Hiking, walking, tramping... whatever you call it, you will love hiking in Israel.
What will strike you most is the sheer variety of Israel's nature. From the majestic desert landscapes of the Negev and Judean deserts in the south of Israel -
To the seaside ridges and plains in the center of the country -
And alongside hills, rivers and mountains in the north of Israel -
This tiny land is smaller than the State of New Jersey, but it is home to such natural diversity!
What makes hiking in Israel so unique? Many of the trails pass through incredible Biblical, historical and archeological sites that blend into the natural surroundings.
As you walk along your route, you might see monasteries such as ancient St. George's Monastery in the Judean Desert in the photo above.
Or you can pass by ancient mosaics, synagogues, Crusader fortresses, Nabatean towns, and much more...
Within a short driving distance from just about anywhere, you can find great options for a full-day or half-day hike at all levels, from easy to extreme.
When is the best time to go hiking in Israel?
unlike the US and Europe where winter is usually not a good time to go hiking, late fall, winter and early spring are generally the best times to go hiking in Israel.
The summer months are too hot for a serious hike, although there are many options for short and easy "wet" hikes that include wading and swimming opportunities.
Our only word of caution is that during the winter rainy season, you must not hike the desert without first checking weather conditions to avoid the possibility of flash floods, which are extremely dangerous.
An impressive network of well maintained trails crisscross the entire country that are well marked and easy to follow.
Israel's marked hiking trails cover nearly 10,000 kilometers. Each trail has its unique combination of trail blaze colors. Once you know what color is your trail, its very easy to know where you are. Most trails are marked by a red, green, blue or black strip in between two white strips. Three color blazes are used in special trails. The blaze in the photo above is from the longest trail in the country, the Israel Natural Trail.
Your trail blaze indicates which direction to continue. Continue straight, left or right depending on the shape of the marking. Sometimes you'll see two different trail blazes since trails can cross each other or run parallel for a while.
The longest distance between markers on a trail is about 200 meters. So if you haven't seen a blaze for a while, you probably veered of the track and you should return to the last marking.
Hiking in the north of Israel around the Galilee and the Golan Heights is also best between December and April.
It is possible to hike in the summer months, but there is less green, less water and its much hoter.
You can walk along many shaded areas and some of the hikes have water sources year round. One of the must beautiful trails is the Nahal Amud Trail along the Amud Stream in the Upper Galilee.
It is still hot (we are in the Middle East after all!), but much of the trail runs right through the refreshing stream.
Check out Israel's northern hiking trails in the Galilee and the Golan.
Another wonderful characteristic of Israel nature is the richness and variety of its wildflowers, such as this field of Blue Lupine in the Galilee.
The wildflowers bloom in a variety of shapes and colors that will amaze and overwhelm your senses. In spite of Israel's tiny area, it has about 2500 flower species. Just as a comparision, the British Isles have 1500 species in an area that is ten times greater in size.
They mainly bloom in the winter months and early spring, after the rains and before the heat of the summer.
You will want to avoid hiking in the Israel desert during the summer months between May and September.
Israel is home to two main deserts, both of which have excellent hiking trails:
and one of the most hiking-friendly deserts in world, the Negev Desert. The view below is overlooking the stunning Ramon Crater from Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev desert.
You probably know the feeling on an alpine trail when you reach above the tree line, and how the view opens up. Well, in the desert you are all the time above the tree line with the dramatic desert views surrounding you.
In between the high ridges you walk in deep, colorful canyons.
If you have not hiked a desert before, expect a truly unique experience. Check out some of Israel's fantastic southern hiking trails in the central Negev Desert.
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Hiking in Israel