A Winter Hike in the Hasbani Stream

May 16th 2013

HasbaniThe meandering Jordan River, more than 220 miles long, begins just north of Israel on the Syrian-Lebanese border and flows south, emptying into Israel’s famous Dead Sea. The Jordan River serves as the border between Israel and Jordan to the east. The Senir Stream, also called the Hasbani Stream, is one of the three major sources that feed into the Jordan River. At 40 miles in length, the Hasbani Stream, which starts north of Israel in the Lebanese town of Hasbani, is the longest of the Jordan River’s three main tributaries.

The stream is accessible from the Senir Stream Nature Reserve’s three trails. These trails are most commonly visited in spring, summer and fall, but they can be enjoyed all year, and the water flows most plentifully during the winter rainy season. Although the stream isn’t a spot for swimming, little ones can splash in the shallow wading pools.

The trails are labeled according to their length. The Short Trail takes approximately 10 minutes for most hikers. On the Short Trail, you can see the not-to-be-missed waterfall that feeds shallow wading pools as you walk along the ring route. It’s a shady, stroller and wheelchair accessible route for all walkers.

The Intermediate Trail continues for 20 minutes beyond the Short Trail. It’s for walkers aged 6 and up. On the Intermediate Trail, you’ll get your feet wet, so be sure to bring water shoes. Take a walk on boulders, jump from stone to stone, climb the small steps hewn from rock, and walk to where the Hasbani Stream meets the Dan Channel. While you’re there, make sure to put one foot in the waters of the Dan Channel and one in the Hasbani Stream. You’ll be able to feel the difference in water temperature between the two sources.

For the more adventurous hikers among us, the Long Trail takes a full 90 minutes. After completing the Intermediate Trail, continue along the stream to catch a view of the rapids and see where the stream widens and becomes a pool. But be careful not to enter the water there; it’s considered dangerous at that point.

Whichever trail you choose, you’ll enjoy views of the stream, waterfalls and lush local plant life. A hike in the Hasbani Stream is fun for the whole family, and the site has a picnic area, a well-stocked snack bar and handicapped-accessible restrooms.