Timna Park – Visitors Guide – Stunning Hikes in the Desert

Timna Park in southern Israel is the site of ancient copper mines. Moreover, there are stunning landscapes with cycling and hiking tracks.

Map

Timna Park is located near Elifaz, about 25 km north of Eilat.

Directions for drivers: Link to Waze and Link to Google Maps
Directions for public transport: Link to Moovit

Interactive map of the area:

Offers:

  • Hotels, hostels, and appartments in this area:
Booking.com
Timna Park Map
Timna Park Map

Notes:

  • You can click on the map to enlarge it.
  • You can find an additional map of the park here.

As you can see from Timna Park Map, there are hiking and cycling trails. And we will get to it later.

While at Timna Park’s museum, I saw a map of Southern Arava. I hope it will be helpful for you.

Arava Map
Arava Map

Directions

Getting to Timna by public transport is not an easy task. If you look at Moovit’s directions from Eilat to Timna Park, it suggests taking a bus to Elifaz junction and then walking for more than 3 km. Moreover, the park itself is vast. And most people use cars to get around inside the park. Thus it is recommended to arrive by car.

Note: Depending on season and availability, you can also rent bicycles (regular or electric).

If you do not have a car, then you have two options. The first one would be renting a car. Here is the link for rentalcars.com, where you can check the prices. Another option would be joining a jeep tour from Eilat.

Opening Hours

September – June
Sunday – Saturday: 8:00 – 16:00

July – August
Sunday – Saturday: 8:00 – 13:00

Entrance Fee

Adult: 45 NIS
Child (3 – 14), student: 36 NIS
Senior: 32 NIS

The prices mentioned above were taken from the official site, which refers to online tickets. The entrance fee will be 5% more expensive if you purchase tickets on location.

Note: opening hours and ticket prices were updated in December 2022. In any case, recheck the official site before visiting.

Discounts and Coupons

Here are several coupons that can be found now:

  • MAX – 34 NIS per ticket
  • cpnclub.co.il – 44 NIS (adult) and 34 NIS (child). Family of four – 179 NIS. There are also tickets for tours.
  • HTZone – starting from 27 NIS per ticket.
  • Teachers Association – starting from 27 NIS per ticket.

Note: The availability of coupons and discounts changes over time.

Weather

In Events And Festivals By Season, I have presented data about the weather in Israel. Here is the data that I collected for that post:

Average rainfall and temperature in Israel
Average rainfall and temperature in Israel

As you can see from the table above, the Eilat region is almost rainless and boiling during the summer. You can even see that during the summer month, they close early. Thus, winter is the ideal time for a visit. Check out Visiting Eilat During The Winter for additional regional attractions.

Basic Info

Park Timna, located some 25 km north of Eilat, combines beautiful scenery with special antiquities and history and various activities the whole family will enjoy. The horseshoe-shaped valley covers some 60,000 dunams and is surrounded by cliffs. In the center is Mount Timna, 453 m above sea level. Timna Valley is a geological window revealing various minerals, including copper, iron, and manganese.

Timna is the site of the world’s first copper mine. Thousands of ancient mining shafts can be seen throughout the park and remains of smelting furnaces dating back to ancient imperial Egypt. Copper was the first metal used to create work and household tools, weapons, costly ornaments, and cultic objects. You will thrill at the stories of Hathor, the goddess of copper, and the deified Pharaoh Ramses. Moreover, you will find remnants of Egyptian mythology and fascinating history.

You will also see exciting finds at the Temple of Hathor near the spectacular Solomon’s Pillars, at the Mushroom, the impressive Arches, and of course, the ancient rock-drawings depicting hunters of ostriches and ibexes, Egyptian battle chariots, and other images.

Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official site.

Camping

You can camp at Timna Park, and you can do this by choosing one of four options: private tent, rent a two-room tent, rent a room, or rent a caravan.

