Israel, with its diverse landscapes and rich history, is a hiker’s paradise. Though the country offers numerous lengthy trails, today we’ll focus on five shorter hikes that pack a punch. Each provides a unique experience, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner.
1. Banias Nature Reserve
Located in the Golan Heights, the Banias Nature Reserve features a stunning waterfall, the tallest in Israel. This easy hike is approximately 3.5 kilometers long and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
You’ll journey through lush greenery and observe the Banias River’s roaring rapids. Don’t forget your camera, as the trail offers many picturesque spots, including the Banias Waterfall. Wear comfortable shoes, pack a hat for sun protection, and carry plenty of water.
An easier option: The short version of the suspended bridge over the stream. This should only take about 1 hour.
2. Tel Dan Nature Reserve
The Tel Dan Nature Reserve, located in Northern Israel, is a haven for nature lovers. The trail here is about 2 kilometers long, and it’s an easy, family-friendly hike that takes about 2 hours.
The path takes you through a dense forest, along the Dan River, one of the sources of the Jordan River. The reserve also houses archaeological ruins from the biblical city of Dan. Comfortable shoes, water, snacks, and a camera are must-haves for this scenic trail.
3. Mount Arbel
Mount Arbel, located near Tiberias in the Lower Galilee, offers a moderate trail about 3.5 kilometers long. The hike takes about 3-4 hours and boasts some of the most breathtaking views in Israel.
The trail descends from the cliff top to ancient caves and back up, offering panoramic views of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. This hike can be steep, so wear sturdy shoes, bring lots of water, and don’t forget your camera!
4. Masada Snake Path
The Masada Snake Path, named for its serpentine route up the eastern side of the Masada fortress, is a challenging but rewarding trail. The hike is 2.8 kilometers long, and it takes about 1 hour to reach the summit.
As you ascend, you’ll experience incredible views of the Dead Sea and the surrounding desert. Be sure to bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes. It’s best to start this hike early in the morning to avoid the midday heat.
5. Ramon Crater – The Carpentry Shop
The Ramon Crater, located in the Negev Desert, is the world’s largest erosion crater. “The Carpentry Shop” is a unique geological phenomenon within the crater, featuring prism-shaped stones that resemble wooden planks. This easy trail is about 3 kilometers long and takes approximately 1-2 hours.
The trail offers breathtaking views of the crater’s multi-colored sand and rock formations. Bring sturdy shoes, sun protection, plenty of water, and your camera to capture the stunning desert landscape.
6. Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, situated near the Dead Sea, offers several short trails, but the most popular is the trail to David’s Waterfall, around 2 kilometers round trip. This easy hike takes you along a fresh-water stream with lush vegetation, an oasis in the middle of the desert. You’ll see ibex and hyrax roaming freely and, at the end, enjoy the refreshing waterfall. Bring a swimsuit if you fancy a dip, and don’t forget water and sun protection.
7. Ein Avdat National Park
Ein Avdat National Park, located in the Negev Desert, boasts a 4-kilometer moderate trail that takes about 2-3 hours. The hike leads you through a stunning, narrow canyon with sheer cliff walls, a series of waterfalls, and desert springs. The area is teeming with wildlife, including ibex and vultures. Wear sturdy shoes and pack plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen.
8. Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
The Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights offers a 5-kilometer trail that’s moderate to difficult and takes about 4 hours. This hike takes you through the forest, down into a canyon, and ends at a beautiful natural pool. It’s a great option for a hot summer day. Remember to pack water shoes, a swimsuit, a towel, snacks, and plenty of water. You will get wet!
9. Nahal Amud
Nahal Amud, located between Tiberias and Safed, is a nature reserve with a 4-kilometer trail that’s considered easy to moderate. The hike, taking about 2-3 hours, winds along a stream and features old flour mills, lush vegetation, and stunning geological formations. Bring comfortable shoes, water, snacks, and a camera to capture the beautiful views.
10. Carmel National Park
Carmel National Park, located near Haifa, is home to the 4-kilometer Hai-Bar Trail. This easy trail, taking about 2-3 hours, leads you through the Mediterranean forest and offers panoramic views of the area. The trail ends at the Hai-Bar Animal Center, where you can observe animals that were once native to the region. Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, a hat, water, and a camera.
These shorter trails provide a taste of the diverse beauty Israel has to offer. While shorter in length, each trail provides a unique encounter with the country’s captivating landscapes and rich history. So put on your hiking shoes, grab your backpack, and set off on an unforgettable adventure on Israel’s trails.