Refreshing pools of water

Ample foliage around Nahal Kziv keeps swimming pools cool during the heat of the day.

Ample foliage around Nahal Kziv keeps swimming pools cool during the heat of the day. (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Ample foliage around Nahal Kziv keeps swimming pools cool during the heat of the day.
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
After endless hours lying on the couch watching TV, summer vacation is finally coming to an end. Take advantage of these last few hot days, and take a trip to a natural pool of water.
Here’s a list of five refreshing pools that are the perfect place to finish the summer.
Since it’s still boiling out, the perfect water hike for families with small children is Majarsa, where the Daliot River runs into Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee); kids love this hike because they get to jump from stone to stone as they navigate the windy river.
You can actually walk the whole way inside the water; indeed, Majarsa, the largest sweetwater reservoir in Israel, is shaded and the water is refreshing.
It is incredibly invigorating to walk through the cool depths, which start out shallow but rise up to your hips in some places.
If you’re not interested in walking in the water, just pick a spot along the river to immerse yourself and wade around; if you are planning to hike, bring waterproof bags to protect your valuables.
And if your little ones don’t know how to swim, you might want to have them wear water wings in the deeper parts.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Directions: Take Road 92 until you reach Ma’aleh Gamla intersection.
Turn west onto a dirt road, and follow signs for Majarsa parking area.
Meshushim Pool
If I had to pick my absolute favorite natural water pool in the North, it would have to be the amazing Meshushim Pool in the Yehudiya Natural Reserve. It’s not for naught that Meshushim is one of the most-visited spots on the Golan Heights; the beautiful pool is well-known for the basalt rocks that surround it on every side.
Meshushim is also the ideal location for an outing as it is extremely easy to reach. It takes about half an hour to hike down to the pool if you walk at a moderate pace, where you will be happily rewarded with cool, clear water. (If you’re hiking with small children, remember that the water is pretty deep, and there is no lifeguard on duty.) Take one last dip before you start the climb back up, since although it’s not a hard walk, it’s very, very hot this time of year. So make sure you bring plenty of water, enough for the walk back up.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Directions: From Beit Tzaida intersection, turn onto Road 888 and follow signs for Meshushim.
Nahal Kziv Pool
About a kilometer from Mitzpe Hila, the entrance to Nahal Kziv is hidden from view. The lovely river, very popular among families and young hikers, has several pools that I like so much, I return to them year after year.
Walking in the river, you can stay cool almost the entire way to Ein Tamir, home to a number of natural pools whose water sources lie under the stones.
If you plan on going in the water, be careful because the rocks are extremely slippery in some places. After you’ve cooled down a bit from your hike, you can start investigating the area around the rocks for an opening cut into them. Through this, you can enter a narrow and low tunnel that leads to another pool of water; you’ll need a flashlight to navigate inside.
Level of difficulty: Medium (steep descents and ascents).
Directions: Drive along Road 89 towards Mitzpe Hila. Just before the entrance to the village, take the dirt road that leads to a parking area.
Ein Kanaf
If you’re dying to get out into nature but don’t really feel like taking a hike, Ein Kanaf is the perfect place for you. The water from the spring, known as Deir Aziz in Arabic, flows into a man-made pool on the outskirts of Moshav Kanaf.
You can drive almost all the way to the spring (follow the black trail markers), then climb down the wooden stairs.
Because the lovely pool is only 90 cm. deep, it’s perfect for little kids; there is also a plethora of picnic areas. And if you’re already there, you can walk around and learn a bit about the history of the spring and the region.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Directions: At Ma’aleh Gamla Junction, turn east onto Road 869. Pass the gate of Moshav Kanaf and turn left into an industrial area; follow signs for the spring.
Ein Lavan
Just behind Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo lies a cute little spring called Ein Lavan, named for the white stone from which the water flows, near the Refaim River. No longer just popular among Jerusalemites, the spring is easily accessible and its water is absolutely freezing – quite a treat on a hot summer day! Moreover, because Ein Lavan is inside a national park, there are plenty of trees and comfortable, shady areas where you can picnic.
The spring water flows through a tunnel into a huge pool, which at about 1.5 meters deep is appropriate for adolescents and adults. If you’re coming with little kids, there is also a small, shallow pool just beside the large one – perfect for getting your feet wet.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Directions: From the Biblical Zoo parking area, follow signs for Ein Lavan.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.