Travel: Spring into Fall

There’s no time like the present to go on at least one last water hike before the weather turns cold.

(photo credit: EFRAT MOSKOVITCH)
Now that we’re in the post-holiday period, it’s time to get back to our regular schedule, which hopefully includes lots of nature outings. Although we didn’t have a tremendous amount of rain this past winter, which means that there’s less water flowing in the rivers, there are still many springs around Israel that are full of water. This makes going out for a hike so much more enjoyable. For a while, we were in the midst of a leptospirosis scare, but apparently bacteria levels in Israel’s streams are back to normal, and there’s no time like the present to go on at least one last water hike before the weather turns cold.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
You’ll find Ein Shoko hidden away in the foothills of the southern Golan Heights. The water from Ein Shoko flows into the pool through a pipe that has been inserted into the source of the spring. The spring is named after Matan Gadri – nicknamed Shoko by his friends – who was killed in Hebron in 2003. The pool has a diameter of two meters and is 60 centimeters deep, and there is plenty of shady area and benches around the camping site. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk to the pool.
Directions: Drive on Road 98 and enter Mevo Hama. Drive straight after passing through the gate and continue straight at the first roundabout. Take the next right onto a dirt road and park along the side of the road near the overlook. Follow the trail markers.
There are a number of natural springs and pools near Moshav Aviel and Nahal Taninim. The two most popular pools are located just 300 meters apart from each other. The first one, which is 1.5 meters deep, basks in sunshine all day, so the water is not too cold. The second one is shaded, making it a great place to gather for a relaxing picnic. In addition, there’s a wonderful small cave made of reeds hidden in the brush where you’ll find a small waterfall that feeds into a charming wading pool. Since there’s lots of greenery, this is a great shady spot for people who don’t love spending too much time in the sun.
Directions: Drive on Road 6533. Pass the northern entrance to Aviel and drive a little over one kilometer where you will turn left onto a dirt road. Cross over the stream and continue driving along the path with green trail markers. Drive for 1.5 kilometers until you see a water pumping station. You can park your car there. The small waterfall is just across from the pumping station and the large pool is west of the waterfall.
Between Alonei Abba and Moshav Alonim, in a field near Khirbet Hazin, you’ll find Ein Hazin, a charming spring that was rejuvenated a few years ago. The people who spearheaded this project were combat soldiers from Sayeret Golani who wanted to commemorate their comrade-in-arms, Oren Noach from Hoshaya, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge. Following the renovation, the name of the site was changed to Ein Oren. The water flows all year long into a large, three-meter deep pool, which has a swing hanging nearby. One side of the pool is shaded; the other is not.
Directions: If you’re coming from Tishbi Intersection, drive along Road 75 toward Ramat Yishai and turn left toward Beit Lehem Haglilit. After two kilometers, you’ll come upon a farm gate, next to which you can park your car and continue by foot. Walk along the dirt path. When you reach a fork in the road, take the right path and continue until you reach the spring that’s located under the fig tree.
North of the popular Ein a-Tina, you’ll find Ein Divsha, a spring that in Ottoman times was utilized to power an old flour mill. Ein Divsha is known in Arabic as Ein Darbashiya, after the Arab village that used to stand there. A few attempts were made to restore the flour mill to operation, but each one failed. Visitors can now go inside the mill where you’ll see the millstone and aqueduct. Also, if you’re curious to see where the source of the spring is, you can climb up the side of the hill until you reach it.
Directions: Turn at Mahanayim Intersection onto Road 91. Turn left at Gadot Intersection onto Road 918 and continue until you see the turnoff to Ein a-Tina. Pass the turnoff and turn right 900 meters later onto a dirt road. Pass over a cattle grid and then park your car near the flour mill.
Nov Spring flows into a 2.5 meter diameter pool that is 1.5 meters deep. There are stairs leading down into the pool, which makes it easy to enter the pool. In addition, there are wooden benches surrounding the pool and plenty of shade. The pool is just a short five-minute narrow descent from the parking area.
Directions: Nov Spring can be reached from within Moshav Avnei Eitan. At the entrance to the moshav, turn left onto the ring road and drive until you see the parking area next to Nahal El Al. Turn left and enter through the gate and turn right into the dirt parking area. Open the cattle gate and drive through (but don’t forget to close it afterward). As you follow the path, you will see the moshav’s outer fence on your right. Park your car next to the next cattle gate. Descend the narrow path toward the eucalyptus trees where you’ll find the pool.
Known popularly as Juhadar, the pool was built and used by Syrian military officers prior to the Six Day War. Only a short walk from the parking area, the pool is built from basalt stone and is filled with clean water all year round. The source of the pool is from Ein Um A-Sharshiah, which is located at the foot of Orcha Hill. There’s plenty of shade from the eucalyptus trees, making this an ideal location for picnics. The pool is suitable for adults and children alike.
Directions: Drive south on Road 98. Turn right at the monument onto a dirt road and drive until you reach the parking area next to the pool.
This beautiful site is situated in a relatively dense forest near Neria, in the Binyamin Region. In addition to the cool water in the pool, visitors can also view the ancient watering system and remains from communities that used to live on the site. You will find plenty of shade and picnic tables near the pool.
Directions: Drive from the Doar Intersection and turn left at the sign leading to the dirt path. I recommend leaving your car at the beginning of this path and walking the five minutes to the pool.