Gently down the stream at Nahal Yehudiya

Have you spent your time in hotels and the holidays emptied your pockets? It is the perfect time to return to nature, enjoy a common family experience and create exciting memories.

Nahal Yehudiya (photo credit: HADAR YAHAV)
Nahal Yehudiya
(photo credit: HADAR YAHAV)
With all due respect to the hotel pool and the jellyfish that conquered every good part of the beach, I prefer to spend a day in nature with spectacular views, natural wading pools and spectacular waterfalls. When the temperatures rise and the humidity does not let go for a moment, that is the perfect opportunity to travel for two pampering days in the north, enjoy the hiking trails in Nahal Yehudiya and quality camping, all for free.
Have you spent your time in hotels and the holidays emptied your pockets? It is the perfect time to return to nature, enjoy a common family experience and create exciting memories. And yes, it’s free! So if you are a fan of tents or even caravans, Yehudiya Nature Reserve is the perfect place for you. A campsite in the heart of nature is exactly what you need to spend the summer in the best of ways. Have you heard about it? You wanted to hike there and did not have the chance? Now is the time. The pools and waterfalls perfectly cool off the exhausting heatwaves that characterize this time of year.
The Yehudiya Nature Reserve is the largest nature reserve the Golan Heights has to offer and covers 66 The reserve includes five streams, including Nahal Daliyot, the Zavitan, the Meshushim and Gamla. In its center is the Yehudiya forest, which was blessed with a number of tall oak trees, embracing a number of beautiful trails that attract tourists all year round. Some of the tracks are hidden in canyons and cliffs, and lead to cool streams with natural pools and waterfalls that descend with intensity. Some of the routes are popular among travelers, such as the Zavitan Stream, Yehudiya Stream and the Eagle Falls. If you choose not only to travel, but also to camp, you will be glad to hear that the campsite is the starting point for the Zavitan and the Yehudiya, so you do not have to spend the best hours of the morning traveling long or standing in traffic. Just wake up and go out into nature.
The trail of the Yehudiya Stream is a personal favorite of mine and of the many travelers who visit it, since its beautiful stream descends along a long and elevated track of 400 m. above sea level and continues at a height of about 100 m. below sea level. Because of the change in heights throughout the stream, there are small cascades, pleasant and shaded wading pools and impressive towering canyons carved into the basalt. It’s also a perfect trail for some romantic or family photos, the kind that harvest quite a few likes on social media.
Indeed, Nahal Yehudiya has become one of the most toured streams in the Golan Heights, and part of the love for it stems from the fact that it offers a three-hour circular trail that combines walking in water in the riverbed, immersion in chilled pools and impressive waterfalls. Basically, everything you need on a hot summer day. Quite a few people choose to hike the stream, because it also offers a short route, that’s about three quarters of an hour, leading directly to waterfall Yehudiya and the pool below. The short route is suitable for anyone who is short on time but still does not want to miss one of the best points of interest in the Golan Heights, and also cannot imagine walking the whole route in the heat. Either way, the route starts at the Yehudiya campsite. Since we are in a very hot time of the year, it is worthwhile to arrive at the campsite early. The early comers, who will start the route early, will enjoy a relatively easy and brazen decline.
AFTER LEAVING the campsite, we will follow a marked trail that passes alongside the remains of a destroyed Syrian village. After a few minutes of easy walking in a planar route, we will arrive at a split path. From here the route offers two options: a red trail that descends directly to Yehudiya waterfall (short track) – this trail is suitable for those who want to get straight to the waterfall pool; Or a black trail – the longest and most interesting trail in my eyes, passing through the stream.
We will choose the black trail marking, through which we will descend from the cliff, in a moderate lane, to the riverbed. As we descend to the riverbed, we will reach a shallow pool, where we have to follow the trail marking (west) to the top of the waterfall. Although the water is shallow and reaches the waist area, it is very important to pre-package all electronic devices, be especially observant and help the small children, as walking in the river and on rocks is very slippery, and without paying attention, one can easily slip.
The route from here is mostly shaded. After a short walk along the black trail, and countless stops to wade in pools, we reach the top of the waterfall. This is an excellent observation point, and it is best used for photographs, coffee breaks and a rest. The Yehudiya waterfall descends from a height of about 20 meters into a pool surrounded by plants and trees that create natural shade. The sight of the cascading waterfall is breathtaking, and at this stage some of the travelers choose to go back and finish the hike, but our recommendation – continue on the route to the Yehudiya waterfall pool. It is a shame to miss the very refreshing waterfall pool, and you can spend many hours around it. Even if you do not want to swim, this is an opportunity for us to refresh ourselves, to sit and rest in the shade and to replenish our stamina before going back through the red trail.
After we have exhausted the waterfall pool, we will make our way back and slowly climb back to the vehicles. Although it is a relatively orderly climb, the intense heat of the afternoon makes it difficult to climb. The most important thing is to listen to your body and make the ascension moderately. Do not give up on water breaks – no one is chasing you.
Directions: Take Route 87 and enter Yehudiya campsite between Katzrin Junction and Yehudiya junction.
Intensity Level: A circular trail of medium difficulty, with segments of walking in water.
Length and duration: About 3 km., approximately three hours.
Translated by Alon Einhorn.