Hiking the Israel National Trail
Friends, we invite you to join us for a hike on the Israel National Trail. We have been here many times, we really like the trail ourselves, and we want to show it to you!
National Geographic has listed the Israel National Trail as one of the “20 Greatest Trails in the World”. The Israel Trail is 1,000 kilometers long and runs through the entire country. We are going to its southernmost part – the Negev and Arava Deserts, the Eilat Mountains, and we will go as far as the Red Sea, starting with a visit to the legendary Jerusalem!
No visa, cheap tickets – this is a truly affordable way to see the Holy Land, immerse yourself in the ancient history and appreciate the strangeness of its nature!
Day 1. Meeting in Jerusalem
The day of the meeting. We assemble as a group at a hotel in Jerusalem. There is a shuttle bus from the airport to the center of Jerusalem.
Day 2. Jerusalem / Bethlehem.
Spend the day in the center of the three world religions. We will visit the major attractions in Jerusalem and Bethlehem: the Basilica of the Nativity, the Holy Sepulcher, the Wailing Wall, and others. We will walk through a unique cultural kaleidoscope – the labyrinth of streets of the Muslim, Christian, Armenian, and Jewish quarters. Overnight accommodations.
Day 3. Jerusalem – Dead Sea – Kibbutz Faran, 220 km drive, 7 km crossing.
Early in the morning we move to the resort town of Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea. This is the lowest place in the world: the absolute height of -430 meters above sea level. We go to the beach, have a swim, lunch, and drive on. At last the bus takes us to kibbutz Faran, where we stock up on water for the next few days and start hiking. We will spend the night in the desert, a few kilometers away from the kibbutz.
Day 4. Kibbutz Faran – Faran camping, 20 km hike
In the morning we arrive in the Martian landscape of the Negev desert. We get up at sunrise, water for breakfast and tea, pack up the camp, and go out on the flat trail to Barak Canyon – we will be there by lunch, but in the meantime we get used to the unusual views. Today we have a challenging and eventful day ahead of us. When we had reached the canyon we take our backpacks up to the mountain, but we will assault the canyon itself on our own because with heavy backpacks it is not passable due to several difficult parts, including stairs and rope ladder driven into the rocks. Ready for a swim? After the storming and swimming we’ll have a well-deserved lunch with a view of the canyon from above. In the evening we will have one more small test with a deserved reward. However, we will not describe everything here. We will come to the parking place after dark, tired but satisfied.
Day 5. Faran Camping – Shaharut Nomad Camp, 40 km trekking, 17 km hike
At the beginning of the day, after reaching the road, we skip the uninteresting part of the trail by taking public transportation to the military base. Here the trail and the road diverge, and from there we will have to get to Timna Park only on foot! Around lunchtime we will cross the Kasui sand dune. We also will meet some archeological sites.
Day 6. Shaharut Nomad Camp – Beer Milhan Camping, 17 km hike
We will refill our water supplies for today and tomorrow and continue our journey through the Israeli desert with colors that don’t appear obvious. We will see the Jordan Valley and for the first time the Red Sea!
Day 7. Camping Beer Milhan – Timna Park, 19 km hike.
Let’s go down from the Eilat Mountains to the valley of the Arava Desert, but first let’s take a look at it from above. Tonight we will have the long-awaited water and showers! We will spend the night in the park’s camping site.
Day 8. Timna Park, 15 km radial hike
The Timna National Park started attracting people a long time ago – there are ancient petroglyphs, and besides this place was the biggest center of copper mining – it was mined here already in the late Neolithic. Besides ancient art and copper mines there are many interesting natural objects in the park: Solomon’s Pillars, canyons, stone mushrooms, spiral hill and others: we will get up early and walk around them all lightly and ascend to the highest point of the valley – Mount Timna.
Day 9. Timna Park – Eilat, 5 km hike, 32 km crossing.
After breakfast we pick up our things and go to the bus stop to transfer us to the final point of the trip – the camping on the Red Sea shore near the Egyptian border. A well-deserved swim in the cleanest sea. Eilat is a great place for diving. You can just buy or rent a mask for diving, good thing there is something to see – the corals and the variety of colorful creatures of the sea will not leave indifferent nature lovers! Our trip came to the end.