Whether you choose to camp out in your tent, rent a large two-room tent at our Villa Camp, rent one of our air-conditioned, well-equipped rooms suitable for couples and families, or rent a caravan, you will enjoy the park`s unique and tranquil vistas of the arid desert.
The main sleeping area in Timna Park is located next to the enchanting lake and includes Bathrooms and showers With hot water at all times, Electricity infrastructure, low outdoor lighting, garbage containers (sorting), shade arbor, faucet, benches, parking, and perimeter lighting.

Accommodation prices for the independent traveler (who brings a private tent), is 104 NIS per night (Entrance fee to the park is included in the price).
For more information and lodging reservations, please email us at timna8@parktimna.co.il

Cycling and Bike Rental

Bicycle lovers will find Timna Park a hidden paradise. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has set up 14 kilometers of spectacular bike paths in the park, whose main theme is the “Single Timna” track, which is designed to fit a single cyclist – a group called cyclists will be required to ride one after another instead of parallel. Varied, with technical challenges, angles, ups, and turns, while changing the height of many who bring the rider to spectacular observation points.

The paths are divided into several levels, from comfortable family carriages to extreme tracks. Riders can come with their bikes or rent bikes instead. More than 100 pairs of advanced mountain bikes are waiting for cyclists, in different sizes, adapted to adults, children, and families. The rental is from the age of 8 and up and takes place at the entrance to the park or the shop counter in the lake complex.

The bicycle rental price is 60 NIS for a half-day rental.
Electric bicycle rental prices: 85 NIS FOR 4 hours rental.

Note: Contact them regarding availability if you plan to rent a bike, especially on Saturdays or holidays. Also, there is no bicycle rental during the hot summer days.

Tracks

There are about 25 hiking tracks at Timna. Most of them are short (up to one hour) and suitable for families.

Once I overheard one of the guides who said you would need two weeks to complete all tracks. And if you want a consultation, you can ask the guides at the visitor center for advice.

If it is your first visit to Timna, I would suggest driving to a parking lot near each point of interest (there are nine parking lots, including the visitor center) and then making a short hike. The tracks are marked well, and there are explanation signs. Hence you will not need any additional map besides the one shown above (which you will receive at the entrance). This way, you can visit most points of interest at Timna park during a half-day visit.

If it is not your first visit, or you prefer longer tracks, Timna parks recommend several tracks in the official brochure. You can find more info about tracks here and here.

Over the years, we did only several sections of loop tracks. And I want to warn you that some footpaths include rather strenuous hiking with ladders and are unsuitable for kids. Therefore I would suggest asking for advice at the visitor center. There is an information office where you can tell the required hike’s length and level, and they will give you some suggestions.

The Arches Track, Timna Park
The Arches Track, Timna Park

Note: the photos in this post are from several different visits. Thus you will see the difference in the weather.

Tours

Joining a tour is an alternative to a self-visit. Currently, besides regular guided tours, there are sunset and lantern tours. Here is, for example, information about the lantern tour:

Come and discover the desert at night, on a spectacular guided tour of the Park’s sites.

We will drive in a convoy, led by the guide, visit one of the Park’s sites and of course the majestic Solomon’s Pillars, illuminated with dramatic lighting to enhance them in all their glory. The tours explain of the ancient world that once existed in the Park and allows visitors to enjoy a unique desert experience and enjoy the beautiful star filled skies!

The tour ends at Timna Lake, which is also illuminated with gentle lighting, here visitors can fill bottles with colored sand as a souvenir of their visit, and enjoy a cup of herbal tea.

The price of the tour is 69 NIS per adult and 59 NIS per child (3-14)

Book online to receive a discount – 66 NIS per adult / 56 NIS per child.

Book any tour of Timna Park and receive free admission to Yotvata Park

The duration of the tour is approximately two and a half hours

The tour of the Park is in your private car.

All of the guided tours are conducted in Hebrew. In order to arrange a private tour in another language, please email us at: gilad@parktimna.co.il

Visitor Center

When entering Timna Park, there is a small building. Inside this building, there is the ticket box, cafeteria, restrooms, and several exhibits. Near that building, another structure shows a short multimedia display about this site.

