Hikes in Israel

| July 22, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Israel National Trail

Tel Dan Gate

Tel Dan Gate (Photo: Public Domain)

Stretching from the length of the country, from the north to the south, the Israel National Trail is a challenging 950 plus kms. Tel Dan is the very first section of the Israel National Trail.  It is also one of the northernmost points in Israel, reached via route 99. Near the beginning of the trail you’ll find the Beit Ussishkin Nature Museum, which tells the story of the nature, geography and archaeology of the Galilee. The trail aslo offers enchanting views of the snow-capped peak of Mount Hermon, which measures 2,888 meters in height. This relatively flat section of the trail, 14 km long,  is perfect for novice hikers and ends up at Tel Hai next to Kfar Giladi.

Hikes in Israel: Did you know?

At Tel Dan,  archaeologists discovered  an ancient Canaanite brick gate and an inscription mentioning the House of David. This is believed to be the earliest non-Biblical reference to King David and his dynasty.

Israel Hiking Trails

Neria Springs, Mount Merson Nature Reserve

Einot Neria (Neria Springs), Mount Meron Nature Reservation, Upper Galilee (Photo: Gideon Pisanty, CC BY 3.0)

The next section of the Israel National Trail is only 13km long but contains steep climbs and descents. Starting near Kibbutz Sasa on route 89, this section takes you through Mount Meron Nature Reserve, offering panoramic views of northern Israel from its 1,208 meter elevation. Hikers end up at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (aka Rashbi), the famous Kabbalist who lived almost 2,000 years ago. Israel’s oldest olive tree, found on Mount Meron, is estimated to be 3,000 years old.

Israel National Trail Continued

For this relatively short but very scenic section of the Israel National Trail you should stock up on water and provisions at the corner of Route 77 and Sderot Sapir. The trail follows Sderot Sapir and reaches Switzerland Forest, where hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) with the Golan Heights in the background. The trail then slopes gently downwards, passes date, olive, and mango orchards, and reaches the Kinneret. You will also visit the village where the poet Rachel lived, one of the early pioneers of Israel settlement, as well as Rachel’s Park. If you need to cool off, take a detour from the Israel National Trail and enjoy the sweet waters of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), but don’t swim far out unless lifeguards present, as the the currents and winds can be deceptive.

View of the Kinneret / Sea of Galilee

View of the Kinneret / Sea of Galilee (Photo: Yulia Kuprina, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Challenging Hikes in Israel

For Israel hikers looking for a challenge, try ascending Mount Tabor with its spectacular landscape. Looking like an upturned teacup, Mount Tabor provides a steep 600-meter hike and a similar but more slippery descent. Atop the mountain you’ll enjoy clear views of the Upper Galilee in all directions.

Mount Tabor is a considered a holy site by both Jews and Christians.  It houses both a Greek Orthodox Church and the Church of the Transfiguration, a Franciscan church. This is also the site  site where a Jewish fort was constructed during the Second Temple period.

Hikes In Israel: Did You Know?

Mount Tabor is mentioned in Judges Chapter 5 as the place of Deborah and Barak’s victory over Sisera’s army.

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