The Bulbs of Nahal Qedar
Trail – the bulbs of Nahal Qedar, Mesiv Eilat Nature Reserve, Eilat Area
The bulbous rocks in Nahal Qedar are probably the largest in Israel. The NPA has marked a new trail, and it leads you safely to this special place.
The main attractions:
Huge limestone bulbs
A view of the bulbs from a nearby slope.
NPA Activities to Improve the Service to Visitors
The NPA has made the road suitable for private cars, leveled a parking area, and marked the trail to the site.
How to Get There
Take Highway 12 from Eilat in the direction of Ovda Valley. About 4 km north of the Sayarim Junction, turn left and follow the red trail markings.
How were the bulbs formed? That depends on who you ask. The Bedouins of the Negev claimed that God had had enough of the evil people, so he showered them with boulders and destroyed their homes. The bulbs are their skulls – a reminder to us to improve our ways.
Another, more scientific version, is presented in the book by Amir Edelman and Lior Enmar on geological sites in Israel. Edelman and Enmar draw our attention to a kind of “equator” around many of the bulbs. This line is the edge of a plane that cuts through the breadth of the bulb. When they sliced a sample of bulbs in two along the middle line (only researchers have permission to do this) they found that some of them contained fossil remains.
There may be a link between the fossils and the bulb formations, although there are many fossils, whereas bulbs are usually found in layers that are rich in bitumen rocks. Bitumen rocks are rocks rich in organic material that was buried in the seabed in conditions lacking oxygen, and as such the organic materials did not decompose. The lack of oxygen creates a muddy environment with a low pH (a basic environment) and it encourages the crystallization of limestone dissolved in the water. The limestone crystalizes around the body (later becoming a fossil) until it covers it completely. Over time, the shell becomes thicker, round and smooth. According to this explanation, the size of the body and the ratio between its length and breadth determine the shape of the bulb, and possibly, in the Eilat Mountains, the bulbs crystalized around large creatures.
The way to Nahal Qedar passes by mild landscape and in no way prepares hikers for the sight awaiting them. Drive 1.8 km along the road following the red trail marks until you meet a road with black trail marks. Turn left, following the black marks for 1.1 km until you arrive at a small parking area near the huge bulbous boulders. The bulb area in the Qedar stream bed is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena in Israel. Nowhere else will you find a concentration of dozens of bulbs over a meter in diameter. The famous bulb field in Nahal Zin are marbles compared to the bulbs of Nahal Qedar.
Why here? The bulbs are formed in Mishash formation – a rock formation that consists of layers of flint rock, chalk, and phosphorite (rock containing phosphoris). Usually, rock layers from soft formations form above them, such as Ghareb and Takia formations. In mild landscapes such as Nahal Qedar, the soft layers were eroded and swept away, but the heavy bulbs are more resistant to the moderate forces of erosion and were left behind.
We will like to conclude with a request.
The bulb site is very sensitive to interference. Please, park your vehicle in the parking area and continue on foot to the bulbs.