Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world, but it’s rare to find the same geographical terrains like Israel offers. From the desert in the south, to the seaside sandy beaches, to the mountains that lead all the way from Jerusalem to the Hermon Mountain, back to the valleys in the north and the Jordan Valley. Plenty of different terrains to try and enjoy with plenty of hiking options. Here we will try to give you so fun hikes that involve all types of terrains.
Sataf located in the Jerusalem Hills, is famed for its hiking trails and natural beauty, set in one of Israel’s most incredible and powerful landscapes. Pine forests line the hillsides providing a powerful entry to the powerful city of Jerusalem. Just off the road are a large number of amazing places, within breathing distance of the city. These include the village of Abu Ghosh, Israel’s hummus capital, the village of Ein Kerem, famed for its Biblical importance, and a large number of beauty spots of which Sataf is definitely one. With a great walking or hiking trail, amazing views, and a great cafe, it’s a great place to escape the city and enjoy some shaded beauty. Sataf is just a ten-minute drive from the outskirts of Jerusalem through hairpin windy roads of the Jerusalem Hills.
South, Masada Snake Trail
The Masada Snake Path is one of the most iconic hikes in Israel. Starting from the base of Masada, a famous fortress which stands beside the Dead Sea, the Snake Path winds its way up approximately 400 meters from the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea, to the peak where archaeological remains tell a story of heroism and endurance, and magnificent views across the Dead Sea and the Moab Mountains of Jordan on the other side, can be enjoyed. The Masada Snake Path takes between an hour to ninety minutes to climb, and thirty to forty minutes to descend. Because of the immense summer heat, it is recommended to climb before sunrise in the summer months. The path opens before the National Park, and modern cable car which many visitors now use to ascend and descend the mountain. If you do arrive before the park opens, you can pay your entry fee at the top of the fortress.
West, Dor HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve
A circular trail along a rocky beach with more inlets than any other in the country. The path is marked in red, and the trail starts in the southern parking lot and turns southward, along the length of the bays. In the area of the “Flower Hill”, the trail splits into two. It passes by a number of attractions that are unique to this site, such as the “Blue Cave” – a cave formed over the course of many years by processes of erosion, dissolution and collapse, which acquired its name thanks to its shades of blue, whose beauty attracts many visitors; “Shell Bay” - an inlet lined with a thick layer of shells that have found their way to shore; and the “Shipwreck” – the remains of a ship that was carrying cement and went aground near to the shore.
North, Yehudia River
There’s probably no better hike in the heat of summer than Nahal Yehudiah, where the water is so deep, you have no choice but to swim to get to the other side. The path starts by passing a deserted Syrian village that was built on top of an earlier Jewish town of the Roman-Byzantine period. You’ll pass a cattle-grazing field before heading down into the valley towards the 20-meter high Yehudiah Falls. There are two cliffs to climb down, using rungs and ladders drilled into the side of the rock – one is four meters long, the second nine meters, which ends in the pool. Make sure your belongings are wrapped up in waterproof bags, or your stuff is going to get wet! When you’re done swimming, you can backtrack to the start on a dry trail at the top of the riverbed.
East, Mount Arbel
Hiking at Mount Arbel is incredibly popular. The ascent to the top of Mount Arbel from the south is included in the Israel National Trail, and an approach from the west is included in the Jesus Trail. As a national park, there is information on other, shorter trails accessible to walkers of all levels, on the information leaflet provided at entry to the site.