All out Adventure: Bike or hike the Burma Road

The Burma Road is an incredibly accessible trail, perfect for anyone looking for a half day escape from J'lem or TA.

March 19, 2012 15:09
3 minute read.
Israeli forest (illustrative).

Jerusalem Forest 190. (photo credit: Jack Tonhaben)


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Tourist Israel is Israel’s "cool" travel guide.

No, it isn’t the famous windy road that links Burma and China, it’s actually located just outside Jerusalem and used by walkers and bikers looking for some scenic enjoyment.

The Burma Road is an incredibly accessible trail perfect for anyone looking for a half day escape from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

It was built during the Israeli War of Independence after Arab Forces took control of what is now Road 1 (the main Tel Aviv to Jerusalem highway) effectively cutting off the crucial supply link between the center of Israel and Jerusalem and its Jewish population.

With no supplies, David Ben-Gurion was concerned that the population would surrender to the Arab forces, and the city would be lost. The Burma Road was their solution, and over the course of the following weeks, the road’s route was cleared and a gravel track constructed which enabled passage to Jerusalem. The story is inspirational, and a real story of triumph and determination.

The road, therefore, is little more than a track and not used by cars apart from the odd jeep or ATV which will pass you when walking along the trail. The result for hikers is a flatter and easier trail to hike or bike, than the average trail (which is narrower and in places, steeper).

The road is split into two parts, and this hike takes you along the Western Burma Road in a circular trail (although you can hike along the Eastern Road from the same starting point).

Heading from the start point (near the Paz gas station on Road 38), take the Burma Road in the western direction towards Latrun. As you walk along the trails, take a moment to consider those who built this road in incredibly difficult circumstances during a war, and those who died doing so. Also, stop to marvel at the magnificent forests which cover this area and views that the trail provides. You can continue all the way to Latrun, however, for the circular walk, head north into the dense pine forest at Park Rabin and follow the trails back in a circle to the starting point.

Information and opening hours:

-    This hike begins from the parking lot near the Paz gas station on Road 38. Driving from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, take the Bet Shemesh exit from Road 1 and you’ll see signs for the Burma Road/Park Rabin. NB: Park Rabin is one of the largest parks in Israel and is set to become the largest JNF forest in the country, so be sure to get to the correct entrance.

-    Driving from Beit Shemesh, head along Road 38, and you’ll see the entrance soon after Mesilat Zion

-    Traveling by bus from Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, take Route 415 (operated by Superbus) from the Central Bus Station to Bet Shemesh and get off at Mesilat Zion. Head back on yourself a short distance and you’ll find the entrance.

-    From Tel Aviv’s Central Railway Station (Savidor Mercaz) take Route 412, or from the Central Bus Station, Route 410 (both operated by Superbus) towards Bet Shemesh, also getting off at Mesilat Zion and heading backwards towards Road 1 where you’ll find the entrance to the hike.

Tourist Israel provides ideas for what to do in Israel, Israel tours, hotels in Israel, and events. It aims to be a resource for everyone whether they are planning their first visit to Israel or are a seasoned resident.

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