If you prefer to hike in the more secured environment of a regulated national park, “Israel By Foot” presents you with the best options.
We will review the most attractive parks for hiking and recommend how to get the most out of each one of them.
There are more than 60 declared national parks in Israel. They are managed by the “Israel Nature and Parks Authority” (“Ratag” in Hebrew). The parks are divided into 4 main categories:
- Declared areas without any facilities or entrance fees.
- Recreational & Camping sites. (Usually beaches or natural pools)
- All the main archeological sites like Masada & Cesare.
- Nature reserves with hiking trails.
There are 15 parks in the hiking category. Hiking in the parks has some advantages:
- Hiking in a confined and regulated area.
- The park provides a map with the hiking trails.
- You can consult with the park rangers before you set out.
On the other hand, there are also disadvantages:
- In most parks the hikes are limited to short and easy hikes only.
- The hiking trails are usually much more crowded.
- You are limited with the park opening hours.
- Requires entrance fee.
It get’s down to personal preference if you favor it or not.
Hermon stream (Banays) Natural Reserve: – A very easy 2.5 Km hike along a wild gushing stream.
Amud Stream Natural Reserve – The most attractive stream in the Galil mountains. Plenty of water, shade and huge trees. An easy-medium 3-5 Km hike inside the reserve, or our 10 Km difficult hike that will take you also to a special view-point.
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve – A wide variety of hiking options inside the reserve, ranging from 5-10 Km. The reserve covers the most attractive streams of the Golan Heights.
Arbel National Park – The most famous view on the Sea of Galilee. An easy walk around the summit inside the reserve, or an ascend to the top as part of a more challenging day-hike.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve – The scenery of water in the desert is a unique one and Ein Gedi, is one of the best places to experience it. There is a good hiking trails network in the reserve to accommodate all hiking levels. Ranging from very easy family strolls to demanding steep ascends to the mountain tops.
Ein Ovdat Natural Reserve – Another fine spot to experience the sight of water in the desert. A very easy 3 Km walk inside the reserve, or a day-hike that connects the reserve with the Havarim Stream.
Hermon stream (Banays) Natural Reserve: – A wild gushing stream.
Location: Hermon stream Reserve Parking
The Hermon river (Banyas) is one of the 3 sources of the Jordan river.
It is the “wildest” of the 3, featuring a deep canyon and a waterfall.
The most exciting section is a “suspended trail” that passes above the gushing water.
The Park has 2 entrances. The top one near the Banayas springs and the bottom one near the Banyas waterfall. The best hike is to start at the top entrance and follow the stream to the waterfall. It’s a very easy 2.5 Km walk. The scenery is fantastic with plenty of shade and water. It can feel a little more European that middle eastern.
The parks run shuttles back to the starting point.
Amud Stream Natural Reserve – The most attractive stream in the Galilee mountains.
Location: Amud Stream Reserve Parking
Nahal Amud is the most attractive stream in the Galilee mountains. Plenty of water, shade and giant trees. The regulated area in the National park covers only a small section of it. If you are looking a short walk, you can make a 3-5 Km round trip with the map provided by the park. If you are looking for a more serious hike, we highly recommend our 10 Km Nahal Amud Hike.
Yehudia Forest Nature Reserve – Deep pools and tall waterfalls in the Golan Heights.
Location: Yehudia Reserve Parking
Yehudia Nation park includes the 3 biggest and most attractive streams of the Golan heights. The Yahudia, Meshushim and Zavitan streams.
There is a large selection of trails to pick from ranging from very short up to 10 Km long. The park includes some of the best trails and some of the most beautiful pools in the Golan Heights. Highly recommended!!
Our recommendation (To be used alongside the Park’s formal map):
Distance: About 6 Km.
From the park entrance Take the green trail towards the Zavitan stream. Turn right on the red trail. After a short time, turn left and go down to the stream bed on the black trail. When you reach the stream turn right and go upstream without a marked trail until your way is blocked with a big pool and a tall waterfall that you cannot pass. (A fantastic spot for a break!!). Retrace your steps to the black markings and continue with it down stream. At the junction with a red trail turn left and go back up to the starting point.
Arbel National Park – The most famous view on the Sea of Galilee.
Location: Arbel Parking
The two main attractions of the park are the Carob lookout, Probably the most famous view on the Sea of Galilee. And the Arbel fortress, which is a military stronghold carved into the rocks in the 7th century.
Inside the park you can make and easy 2.5 Km hike of the Carob Lookout and the fortress. However, “earning” the view with the climb from lake Kinneret is much more rewarding. Check out our 8 Km Mount Arbel Hike.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve – A beautiful Oasis in the Judean Desert.
Location: Ein Gedi Reserve Parking
The reserve includes the Arugot and David streams. It’s the biggest and most beautiful oasis in the Judean desert. The park includes a variety of trails that can be “mixed and matched” to meet all levels of hikers and visitors. Ranging for 2 Km family strolls to 10 Km demanding hikes with some steep ascends.
Our recommendations (To be used alongside the Park’s formal map):
Easy 4 Km: Follow the Arugot stream up until the hidden waterfall (2 Km) and back the same way.
Difficult 6 Km with a steep ascend of 500 m: Start the easy hike. On your way back from the hidden waterfall turn left on the black trail to climb the “Bney Hamoshavim” ascent. Continue with the back trail to the “Ein Gedi” Lookout and back down on the “Ein Gedi ascent.
Ein Ovdta Nature Reserve – The biggest spring in the central Negev
Location: Ein Ovdat Reserve Parking
The reserve is a section of the Zin Wadi where the biggest spring and oasis of the central Negev is located. A fantastic setting. The problem is that the only trail in the reserve is about 2 Km long. We highly recommend taking our Ovdat Havrim Hike, that upgrades the experience into a 10 Km circuit that connects the reserve with beautiful Havarim Wadi.