If you enjoy hiking, then Israel offers countless possibilities. There are hikes to suit every taste, from the Negev in the south to the Golan Heights in the north. If you are interested in hiking through greenery while exploring streams and waterfalls, then the Golan is probably the place for you.
For example, you could visit the Banias Nature Reserve and enjoy the hike along the stream. Along the way, you will come across a number of fascinating archaeological sites and even have to cross a suspension bridge. The highlight for many is the viewing platform of the waterfalls but if you fancy a slightly longer walk, then it is worth taking the 4km trail to the Bania Springs.
If you are a wildlife fan, and in particular are interested in seeing birds, then the Hula Lake is a must visit. The lake was once drained in order to combat mosquitoes, but it has since been restored and now it attracts thousands of migratory birds every winter. In fact, many believe that the Agamon Hula Park is one of the ten best places for bird watchers to visit. Together with cranes and pelicans, you will have the chance to enjoy an 8.5km walk around the lake (alternatively, you could cycle or even rent a golf cart). Along the way, you can stop at observation points to see if you can spot turtles, water buffalo, beavers, and more.
A hugely popular location is the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. It is home to history, a river, and some stunning views. As you explore, you will come across a number of waterfalls and pools, which are ideal for cooling off in the summer months. You will also come across an excavation of an ancient city and even a flourmill left behind by the British. The hike itself is very short, but if you enjoy splashing around, then you may find that you don’t want to leave.
A famous hike, just north of the town of Katzrin on the Golan, is Nahal Jilaboun. It is a beautiful area that is also home to some Talmudic-era remains. Those who don’t mind hikes are able to climb down the 39-foot Devora Waterfall with the aid of handholds that have been implanted in the rocks. Then, after a short while, you will come across the far more impressive 134-foot Jilaboon Waterfall. It is longer than the aforementioned trails, but it is certainly worth making the effort.
If you like the idea of hiking to a castle, then Nahal Kziv is the place to visit. You can hike along the trail, which is quite long at 10km, but you will be rewarded with a stop at the Montfort Castle along the way. The hike starts near a village called Mitzpeh Hila and you will have to pass through a cave tunnel before you arrive at the castle, which dates back to the Crusader era. After enjoying the views from the top, you should continue along the red trail towards Nahal Kziv and along the way, you will come across small waterfalls and fish pools. Finally, you can return along the black trail to the car park.
There are many more wonderful hikes to explore in the Golan Heights, so fans of hiking should be sure to set aside some time to spend there during their gap years.