Many people claim that Ramot Menashe, known in English as the Menashe Heights, is one of the most beautiful regions in Israel. Spread between Mount Carmel and Mount Amir, this area is full of flowers and endless meadows, natural water springs, and streams. Just before Passover, at the peak of springtime, my friends and I decided to go hiking on the Ramot Menashe Regional Trail. This trail is quite young, as it was marked only in 2013. Maybe that is why it’s not so established and organized. It’s not always clear where you can set up your camp, and water is a big problem if you don’t have water purifying equipment. But nevertheless, it’s a stunning trail in springtime. I’d recommend hiking it only in springtime.
The trail stretches to a length of about 65 km, from Ofer to Binyamina. which means you can complete it within 3 to 4 days if you keep a good pace. We took the 4-days option but added a few kilometers of the Israel National Trail, which connects to the trail from the north. So, at the end of the day, we didn’t really reduce the number of kilometers we had to hike each day. In this post, I’m going to break the trail down into days, so you can understand how it goes. You can divide the days differently, according to your hiking pace.
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Important to note
The hike is under your full responsibility, so please be careful while hiking. Here are some important things to know about the trail before you go:
Limited drinking water
Drinking water taps are limited along the trail. You can bring water purifying equipment or pack more water bottles on your back. Remember – many grocery stores are closed on Shabbat, from Friday eve to Saturday eve, so there’s no way to buy water at that time.
Camping on the trail
There aren’t many designated camping areas along the trail. In general, you can camp anywhere as long as it isn’t a nature reserve or a military training zone. Just keep in mind that Jeeps, ATVs, and motorcycles might drive on the trails during the night, so set your tent off the trail.
Here are some important things to know to keep safe on the Ramot Menashe Trail:
- Don’t go on the hike when it is too hot (over 30 degrees Celsius). It’s not enjoyable and can end with heatstroke. Many parts of the trail are completely exposed to the sun. Also, it’s not recommended to hike after rainfall, because the trail could be muddy and slippery. There are some places where there are very steep climbs and descents.
- Pay attention to sunset hours (in Summer around 6-7 PM, in Winter around 4-5 PM). Try to begin each day hike before 6 AM so you will have time to rest a bit during the hot hours of the afternoon and still get it to the end of the trail.
- There’s a military training zone south of Bat Shlomo, on Mount Horshan. Usually, there’s no problem hiking there on the weekend (Friday-Saturday), but it’s always best to get in touch with the headquarters and ask them if it’s safe to hike. Their phone number is – (+972) 04-9538506.
- Many parts of the trail go on or nearby bike singles, so watch out and be careful not to get run over by an extremely fast biker.
- Not all areas of the trail have a good network connection. For example, when we camped near HaShofet Stream, we had no connection at all and couldn’t talk with anyone on the phone.
- The Ramot Menashe Regional Trail is marked by an orange stripe or an orange dot (if it overlaps another trail color). Always stay on the trail.
If you need any further help with planning your hike, you are welcome to contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to bring with you
Make sure you hike with good hiking shoes, have at least 3 liters of water for each day (and 5 on hot days), and wear a hat. Also, make sure to bring a garbage bag and carry your garbage.
Before you begin the hike, make sure you have a good trail map. Many parts of the trail are poorly marked. In springtime, the vegetation grows a lot and hides the trail marks. If you have a good mobile battery for your phone, it might be best to use a navigation app such as the Israel Hiking Map or Amud Anan. With GPS, you can see exactly where you are. Though, remember that wherever you do see a trail mark – this trail mark is superior to what’s shown on your map. The apps and maps are not always updated.
Other than that, bring the regular hiking equipment. A good hiking backpack is essential, field cooking equipment is important, and you can decide if you want to bring a tent or only a sleeping bag. We hiked only with sleeping bags because it was hot enough. But some people prefer the privacy of a tent.
How to get to the head of the trail?
