Tag Archives: Nature Reserve

Meshushim Pool in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve

One of the most fantastic hikes is the Hexagon Pool (Meshushm) in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve. Situated north of the Sea of Galilee and of the small community called Had Ness on road 888, the pool is located at the bottom of a deep canyon, walled in with hexagonal basalt rock formations, flowing water and cascades. Map.


  • The Meshushim Pool – this enchanting pool is the main point of interest for visitors to the nature reserve. It is a large pool (around 20 x 30 m) surrounded by a cliff made up of numerous hexagonal basalt pillars. The hexagonal pillars, standing vertically around the sides of the pool, are a uniquely beautiful natural sight. This phenomenon is caused by flowing streams of molten lava that has cooled and, in a slow process, formed basalt rocks. When the lava solidifies very slowly and without interruption, the shape it forms is a hexagon.

    The path to the pool winds among the Mt. Tabor oaks. The descent takes approximately 20 minutes. Ascent from the pool to the entrance plaza by the same path takes about 30 minutes. Before reaching the edge of the pool, turn upstream to the little bridge that crosses the stream, from which you can watch the water gushing through the narrow ravine.

  • The Lookout trail – this short, circular trail offers a breathtaking view of the Yehudiya nature reserve and the Golan Heights. From the observation terraces you can see the Meshushim and Zavitan streams as they burrow their way across the level plains dotted with Mt Tabor oaks, and carpeted with flowers in the spring. From the lookout points along the path you can see eastward to the Golan, Mt Hermon, the volcanic peaks, and the border with Syria. The trail is about 10 to 15 minutes long, and is suitable for baby buggies and wheelchairs.
  • The Dolmen trail – a short, circular route that leads to the dolmen, a structure made of a large, uncut basalt boulder placed over other, smaller rocks. In fact, this is a large burial mound built by the Bronze Age residents of the Golan. Hundreds of dolmens of different types can be found scattered across the central and northern Golan Heights. From the dolmen, the path goes on to join the Lookout trail.
  • The Stream trail – this is a trail for hikers wanting to walk to the Meshushim Pool along the watercourse of the flowing stream, which gets progressively deeper. The trail crosses the stream, and the route includes climbing the escarpment on the eastern bank of the stream, using handholds. Walking along this trail to the pool takes 45 minutes.
  • From the Meshushim Stream to the Zavitan Stream – this long and challenging trail is only suitable for very good hikers, and takes six hours or more to complete. The trail leads to the Meshushim Pool, crosses the Meshushim Stream, and ascends to the ridge separating it from the Zavitan Stream. After crossing the ridge, through a park forest of Mt Tabor oaks, the trail leads down steeply to the lower Zavitan Stream. From here, it is possible to climb the eastern bank of the stream bed to the Yehudiya campground, or continue to walk along the stream for another two hours, through more pools, and then ascend to the campground.

20 minutes down to the pool, and 30 minutes climb back to the campground.

Another trail sets out towards the Zavitan Stream and ends at the Yehudiya campground: 4 – 6 hours walking – do not set out on this trail after 11 am in summer, and 10 am in winter.

 Swimming in the pool:

There are no lifeguards, the water is very deep and cold, and jumping into the pool is prohibited and dangerous.

Other attractions:

The entrance plaza, washrooms, shaded seating area, changing rooms, information center, and kiosk.

Opening hours

Last entry to the Pool trail is two hours before the site closes.

Entry to the nature reserve until one hour before closing time

  • Summer: 8 am – 5 pm, Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm
  • Winter: 8 am – 4 pm, Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm
  • On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm

Contact

  • Telephone: 04-6820238

Entrance fee

  • Individuals: Adult NIS 22, child – NIS 10
  • Groups (over 30):  Adult – NIS 19, child – NIS 8
  • Soldier in regular or mandatory service, on presentation of service certificate – free of charge.

Dogs

Dogs on a leash may be taken on the trails. Dogs defined as dangerous must be muzzled.


En Afek Nature Reserve

The En Afek Nature Reserve is the last remnant of the Na’aman Stream wetlands. It contains a gorgeous pastoral route which passes by water pools, bank flora and wooden bridges. The surrounding landscape includes a swamp, springs, a flowing stream and a meadow. There is a Visitor’s Center on site in a picturesque structure of a gristmill and inside one can watch a film about the reserve. Map.

Major Centers of Interest

  • The Swamp Pathway – a walkway built on a bridge over the swamp
  • The Ancient Flour Mill – an impressive two-storey structure, with foundations that were built in the Roman period, the majority of its remains being from the Crusader period
  • Exhibit and Short Movie – a permanent display of traditional agricultural tools, a short movie on the En Afek Nature Reserve and changing art exhibitions
  • Tel Afek – an archaeological Tel in the southern part of the Nature Reserve, containing remains of settlements from many periods.
  • A Garden Shelter for Endangered Plants – a garden for the cultivation of endangered plants.  The plants were brought to this place from areas about to be developed along Nahal Na’aman, and were planted here in beds simulating natural habitats.

