Israel’s Most Challenging Nature Trails

March 1st 2013

Meshushim Pool Yehudiya National ParkThe beautiful and varied landscapes of Israel make it the perfect location for seasoned hikers. Some of the nature trails in the country are extremely long and include challenges such as rope ladders, jumps into the water and steep inclines.

The longest hiking route in Israel is the Israel National Trail, which traverses the country from north to south. The trail is 1000 kilometers long and takes about 40 to 60 days to complete. It’s divided into 11 sections, and many hikers choose to traverse only one segment at a time. There are places to reload and purchase food and water on the way, but there are large stretches without either.

The Yehudiya Nature Reserve is home to a particularly challenging hike. The beginning of the hike takes you down the side of a steep mountain. There are two bodies of water that can be crossed only by descending a ladder embedded in the rock cliffs and then jumping the last few feet into the water. Care must be taken to put wallets and other valuable objects into waterproof bags or containers. The last part of the hike consists of a steep uphill walk.

Nachal Dragot (also known as Darajeh) is a stunning and difficult hike in the Dead Sea area. Climb up into the small cave in which the oldest pair of tefillin (phylacteries) were found. They apparently belonged to rebels who hid out in the cave during the Great Revolt against Rome. This hike includes scaling of tall vertical rocks, making it particularly challenging.

Masada’s archaeological site can be reached by cable car, but the more adventurous tourists will approach it by means of the snake trail which ascends the mountain. This is a steep walk, much harder to walk up than down. Due to the heat of Masada most of the year, it is customary to start the hike before the sun rises. Reaching the top of the mountain just as the sun is coming up is an incredible experience.

When hiking any trail in Israel, remember to bring plenty of water and hiking boots or sneakers. Research the trail beforehand to find out the difficulty and whether part of the trail is in water. Start hikes early so you have plenty of time to finish before the sun sets. Happy hiking!