The 850km Israel Bike Trail runs from north to south from Mount Hermon to Almog Beach, Eilat. It is generally based on the Israel National Trail. The trail winds its way through the countryside, passing areas of great natural beauty and sites sacred to the great religions. The INT serves as the backbone for many of other marked trails, an integrated nation-wide network, designed to foster nature conservation and to preserve the special character of each geographical region.
The fifteenth section of the IBT is 45km from Arad to Dimona. Arad is perched on the heights of the Judean Desert before the fall into the Rift Valley and the Dead Sea. This location , along with its famously clear air (just the place for pollen crazed cyclists!) ensures a cycling centre of huge potential. If you have extra time, the mountain bike rides and descents to Massada, Ein Gedi, or Sdom, are the best thing going this side of Moab (Jordan!).
The Israel Bike Trail takes a route south of Arad on the Zohar Ridge overlooking the Rift Valley ensuring a supply of dramatic views. The undulating trail passes over a desolate landscape rising gradually to Har Yahel. The descent from Har Yahel makes the knuckles white, but it is important not to miss the one and only water stop at the bottom, the quarry, where the silence of the desert is rudely shattered by the grinding of massive machinery. This ugly intrusion into the desert landscape is soon left behind once we start on the gradual climb up Nahal Dimona. The riding here is varied , and the trail is well marked, as it winds its way in and out of the dried river bed which in the winter months is ablaze with wildflowers.
The beauty of Nahal Dimona lies not only in its magnificent natural features but also in the authentic beduin life still to be found there. The lower part of the trail picks its way between the tents, the animal pens, and the sheep tended by veiled women on donkeys. Finally it enters an incredible lost valley, which is a time capsule of ancient pastoral life , very hard to find elsewhere . The contrast of cultures could not be greater as we emerge from this valley for the final descent on Maale Gedud with a dramatic view of the busy main road 200 meters below and the Dimona Nuclear Reactor in the distance.