Timna Park offers a variety of attractions and well-marked trails for a family daytrip. Reminiscent of famous American parks, Timna Park is just west of the Arava Highway, some 30-minute drive north of Eilat. Follow the clear signs to Timna Park and Kibbutz Elifaz.
The park was named by the Geographical Names Committee, replacing the Arabic name Wadi Mene’iyeh withTimna. Kibbutz Elifaz, located at the park entrance, provides a hint to the biblical connection of both names: in Genesis chapter 36 Timna is mentioned as the mistress of Elifaz, son of Esau (a relationship that resulted in the birth of Amalek).
The park extends over an area of 60 km²; families are advised to obtain the booklets and maps provided at the entrance, containing useful information. A day’s visit at the park includes the latest attraction, “The Mines of Time” multimedia presentation near the entrance. The next recommended point of interest is the Mushroom rock, as well as the new and challenging trail to the Arches. The trail was recently marked, and it includes a climb to the magnificent sand-stone arch and a descent to a beautiful canyon, ending with entry to ancient copper-mining shafts from the Chalcolithic period. This part of the tour takes about 45 minutes, after which you may want to continue to the valley of the rock drawings.
This is a site with a rare concentration of ancient rock drawings from the Egyptian period in Timna – set up as an open museum, with a variety of artifacts from Sinai and the Negev. After the trails, on the way to the lake, be sure to visit the Solomon's Pillars site, and if there is time left, take the short hike to the remains of Hathor’s temple – with stone steps leading up to the relief depicting the Egyptian goddess.
The lake is the last point in the tour, where visitors will find plenty of attractions – pedal boats in the lake, creating art from colored sand (for example, making sand bottles), minting coins with King Solomon’s symbol, and a Bedouin tent with warm reception and plenty of food. Those up for a challenge can look forward to several trails for hikes lasting 2 to 8 hours, each marked on the park map and on the ground.
Written by Shahar Shilo, specialist in desert tourism.