Top Hikes for Families in Israel

March 10th 2013

Israel is known for its abundance of natural wonders that can be best enjoyed by trekking on foot, and many are suitable for novice hikers and families with children. We’ve got the low down on where to go for enjoying nature hikes in Israel with the kids.

Little ones love to walk through water, and the Majrasa, on the northeast of the Kinneret, is a great place to cool off on a hot day. The water is about waist-high for a small child and the stream is covered by trees, so it is shady as well. There are branches and other obstacles in the water, so wear good quality water shoes, and tread carefully. The hike is a kilometer long and will take an hour or two. Waterfowl, fish, owls and butterflies can be seen on the route.

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is a great family hike, since it has routes of varying lengths. Walk only to the first waterfall or continue on to the next one. Ein Gedi can be pretty hot in the summer, so if you go on a warm day, be sure to wear bathing suits under your clothes so you can jump into the natural pools or just stand at the bottom of the bigger waterfalls. Ein Gedi is a nature reserve famous for its ibex and Rock Hyrax. Vegetation indigenous to the Mediterranean desert, such as the Sodom apple and the acacia, grow in abundance at Ein Gedi.

The reserve at Sataf has a fun hike through restored agricultural terraces right outside Jerusalem. The walk is around two kilometers long and takes 2-3 hours. It can be steep in some places, as you are walking all the way down to a natural pool of water and back up again. The view of the surrounding forest is spectacular, and children love the short tunnel they can crawl through at the bottom of the trail.

Nahal Jilabun is a stream that flows down to the Hula Valley in the Golan Heights. The shorter route is a circular three kilometer route with a short climb back up at the end. The longest waterfall here flows into a natural pool where swimming is permitted, so don’t forget your bathing suits and water shoes.

When hiking in Israel, it is important to bring plenty of water and sunscreen (even in the winter). Wear closed hiking shoes or sneakers and carry water shoes where necessary. Shoes that stay on (not Crocs) are preferred. A hike with children makes them very hungry, so take lots of snacks as well.