Tag Archives: family hike

Yam l’yam: Start at Achziv

Last week I walked yam l’yam again, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee. In 3 days you actually walk across the width of the country (that’s how small Israel is). Each day is a great hike but together the 3 days are more than the sum of their parts, enabling you to experience a cross-section of the Galilee. Each day hike is different, challenging in its own way, with varying topography, vegetation and accompanying history. I invite you to consider this amazing hike on your next visit to Israel.

For a more complete description (with photos) of the hike, see my post from last year at https://israel-tourguide.info/2015/12/21/yam-lyam-hiking-sea-to-sea-3-days/.

Here are the introductory lines of Naomi Shemer’s poem Night at Achziv beach.

The wind and the darkness and the water
Remember from yesterday night your steps
The froth that erased your footprints
Knows that you were here alone

I was up just after 4am and took these photos of the sea and sky before morning light at Achziv.

First shot

Early morn

When light broke I shot some photos of the beach.

DSC_0146

DSC_0170 (1)

 

Advertisements

Photo of the Week – Nahal Soreq

Early this morning we drove out of Jerusalem past Ein Karem and Sataf and followed the Soreq valley, the historical route of the train that joined Jaffa to Jerusalem. Suddenly the gauge on the car signaled that the temperature outside was 4ºC. As we looked to the right the valley was filled with mist. We pulled off the highway, parked and climbed the hill to get some elevation and take photographs.

DSC_0106

DSC_0108DSC_0163Then we descended into the valley and mist and got some nice closeups using a macro lens.

DSC_0140

Couldn’t find any spiders but saw their gossamer webs left behind.

DSC_0132

We did a nice hike in Nahal Katlav, from the derelict Bar Giora/Dayr-al-Shaykh train station, and I figured that the time was right to find crocus pushing up through the earth and we did.

Photo of the Week – Zavitan on Golan

Because Israel is a small country (the size of New Jersey) the relatively large expanse of the Golan makes it one of my favorite areas and it is a great place for hiking. One of my favorite hikes was Nahal Yehudia but that trail was closed and only a shorter section of it recently reopened. So when clients were looking for a place to hike I chose Nahal Zavitan, also a great place for photographs. This is a photo taken just past the hexagonal columns on the trail where it opens onto a small pool.

Nahal Zavitan on Golan

Clicking on the image will display it larger. Please share this post with your friends by clicking on the icons at the end of this message.

The technical details, shot with a Lumix point and shoot camera, ISO 80, 4.1mm, F4 at 1/320 sec.

Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Photo of the Week – Nahal Peratzim

A popular day trip from Jerusalem is to do Masada and Ein Gedi and then end the day with a float in the Dead Sea. I guided a family on this route last week. In thinking about it I want to suggest a different Judean desert trip. Visit the pools and waterfalls at Ein Gedi but instead of doing the crowded Nahal David (a nahal is a dry stream bed) hike to the hidden waterfall in Nahal Arugot, do Masada in the afternoon and end the day with a walk through Nahal Peratzim as the sun sets and the moon rises, a great family hike. This photo is Nahal Peratzim, a canyon between high walls of lissan marl. Clicking on the image will display it larger. Please share this post with your friends by clicking on the icons at the end of this message.

Nahal Peratzim

The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon point and shoot camera in April (ISO 100, 8mm, F7.6 at 1/100 sec).

Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Nahal Peratzim

When touring Israel you can’t but be amazed by the diverse geology in such a small country. When visiting Masada notice the spectacular canyons that have been gouged in the lissan marl by floodwaters rushing to the Dead Sea.

Take some time to explore the area by continuing south on highway <90>. Watch for the cutoff across from the Dead Sea Works and pull off onto a well-packed dirt road that will take you to the canyon at Nahal Peratzim.

Continue driving a couple of kilometers across an enormous flatlands, the Amiaz Plain, until you reach a parking lot. Follow the signs to the Flour Cave (though the cave is closed by order of the Parks Authority for fear of collapse).

It’s a short walk down into the canyon, a wide, sandy stream bed between high walls of lissan marl. It’s amazing to see the patterns of swirling designs and textures in the walls. We think the layers came about from sediment carried here by flowing streams, the darker colors in years of stronger rains but geologists haven’t come up with an accepted theory why the layers have twisted into such interesting patterns.

