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February 28-March 2, 2023

Heels of Love 2023

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ALYN's Heels of Love 2021

The 2021 Heels of Love Hike takes places among the spectacular mountains of Eilat. We will hike trails and climb mountains that we have not previously visited on Heels of Love. Mount Uziyahu, Amram, and Amir are challenging climbs that will reward us with magnificent views. The Red Canyon, Nahal Shani, and Amram’s Pillars are unique and each worthy of a separate visit. Our campsites in the Red Canyon and Nahal Yochevet are among the very best in the region. Contact us to find out more.


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Hiking Route Details

DISTANCE 18 KM — CLIMB 500 meter — TIME 9 hours

After a hearty breakfast, we grab our day packs and start the hike from the Ben Gurion gravesite. We start a fairly easy descent while all the while, the mountain is looming in the distance. As we get closer, it is hard to believe that there is a way to the top. But just when it seems impossible, we will see that steps have been hewn into the rock to facilitate the climb. Carefully we will make our way up to the top and be rewarded with what some consider the best views in all of Israel.

After carefully making our way down, the trail continues in a wide circular route passing by waterfalls and wading pools. By the time we return to the start, we will be tired but relishing the accomplishment. A short (30 minute) bus ride brings us to our campsite within Maktesh Ramon where a hot dinner will be waiting next to our tents. 


DISTANCE 20 KM — CLIMB -300 (Walking down the crater walls)  — TIME 10 hours

If the first day’s hike wasn’t enough, on day #2 we take on a section of the Israel Trail – one of the most challenging sections on the whole trail. 

We will start right after breakfast as the sun comes up. Today’s hike is within the Maktesh Ramon. We will spend about 10 hours climbing and hiking throughout the Maktesh. Almost every step of this hike we will be surrounded by amazing views of the crater. The trail passes right through the heart of the crater with a short stop at the famous Acacia tree in the crater’s exact center.

At the end of the hike, we will say farewell to those who are only coming for two days and enjoy a smaller and quieter campsite.

DISTANCE 13 KM — CLIMB – 722 meter  — TIME 6 hours

On the eastern side of the Ramon Crater, between the Machmal Valley and the Ardon Valley, we find Mount Ardon. The hike includes spectacular views, landscapes in many desert shades and some  challenges, including sharp ascents and steep descents. 

Once again, I cannot outdo this description from HikingintheHolyland:

It seemed almost too steep to go up.  We didn’t have mountain climbing gear – just our usual sneakers, backpacks, and plenty of water. But sure enough, as we got closer, the hikers’ road revealed itself: a white smooth pathway that headed straight up the mountain. So we began to climb. It was actually easier than we expected. The footing was sure most of the way through.  We stopped every so often to take in the amazing moonscape view of the crater.  As we got close to the top, the uphill became even steeper.  We were pushing ourselves to the max.  But before we had a chance to tire out, the near vertical ascent stopped, and we reached the first plateau of the mountain. The views from here were spectacular – the scenery awe inspiring.  There seemed to be no one for miles around.  The wind blew in our faces as we surveyed the dry riverbeds, volcanic rock, and red hills that filled the crater.

DISTANCE 10 KM — CLIMB 300 meter — TIME 6 hours After a hearty breakfast, we grab our day packs and start the hike from the Ben Gurion gravesite. You can see Tzaror Mountain as a dark mesa beckoning in the distance. In the beginning of the hike we go by an old aircraft landing strip. When David Ben Gurion moved here, this strip was built for heads of state and other dignitaries that came to visit. A very special thing about Har Tzaror is that it not  on the tourist track. It’s a shame (but not for us) because the views from this hike are downright spectacular. It is possible that we won’t see any other hikers, just our group and the desert. Gav refers to a pool of water and at the time of the hike it will be full and an excellent place for us to wet out feet before continuing.  

DISTANCE 9 KM — CLIMB 500 meters — TIME 7 hours Karen’s group will also spend the day completely within the crater. Today’s hike includes easy metal ladders, some short by challenging climbs, and even a cave where we might stop for coffee. The hike is actually a combination of two highly regraded hikes. Since we want to spend all day enjoying the breathtaking scenery, we will combine them. When we reach the campsite, we will say goodbye to those only staying for two days while we hunker down in our second desert campsite.

On the eastern side of the Ramon Crater, between the Machmal Valley and the Ardon Valley, we find Mount Ardon. The hike includes spectacular views, landscapes in many desert shades. Our hike is similar to Oren’s but we will avoid the difficult climbs and descents and take a shorter tour.

The 2022 Heels of Love Hike

Maayan Aviv is the Director of American Friends of ALYN and joined the 2022 Heels of Love Hike.


Off the plane from the US on Monday and off the bus for the start on the hike on Tuesday morning. Both jetlagged and excited. Was I even ready for this? I’m a runner. I do yoga. But hiking in the desert for three days is a whole other ballgame, as they say!

My decision to join in Heels of Love was a last-minute one. I needed things to align on the US-side to make it happen. And here I was. Hiking boots and Heels of Love t-shirt, and I was ready to go.

I met up with the other 29 participants in the Scenic Route. This would be my team for the day. We took a long bus ride to the starting point. We spent the morning on a route up Har Amir along a packed dirt path. Har Amir is known for its magnificent views and offers plenty of the sandstone scenery for which the Eilat Mountains are known. Our guide, Keren, was awesome.