This display demonstrates how copper was mined:

Multimedia Display – Following The Copper

The experience of visiting Timna Park begins with the visitor center. The best technological advancements were used to illustrate the historical and cultural background of the people who came to Timna thousands of years ago to carve copper, the first metal used by man. The 13-minute multimedia exhibit focuses on illustrating the copper production process in Timna and takes the viewer back in time with magical sounds, mirrors, and colors to a fascinating encounter with Egyptian gods from ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs.

The show is screened in Hebrew and English, and subtitles in English / Hebrew / Arabic / Spanish / German / Russian accompany each screening.

Spiral Hill

When driving from the park’s entrance, the first thing that you will see will be Spiral Hill (on the right).

This hill is named after the spiral that climbs up and around the rock, like a spiral staircase. It is just one example of the various shapes and sculptures created by the natural forces of erosion.

Spiral Hill, Timna Park
Spiral Hill, Timna Park

Since I mentioned driving, I want to explain how we usually visit Timna Park. By this point, you saw that you could hike, cycle, drive or do any combination of the three. We typically move between parking lots and do short hikes to and around each point of interest. This way of visiting allows seeing most of the attractions the park offers within half a day. And each time, we put more emphasis on another area.

The color of the rocks gives away the high concentration of iron.

Timna Park
Timna Park

Look at the layers of soil:

Timna Park near Eilat, Israel

A day in the life of an archaeologist

I have mentioned different tours above. But there are other events as well. During one of our visits to Eilat on Hanukkah vacation, I saw that “A day in the life of an archaeologist” was taking place. So we drove to Timna and participated in this activity.

During this Hanukkah special event, visitors were allowed to feel how it is to be an archaeologist.

The Mushroom, Timna Park, near Eilat, Israel
The Mushroom

This activity took place near the Mushroom. As you can see in the diagram in the following photo, there was an ancient copper smelting camp.

Digging. Well, actually, in this closed area, archaeologists were working.

At Timna Park, near Eilat, Israel

And here we are (my wife, daughter, and an archaeologist):

At Timna Park, near Eilat, Israel

Archeological Excavations

The area that archaeologists were interested in was divided into two-meter squares. In each room, there were tools and a plastic bag. You collected everything from your square, filtered it, and put the significant finding into the plastic bag. And, of course, several archaeologists were on-site helping people and answering questions.

The primary purpose of this research was to find slag. Slag is a stony waste matter separated from metals during the smelting or refining of ore. And by using the amount of residue in an area, you can estimate the quantity of copper that was prepared. Moreover, if a specific area has more slugs, it is most likely there was a furnace in that area. And further excavations will be performed.

Since several archeologists were present on-site at all times, you could join and leave the digging whenever you wanted.

A Day In The Life Of An Archaeologist was a pleasant activity, and we all enjoyed it. So keep in mind that there may be different activities (especially on holidays), and if your timetable is flexible, check for activities on all possible dates in advance.

The Mushroom

After participating for an hour and a half at “A day in the life of an archaeologist,” we continued to the Mushroom. The Mushroom is a unique natural red sandstone rock sculpture. Such a shape results from faster erosion of the lower part of the rock.

The Mushroom at Timna Park, near Eilat, Israel
The Mushroom at Timna Park

This unique natural sculpture resulted from the erosion of the red sandstone. The more rapid erosion of the bottom created the mushroom-like shape of half of the rock.

The nearby visitor center portrays the story of the copper-smelting camp located in the valley.


And here is The Mushroom on a rainy day:

The Mushroom at Timna park
The Mushroom at Timna Park

The Arches and The Ancient Mines

These sandstone arches are a unique expression of nature’s creativity. The remains of the world’s oldest copper mines are found nearby. Copper was the first metal human beings mined, produced and used. We invite you to enter these ancient mines and discover their secrets for yourselves.

During our last visit, we skipped The Arches And The Ancient Mines. And as I found out while preparing this post, I do not have decent photos from there. Thus I will only say that this point of interest is similar to others, and if time allows, do not skip it.