The hike is suitable for families and is especially dramatic in moonlight – I’d be happy to take you there. A great place for photographing surreal landscapes.

Hiking Israel

Hiking throughout Israel is a national pastime – youth groups, the scouts, the army connect to the Biblical land with their feet. School classes have a tiyul shnati, an annual hike. Many young people who have just finished their army service reconnect with friends by hiking together on Shvil Yisrael, the Israel Trail, a 945 km trail that crisscrosses Israel, from Dan in the north to Eilat in the south. There is also a Golan trail, a Jerusalem trail, the Jesus/Gospel trail, a hike Sea to Sea from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee. If you want to really experience and understand Israel you should take to the trails. Hiking takes you off the beaten track and besides the beauty of nature you will often come across archaeological ruins from thousands of years ago. If you don’t have a lot of experience hiking in Israel it’s recommended you hire a guide. Besides guiding you on the trail I can suggest what to bring, help with logistics, transportation and explain the nature and history and archaeology on the hike.

Israel is a small country which means you don’t have to travel far to start your hike. But although small in size there is incredible diversity so there are many different hiking experiences. Living in Jerusalem I know some hikes that are very close by, for example shvil hamayanot a trail that takes you to natural springs and pools that are particular to the hills of Jerusalem. A hike in Nahal Katlav (a nahal or wadi is a dry stream or river bed) in December is an opportunity to see wildflowers like crocus blooming after the first winter rains.

Jerusalem is a great base for day hikes because of its location in the hills and on the edge of the Judean desert and only a half hour drive to the northern edge of the Dead Sea. For starters I’d recommend hiking Nahal Og, desert landscape, narrow canyon, iron rung ladders – a really classic Israeli hike. Nearby is Wadi Qelt with a hike that takes you to a monastery hanging on the cliff. There are two wadis at the Ein Gedi reserve, Nahal David is the one most people hike and Nahal Arugot; you can choose trails, from 20 minute family hikes to challenging 4-6 hour hikes that will take you to pools and waterfalls in the middle of the desert.

If you are planning to be farther south there is hiking at Mount Sodom, a salt mountain or try a night hike by the light of the full moon in Nahal Peratzim. The Negev south of Beersheva is another desert with its canyons, mountains and springs to explore. Unique to the Negev is a geological phenomenon called the makhtesh or erosion crater that should not be missed. Probably the most picturesque hike in Israel is a short hike that is appropriate for the whole family not far from Eilat called the Red Canyon where erosion has sculpted the red and orange sandstone cliffs.


In the north of Israel there is a hike in the Mount Arbel reserve, where you descend the steep cliffs and then climb back up with great views of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan. Just a little farther north is the Nahal Yehudia reserve with a whole variety of hikes, Meshushim (hexagonal basalt) pool, Nahal Zavitan, Gamla.

For good hikers there are two hikes that are legendary, in the north it is Nahal Yehudia and in the south Nahal Dragot. If you want to test your mettle against the real Israeli experience, these are the hikes. For recommendation on some dozen other hikes, click on this link https://israeltours.wordpress.com/category/hiking/

Hiking Nahal Og

This is a real gem of a hike. Nahal Og is less than a half hour from Jerusalem in the Judean desert. It’s picturesque in a rugged, desert kind of way so it’s a good opportunity for taking photographs of the scenery and of course your family/group.

You might find that parts of the hike are challenging but this is a hike that is doable by parents and kids. There are three places where metal rungs have been hammered into the rock to give you hand and foot holds to help you traverse the steep rock faces. In the winter months there will be parts of the trail that have filled with water that you will have to cross.

The trail is a loop so you end back where you parked your car and in fact, you can do the trail in either direction, depending on whether you want to ascend or descend the rungs. Most people find that climbing up the rungs is easier than going down. The hike itself should take you about two hours.


To fill out your day combine the hike with one of the many other attractions in the area, the mosaics at the Inn of the Good Samaritan, St George’s monastery in Wadi Qelt, the archaeological site at Qumran, a float in the Dead Sea.