Horshat Tal (Dew Grove) is one of the most popular national parks in Israel. It is spread over 700 dunams of pristine natural land in northern Israel, north of the Hula Valley, near Kibbutz HaGoshrim. The park’s popularity is partly due to the excellent facilities including a camping ground, and rental cabins. Tal Stream flows from the Dan Stream, through the park, and feeds into a swimming pool with water slides.
The park has many natural and man-made water channels, as well as She’ar Yashuv Stream that flows through the park. Tal Stream eventually flows into the Jordan River. The park lies in the shadow of Mount Hermon, Israeli’s highest peak. Inspiration for the park’s name was taken from Psalm 133 “Like the dew of Hermon, that comes down upon the mountains of Zion”.
History of Horshat Tal
In 1968, the national park was established and the nature reserve was declared to protect the 350-400-year-old Valonia oak trees. An Islamic legend tells how ten of Muhammad’s escorts stopped to rest nearby but couldn’t find where to tie their horses. So they stuck their sticks into the ground as tying posts. In the morning the men saw that their sticks had grown to be trees. In Arabic, the trees are called Sejrat el-Asara or the Grove of the Ten. It is possible that the Tal Stream was once a 5th century BC water channel used to transfer water for irrigation.
Points of Interest in Horshat Tal National Park and Nature Reserve
Campground: The Overnight camp is extremely well cared for and has all the facilities you need for a stay surrounded by nature. The landscape is flat, with natural grass lawns, and there are toilets, showers, a swimming area, fishing ponds, electricity, lighting, a cafeteria, and refrigerated lockers. If you’re not keen on pitching a tent there are wooden cabins and bungalow straw huts for rent. At the southern end of the park, there is an area for caravans, with all the required facilities including electricity, gas, and water.
Oaktree Grove: Enjoy the grove of Mount Tabor oak trees linked to the Islamic legend of The Ten. In the past, the oak trees would have grown across the entire Hula Valley. But today only about 240 oak trees remain.
Orchid Reserve: Near the oak tree grove you can see a variety of 13 rare species of orchids that grow only in Israel. The reserve was established to nurture and cultivate the flowers.
Flora and Fauna: In the oak tree grove you might be able to spot Mesopotamian fallow deer. The deer were once extinct in Israel, but are now raised in the park, and returned to nature. Among the small creatures living in the park are otters that spend their time mainly in the brooks. Horshat Tal is home to a rare species of ant that can only be found in Israel in Horshat Tal and the Banias region.
The park is visited by a number of birds including the cattle egret, little egret, spur-winged lapwing, the European bee-eater, the hooded crow, and the rare black kite. In winter there are meadows covered with anemones, and you can also see chamomile, Phoenician rose, spurge, Greek silk-vine, St John’s wort, fen-sedge, and many other fascinating plants.