The Chariots

Two rock engravings from the 14th – 12th centuries BCE that depict human activity and wildlife in ancient ears. On the wall inside a small ravine are drawings of Egyptian chariots alongside a hunting scene. In the visitor center, you can observe various rock engravings that were found in and around Timna.

In this area, two works of rock art were found. “The Chariots” and the “Ibexes.” Both are dated by the researcher Rothenberg to the period between the 14th and the 12th centuries BCE. During this era, Egyptian expeditions increased activity in the valley. However, the artists who painted “The Chariots” and the “Ibexes” are assumed to be locals, not Egyptians.

Quite hard to see under the blazing sun, so let’s go to the second rock artwork.

Solomon’s Pillars and Hathor Temple

Our last stop at that visit to Timna was Solomon’s Pillars.

In reality, there is no connection to Solomon. The name originated from a theory that the copper mines in this area were part of King Solomon’s activity.

These sandstone pillars are a natural part of the cliff wall. They are a typical landscape formation that developed as a result of erosion along cracks in the hard red sandstone. They are named after King Solomon, due to a mistaken early theory that copper mining and production were part of Solomon’s activities in this area. A short walk leads to a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Hathor and an ancient engraving that depicts Ramses III making an offering to Hathor.

Here is a photo of Solomon’s Pillars with people nearby so that you can see the scale.

Solomon’s Pillars at Timna
Solomon’s Pillars at Timna Park

Next to Solomon’s Pillars, a new route leads through Egyptian rock engravings to Hathor’s Temple. If you do not want to climb all those stairs, you can go along the pillars (to your left when facing the pillars), and after several minutes you will reach Hathor Temple.

Hathor is an ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of ancient Egypt. Royalty and ordinary people alike worshiped Hathor.

She was also believed to be the patron goddess of miners.

Source: Wikipedia

Hathor Temple at Timna Park, near Eilat, Israel
Hathor Temple at Timna Park

The Hathor Temple is the leading ritual site in Timna Valley. And the archeological findings here helped to date the copper industry.

Timna Park
Hathor Temple at Timna Park

Timna Lake

Our last stop is usually Timna Lake.

Timna Lake is majestically situated at the center of Timna Park. The perfect place to relax under an acacia tree and enjoy the dramatic surrounding landscapes during the day and evening. Enjoy shaded seating areas while your children enjoy playing in the park’s playground, rent a paddleboat or fill miniature bottles of colorful sand to take home as a souvenir of your visit.
King Solomon’s Khan restaurant is located on the banks of the lake and offers a range of thirst-quenching beverages and tasty traditional dessert cuisine. Pop into our souvenir \ convenience store, selling a variety of souvenirs and daily use products.

You can find a bicycle rental, a camping site, a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and The Tabernacle near the lake.

The Tabernacle

You can visit one of Israel’s most exclusive sites near the lake, the Tabernacle Tent.

An accurate and authentic life-size replica of the biblical tabernacle, used by the Israelites in the years they wandered through the desert, according to how it is described in the Bible. The visit is by appointment and entails a fee.

We have not visited The Tabernacle yet. And the main reason is that, as far as I remember, the paddleboats, the restaurant, and The Tabernacle are all closed on Saturdays. And we usually stop at Timna Park on the way home on Saturday (the last day of the weekend).

Related Attractions

The guide to Eilat suggests other nearby attractions, like the Red Canyon, Underwater Observatory Marine Park, and Dolphin Reef. There is also Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve, and further to the north, you can find Mitzpe Ramon and Makhtesh Ramon.

Summary

If you have never been to Timna Park, you are in for a treat. The scenery and how the rocks look (their forms and colors) look like another planet.

Moreover, there are interesting archeological finds, and there is a variety of hiking and cycling trails. And to top all of it, there are tours and events. So what are you waiting for?

Have you ever been to Timna Park? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

Stay Tuned!

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Leave a comment below, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Lev Tsimbler

Lev from israel-in-photos.com. You can contact me at hi@israel-in-photos.com

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