Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Eilat and the Negev Sights

Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater)

  • Rte. 40 Map It
  • Mitzpe Ramon
  • Geological Site
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 01/06/2015

Fodor's Review

Words simply cannot do this natural wonder justice. This immense depression is 40 km (25 miles) long, 10 km (6 miles) wide, and at its deepest, it measures 2,400 feet. Because it's a phenomenon known only in this country (there are two others in the Negev), the Hebrew term makhtesh is now accepted usage. By definition, a makhtesh is an erosion valley walled with steep cliffs on all sides and drained by a single watercourse.

You can take a 1-km (½-mile) walk along the Albert Promenade, which winds westerward along the edge of the crater from the visitor center to a cantilevered observation platform hanging over the rim. This is not the time to forget the camera—the view is overwhelming. The promenade is fashioned from local stone, as is the huge sculpture by Israel Hadani, the back of which faces the town and represents the crater's geological layers.

With the crater as a magnificent backdrop, the Desert Sculpture Park exhibits a collection of 19 huge contemporary

sculptures. The park took shape in 1962 with the work of a group of prominent national and international sculptors under the direction of Negev artist Ezra Orion. Their idea was to add to the natural stone formations with geometric sculptures of similar design. Ibex often wander through the area. To get here, turn off the main road near the gas station at the sign marked Ma'ale Noah.

For a look at one of Makhtesh Ramon's geological wonders, drive down into the crater to see the Carpentry Shop, a hill of black rocks that appears to have neatly sawed edges. Long ago, the sandstone was warmed by volcanic steam and split into the shapes seen today. A wooden walkway protects this fascinating area from travelers' feet.

Another of nature's works is the Ammonite Wall, on the right as you finish the descent into the crater. The rock face, actually part of the crater wall, contains hundreds of ammonite fossils, which look like spiraled rams' horns. From here there's a 5-km (3-mile) hiking trail, suitable for more experienced hikers.

Read More

Sight Information


Rte. 40, Mitzpe Ramon, 80600, Israel

Map It


Sight Details:

  • Free
  • Daily 8 am–sunset

Updated 01/06/2015


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels

See all sights in Eilat and the Negev

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss



No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.