Day 10. Red Sea
You can take the morning or lunch bus back to Jerusalem and fly home, you can continue to explore Israel, moving to the Mediterranean coast, for example in the ever vibrant and lively Tel Aviv, you can settle in a hotel in Eilat, or stay in the camping – there is everything for a comfortable wilderness vacation! See you again on the trails!
Features of the hike in Israel
- We have several days of hiking in high temperatures (daytime temperatures around 30 degrees) and limited natural shelter from the sun. It is worth taking lightweight clothing that covers the body as much as possible, particularly the neck. Should take shoes with sturdy, thick soles – the Israeli desert is mostly not sandy, and stony.
- Be prepared to carry stocks of water for two days – about 8 kg. It is important that the backpack has a small weight – take the minimum of things on the trip. Do not take things against rain – at this time of year it is highly unlikely. At night in the desert is cool – take a sleeping bag with a comfort temperature of 0 degrees.
- About a week before the hike we will ask you to buy and bring some groceries from home. This will make our diet more varied and familiar, and keep the price of the hike low. The amount you spend on groceries will be deducted from the cost of the hike.
- A prepayment of $40 is required to reserve a spot in the group. Payment of the remainder is to the instructor at the meeting in cash dollars. The maximum discount for this trip is $20.
- Citizens of Russia and Belarus visa to Israel is not required.
Cost of participation in the campaign: $ 430.
Tour package price includes: services of a Russian-speaking instructor, three meals a day during the tour, satellite communicator (permanent emergency communication; on-line tracking of your relatives’ route; getting the actual weather forecast for the route), use of boilers and gas equipment, a first-aid kit for groups.
The cost of the tour does not include: airfare, transfers, accommodation in hotels and campsites, meals in cafes, rental of personal equipment, medical insurance, visits to places of interest and other expenses.
Walking routes in Haifa and surroundings
For lovers of outdoor activities, we have compiled a selection of scenic walks in Haifa and its environs. We recommend that you wear sports shoes, daylight hours and have a few liters of water in your bag.
Part of the Carmel National Park is not unreasonably named. The area of the mountain range in its landscapes is very similar to the Swiss Alps, to which it was first compared by the Ashkenazi settlers in the 1930s. over time the name “Little Switzerland” caught on and became a part of the guidebooks.
There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, but they are quite accessible even to unprepared travelers and throughout the year.
The best place to start is at the top of Mount Carmel at Damon Junction. A blue trail marker will help you find the route.
Trail length: 1 km.
High Bar Carmel
Hai Bar Carmel is also located in Mount Carmel National Park and is adjacent to Little Switzerland. The area of the reserve is 6 km².
“The Carmel High Bar is part of a program of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, founded in the 1960s, to re-create the species mentioned in the Torah and previously present in the area, but which were exterminated. One can also see plants mentioned in the Bible, such as the mastic tree of the pistachio family which is said to have been used to lay out Moshe’s cradle.
The entrance to the park is about 300 meters south of the Haifa University campus.
There is a fee to enter.
Hours of operation:
April – September: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
October – March: 8 am to 4 pm
Fri, Holidays Eve: 8am to 3pm.
Phone: 04 984 17 50
Located on the western slopes of Mount Carmel, Nahal Me’arot is a series of caves which lie along the Me’arot stream bed. One of the caves is 70 meters deep! Some of the caves are undergoing archaeological excavations. Others are illuminated and bats live in them. Since traces of people who lived here long before we did, there are installations on the theme of “cave life” and one of them shows a movie about what that life might have looked like.
Outside the paid part of the reserve, there is a circular, sulfur-colored trail that leads along several small caves and allows you to enjoy the view of the coastline.
In 2012, UNESCO listed Nahal Me’arot as a World Cultural Heritage site.
The reserve can be reached by highway number 4.
There is a fee to enter the reserve.
Hours of operation:
Summer: Sun-Thursday and Sat. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and holiday eve: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Winter: Sun-Thursday and Sat 8 am to 4 pm, Fri and Holidays Eve: 8 am to 3 pm.
Yom Kippur Eve: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Phone: 04 984 17 50
Wadi Siah Gorge is located in the western part of the city in the Kababir area and descends from Lotus Street, 12 towards the Neve David area. There are several versions of the name of the place. It may be from the Hebrew “siach”, meaning “bush”, or it may be from the original meaning of the word, “conversation” or “pouring out of hearts”. In Arabic, “wadi Siah” means “the ravine of travelers.
