Jerusalem, Israel

Hike the Lower Wadi Qelt to Jericho

4 Miles Total - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Bryan Young

Hike into history as you descend into Lower Wadi Qelt and discover St. George’s Monastery, walk parallel to Rome’s aqueduct of King Herod and trek below sea level into the historic town of Jericho.

Wadi Qelt is a word that stands for valley or stream. The Lower Wadi Qelt trail begins on top of what can be described as a canyon and brings you down to the stream that passes by St. George’s Monastery.

Starting from the parking lot trailhead, you will follow a steep and roughly paved road down into the Lower Wadi Qelt. Just remember, what goes down, must come up! As you follow this you will get your first glimpse at St. George’s Monastery hidden down in the Wadi Qelt.

Upon arriving at the bottom you can tour the monastery and view the ancient skulls of the monks martyred there by the Persians in 614 CE. St. George’s Monastery was founded in the 4th century by monks that were trying to experience what the ancient prophets had experienced. When you decide to go be sure to check the hours, as they are limited, because the monastery is still in use today.

From the monastery you will follow the trail west, downstream, heading toward Jericho. You will know you are going in the right direction because the trail will be descending the entire time. In fact the trail will be bringing you below sea level. When you reach Jericho you will be 846 ft (226 m) below sea level!

Near the end of the trail the Wadi Qelt will open up and you will get your first glimpses of Jericho and in the distance also the Dead Sea and the mountains of Jordan.

From here you can either turn around and hike back to the car, or you can continue walking into Jericho until you find a taxi on the main road to drive you back to the trailhead if you wish to avoid the gradual uphill back to St. George’s Monastery and the big climb back to your vehicle.

Another option is to drive to Jericho and then take a taxi to the trailhead so when you finish the hike you can head straight to your vehicle.

Some More History:The Wadi Qelt is a historic trail that begins at a spring near Jerusalem and heads westward across the Judean Desert toward the historic town of Jericho. For centuries monks, armies and smugglers have used the path as a remote, and sometimes secret, passage between the two cities. Today it is a wonderful hike.

The Wadi Qelt has 3 main entrance points, all with different features, and further up there are pools and springs in which to swim if you have the time. The Lower Qadi Welt allows visitors to see just St. George’s Monastery and also hike the final 1.5 (2 km) of the trail that brings you to Jericho.

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