Posted August 26th, 2007
Nothing is better than spending the Chagim in Israel outdoors! Here is our list of the top 10 hikes during the chagim season. Before you set out, however, it must be warned that every year many, many people get themselves into trouble while hiking in Israel for lack of proper training or preparation. To avoid this it is advised to participate in an organized hike with a trained guide before setting out on your own. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) offers great hikes with experienced staff who will be glad to share their knowledge and skill with you.
A few simple rules should always be followed when hiking:
- Every hiker should have at LEAST 3 liters of bottled water with them per day.
- Always wear a hat.
- Have an official trail map that you know how to read. These can be purchased in various stores through Israel. map info
- Bring some extra food.
- Doesn't hurt to have a compass.
10) Nahal El Al
Nahal El Al is the southernmost of many rivers in the Southern Golan region, and is the sight of two famous waterfalls: the Black Waterfall and the White Waterfall. The top of the White Waterfall is a great observation point, with a large pool of water at the bottom. Nearby are the ruins of an abandoned Syrian Village, Hushenia where you can climb to the top of the minaret of the crumbling mosque. The trail starts at Moshav Avnei Eitan, and ends at Moshav Eliad. Start at the top and hike down to the stream.
9) Har Meron (easy)
The second-highest mountain in Israel. The Peak Trail is a two-hour hike to the top and back. From the top you'll get a great view of Zefat and Mount Hermon. To get there, make your way to the top of Mount Meron and then choose one of the many trails going down in each direction. The summit is the Mount Meron nature reserve.
8) Nachal Kziv (end of Sea to Sea)
A great hiking trail with some small pools of cold, clear water you can swim in. On the south side of the valley, near the pools, there's a long narrow cave with water coming out of it. There are several ways to get into Nahal Kziv: there are trails from Park Goren, Mitzpe Hila, and the town of Ma'alot, as well as the jeep trail from Avdon. Nahal Kziv is crossed by a trail running from Goren park to Monfort castle.
7) Nahal Zaki / Mijrasa (2 hikes right next to each other)
A cool hike through the waters of Nahal Zaki stream whose waters eventually flow into the Sea of Galilee.
6) Har Gilboa
Mount Gilboa, an outlier of the hills of Samaria, bounds the Jezreel plain on the southeast. The summit is 628m above the town of Bet Shean, which lies 120m below sea level. From the Afula-Bet Shean road a winding track runs up to the summit.
5) Gilabon (a Birthright favorite)
This is a typical Golan hike with gorges and waterfalls to swim under. This trail includes the Deborah and Gilabon falls, a bat cave, ancient ruins and, in the right season, sabra fruits.
4) Breichut Hameshushim (Hexagonal Pools)
The Hexagonal Pools are named for the 6-sided volcanic rocks that suspend over the water hole. A short hike (approximately 1 hour) from the entrance to the Yehudiya nature preserve will lead you to a pool of hundreds of hexagonal rock, and another 40 minutes of hiking (in the opposite direction) will lead you to the Yehudiya Stream and waterfalls.
3) Nahal Zavitan
The Zavitan hike includes many swimming pools, filled with refreshingly cold, clear water. A unique natural formation can be seen along the upper part of the Zavitan stream and the banks of the pools consist of hexagonal and pentagonal basalt prisms. The name "Zavitan" itself comes from the Hebrew word for "angle".
2) Nahal Yehudiya
A beautiful and challenging hike in the Golan Heights with options of rappelling and points where it is necessary to swim in order to continue. At the bottom of the waterfalls are natural springs where you can swim and jump off cliffs.
1) Sea to Sea
The Sea-to-Sea Hike connects the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the fresh water Sea of Galilee in the east. In between lies 50 miles of beautiful Galilee countryside full of natural springs, green hills, shady valleys, and fertile fields. A four-day challenge that is well-worth the effort. Before you embark on this hike, make sure to consult a trained guide and map out your course, including places to sleep and refresh your food and water supply.