Hike Israel

| July 25, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Ani Nimi (CC0 1.0) Hike Israel: Tel Dan Gate

Ani Nimi (CC0 1.0)
Tel Dan Gate

The Israel National Trail

This is a series of five articles to introduce you to the Israel National Trail which stretches over 950 km from the north to the south of Israel. The very first section of the Israel National Trail begins in Dan, one of the northernmost points in Israel, reached via route 99. Next to the start of the trail you’ll find the Beit Ussishkin Nature Museum (open Sunday-Thursday from 8am to 4pm), which tells the story of the nature, geography and archaeology of the Galilee.

Beginning only a couple of kilometers from the foot of Mount Hermon, which measures 2888m in height, this section of the trail affords enchanting views of the snow-capped peak.  This 14km long and relatively flat section of the trail is a gentle opener for hikers, ending up at Tel Hai next to Kfar Giladi, where hikers can find accommodations to rest their weary feet.

Hike Israel: Did You Know? 

Archaeologists have found ancient artifacts at Tel Dan, including a Canaanite brick gate and an inscription mentioning the House of David, believed to be the earliest non-Biblical written reference to King David and his dynasty.

Gideon Pisanty CC BY 3.0Neria Springs, Mount Meron Nature Reserve Along the Israel National Trail

Gideon Pisanty CC BY 3.0
Neria Springs, Mount Meron Nature Reserve

Nothern Section of the Israel National Trail

As you continue, the next section of the Israel trail is only 13 km long but is full of steep climbs and drops. Starting near Kibbutz Sasa on route 89, you will travel through Mount Meron Nature Reserve, which offers panoramic views of northern Israel from its 1208m elevation. This section ends up at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (aka Rashbi), the foremost kabbalist who lived almost 2,000 years ago. Nearby you will find refreshments and plenty of choice of lodgings.

Hike Israel: Did You Know?  

The oldest olive tree is Israel is claimed to be around 3,000 years old. Watch out for the ancient olive trees on Mount Meron.

Israel Trail: Tiberias to Moshav Kinneret

For this relatively short but very scenic section of the Israel Trail you should stock up on water and provisions at the corner of Route 77 and Sderot Sapir, the main road passing the residential parts of the city. The trail follows Sderot Sapir until Switzerland Forest, which boasts beautiful views of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) with the Golan Heights in the background. The trail slopes gently downwards towards the lake, passing numerous olive, date, and mango orchards, eventually entering the Kinneret.

The poet Rachel, one of the pioneers of Israeli settlement in the 1920’s, lived in this quaint little village, which is home to Rachel’s Park – a quaint park scattered with large ponds and date palms where you can find shade. Many hikers divert from the trail to take a dip in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) itself, with its sweet water and gentle waves, however don’t swim too far out unless lifeguards are present because the currents and winds can be deceptive.

Hike Israel: Did You Know?

The Kinneret, at 214 meters below sea level, is the second lowest lake on Earth after the Dead Sea.

More Hikes in Israel

For those who want to combine a challenging climb with a remarkable landscape, climb Mount Tabor. Rising out of the ground like an upturned teacup, Mount Tabor provides a steep hike to a 600-meter high peak, with a similar (but more slippery) descent. On the summit you will enjoy clear views of the Upper Galilee in all directions, taking shade from the pine forests.

Mount Tabor is a site of significance for both Jews and Christians.  It is home to a Greek orthodox church as well as a Franciscan church, the Church of the Transfiguration. This is also the site where during the Second Temple period a Jewish fort was constructed. Continue the Israel National Trail for another 12 km, climbing the nearby Mount Deborah – this following a more circuitous and gently rising path – before descending to Nazareth Illit to find a place to spend the night.

Hike Israel: Did You Know?

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


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