Hike of the Month - The Jordan River Tributaries

The Jordan River tributaries offer both "wet" and "dry" hikes.

Snir Stream  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Snir Stream
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The area in the "Galilee Panhandle" (Finger of the Galilee) is also nicknamed in Hebrew "Eretz Palgey Maim", translated to English as "The land of water streams". It is by far, the richest area in Israel with natural water streams. Therefore, it is a perfect outing destination during the exhausting August heat.
The Jordan River is created by the merging of 3 main tributaries:
•    The Dan stream is the largest Tributary of the Jordan River. The stream starts from the Dan spring in Tel Dan nature reserve.
It is a huge spring, the largest in the middle east. Its output is very consistent all year round and it generates alone 50% of the Jordan river's water flow!
•    The Snir stream (Hazbani) is the longest of the 3 and the only one that starts in Lebanon. It has a very large drainage basin causing very big fluctuations in its flow, depending on the amount of rainfall in its basin. During the summer it has the smallest flow of the 3 tributaries. However, during the winter, after heavy rainfall it's flow rate can exceed that of the Dan stream. In total it generates 27% of the Jordan river's water.
•    The Hermon stream (Banyas) originates at the foot of mount Hermon. In its first section it runs through a deep canyon with many cascades and one large waterfall (The Banyas waterfall). The scenery in this section is the "wildest" of the 3 streams. In total it generates 23% of the Jordan river's water.
There are many hiking and outing options in the area. We will provide a selection of both "Wet" and "Dry" options and in various length to suit all types of travelers.
The "Lower Hermon Stream" – This the most adventurous and "wet" option, as it involves a long stretch of wading and swimming at various water depth.
Starting point: Entrance to Kibbutz Sde Nechemya (GPS 33.182495, 35.618687)
Total Walking distance: 3.5 Km (1 km of wading/swimming)
Admission fee: Free.
Opening Hours: All day.
Recommended for those who are looking for a wet experience and are decent swimmers!!
Walk upstream along the east bank of the stream for 1.8 km on an easy pedestrian road unit you reach a small Eucalyptus groove. At this point turn left and enter the stream. Start wading and swimming downstream for about 1 km until you reach a foot-bridge crossing the stream. Get out onto the right bank, cross the stream on the foot-bridge and continue downstream along the pedestrian road back to the starting point.
Go to "Israel By Foot" Website for a full and detailed description of the hike.
The Hermon Stream Canyon – This the most scenic option, as it goes along a deep canyon with gushing water. However, the path is "dry" and does not involve any wading.
Starting point: Hermon Nature reserve lower entrance: (GPS 33.241142, 35.680370)
Admission fee: Adult 28 NIS / Child 14 NIS.
Opening Hours: 0800-1700. (Friday closes at 15:00)
Walking distance:
Short option: Visit to the waterfall and suspended trail only. Distance 1.5 Km
Long option: the short option and then continue along the stream all the way until the stream source (Upper entrance). Distance 3 Km. Either return with a 2nd car or walk back along the road for 2 Km.
Recommended for those who are looking to stay dry, but to enjoy great scenery.
Snir Stream Nature Reserve– The best option for a "wet" hike with small children.
Starting point: Snir Nature reserve: (GPS 33.231012, 35.625073)
Admission fee: Adult 28 NIS / Child 14 NIS.
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00. (Friday closes at 15:00)
Walking distance: Various very easy options between 1/2 and 2 km.
The wet sections are ankle deep and are suitable also for small children.
Choose the option that suites you most from the park's map or consult with the park rangers.
Recommended for families with small children.
Tel Dan Nature reserve– This is not really a hike. But rather a visit to magical spot with a paradise like feeling.
Starting point: Tel Dan reserve: (GPS 33.245854, 35.650155)
Admission fee: Adult 28 NIS / Child 14 NIS.
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00. (Friday closes at 15:00)
Walking distance: less then1 km.
Walk between pools and huge trees to visit the largest spring in the middle east.
Recommended as an additional attraction to the above or if you are short on time.
Visit Israel Nature and Parks Authority For more information on the mentioned natural reserves.
Hikes courtesy of Israel by Foot - Hiking the Holy Land