The Suspended Bridge above the Banias

May 16th 2013

Family Fun at the Banias FallsLocated in the Upper Golan between the Hula Valley and Mount Hermon, the Banias is a distinguished destination for travelers looking for trails, ancient ruins, rushing water and picnic spots among verdant woods. A classic Israel tour spot, the park has recently been augmented by a remarkably designed bridge path.

It could be fairly said that the dominant color in Jerusalem, with its sandy hills and buildings faced with weathered Jerusalem stone, is golden brown. By contrast, the dominant color in the Golan is an exuberant green. But even in the Golan, known for its lush green landscapes, the Banias Nature Reserve Park is exceptional.

The Hermon Spring, more commonly known by its Arabic name the Banias, provides a quarter of all the water that flows into the Jordan River. In the Banias Nature Reserve, hikers will find the hanging trail, a suspended bridge spanning 260 feet. Opened in 2010 by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the hanging trail was designed to be nearly undetectable. Walking across, one feels a part of the natural world surrounding it. The hanging trail, built to give the appearance of being suspended in mid-air above the Banias rushing below, is lined with wooded planks. Walkers are guarded from the roaring river 7-10 feet below by metal railings.

There are two entrances to the Banias Nature Reserve. One ticket will gain you entrance from both directions. To reach the hanging trail, enter from the Banias Waterfall Park entrance. The Waterfall Park entrance features a large parking lot, restroom facilities, a snack bar and a stand that sells pitas baked Druze-style, hot from the fire.

In 45-minutes, Trail #4 will take you from the entrance, across the suspended bridge to the Banias Waterfall itself and back to the parking lot. Of course, you might want to linger in any number of gorgeous spots along the way, such as the waterfall itself. At 33 feet high, during the winter and spring when water is most plentiful due to winter rains, the water mists over hikers standing close by.

It’s not a difficult walk to traverse, even with young children, so it’s suitable for the whole family. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority doesn’t permit swimming in the river. Come instead to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of nature and the particular thrill of walking across a bridge that’s suspended in mid-air.