Major Centers of Interest:

  • The Swamp Pathway – an exciting walkway giving visitors a chance to “walk on the water” and to enjoy the appearance of the swamp from the water birds’ point of view
  • The Ancient Flour Mill – flour mills have been in existence along Nahal Na’aman since the early Muslim period (8th century CE).  A large dam, 625 m. long, blocked the stream, creating a lake behind it.  The waters of the lake were directed by a channel to the water wheel that operated the mill stones.

    After the Crusaders conquered Haifa and Akko (1104 CE), the region became a center for the cultivation of cereals and sugar cane.  The Crusaders fortified the structure of the flour mill and built a fort which protected the site.  Parts of the impressive two-storey structure were built in the Roman period, and significant parts, mainly on the ground floor, are from the Crusader period.  The flour mill was built as a fortified structure in the format of flour mills that were common in Europe in the Middle Ages.  The structure is almost square, built of large stones with diagonal chiseling cuts typical of the Crusaders. Some of the stones have chiseler’s marks cut into them.

  • The structure was renovated in the Ottoman period (18th century), during the time of Dahar al-Amar and Ahmed al-Jezzar.  The mill also provided flour for Napoleon’s army when he besieged Akko in 1799.   At the end of the Ottoman period, the mill and the surrounding areas were the property of the Sursuk family, who were living in Beirut, and the building was rented to people from Shfar’am.  The defense position on the roof is made of concrete and was built in 1936.
  • Exhibit and Short Movie – there is a permanent exhibit of traditional agricultural tools in the flour mill.  Visitors are invited to view the movie, which follows a drop of water on its journey around the Nature Reserve.  From time to time, different art exhibitions are shown in the flour mill.
  • Tel Afek – an archaeological Tel at the southern part of the Nature Reserve.  Archeological digs exposed remains of human settlement from the Canaanite, Hellenistic and Roman periods.
  • A Garden Shelter for Endangered Plants – a garden where endangered plants are cultivated.  The plants were moved here from areas about to be developed along Nahal Na’aman and were planted in beds simulating natural habitats.

How to get there:

  1. Turn right at En Afek (Kurdani) Junction on Road 4 to the Tel road (Road 7911 in Kiryat Biyalik).
  2. After about 1.5 kms you will reach the gate of the Nature Reserve.

Length of walk: One-two hours.

Recommended season: All year round.

What else is there? Cafeteria, display, guide center, picnic tables, partial accessibility for wheelchairs, agricultural tools exhibit, and occasional art exhibits.

Opening Hours

Entrance into the Reserve is closed one hour before the times given below:

Summer Time:

  • Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat:           8:00 – 17:00
  • Fridays and eves of religious festivals:           8:00 – 16:00

 

Standard Time (Winter):

  • Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat:           8:00 – 16:00
  • Fridays and eves of religious festivals:           8:00 – 15:00

On the eves of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Pesach:  8:00 – 13:00

Communication

Telephone: 972-4-877-8226

Fax: 972-4-877-4052

Entrance Fees

  • Single: Adult:  NIS 22;  Child:  NIS 10
  • Group (over 30 persons): Adult: NIS 19;  Child:  NIS 8

Prohibitions:

  • Dogs are not allowed in the Reserve
  • Barbeques may not be used in the Reserve

Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve

The Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve As you hike among the oaks, terebinth and Christ-thorn trees and grasses in this forested mountain reserve, you might spy gazelles, wild boars, jackals, conies, Indian-crested porcupines and a variety of raptors and song birds. The streams have cut deep canyons and high waterfalls through the volcanic rock. Most have marked trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Before you get started, find out which ones are right for you at the reserve’s information center. Map.

Main points of interest

  • The Meshushim Pool – a large, deep pool. The pool is surrounded by dozens of hexagonal basalt pillars, creating a unique and impressive scene.
  • The Lookout trail – a short, circular trail with breathtaking views of the Golan Heights along the way.
  • The Dolmen trail – a short, circular route to the dolmen – a burial mound of huge basalt boulders, made by long-ago residents of the Golan.
  • The Stream trail – this trail leads along the flowing Meshushim Stream to the Meshushim (Hexagon) Pool, and includes climbing along the banks of the stream with the help of handholds.
  • From the Meshushim Stream to the Zavitan Stream – a long trail for good walkers. The trail crosses the watercourses of the Meshushim and Zavitan streams, with steep descents and ascents, and ends at the Yehudiya campground.

Points of interest in detail:

  • The Meshushim Pool – this enchanting pool is the main point of interest for visitors to the nature reserve. It is a large pool (around 20 x 30 m) surrounded by a cliff made up of numerous hexagonal basalt pillars. The hexagonal pillars, standing vertically around the sides of the pool, are a uniquely beautiful natural sight. This phenomenon is caused by flowing streams of molten lava that has cooled and, in a slow process, formed basalt rocks. When the lava solidifies very slowly and without interruption, the shape it forms is a hexagon.

