This route will take you from the central Negev area through the plains of Judea and on to Jerusalem.
Mitspe Ramon to Azuz-Be'erotaim.
Leave Mitspe Ramon heading north on road #40 until you reach the turn to road #171 westbound. Follow this road across the Nitsana and Ellot dry riverbeds for 25 km until you reach road #10 going along the Israeli-Egyptian border. A hard climb awaits you after the turn, across Mt. Harusha. From there the road goes down and straight overlooking the Sinai desert on one side and the Negev on the other.
Continue north for 36 km until you reach a dirt road to the ecological village in Ezuz. The place is named for the two nearby wells, named after Aaron and Moses, and has a combination of modern and ancient techniques of desert living. The two large wells here have attracted desert dwellers along the years and you can find several ancient farms and Bedouin places of gathering. Also nearby, Mt Harif has several prehistoric wall paintings.
Azuz to Kadesh Barne'a.
Approx 35 Km.
From Ezuz, head north along the old train track. The track was laid here in the Ottoman period, as a preparation for the First World War. Stop into what remains of the old Turkish train station and army camp from the same time, before you enter the Nitsana preservation area. Here you will find reconstructed Nabatean agriculture and some ruins of the large town that stood here on the Incense Routefrom the Arabian Peninsula to Gaza and Rome. Further north you will cross the “Peace Path”; a large scale work of art set here in the name of peace between Israel and Egypt.
You will soon reach Nitsana, an educational village founded by the Jewish Agency which focuses on Zionist and environmental education. From there, head back to road #10 and then north to Kadesh Barne'a, named after the site where the children of Israel slept on their journey with Moses. This is also the southern boundary of the sand plains of Agur and Halutsa, a ride through the dune area is a good way to end this short day before heading back for overnight in Kadesh Barne'a.
Kadesh Barne'a to Dimona.
Approx 80 Km
“The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah….Kinah, Dimona, Adadah…” (Joshua 15:21)
Leave Kadesh Barne'a, and take road #211 west. This road passes by some large Nabatean sites and was probably a route of travel since man has crossed the desert.
Pass Kibbutz Ashalim and continue until you reach road #40. Turn north, passing Kibbutz Tlalim and the nearby desert farms. Continue on road #40 until you reach the Negev Junction, then take road #224 towards Yeruham.
Outside this small town, you will find the Yeruham well and ruins of a fort from King Solomon's Era. The well here, it is said, might be the well mentioned in the story of Hagar and Ishmael.
From Yeruham, head north on road #204 until you reach the town of Dimona. This town was founded in the 1950s as part of a government project to house the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that came to Israel.
Dimona to the Be'er Sheba valley.
Approx 80 Km.
“So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore oath there” ( Genesis 21:31)
Take road #25 north of Dimona along the train tracks. Eleven km from here, you will reach the ruins of Aruar, mentioned in Deuteronomy. Archeological findings have shown a town from the days of King David, under the ruins of a Roman fort.
From here, turn north on road #80 past the Bedouin town of Aruar to the Tel Arad junction. A few kilometers north of here, the tel itself is one of the oldest planed cities known in our region.
Turn west on road 31 pass the Bedouin town of Csaife, to the Shoket junction. Turn north here on road #60 past Kramim and Meitar, and then head west on the service road heading to Kibbutz Lahav.
The terrain will slowly change in this area, due to the fact that this is the northern border of the desert. In Lahav, you will find the ruins of the town of Tsaklag mentioned in Joshua and Samuel. Also here is a museum commemorating the Bedouin way of life in the desert.
Lahav to the Ella Valley.
Approx 80 Km.
“Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the philistines” (1 Samuel 17:2)
Leave Lahav north, along the old patrol road past the Zaak and Moran archeological sites. The area north of here has been settled since before the days of exodus and therefore, you will see many ruins of ancient towns and villages as you continue north.
Once you reach Shekef, turn west towards Amatsia and Lachish. Lachish, first mentioned in the book of Joshua, changed many hands over history. The national park does a good job illustrating the complex history of the place.
From Lachish, head north on road #35 toward the ruins of Beit Guvrin. This is a town built in Hellenistic times of a people that lived mainly off of large quarries in the area. The town was destroyed by the Roman Empire around the turn of the first millennium. North of here, on road #38, is the Ella valley, where several important biblical stories took place; the battle of David and Goliath being the most famous of them.
Continue on road #38, pass the Monastery of Beit Jimal, to Beit Shemesh, our last stop before Jerusalem.
Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem.
Approx 40 Km.
“….and in Jerusalem he reigned over all of Israel and Judah for thirty-three years”
You might notice a great change of scenery in this area. The area north of Lachish is no longer the desert, and the closer you get to Jerusalem, the more mountains and hills you will see.
Leave Beit Shemesh on road #3855 towards Bar Giora. At the end of this 12 km uphill ride, you will reach an outdoor café where local cyclists gather. The area is named after Simon Bar Giora who fought the Romans on these hills in the time of the great rebellion.
From there, head down the hill and along the Sorek Valley on road #386. The road will take you past the monastery of John in the wilderness, to the Village of Ein Kerem. One last hill stands between you and Jerusalem which you will climb through the village of Ein Karem, the place where John the Baptist was born. Take some time to visit the several churches of the area, before completing the hill and arriving into the city of Jerusalem.