Escaping the Mediterranean heat during the Israeli summer can be a challenge. But why stay indoors when you can be out, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the land? The solution is simple – embark on a water hike. Israel is teeming with stunning trails that allow you to cool off while exploring. Imagine strolling through a cool, rocky riverbed under a canopy of shade, the gentle sound of a stream cascading over rocks, creating mini waterfalls. The symphony of nature accompanies you – the croaking of frogs, the melodious songs of birds, and the swift flight of dragonflies. Even the fish join in, playfully nibbling at your toes. This summer, experience all this and more as you explore the best waterfall trails in Israel.
Getting Around: The Freedom of Car Rental in Israel
Before we dive into the trails, let’s talk about getting around. Israel is a small country, which makes it perfect for road trips. Car rental in Israel gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace, and it’s incredibly easy to drive and navigate through. I recommend going with Shlomo-Sixt, a reliable car rental in Israel with a wide range of vehicles to choose from. With your car ready, you’re all set to hit the road and discover the best waterfall trails in Israel.
Amud Waterfall and Stream: A Northern Gem
Nestled in the heart of the Galilee region, the Amud Stream is a sight to behold. The stream gets its name from the towering pillar (“Amud” in Hebrew) that stands tall near the water. The stream flows from Mount Meron to the Sea of Galilee, carving its path through a beautiful canyon. The Amud waterfall is a highlight of this trail, cascading down into a serene pool. The trail is dotted with charming structures from the British Mandate period, and there are multiple pools with mini waterfalls where you can cool off. The best part? The stream is shaded by the surrounding forest, making it a perfect respite from the summer heat.
Banias Waterfall: The Power of Nature
Next, we head to the Golan Heights to visit the Banias waterfall, Israel’s most powerful waterfall. The Banias Nature Reserve is a must-visit, with its wide precipice and noisy cascades that tumble 10 meters down a steep basalt gorge into the gushing rapids below. The short hike to the modern, wooden platform is well worth the effort to take in this spectacular sight.
Gamla Nature Reserve: A Blend of History and Nature
Continuing our journey, we reach the Gamla Nature Reserve in central Golan Heights. Here, you can tour the ancient ruins and observe a variety of raptors in flight. A pleasant hike across a flat and open landscape leads to another of the Golan’s inspiring waterfalls, the Gamla – Israel’s highest perennial waterfall.
Ayun Stream Nature Reserve: A Family Adventure
One of Israel’s most family-friendly and spectacular hikes is the Ayun Stream Nature Reserve in the Galilee panhandle. The easily navigable trail climbs and winds its way past four impressive waterfalls, beginning from the southern entrance to the park, just before entering the town of Metulla, where it passes under the 30-meter Tanur Falls.
Nachal Snir Stream Reserve: A Water Hike Adventure
A popular spot to cool down in the summer months in the Galilee is the Nachal Snir Stream Reserve, east of Kiryat Shemona along Route 99. Less notable for its plummeting waters than its challenge as a water hike, the Snir Stream is the longest of the Jordan River tributaries. There are numerous small, natural waterfalls and pools for wading along the thickly forested route.
Gan HaShlosha National Park: A Swimmer’s Paradise
Further south in the northern end of the Jordan Valley lies Gan HaShlosha National Park, also known by its Arabic name, Sakhne, about 15 minutes west of Beit She’an. There is a large reservoir and falls popular with swimmers throughout the spring and summer months. The park is surrounded with lots of trees and picnic spots where you can just chill around and enjoy the beauty.
Ein Gedi: A Desert Oasis
The last and the most southern one, is the Ein Gedi waterfall. For those travelers lured by the serenity of the desert, Ein Gedi is fed by an extraordinary, year-round spring that flows over two remarkable waterfalls. A short, easy hike leads to the falls at the top of Nachal David. For those with a bit more energy and endurance, Hidden Falls in Nachal Arugot are well worth the 90-minute hike. There are wading pools along the route as well as a refreshing and invigorating pool at the base of the main fall.
Waterfall trails in Israel offer a unique way to explore the country’s diverse landscapes. From the northern streams to the desert waterfalls, each trail has its own charm and allure. So, the next time you’re planning a trip to Israel, consider renting a car, packing a picnic, and setting off on an adventure to discover these natural wonders. You won’t be disappointed!