The Israel National Trail

The Israel National Trail, listed in National Geographic’s 20 most “epic trails,” is a hiking trail that crosses Israel from south to north. Beginning at the Gulf of Aqaba in Eilat, it runs north to Dan, near the Lebanese border crossing approximately 1,000 km (620 miles). The Israel National Trail has been described as a trail that “delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of the modern Israeli.”

MOUNT TABOR (LOWER GALILEE): This trail takes hikers up the Tabor and around the monasteries on its peak, near the remains of an- cient walls, corner towers, caves, exposed antiquities, spring blos- soms and views in any direction from the sides of the mountain.

TZIPPORI STREAM (LOWER GALILEE): Along the trail are streams of flowing water, improvised water pumps and a castle named The Monks Mill. You can see the remains of another impressive gristmill at the Alil ruins.

MA’APILIM/NAKHASH STREAM (CARMEL): A walk along Nakhash Stream provides a complete representation of the Carmel’s hidden treasures: From the top of the trail and while walking down the ravine, you can see an impressive view of the Northern Coastal Plain and the Galilee.

SHAYAROT RANGE (JUDEAN MOUNTAINS): A trip to the Shayarot Range provides views down to the Coastal Plain and up to the Judean Mountains, walking routes, caves and an abundance of flowers in the spring. The trail passes through the famous “Burma Road.”

MAMSHIT AND MAMSHIT STREAM (NEGEV): The trail passes through the ancient city of Mamshit – its alleys and churches, remains of stables, houses and administrative structures. MITZPE RAMON AND RAMON CRATER (NEGEV): The town of Mitzpe Ramon is a meeting place for artists, a station for people going south to Eilat and a base for visitors to the Ramon Crater. Ibex roam free on the cliffs, and the colors of the crater change at different times of day.

KISUY STREAM AND OVDA VALLEY (NEGEV): Near Ovda Valley are dunes of sand like those found on the beach or in the Sinai. Ancient remains include temples, ritual locations and interesting structures near the sides of the roads.

SHKHORET STREAM (EILAT MOUNTAINS): The Eilat area features different shades of sandstone and granite in varied shapes and dark colors, plaster ornaments on the rock and colors galore.

To read answers to some travelers’ questions about the trail, visit wikitravel.org/ en/Israel_National_Trail.

Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to enjoy the trail, but my sisters Nadine and Sharon went on a three-day trip along the northern section of the trail. They enjoyed it so much they plan to return and continue on from their stopping point. The trail provides an amazing way to experience Israel through its nature and history, and it offers splendid views. Because the hike is so long, hikers often seek help from “trail angels” who offer “lawns to sleep on,” “a room with a shower” or “a pickup from the trail.”

For example, at Kibbutz Yagur, a soldier leaves the key to her room for hikers who need a place to sleep, and a farmer in Hadera Forest offers sleeping quarters in exchange for a day’s work. So as long as you plan your trip in advance, you won’t be left sleeping outside unless you want to. You can do part of the trail or be ambitious and do the whole trail at once. For most people, traversing the entire trail takes about two months.

The Israel National Trail includes 11 sections, each unique in its own way:
NAFTALI RIDGE AND RAMIM CLIFFS (UPPER GALILEE): This area begins at a deserted sandstone quarry above Kiryat Shmona, at the height of 280 meters above sea level, and stretches south toward Yesha Fortress.
KADESH ILI STREAM AND YESHA FORTRESS (UPPER GALILEE): Along the Kadesh Ili Stream, hikers can climb rock steps up the stream’s southern bank to view the ravine from above.
MERON STREAM’S PARKING LOT TO EIN ZEVED AND SHEMA RUINS (UPPER GALILEE): In spring you can see a variety of rich blossoms includ- ing orchids. As summer approaches, flowers color the area yellow.
MOUNT TABOR (LOWER GALILEE): This trail takes hikers up the Tabor and around the monasteries on its peak, near the remains of ancient walls, corner towers, caves, exposed antiquities, spring blos- soms and views in any direction from the sides of the mountain.
TZIPPORI STREAM (LOWER GALILEE): Along the trail are streams of flowing water, improvised water pumps and a castle named The Monks Mill. You can see the remains of another impressive gristmill at the Alil ruins.
MA’APILIM/NAKHASH STREAM (CARMEL): A walk along Nakhash Stream provides a complete representation of the Carmel’s hidden treasures: From the top of the trail and while walking down the ravine, you can see an impressive view of the Northern Coastal Plain and the Galilee.
SHAYAROT RANGE (JUDEAN MOUNTAINS): A trip to the Shayarot Range provides views down to the Coastal Plain and up to the Judean Mountains, walking routes, caves and an abundance of flowers in the spring. The trail passes through the famous “Burma Road.”
MAMSHIT AND MAMSHIT STREAM (NEGEV): The trail passes through the ancient city of Mamshit – its alleys and churches, remains of stables, houses and administrative structures.
MITZPE RAMON AND RAMON CRATER (NEGEV): The town of Mitzpe Ramon is a meeting place for artists, a station for people going south to Eilat and a base for visitors to the Ramon Crater. Ibex roam free on the cliffs, and the colors of the crater change at different times of day.
KISUY STREAM AND OVDA VALLEY (NEGEV): Near Ovda Valley are dunes of sand like those found on the beach or in the Sinai. Ancient remains include temples, ritual locations and interesting struc- tures near the sides of the roads.
SHKHORET STREAM (EILAT MOUNTAINS): The Eilat area features different shades of sandstone and granite in varied shapes and dark colors, plaster ornaments on the rock and colors galore.

To read answers to some travelers’ questions about the trail, visit wikitravel.org/ en/Israel_National_Trail.

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