Simien Mountains National Park is located 130 Km north of Gondar close to the town of Debark which is only 32 Km away from the boundary of the park. Covering an area of more than 400 square Km, Simien Mountains National Park is one of the major parks in Ethiopia. The park, situated at an altitude of 1900 meters at its lowest point and 4533 meters above sea level at its highest, was established in 1969. Attached to the mountains of the park, lies the highest peak in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen Mountain, 4533m height and a one day trekking distance from Chenek which is one of the resting places and campsites in the park.
It was one of the first sites to be made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1978). However, due to serious population declines of some of its characteristic native species, in 1996 it was also added to the list of World Heritages in Danger.
Simien National Park is a spectacular landscape where massive erosion over millions of years has created jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1500 m. The park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation because it is home to globally threatened species, including the iconic Walia ibex, a wild moun-tain goat found nowhere else in the world, the Gelada baboon and the Ethiopian wolf. Despite their ruggedness and altitude, villages linked by tracks are easy to spot all over the mountains. Historically the Mountains were inhabited by Ethiopian Jews (the Bet Israel), who withdrew from the province of Dembiya into the higher reaches of the Simien Mountains in the 15th century, having quarreled with Ethiopian Christian Emperors.
The park’s spectacular landscape is part of the Simien Mountain massif, which is located on the northern limit of the main Ethiopian plateau and includes the highest point in Ethiopia, RasDejen. The undulating plateau of the Simien Mountains has over millions of years been eroded to form precipitous cliffs and deep gorges of exceptional natural beauty. Some cliffs reach 1,500 m in height and the northern cliff wall extends for some 35 km. The mountains are bounded by deep valleys to the north, east and south, and offer vast vistas over the rugged-canyon like lowlands below. The spectacular scenery of the Simien Mountains is considered to rival Colorado’s Grand Canyon