The gorge is interesting because it contains several attractions, namely the ruins of an ancient Carmelite monastery; a spring from which, according to legend, the prophet Eliagu drank water; limestone caves, as well as the so-called “Bustan Hayat” – a complex of pools and fountains, specially built in the dense bushes for the rest of British officers in the 1930s with money from the Lebanese Hayat family.
Duration of the route: 2 km.
One of the most beautiful and shady nature trails in Haifa, which begins in the Mother Park on Merkaz Carmel and ends in the Neve David neighborhood. The beautiful air, the abundance of greenery, the singing of the birds – all this creates the illusion that you are outside the city. Along the trail you can see an old water pump structure, slabs of limestone rocks, sprawling willows and fragrant eucalyptus. If you get tired of following the blue trail, you can turn off at the junction with the green trail and exit at HaYam Street.
Another urban nature trail that begins on Freud Avenue near the Merkaz Horev intersection. The descent along the forest path past the old British Mandate waterworks will lead to a small spring in which you can even bathe in the summer. It will then continue westwards to the sea, out onto a wide, flowering plateau that joins the highway and climbs to its destination, HaRofe Street.
Duration: 3 kilometers.
The route begins at the intersection of Margalit street and Ofakim street, at house number 6. The first few meters of the descent are quite steep but the path becomes comfortable and you will be immersed in village life. You will see old houses, herds of cows and sheep, and haystacks. You will see an ancient oak tree with several trunks, and at the end of the trail you will see an abandoned house with the ruins of a water purification system from the middle of the last century. The end of the trail is near the Canyon Haifa shopping center.
Duration: 3 kilometers.
Nahal Nesher is located on the eastern slope of Mount Carmel and is considered one of the most scenic streams on Carmel, but those who are not afraid of walking off the marked trails will find it easier to explore its surroundings. The trail begins at Dimon Junction. The most beautiful part of the trail is downstream. In particular, there are dry waterfalls, the highest of which is 7 meters high. In addition, about 3 meters south of the main channel, there is a karst cave with a depth of 87 meters. In fairness it should be noted that the cave can be found only if you have a desire and the exact coordinates.
After the seven-meter waterfall the Nakhal riverbed turns sharply to the right and the Nesher quarry – the final point of the route – appears before our eyes.
Duration of the trail: 2.5 km.
Suspension bridges in Nesher
The small town of Nesher is notable because it is surrounded by green parks on all sides. One of the parks is of interest not only to the locals but also to the tourists who come here especially to see the 2 suspension bridges floating in the air.
At the entrance to the park there is a map with hiking trails of varying difficulty and duration that lead to the cave, lookouts, and suspension bridges. There are benches and tables along the trails – great for a family picnic, too.
Despite the fact that the depth of the gorge is shallow, people with a panic fear of heights should not set foot on the bridges. Those who dare to walk on the bridges connecting the banks of the Katia Creek will enjoy themselves immensely. The first bridge was built in 2004 and is 70 meters long. The second bridge appeared a little later, and its length is twice as long – 150 meters.
The park has several viewing platforms that offer beautiful views of Haifa and the hilly Zvulun plain.
Trail length: 5.5 km.
One of the most famous trails for hikers and probably the steepest canyon that descends from Mount Carmel. And all this at a distance of 10 minutes from Haifa. Adventure lovers will have great fun and a good dose of adrenaline, traveling along the route and overcoming a number of natural obstacles. The trail, marked in red, descends from the Druze village of Osafia, located at the top of the mountain, to the Yagur Kibbutz in the Zvulun Valley. The drop in elevation is about 500 meters.
Kibbutz Yagur was built in late 1922 by Jewish settlers of the Ahvah (Brotherhood) group who came to Israel during the First Aliyah period. The land was purchased in the early 20s by the famous land-buying Yehoshua Hankin, and the kibbutz borrowed its name from the Arab village of Yadzhur, which was located next door. In the 30s-40s of the 20th century, the kibbutz was one of the centers of activity of the underground organization Haganah, and during the struggle for the establishment of a Jewish state several times was in the spotlight.