The official starting point of the trail is moshav Ofer. To get there, you need to get to Ofer Junction and from there, get on bus number 693, which will take you directly to the moshav. From the bus station in Ofer, you will need to walk about 1.2 km to the trail, located south of Ofer.
We didn’t start from moshav Ofer. We started from Ofer Junction. From there, we walked about 1.5 km on road number 7021, to the Israel National Trail (1).
Day 1 – From Ofer Junction to Bat Shlomo
On this day we hiked half on the Israel National Trail and half on the Ramot Menashe Regional Trail. It was a pleasant and beautiful hike, which passed by lots of flowers, trees, and cows.
Trail length: About 10.5 km, including the 5 km from Ofer Junction to the start of the Ramot Menashe Regional Trail. You can also hike from the other direction.
Trail duration: About 5-7 hours, depending on your pace.
Difficulty level: Easy.
Water along the way: You can get water at the Ofer Junction gas station, and some people say there’s drinking water at the Forestry Offices of Carmel Alonim (about 1.6 km from Ofer Junction). Next, if you really need water, you can get off the trail and go to the grocery store at moshav Ofer (it’s about a 1.5 km detour from the trail, near the start of the Ramon Menashe Regional Trail). You can also get water at the end of the segment, at Bat Shlomo.
Stay options at the end of the trail: We stayed at Bat Shlomo.
Description of the hike
We started our day around 10:30 AM, from the gas station at Ofer Junction (1). Here, we used the restroom, bought some bread and spreads, and sat down next to one of the picnic tables to eat a late breakfast.
Then, about an hour later, we started heading to the trailhead, located about 1.5 km away. We walked on the side of the road until we reached the right turn to the Israel National Trail (2). The Israel National Trail would eventually lead us to the Ramot Menashe Regional Trail. The wooden sign pointing to the right said: “The Forestry Offices Carmel-Alonim”.
A few steps after the turn, we reached a site connected to the Fire on the Carmel in 2010. The Christians for Israel community in the Netherlands donated money for the rehabilitation of a forest park after the fire, and their names are honored here.
We passed by the forestry offices (3). People say there are some drinking water taps here, but we didn’t look.
We continued about 250 meters until the memorial site for Staff Sergeant Gal Bason (4), who fell in battle during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014. Gal loved exploring Israel’s nature, so his family decided to build the memorial site here, on the Israel National Trail, which Gal hiked before his recruitment. Unfortunately, the buttons which are supposed to play the soundtracks weren’t working.
Flowers, forests, and olive trees
From this point, the trail turns right and starts climbing up huge boulders through a charming forest. It was quite a challenging climb, which required some hand climbing, but it was over after a very short while.
Then, the trail became mild and quite easy. We could see tall trees and beautiful yellow mustard flowers all around us.
At some point, there was a weird sign, which we probably didn’t understand, because we accidentally shifted off the Israel National Trail. When we didn’t find any new trail marks, we opened Amud Anan and saw that we’ve strayed a bit, so we corrected ourselves. Soon enough, we started seeing the Mediterranean Sea in the distance, a strip of beautiful blue on the horizon. There was also a grove of impressive olive trees.
A lone man was walking toward us from the other direction, with a small backpack on his back. “Hello,” he greeted us with a smile, “Doing the Israel National Trail?”
“No, we’re doing the Ramot Menashe Regional Trail,” we replied, “What about you?”
“I’m on the Israel National Trail, came all the way from Eilat,” he replied, “Just left my big backpack at my friends’ house. In this area you don’t need to carry so much.”
“Wow, that’s really impressive!” we told him, talked a bit more, and continued on our way.
Passing by Moshav Ofer
A short while later we reached the access road to moshav Ofer (5), crossed it, and continued through a gate. There was a barcode next to the gate, saying “Ofer Forest – Junction between the Israel National Trail and the road to moshav Ofer”. But we didn’t scan it. Let me know if you do! (;
From the access road, we continued on quite an easy trail. We stopped after about 10 minutes in a grove of olive trees, made coffee, and ate some snacks. Then, we headed down on an easy to moderate descent. After a short while, it became easy and mild again.
