First-time visitors may be surprised at the Jordan’s creek-size proportions, but first-time rafters are often bowled over – sometimes into the soup – by how powerful its flow can be. The wildest bit of the river, a 13km stretch known as the Yarden Harari (Mountainous Jordan), runs from B’not Ya’akov Bridge (on Rte 91) to Karkom (about 6km north of Rte 87’s Arik Bridge, near the Sea of Galilee). The season begins as soon as the river’s springtime flow isn’t so powerful that it’s dangerous.
All the outfits we list have changing rooms (bring a bathing suit) and lockers for valuables (10NIS or 20NIS); some places will hold your car keys and mobile phone for no charge. Unless you’re told otherwise, assume that you’ll get either wet or drenched. Discounts of 20% or more are often available on the internet if you book at least 24 hours ahead, or from locally distributed coupon books. A dry winter caused some companies to cancel their 2014 season – call for details on weather and river conditions.
Jordan River Rafting 04-900 7000; http://www.rafting.co.il; Rte 918; regular route late Mar or Apr-Sep or Oct, Yarden Harari Mar–mid-Jun
The regular route (one to 1½ hours; minimum age five years) costs 90NIS per person in a two-person inflatable kayak or a raft with room for three to eight. Taking on the Yarden Harari (16km in three to five hours) costs 400NIS per person (minimum age 15). Also offers a zipline (25NIS) and cycling (80NIS; not available when the riverside track is too muddy). Situated 11km northeast of Rosh Pina and 1.6km north of Gadot Junction on Rte 91; from the northeastern corner of the Sea of Galilee, take Rte 888.
Kfar Blum Kayaks 04-690 2616; http://www.kayaks.co.il; 10am-3 or 4pm, open late Mar or early Apr-Oct or Nov)
In an inflatable two-person kayak or a raft (for up to six), a tame, 4km (1¼-hour) descent costs 90NIS, while a more challenging 8km (2½-hour) route costs 120NIS. Both start on the Hatzbani River and end on the Jordan. The minimum age is usually five years. There is also an ‘active amusement’ park for kids. To get there from Gomeh Junction on Hwy 90, follow the signs to Kfar Blum and go a bit past the kibbutz entrance.
Ma’ayan-Hagoshrim Kayaks 077-271 7500; http://www.kayak.co.il; Kibbutz Ma’ayan Baruch; Apr-Oct.
Based up near the Lebanese border at the entrance to Kibbutz Ma’ayan Baruch (on Rte 99), this veteran outfit – run by two neighboring kibbutzim – offers trips in inflatable kayaks (for two people) and rafts (for up to six). The Family Route (5km) costs 90NIS per person; the wilder Challenge Route (6km) is 109NIS. Runs begin from 9am or 10am to 3pm or 4pm.