Tour Israel: Fresh air in Nahal Yagur

At this time of year, it’s a pleasure to hike one of Israel’s many beautiful trails without having to worry about the boiling sun.

Fresh air in  Nahal Yagur (photo credit: HADAR YAHAV)
Fresh air in Nahal Yagur
(photo credit: HADAR YAHAV)
At this time of year, it’s a pleasure to hike one of Israel’s many beautiful trails without having to worry about the boiling sun. One of my favorite areas to hike is Nahal Yagur, which offers a number of different trails, all of which include gorgeous views, crisp air to fill your lungs and quiet corners perfect for family picnics.
Also known as Wadi Shomriya, Nahal Yagur is located on the eastern side of Mount Carmel, and it flows right by Kibbutz Yagur. There are a number of challenging paths in this area, which are perfect for people who are in good shape, but there are also plenty of trails that are relatively flat and appropriate for families with small kids. Unless you’re the type of parent who loves to go hiking for a few hours with your kid in a carry backpack, I recommend sticking with the easier trails.
Yagur is a stream that flows in the Carmel region only in the winter after it rains. Due to its unique geographical location and length, the stream flows through terrain that is rocky and steep (there are lots of stairs to climb) and is home to a number of waterfalls, one of which reaches as high as seven meters. As a result, this hike is suitable for people who are in relatively good shape, but it is nonetheless still extremely popular among families with small kids.
There are three different circular trails to choose from, each one with different colored trail markers: black, blue and green (though they do overlap with each other at times). The biggest upside of these trails is that they are circular, so you don’t need to come with two cars.
The first trail begins on the path with the red trail markers and sets out from Ein Al-Balad, located near the Usfiya water tower (take Road 672). If you decide to hike on the red path, I recommend asking locals for help in finding the shortest way to arrive at the end point.
The path that begins at the spring ends at Kibbutz Yagur. This is a relatively long trail that includes quite a lot of steep and challenging ascents and descents, so make sure to take this into consideration when planning when you begin the hike.
The circular trails begin at the end of this linear path, at the kibbutz parking area. After parking your car in the parking area near the horse stable, look for the red trail markers, which will lead you toward the stream.
AT THIS point, it will look like the rest of the trail will be easy going, but after a few minutes you’ll realize that the trail circumnavigates the kibbutz, and leads you up a hill from the top of which you will be treated to a fantastic view of the entire Carmel region. This is a great spot to stop, take a deep breath and contemplate the wonders of the world and the meaning of life.
When you’re ready to come back down to earth, climb down the other side of the hill, but be careful here, since there are lots of little stones and it’s very easy to slip. At the bottom of the hill, you’ll finally see the stream running through the open field. Unfortunately, this is also an area that shows the telltale signs of hikers who’ve come before you and didn’t make much of an effort to deposit their garbage in appropriate bins.
It is at this point that you must make a very fateful decision of which road to take. The most popular option is to take the red trail that follows alongside Nahal Yagur and then swing back to the starting point on the black or green trails. People also like to hike the trail in the opposite direction by taking the blue trail all the way to first split.
Another decision you have to make at this point is whether to veer off the main trail and hike up to Ein Al-Balad on the black trail or to continue along the blue trail until it reaches the main intersection. At some point, the blue trail markers will disappear and there will only be red trail markers. Continue along this trail until you reach another fork in the road, where you should continue along the blue trail, which will take you all the way to Usfiya. The goal is to reach the village so that you can descend alongside the stream.
As you can see, there are myriad ways to hike around Nahal Yagur. My favorite is to climb up on the red path, since I always prefer steep inclines over steep descents. But everyone should pick what suits them best.
Location: Northern Carmel Region.
Type: Circular trail for seasoned hikers, includes climbing on ladders.
Duration: 4 to 5 hours.
Directions: At Yagur intersection, turn toward Kibbutz Yagur. Park your car in the parking area on the right, just behind the entrance gate.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.