Take your last Israel trip of the Jewish year to Golan Heights springs

Below, you will find a list of the top five natural springs where you can cool off and relax in Israel's Golan Heights.

 Ein Aya (photo credit: RINA NAGILA)
Ein Aya
(photo credit: RINA NAGILA)

According to the calendar, we are approaching autumn, yet it is still quite hot here in Israel. So for the next few days before Rosh Hashanah and into the Jewish month of Tishrei, you might want to take your last trip of the year to one of the many cool springs located in the Golan Heights. Below, you will find a list of the top five natural springs where you can cool off and relax.

1. Ein Aya

Located in the southern Golan Heights, near the border between Syria and Jordan, you will find Ein Aya, a spring that flows into a large rectangular pool. The surrounding area was beautified by members of Moshav Nov in memory of fallen IDF soldier Elon Yaakov Horowitz, who was killed in a military training accident in the Golan. The renovation of the spring was carried out by Golan residents in cooperation with soldiers of the Givati reconnaissance battalion.

The large pool, which is made of cement, is always full of cold water. Near the spring, you can look out over the Golan Heights and the Yarmuch River, as well as over the border into Syria and Jordan. There are a few wooden benches nearby, making this a great spot for a picnic, too.

The name of the spring happens to be the same as the initials of Elon’s Hebrew name, as well as the initials of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook. It is also Hebrew for buzzards, many of which fly over Israel twice a year on their way to a warmer climate.

 Ein Amphi (credit: EFRAT MOSKOVITCH) Ein Amphi (credit: EFRAT MOSKOVITCH)

2. Ein Amphi

Another spring with an interesting name is Ein Amphi, aka Ein Eucalyptus. Both these names were given to the spring as a reflection of the site’s physical attributes: One side of the spring is surrounded by eucalyptus trees, and the other side has a rounded edge carved of stone that looks like the rows of seats in an amphitheater.

The round pool has a diameter of 10 meters and is one meter deep at its deepest point, depending on how much water is in the pool. The water at Ein Amphi is exceptionally clear, and the eucalyptus trees offer nice shade, which make this spot extremely popular among families and hikers in the summertime. Another fun part of swimming there is getting to see the tiny fish that swim all around inside the pool that sometimes tickle you unexpectedly. Ein Amphi is located a short distance from the parking area.

3. Ein Almin

The Golan Heights is famously full of pools known as the “Syrian officers’ pools” – the only positive remnants left by the Syrian military in the region. The water from Ein Almin flows into one of the largest cement pools in the area – it’s six meters wide and one meter deep. Nearby, you’ll also find a number of eucalyptus trees, a picnic area and a small wading pool for toddlers.

To reach the pool, park near the brown sign that reads “Golan Tourism,” and then follow the easy path down to the pool for just 500 meters. The trail will bend around to the right. Once you see the trees, you’ll know you’ve almost reached the refreshingly cool water. If you’re driving in a four-wheel drive, you can reach almost all the way to the pool by taking a different road.

 Ein Orcha (credit: GOLAN TOURISM) Ein Orcha (credit: GOLAN TOURISM)

4. Ein Orcha

Ein Orcha, aka Johader Pool, is another deep, cement pool that is surrounded by eucalyptus trees. The water flows into it from the nearby A-Sharshiach Spring. The area surrounding the pool, which is four meters by 10 meters, and two meters deep, was upgraded by Golan residents in memory of IDF soldier Raziel Nagar, from Ramat Magshimim. 

Ein Orcha is another Syrian officers’ pool, with a few benches in the shade. If you’ll be swimming here with small children, you might want to bring along inflatable floaties or rings, since the water is pretty deep. Of course, you should always keep to marked trails, since unexploded mines leftover from the Syrians can still be found in certain parts of the Golan Heights.

5. Ein Yedidya

Near Moshav Yonatan in the Golan Heights, also in the shade of eucalyptus trees, you’ll find Ein Yedidya, a five-meter-long pool that was constructed by students from the high-school yeshiva in Hispin, who wanted to create a nice place to memorialize their friend, Yedidya Tor from Mitzpeh Netofa, who died in a tractor accident when he was 18. There are picnic tables, ample shade and even a fire pit next to the pool, which is filled with water that flows from the Gamla Stream. A nice place to visit all year round, this spring is not usually crowded.

To reach Ein Yedidya, you can walk down the short path or drive there in a four-wheel drive. If you’ll be coming by foot, park in the lot situated 500 meters before the entrance gate to Moshav Yonatan. From there, you can walk along the one-kilometer-long path to the pool. As soon as you see the trees, you’ll know you’re almost there.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.