Flowing with winter water

Walking along Sefunim Stream is a wonderful way to enjoy the lush greenery on its banks

Sefunim Stream (photo credit: Hanay/Steve Schuster/Wikimedia Commons)
Sefunim Stream
(photo credit: Hanay/Steve Schuster/Wikimedia Commons)
Some trails seem like they were created especially for hikes with the family; Sefunim Stream in the Carmel Ridge is one of these.
The trail winds through a magical and beautiful grove that is suitable for hiking all year round – in summer, the trees offer protection from the sun; and in winter, they protect hikers from strong winds. I personally prefer hiking in this area during the winter months, but not on rainy days when the trail becomes slippery and dangerous.
The trail is appropriate for families, but everyone should be excited about hiking up and down the many ascents and descents. Baby strollers and very small children, however, will not do well on this path.
Sefunim Stream contains running water only during the rainy season, and it joins the other seasonal rivers that flow down Mount Carmel towards the sea. There is a plethora of hiking trails, caves and natural treasures from prehistoric times in the area.
In addition to the Sefunim Caves, the stream also passes by Megadim Cliff. There are dozens of caves along the stream as well as an old quarry. Since the trail begins close to Highway 4, I recommend leaving your car in the makeshift parking area across the road, or a little further away at Kibbutz Megadim.
The path I decided to take was the red one. A few minutes after you begin this trail, you will notice that you are walking right through the middle of a banana field. Continue walking another few minutes until the road splits and continues in two separate directions. You can either turn right and walk along the blue trail, or continue along the red trail, which rises alongside the stream and is a circular path.
I prefer hiking up and not down, so I recommend taking the red trail and climbing up alongside the stream.
Continue along the red trail, and after a few minutes you will reach the first point of interest – the old quarry. The rusting remains there are testament to the way the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has beautifully preserved our natural resources.
The quarry was used to provide raw materials for the paint industry, but it caused immense geological damage. This is a wonderful spot to stop with the children and to take pictures.
When you’re done gazing out at the amazing view, continue walking along the red trail. You’ll notice that the path is surrounded by lush greenery.
The path climbs up at a slight incline for about 1 kilometer. If there happen to be a lot of people hiking that day, sometimes bottlenecks form since some people climb more slowly than others.
At the end of the ascent, turn right into the Sefunim Cave. You need to pay special attention so that you don’t miss the entrance to the cave, since it’s hard to see from the path. (There is a sign on the path, but it’s easy to pass by without noticing it.) If you do in fact miss it, you will soon reach a fork in the road, where you can choose to continue along the blue trail or the red trail. So if you reach the fork in the road and have not yet found the cave, you can backtrack and look for the path that leads to it.
If you’re planning on hiking along this trail in the next few weeks, it’s important to know that people are not allowed to enter the cave during the winter months.
When you leave the cave, continue along the red trail until the fork in the road, at which point you should follow the blue trail markers that will bring you back to the starting point. The blue trail climbs up along the second bank of the Sefunim Stream, and soon you will have the most stunning view from the top of the Megadim Cliff out toward the Atlit Fortress. This is a wonderful place to rest and enjoy the breathtaking view, before continuing along the path to the end of the trail.
Location: Northern Carmel Type of hike: Circular path Level of difficulty: Medium Length: 4 hours Directions: Drive north from Beit Oren Intersection until you see a sign indicating the beginning of the Sefunim Stream trail. There is a makeshift parking area across the street.
Do not park along the side of the road.Translated by Hannah Hochner.