The Israel Trail 
One of the Best Epic Hikes in the World

National Geographic includes the Israel Trail as one of the top twenty epic hikes in the world.

Hiking the Israel National Trail is truly unique for two main reasons. First off, because it passes through such diverse, distinct regions of natural beauty. Ranging from breathtaking desert scenery;

The Israel Trail Desert Scenery

Green mountains and fields;

Israel National Trail Fields in the Galilee

and the Mediterranean shore;

Israel Trail along the Mediterranean Sea near Caesarea

But what makes walking the trail so special is how it immerses you, beyond natural wonders, in the incredible history and culture of the land of Israel.

As you walk the trail, you will see many Biblical, historical and holy sites. 

Israel Trail Guide Books and Maps

The definitive guide book to the trail, and the only one in English is Jacob Saar's Israel National Trail.   

Besides excellent planning and logistics information, you will refer to the book on a daily basis as you walk the trail. 

It's true that its ridiculously expensive at just over $100!

But if you are serious about about planning and  walking the trail, Saar's guide book is a must-have. 

For every day's hike, the book provides clear instructions, and historical and current background on the region. Going online is not enough of a reliable information source. And on the wilderness parts of the trail, there are lots of areas with no cellular / internet access.

It is worth the price.

The book is geared for hiking from north to south, but you can use it in either direction.

It includes all the English maps you need, so there is no need to purchase separate maps (although get your glasses on!). You will also find camping and lodging tips for each section of the trail.

Israel National Trail Map

Here is a map of the entire Israel National Trail.

Unlike most of the maps on this website, this one wasn't prepared by me, but by an experienced hiker who walked the entire trail in one go from south to north. I have walked parts of the trail on different occasions.

When to Walk and How Long It Can Take

The Israel Trail is 940 kilometers long.

You can choose to hike it all at once, or in sections. If you want to walk the trail at a go, you will need between one to two months, depending on your pace.  There are a lot of beautiful side hikes, to Masada, Jerusalem hills and the Golan Heights, to name just a few.

  • The best hiking seasons in Israel are in the spring between March and May, and in the autumn between October and December.  
  • During the fall, most hikers begin in the north to avoid the wet season in the mountains.  
  • In the spring, you may prefer to walk from south to north to avoid the extreme heat of the desert as the days get longer.
  • It is possible to walk some parts of the trail during the mild winters of Israel, but be careful. The mountain regions of Israel get cold and even snowy.  In the southern Negev deserts, flash floods caused by winter rains are unpredictable and dangerous.

Israel Trail Blazes

The Israel National trail (INT) blazes are white, blue and orange stripes.

The white stands for the snowy Hermon Mountain in the north and the orange symbolizes the desert in the south.  So usually, when you are walking south to north, the  white strip is on top, and vice versa. You may pass on the way trail markers with other color combinations since the INT crosses other nature trails.  

'Angels' along the Israel Trail 

Probably the best part of the Israel trail are the volunteer network of  'angels' who help Israel Trail hikers.  

The angel network is an amazing Israeli phenomenon. The angels truly open their hearts and sometimes even their homes!

They can help you cache water in difficult sections of the trail (especially in the desert), help with equipment, show you the best place to set up a tent, or they might bring some hot coffee and sometimes even offer a warm bed, and a shower.

Click on the link for an updated list of Israel Trail AngelsAfter clicking on the link, page down. There are instructions on who and how to contact the angels, and then the list of individuals with contact details.

Where to Stay

There are many hotels, guest houses (zimmers) and hostels near most parts of the trail.  You can get up-to-date recommendations for each section in Jacob Saar's Israel National Trail Guide Book.

Camping is possible too.  When you are in a national park or reserve, you can camp in the official camp grounds.  Outside of the national parks, you can set up tents in open areas.  If you are not sure, check with the local trail angel in the link above.

Regions and Sections of The Israel Trail 

The Israel National Trail is divided into 44 sections which we have categorized by 8 geographic regions of Israel

The 8 regions from north to south are:

  1. Upper Galilee
  2. Lower Galilee and Mt. Carmel
  3. Central Coastline
  4. Ascending to Jerusalem
  5. Judean Lowlands (HaShfela)
  6. Northern Negev Desert
  7. Negev Desert
  8. Arabah

Below is a brief overview of each of the 44 sections of the trail, from North to South.