In the late afternoon, we joined with the Adventure Route, ate delicious food and had some wine. The evening ended with a speech by Dr. Maurit Beeri, Director General of ALYN. It was an intimate gathering to learn not only about the work of ALYN hospital but also get to know the people behind the scenes.

We made our way back to our tents, underneath the beautiful desert sky. My head hit my pillow and I slept heavily, with excitement about what Day Two held for me.

Read Maayan’s full account


Mark Keil has participated in Heels of Love for three straight years. (So far!) He put together this photo essay showing all three days of the 2022 Heels of Love hike.



  • Comfortable hiking shoes — not sneakers, running shoes, or sandals! This is one of the most important things you will need. Your whole hiking experience will be affected by your shoes. You will be walking around 16 km/10 miles a day in your shoes, so proper footwear is a must.
  • WARM sleeping bag. While the days should be pleasant, it can be very cold in the Negev at night. Bring a sleeping bag rated to keep you warm down to freezing temperatures. You do not have to carry the sleeping bag on the hike; it will be kept in your duffel bag (see below).

Day Pack: (A medium backpack that you will carry with you on the hike): We will give you food and bottles of water. You may choose to also have a hydration bag within your pack that you fill up from the bottles and sip while walking.

  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Small plastic bag (for garbage, damp clothing, etc)
  • Light jacket against wind or rain
  • Basic first aid items like band-aids (or other adhesive bandages) and anti-chafing cream (we will have a paramedic, but it is useful to have these on-hand)
  • Personal snacks (If there is a trail mix you just can’t live without!)
  • Alpine walking sticks (optional)
  • Phone/camera (you will be able to charge them at the campsites)
  • Sunglasses
  • Earplugs (optional)
  • Headlamp or flashlight

Duffel Bag Duffel bags are much more convenient than suitcases for the hike. It is better that you put everything you will need for the campsites in the bag, including your sleeping bag. These bags will be waiting for us at the end of each day at the campsites. In your duffel bag, you will carry:

  • Walking clothes for each day on the trail. We will be providing hiking shirts, but you should bring shorts/pants and extra t-shirts. If it is cold, you will want a base layer to go under the hiking shirt.
  • Warm clothes for the evenings/sitting around the fire (warm jacket, hat, coat, socks, etc.)
  • Comfortable footwear for after the hike
  • Plastic bag for laundry
  • Medication
  • Extra batteries for flashlight, charger for phone, etc.


Oren's Group: Challenge

Oren’s Group will average 8+ hours of hiking/day with just a few breaks. The terrain can be challenging with steep climbs and descents and sections of loose rock. Distance is more than 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) per day with hikes starting soon after sunrise and finishing just before dark. The pace is a brisk walking pace. Hikers should be in strong physical shape and have experience with all day hikes.

Keren's Group: Moderate (but by no means easy!)

Keren’s hikes are not easy. However, there are more frequent breaks to rest and learn about the areas we are hiking. There are steep ascents and descents, though not as physically demanding than those in the Group A hike. Distance averages around 8 kilometers (5 miles) per day. Actual hiking — not included breaks — is 5-6 hours/day. Pace is a moderate walking pace. Since both groups camp together, one can switch from one day to the next. If you are at all unsure which route to do, we encourage you to join Keren’s group on the first day. If you feel that you could do a harder hike, just let us know the first evening at the campsite. This is much preferable to joining Oren’s group and finding yourself unable to keep the pace.

After a long day of hiking, nothing is more welcoming than a beautiful campsite that has already been set up by our staff. Every hiker gets his or her own tent and sleeping pad (couples can share, of course.) Tents are set up around a campfire, surrounded by comfortable futons where we can sit back and relax and share stories of the day’s adventures. Our hot dinners are delicious and accompanied by your choice of beverages. As we sit around the campfire, special guests will inspire you with stories of the miracles that happen at ALYN every day.  

The Desert at Night

The winter is the perfect time of year for hiking in the desert. The daytime temperatures are usually around 18-25 degrees Celsius/64-77 Fahrenheit. Nights are much colder so we strongly recommend that you bring a sleeping bag designed for lower temperatures. Our campsites have toilets and a place for washing up and brushing teeth.

The cost of participation is the registration fee ($500/₪ 1,800) and a minimum fundraising requirement depending on which route you choose.

Minimum fundraising requirements: $3,000 for those hiking three days and $2,000 for those hiking for two days.

Discounts for couples: $5,000 combined for three days 

All contributions are tax deductible in Israeli, American, Canadian, and UK currency. We ask that everyone raise the minimum required amount by one week before the hike. We will keep your pages open for an additional week after the hike so you can raise even more by telling your friends how amazing it was!

You will be required to cover any remaining fundraising gaps.

Donations can also be made through the American Friends of ALYN Hospital office or the Canadian Friends of ALYN office.

You can cancel for a full refund until February 5, 2024.    

Twillory: Official Apparel Sponsor of Heels of LoveSheare ZedekTzuba Winery: Official Beverage SponsorEin Gedi: Official Water SponsorDerech EretzTactical ZoneIhud Hatzalah
0% raised of $180,000