    The path to the pool winds among the Mt. Tabor oaks. The descent takes approximately 20 minutes. Ascent from the pool to the entrance plaza by the same path takes about 30 minutes. Before reaching the edge of the pool, turn upstream to the little bridge that crosses the stream, from which you can watch the water gushing through the narrow ravine.

  • The Lookout trail – this short, circular trail offers a breathtaking view of the Yehudiya nature reserve and the Golan Heights. From the observation terraces you can see the Meshushim and Zavitan streams as they burrow their way across the level plains dotted with Mt Tabor oaks, and carpeted with flowers in the spring. From the lookout points along the path you can see eastward to the Golan, Mt Hermon, the volcanic peaks, and the border with Syria. The trail is about 10 to 15 minutes long, and is suitable for baby buggies and wheelchairs.
  • The Dolmen trail – a short, circular route that leads to the dolmen, a structure made of a large, uncut basalt boulder placed over other, smaller rocks. In fact, this is a large burial mound built by the Bronze Age residents of the Golan. Hundreds of dolmens of different types can be found scattered across the central and northern Golan Heights. From the dolmen, the path goes on to join the Lookout trail.
  • The Stream trail – this is a trail for hikers wanting to walk to the Meshushim Pool along the watercourse of the flowing stream, which gets progressively deeper. The trail crosses the stream, and the route includes climbing the escarpment on the eastern bank of the stream, using handholds. Walking along this trail to the pool takes 45 minutes.
  • From the Meshushim Stream to the Zavitan Stream – this long and challenging trail is only suitable for very good hikers, and takes six hours or more to complete. The trail leads to the Meshushim Pool, crosses the Meshushim Stream, and ascends to the ridge separating it from the Zavitan Stream. After crossing the ridge, through a park forest of Mt Tabor oaks, the trail leads down steeply to the lower Zavitan Stream. From here, it is possible to climb the eastern bank of the stream bed to the Yehudiya campground, or continue to walk along the stream for another two hours, through more pools, and then ascend to the campground.

Length of a tour:  20 minutes down to the pool, and 30 minutes climb back to the campground.

Another trail sets out towards the Zavitan Stream and ends at the Yehudiya campground: 4 – 6 hours walking – do not set out on this trail after 11 am in summer, and 10 am in winter.

 Swimming in the pool: There are no lifeguards, the water is very deep and cold, and jumping into the pool is prohibited and dangerous.

Best season: Fall, winter, and spring

Opening hours

Last entry to the Pool trail is two hours before the site closes. Entry to the nature reserve until one hour before closing time

  • Summer:  8 am – 5 pm, Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm
  •  Winter: 8 am – 4 pm, Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm

On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm

Contact

Telephone: 972-4-682-0238

 Entrance fee

  • Individuals: Adult NIS 22, child – NIS 10
  • Groups (over 30):  Adult – NIS 19, child – NIS 8

Soldier in regular or mandatory service, on presentation of service certificate – free of charge.

Dogs – Dogs on a leash may be taken on the trails. Dogs defined as dangerous must be muzzled.


Senir Stream Nature Reserve

The Senir Stream Nature Reserve (also known as Snir stream or Hasbani river) starts in the north of Israel and at 65 km is the longest tributary of the Jordan River. There are three trails available in the reserve, a short 10 minute trail, a 30 minute intermediate trail, and a long 90 minute trail.

They all start with the short trail and get progressively longer and in some places more challenging but all provide views of the stream, waterfalls, lush vegetation and the opportunity to glimpse amphibians, songbirds and land crabs. The short trail provides a view of a waterfall and follows a wheelchair and stroller accessible path. There are shady areas and wading pools along the way.

For children 6 years and up, try the intermediate trail and get your feet wet, walk on boulders, and climb small rock steps. Walk to where the Senir stream and Dan channel meet and feel the difference in water temperature by putting one foot in the channel and one foot in the stream.

The long trail continues along the stream and there are rapids to see when the stream widens and becomes a pool. Do not enter the water here as it is dangerous. There is no swimming or jumping in the stream but walking in the stream is part of the intermediate and long trails. It is advised to bring suitable shoes.


  • Map.
  • How to get here: Along Road 99 (Kiryat Shmona – Mas’adeh), about 11 km east of the Metsudot junction. Near Kibbutz Dan.
  • Length of tour:  1 – 2 hours
  • Best season: All year
  • Other attractions: Restaurant, cafeteria, picnic area, wheelchair access

Opening hours

Summer:

  • Sunday to Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 5 pm
  • Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm

Winter:

  • Sunday to Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 4 pm
  • Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm

On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm

Contact

  • Telephone: 972-4-695-1579
  • Fax: 972-4-695-0128

Entrance fee

Individuals:

  • Adult – NIS 29, child – NIS 15
  • Student – NIS 25
  • Groups (over 30):  Adult – NIS 23, child – NIS 14