recommended for very young children), you will quickly reach areas without crowds.

The Nahal Prat route from Anatot to the car park on the highway near Nofei Prat is about 5-6 km. Add another kilometer if you’re coming by foot from Anatot. When the upper and lower parking lots get full, the Parks Authority start turning people back. They won’t let taxis through. Add another kilometer if you walk to Ein Al Fuwar (Ein Mabu’a). There is a charge at the Anatot park entrance. At the other end, Ein Al Fuwar is free (and as full as you expect it to be!). You will find the hours, entrance fee, and other useful info in English at the Israel Nature & Parks Authority site.

We took the scenic route by foot from Anatot. The normally brown and dusty hills are covered with desert rocket, white mustard, and horehound flowers in spring:

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt) Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Near the bottom you pass the Firan monastery (Russian Orthodox). It is open to the public (modest dress required) during certain hours.

Firan Monastery

In this view of the monastery church, you can see the original hermits’ cells in the cliff wall. I don’t think they’re inhabited at the moment. This photo was taken quite a distance away, which is why it’s a bit hazy.

Firan Monastery

At the bottom of the trail are couple pools and a picnic area. A very crowded picnic area.

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

This boy brought over a pan of shakshouka (eggs poached in sauteed tomatoes and peppers). Some people bring enough equipment to furnish a small kitchen. This is not your average picnic.

Boy with pan of shakshuka

A woman asked me to photograph a couple teenage girls by the cold water pool and gave me her email address to send her the photos. (I sent five photos this morning. She thanked me and said the photos were lovely.)

The Nahal Prat trail follows a stream that flows year round, past several natural pools, stands of wild mint and pampas grass, and lots of rock ledges. The trail crosses the stream several times. Although there are rocks placed as stepping stones, they’re slippery. You have to be quite agile to keep your shoes dry the entire trip. I only got one toe wet, at the last crossing.

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Wild mint:

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Pool with high walls and small waterfall:

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

The rock formations are stunning, full of natural caves and ledges:

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

The ponds are teaming with matzah-eating fish. I’ve heard that you can get a fish pedicure as well, but I’m just not into fish nibbling my toes. If you stick your feet into the water they’ll swarm around your feet. It’s a bit disquieting.

One of the boys stuck a piece of matzah between his toes.

Fish eating Matzah

Fish carrying off a piece of matzah.

Fish Eating Matzah

There are a few spots where you have to climb on iron bars. You don’t need to be a professional rock climber but you do need to be in reasonably good physical shape to manage the steep slopes.

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)

If you are walking from the parking lot at the end of the hiking route to Ein Fuwar, there are two routes. The road is the longer way (about 1.5 km) but it’s smoother and easier on the feet. The dry wadi is quicker but it’s murder on the feet — lots of gravel, sand, big and small rocks.

Unfortunately, my battery went dead before the end of the hike (forgot that I’d shot video of the matzah baking), so I can’t show you Ein Fuwar. You’ll have to imagine a tiny swimming pool surrounded by about 200 people — haredi and Sephardi families, Arab teenagers, anyone who’s looking for a free activity during Passover (which is about 85% of the country). The site has porta-toilets and a refreshments counter, which were both pronounced acceptable. I noticed that the patio includes the mosaic floor of an small church (you can see the outlines of the rotunda).

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4 Responses to “Nahal Prat Hike”

  1. pam said

    Oh how I wish i could have tagged along with you. I am not one for crowds of people but since you were able to hike away from most of the people that would have worked for me!!! Beautiful area – reminds me somewhat of the bottom of the grand canyon and other desert canyons I have explored.

    Thank you so much, Avital, for sharing your day with all of us. I would have prefered to have experienced it with you in person, but this lovely photo journey was much enjoyed.

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Gasp! This area is beautiful but nowhere close to the Grand Canyon! I remember those older desert photos that you took. The American desert canyons are amazing. But you would have enjoyed the rock formations and wild flowers, to be sure. Nice to hear from you again, Pam!

      • r said

        Nicely written. Tell me, is it possible to do the hike backwards – from Ein mabua to ein perat? How long roughly is it? There is an entrance fee at ein perat but none at mabua

      • Avital Pinnick said

        I don’t know the trail well enough to say for sure, but in theory you could. Of course, you could also circumvent the entrance fee by descending into the wadi at another point. The fee is not for using the trail but more for the maintenance of the picnic area and pools at that point. Also, it has easy access by car. If you’re taking kids, a barbecue, and a cooler full of food, you won’t want to shlep everything 10 km along a trail and will be glad to pay the fee. If all you want to do is hike, you could join the trail at another point.

        I can’t answer your question about the length of the trail because there are a number of routes. I think we did about 7 km.

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