Wade into the water

This week, I’m going to describe a fun, easy hike in Jordan Park that’s perfect for the whole family.

MOSHAV RAMOT offers excellent units with showstopping views (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
MOSHAV RAMOT offers excellent units with showstopping views
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Now that the temperature outside is pretty high, it’s time to search out all the amazing hike options that include water. In the Golan Heights there are lots of options for getting wet during hikes. This week, I’m going to describe a fun, easy hike in Jordan Park that’s perfect for the whole family. You can even add on an overnight stay in a local bed-and-breakfast to enhance the trip.
This hike through the 121-hectare park is great for people looking to walk through water and also view interesting historical remains. There are plenty of wild and natural areas within the nature park, with lots of walking trails to pick from. The Jordan River flows through the park, and there’s also a spring called Ein Mashafa. You can pick from a variety of hikes that range between 20 minutes and two hours, during which you might catch a glimpse of local fauna, such as wild boars, otters, mongooses and fish. There’s also an overnight camping site on location, a playground, a place to rent Tomcars or go kayaking on the river. During the hot summer months, there will also be a few nights when the park is open to visitors.
Each path is marked with a different color trail marker. The orange trail, which is the shortest one, takes only about 10 minutes to traverse (it’s a 250-meter circular trail). It reaches Ein Mishpa, where a shallow pool was built to catch the water from the spring. There are picnic tables nearby, making this spot the perfect place to spend the day.
Another path, marked with red trail markers, is also known as the flour mill path. This circular trail, which passes by an ancient flour mill, takes about 90 minutes to complete. This path is partly shaded with trees, making it a great place to hike on hot, sunny days. It begins next to an area full of impressive eucalyptus trees that were planted along the stream.
After you’ve been walking for a few minutes, you’ll see a wooden bridge. Cross over it and continue walking until you reach a T junction. Turn right, and soon you’ll come upon the flour mill, which is another great spot to stop since there are fruit trees that offer nice shade and a pool, too, where you can get wet and cool off.
These impressive flour mills are powered by the water that flows from the Jordan River and was diverted into channels. As you continue walking along the trail, you’ll see the aqueduct. After a few minutes, turn left. You’ll notice the dense foliage and fruit trees, which cover the path as you walk toward the larger Jordan River. When you reach the river, turn east and walk until you return to the path you started on and finally reach your starting point.
Another short trail, which begins at the ancient Hurvat Batiha flour mill, is the purple path that leads to a lovely water channel. It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and for about 200 meters of the path you’ll be walking through water. At the end of the path, you’ll reach a cave that’s surrounded by reeds. From there, just return the same way you came to reach the starting point.
If you don’t feel like doing any walking, but you love the idea of spending time in the water, I recommend renting a boat from Abu Kayak. It offers 3-km. kayak trips down the river, as well as the possibility of renting Tomcars or bicycles.
Price: NIS 60 per car, or NIS 100 per car including overnight stay.
Details: (04) 692-3422.
Directions: Abu Kayak is located about 2 km. north of Lake Kinneret. If you’re coming from Tiberias, drive north on Road 87. Cross over the Jordan River on the Arik Bridge and continue on to the Beit Tzaida junction. Continue another 2 km. along Road 888 until you reach the entrance of the park.
To make your trip much more memorable, I recommend staying overnight in one of the local bed-and-breakfast establishments. Some are luxurious, whereas others are more spartan. At Moshav Ramot, for example, you’ll find incredible units with breathtaking views of the Golan Heights.
 If your budget is limited, I recommend staying in the White Cabins, run by Michal and Ya’acov Sharon. The couple began hosting guests in 2005 in their 10 white cabins, which can accommodate couples and families in three different sections.
The View section has a fantastic view of the Kinneret; the Home section has cabins that are perfect for families; and the Boutique section was especially designed for couples and includes a private pool. The enchanting and spacious cabins cost NIS 1,600 per night.
There are plenty of fun activities with which to fill up your day on the moshav, such as horseback riding, jeep rides and bicycle rentals. And when you get hungry, there are a number of culinary options, and even an excellent winery. If you spend the night in a bed-and-breakfast on the moshav, you will automatically be invited to partake in a special Friday morning trip free of charge. The three-hour trip, which requires use of a private car, takes visitors to lesser-known sites in the region.
Details: 050-489-1665.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.