The Colored Canyon is a great little hike if you are in South Sinai. It is near St. Catherine’s monastery and a short 1-2 hour drive from Taba, Nuweiba or Dahab. The colorful valley walls are beautifully marbled with reds, whites, oranges, and even silver in some places.
Generally tours can be arranged from your hotel or hostel where you will be picked up by your Bedouin guide who knows the lay of the land and can navigate the jeep on the sandy path. You begin by overlooking the unassuming canyon, at a small cafe where you can drink some tea and use the bathroom before the 2 hour hike. The view from the top is lovely but as you wind down the colored canyon wall, you can begin to appreciate the colors and wall designs much more.
I highly recommend going during the winter because the heat can get pretty unbearable in June, when I decided to go. I went in the morning to avoid the intense rays which worked pretty well because the canyon walls are high and do protect you from the heat. The path stays pretty cool throughout the trek.
The Bedouin guide was excellent and really knowledgeable about different interesting patterns to point out and some history about the canyon. Some of the corridors were incredibly narrow and there were a few times where we had to slink through small passages. My favorite was sliding through a space where a rock had fallen and gotten wedged between narrow canyon walls leaving a small space to squeeze through. At one point, the guide pointed out fossils of coral on some of the rocks, explaining that the canyon was once covered with water and part of the sea. There were other designs and formations we surely would have missed had the guide not pointed them like a chair molded from rains and a pair of eyes that could only be seen by looking under an overhang.
You end up back at the top of the canyon at the end of the hike to admire the path from a distance once more. There is a lovely shaded shelter where you nearly get a 360 view of the vast desert around you. I’ve got a few tips if you decided to do this hike:
- Go in the morning
- Bring snacks, a big bottle of water, sunscreen and your camera
- They recommend you do the hike in tennis shoes but I did it in flip flops and had minimal problems – bring appropriate footwear for you