About this place

Nachal Meshushim or the Hexagon Stream, runs through the Yehudiya Forest National Reserve in Israel’s Golan region, north of the Sea of Galilee, and is part of the Meshushim Stream Reserve. The Meshushim Stream flows for 35km from springs at the foot of Mount Avital and gains strength as it travels through canyons, into pools, down waterfalls, and through wetlands. The highlight of the reserve is the Hexagon Pool (Brichat Meshushim). This well-known idyllic spot at the foot of a canyon is named for the hexagonal basalt columns that nature has stacked up on the rim of the water.

This unique geological formation comes about when layer after layer of lava flows over rocks for hundreds of years then cools rapidly forming polygonal shapes as it contracts. The wall of geometrically-shaped rocks rises about 5 meters to the east and a waterfall cascades into the pool which is shaded by Mount Tabor oaks and Syrian ash trees. Visitors can swim in the water that remains cool year-round. The Meshushim Pool is just one of the spectacular points along the stream which eventually flows into the Sea of Galilee.

Hiking to the Meshushim Pool

The nearest community to the Meshushim Stream is Had Ness on road 888. At the entrance to the park, there is a car park, snack kiosk, toilets, change rooms, and picnic tables. There are four loop trails in the reserve including the short Lookout Trail (300 m) that offers views of the forest and is wheelchair accessible. The 700 m-long Dolmen Trail leads to a Bronze Age basalt burial monument called a dolmen. The most enjoyable way to reach the magical Meshushim Pool is to follow the downhill Pool Trail (2 km) for about half an hour.

If you want a longer hike there is a 3km Stream Trail route that takes you deeper into the canyon. This is a harder route that includes climbing a 3m-high rock cliff using handholds that have been attached to the rock. On the Stream Trail, you will stop at the Hexagon Pool, pass through an olive grove, get views from a quaint bridge, and see the forest landscape before completing the trail. The longest of the trails is 8km-long and leads to the Yehudiya Campground then continues to the Zavitan Stream. It is a difficult route that includes steep descents and is recommended only for fit experienced hikers.

Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve

The Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve is crisscrossed by five streams that tumble over waterfalls as they flow from the mountain tops at 600 m above sea level to 200 m below sea level. The distinct landscape has deep canyon-like streambeds and flat stretches of forest that cover about 35 km². During the spring the ground is covered with a carpet of wildflowers. The Meshushim Stream is the northernmost of the reserve’s streams.

In addition to the natural beauty of the reserve, there are also several archaeological sites from early Christian and Jewish villages including the 1st-century village of Gamla. The reserve is named after the remains of a Talmudic and Mishnaic era Jewish village. The reserve is home to small animals including gazelles, porcupines, red foxes, wild boars, and even a few golden jackals. There is a large raptor nesting site in the reserve where rare vultures and eagles come to nest.

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