Alone in the wild

Nahal Tavor is a delightful path, covered by lush, dense greenery that creates a feeling of total isolation from the outside world.

BECAUSE OF heavy water flow, Nahal Tavor has a number of seasonal plants and flowers in bloom this time of year. (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
BECAUSE OF heavy water flow, Nahal Tavor has a number of seasonal plants and flowers in bloom this time of year.
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Nahal Tavor is one of most enjoyable and beautiful places in the entire Lower Galilee.
The trail is appropriate for families with children, though it must be noted that there is a very steep (and somewhat complicated) climb down at the end. Small children and elderly hikers might want to think about this before deciding to take part in this unique hike.
Nahal Tavor, or Wadi al-Bireh as it’s known in Arabic, begins near Nazareth, circumvents Mount Tabor and then finally joins the Jordan River. There are a number of water springs in the area, and as a result there are many wild animals living here, including a few dozen gazelles.
Nahal Tavor has a very strong flow during winter and spring months, as long as there has been a decent amount of rain. Water springs in the area, namely Ein Ze’ev, Ein Rechesh and Ein Shahal, are full of water all year round. Overall, water levels are down since the Mekorot Water Company pumps underground water in the area for drinking water.
Nahal Tavor is a great place to hike all year long, but it is an especially delightful place to visit in the spring months. In addition to the amazingly heavy water flow, a number of seasonal plants and flowers are visible this time of year, as well as a number of trees that grow only in this area.
We’ll begin the trail near the parking area of Kibbutz Gazit. Walk along the dirt path, following the red trail markers, until you reach the spot where the black trail begins. Continue along the red trail for a short while, and then turn right towards the riverbed (the blue trail). On hot days, you’ll be happy for the abundant trees and bushes that provide shade over the path. They also give you a sense of total isolation from your surroundings.
After walking on the relatively easy path for about one kilometer, you will reach an amazing outlook at Tel Rechesh, which is an ideal location to stop for a short rest before attempting the steep decline. Extensive excavations have not been carried out at Tel Rechesh, but there has been speculation that remains that were found there are from the city of Anaharath, which is mentioned in the Book of Joshua (it was one of the cities in which members of the Tribe of Issachar lived). An Egyptian victory memorial was also found at this location.
As you begin the steep descent, you should take caution with each step.
This time of year there really isn’t any chance of slipping on mud, but you should still be careful. After you reach the bottom, walk along the riverbed for about two kilometers towards the canyon until you reach the natural pools and the waterfall. Although the water looks tempting, you really should not swim in the pools since they might be contaminated. Either way, the view from here is stunning and I recommend stopping and taking time to enjoy it.
If you have a little extra time, nearby you will find the remains of an ancient flour mill, next to which stands an impressive looking palm tree which has been photographed by many professional and amateur photographers.
When you’re ready to go back to your car, walk just a few short minutes along the dirt path back to where the trails meet, which will lead you back to the red trail. Unfortunately, this area has become quite popular among jeep and ATV enthusiasts, who sometimes unexpectedly whiz by wildly (and illegally), so keep your eyes peeled.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.