The Israel Trail - Upper Galilee

Israel National Trail Dan River in the Upper Galilee

Section 1

13.5 kilometers

Kibbutz Dan, Osishkin House to Tel Hai, the Roaring Lion Statue

Section 2

18 kilometers

Tel Hai to Metzudat Koah

Section 3

20 kilometers

Mezudat Koah to Nahal Dishon stream

Section 4

14 kilometers

Nahal Dishon stream to Mount Meron summit

Section 5

8 kilometers

Mount Meron summit to Mount Meron base, Nahal Amud stream

Section 6

19 kilometers

Mount Meron base along the Nahal Amud Stream

Section 7

16 kilometers

Lower Nahal Amud Stream to Upper Tiberias

Section 8

12 kilometers

Tiberias to Yardenit at the Jordan River

Section 9

28 kilometers

Jordan River to Mount Tabor in the Lower Galilee

Sea of Galilee view

The Israel Trail - Lower Galilee and Mount Carmel

the Mona Lisa mosaic in Tsipori in the Galilee

Section 10

28 kilometers

Mount Tabor to Mashhad

Section 11

13 kilometers

Mashhad via Tsipori (and its ancient mosaics) to Yiftahel Junction

Section 12

21 kilometers

Yiftahel Junction to Kibbutz Yagur on Carmel mountain range

Section 13

16 kilometers

Kibbutz Yagur to Oren Campground near the prehistoric Etzba Cave

Section 14

20 kilometers

Oren Campground near the prehistoric Etzba Cave to Mount Horshan

The Israel Trail - Central Coastline

footbridge at the Tel Aviv Port where the Yarkon Stream mouth spills into the Mediterraean Sea

Section 15

16 kilometers

Mount Horshan to Jisr a-Zarqa

Section 16

15 kilometers

Jisr a-Zarqa to the Hadera Train Station

Section 17

22 kilometers

Hadera to Netanya's Green Beach

Section 18

22 kilometers

Netanya to Tel Aviv 

Section 19

18 kilometers

Tel Aviv to HaYarkon Stream Source (Tel Afek / Antipatris)

The Israel Trail - Ascending to Jerusalem

Israel National Trail Ein Zova near Kibbutz Zova

Section 20

20 kilometers

Tel Afek / Antipatris to Mitzpe Modi'im in Ben Shemen Forest

Section 21

20 kilometers

Ben Shemen Forest to Latrun Station

Section 22

9 kilometers

Latrun Station to Sha'ar HaGai

Section 23

19 kilometers

Sh'ar HaGai to Kibbutz Zova

Section 24

23 kilometers

Kibbutz Zova to Horvat Hanut (Caesar Way)

The Israel Trail - the Judean Lowlands (HaShfela)

Israel National Trail Mitzpe Messuah viewpoint

Section 25

21 kilometers

Horvat Hanut to Mitzpe Messuah

Section 26

11 kilometers

Mitzpe Messuah to Beit Govrin Caves

Section 27

20 kilometers

Beit Govrin to Tel Keshet

Section 28

21 kilometers

Tel Keshet to Dvir Junction

The Israel Trail - the Northern Negev Desert

Section 29

24 kilometers

Dvir Junction to just shy of Kramim

Section 30

21 kilometers

Kramim to Har Amasa 

Section 31

15 kilometers

Har Amasa to Arad Park

Section 32

41 kilometers

Arad Park to Mezad Tamar

The Israel Trail - the Negev Desert

Zin Valley along the Israel National Trail

Section 33

30 kilometers

Mezad Tamar to HaMakhtesh HaGadol

Section 34

32 kilometers

HaMakhtesh HaGadol to Ma'aleh Zin

Section 35

12 kilometers

Ma'aleh Zin to Ein Shaviv

Section 36

40 kilometers

Ein Shaviv to Mitzpe Ramon

Section 37

14 kilometers

Mitzpe Ramon to Har Saharonim

Section 38

32 kilometers

Har Saharonim to Sapir Park in the Arabah Desert

Israel National Trail near Saharot in the Negev

The Israel Trail - the Arabah

Eilat mountains on the border with Jordan

Section 39

83 kilometers!

Sapir Park to Neot Smadar (Shizafon Junction)

Section 40

47 kilometers

Shizafon Junction to Timna Park

Section 41

13 kilometers

Timna Park to 2 kilometers north of Be'er Ora

Section 42

26 kilometers

Be'er Ora to Shehoret Canyon in the Mountains of Eilat

Section 43

16 kilometers

Shehoret Canyon to Ein Netafim and Mount Yoash

Section 44

14 kilometers

Mount Yoash to the border of Taba, Egypt!

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