The Israeli Trail or Israel National Trail offers an unusual and challenging experience to hike enthusiasts who want to explore the entire country of Israel. The trail runs for approximately 1000km (580-620 miles) from one end of Israel to the other. Hikers can pick up the trail at any point along the route by following the three strips of white, blue and grey which marker the way.
In the southern regions of Israel where urban areas are less prevalent hikers need to either send provisions ahead, carry their supplies with them or make use of Trail Angels. The Trail Angels offer a place to sleep and wash or a lift to those taking the trail. This wonderful community effort adds to the enjoyment of the trail as visitors can get to know locals on the kibbutzim and other Israelis who frequently hike the trail. The trails roughly parallel major highways and roads so in an emergency you can hike to the road for help. It is recommended to carry at least a day’s supply of water with you and in the southern regions be aware of the extreme desert heat. However most hikers say that the desert section of the trail is the most scenic.
If you were to do this hike from beginning to end it would take you 45 days but most travelers prefer to take on specific sections which can be covered in one or two days.
Sections of the Israeli Trail
Upper Galilee – The trail begins at the Dan Kibbutz near the Lebanese border and Mount Hermon. This first section passes the Ramim Cliffs looking down on the Hula Valley. This is a verdant area of the country with thick forests and abundant wild flowers.
Upper Galilee – Continuing in Northern Israel passing the Yesha Fortress, ending at the Meron Stream parking lot.
Upper Galilee – Take the circular route starting at the Meron Stream parking lot passed Ein Zeved and on to the Shema ruins. Here you can see wild flowers including orchids in the spring.
Lower Galilee – Visit Mount Tabor and the mountain top monastery and historic remains. From the summit you can get brilliant panoramic views across the country.
Lower Galilee – Follow the Tzippori Stream through forests of Birch and Gall Oak trees. Along the way you’ll see the remains of a castle and the Alil ruins.
Mount Carmel – The trail goes through Ma’apilim Stream and Nakhash Stream from the top of the Carmel down towards the end point for this section at Kibbutz Yagur. From the mountain slopes you can get a view along the coast.
Sharon, Gush Dan, Shephelah – Those longing for urban comforts can enjoy the urban centers here of Hertzlia, Tel-Aviv and other cities in the area. The trail diverts along the coastline instead of cutting through the cities so you can swim in the Mediterranean and sleep on the beach as well.
Judean Mountains – The Shayarot Range and Sheva Road takes you above the Jerusalem-Tel-Aviv Highway and through significant historic sites from the War of Independence. Here take 2 days to explore Jerusalem and take the Jerusalem Trail.
Southern Israel – The trail takes you from the Yarit ruins, through the Yatir Forest and into the Har Amasa National Park.
Negev – Now you’ve reached the sparsely populated area of the country and the drier, desert terrain. Visit the ancient city of Mamshit and end up at the Oron intersection on Route 206.
Negev – From Mitzpe Ramon you can look down on the enormous Ramon Crater.
Negev – Enjoy the Kisuy Stream and Ovda Valley where the fine sand forms rolling dunes. Visit the Shakharot settlement and look out over the Arava Desert.
Eilat Mountains – The humidity rises and you can almost smell the sea as you head towards Israel’s premium beach resort, Eilat, on the edge of the Red Sea. But first you need to hike through the Eilat Mountains.
Go on this adventure and follow one of the world’s greatest long distance hike trails.