We hiked for a while more and then met our first cows on the trail. Cows are almost everywhere on the trails of northern Israel, so we weren’t surprised to see them. Nitai made some cow noises, and one of them replied to us, which kind of made us nervous. It even started walking after us. So, if you don’t want to mess around with the cows, don’t make any noises and just walk past them with confidence. We’ve never had a cow harm us.
Starting the Ramot Menashe Trail
About 1.8 km from the access road to Ofer, we finally reached the left turn to the Ramot Menashe Regional Trail (6). The sign next to the turn says “Ofer” and there’s a green mark on it, although it’s marked in red on the map. The Ramot Menashe Trail is marked by an orange dot or stripe, but at this point overlaps the red-marked trail.
We turned left and hiked on the wide, open dirt trail for a while until we stopped for shade under a tree. Then we understood that we’d gone too far and that we missed the right turn onto the trail. We retraced our steps and found the trail mark about 870 meters from the start of the Ramot Menashe Trail (7). You could barely see it, because the color is faded, and there’s a lot of vegetation. So, make sure to look closely to the right to find it.
The trail goes on an easy path through green fields and colorful flowers. It’s a celebration for the eyes. Just keep an eye out for trail markers. After about 2.4 km, we arrived at an area full of yellow mustard flowers, that overlooks the moshava Bat Shlomo (8).
Bat Shlomo was one of the first Jewish towns in the Land of Israel, established in 1889, during the Ottoman Empire. It was funded by Baron Rothschild, a Jewish philanthropist, who funded many Jewish towns. It is named after Rothschild’s mother, who was the daughter of Shlomo (“Bat Shlomo” means “the daughter of Shlomo”).
Entering Bat Shlomo
From there, we continued down the trail to the outskirts of Bat Shlomo (9), turned right and then right again, and started walking through its streets. We stopped by the local grocery store, which is situated on the trail, to get some fresh bread and supplies. Then, we crossed the main road to the other, older side of Bat Shlomo and headed to the organic farm on the outskirts of the moshava (10). We have already been to the farm when hiking the Israel National Trail, so we decided to stop there for the day. Staying there requires pre-arrangement.
A short while after Bat Shlomo is a nature reserve and military training zone, so if you plan to stay overnight in the area, try camping a bit before Bat Shlomo.
Day 2 – From Bat Shlomo to Nahal HaShofet
It was a long hike. We passed through a few forests but the trail is mostly exposed to the sun. There were many beautiful viewpoints, and we also got to cross some streams.
Trail length: About 21 km. You can also hike from the other direction.
Trail duration: About 8-11 hours, depending on your pace.
Difficulty level: Easy.
Water along the way: You can get water at Bat Shlomo. The next point is the compound of the Regional Council of Megiddo (about 15 km from the start of the trail). There’s a drinking water tap next to the offices. Next, some people said that you can fill water in Emek HaShalom Farm (about 18.5 km from the start of the trail). That’s the last point for filling water on this segment.
Stay options at the end of the trail: We stayed near Nahal HaShofet. There are all kinds of options here – you can camp near Ein Faror or further on, in the Haruvim Parking Site. If you want to stop after 15 km, you can camp outside the compound of the Regional Council of Megiddo.
Description of the trail
We started our day early and headed towards Mount Horshan, a nature reserve and military training zone. We called the army a day before to make sure that it is ok to hike there on Friday, and after nagging them a bit, they replied that there is no problem.
A few steps from the organic farm of Bat Shlomo (1), we reached the water crossing of Nahal Tut, the “Strawberry Stream”. The whole path was flooded, and we didn’t want to get our shoes wet or take them off, so we used the pipeline at the side of the path. We grabbed it as we passed over some stones to the other side of the stream.
A short while later, we reached another water crossing, this time of Nahal Dalia, the Dalia Stream (2). This is one of the main streams, that carries the water of Ramot Menashe to the Mediterranean Sea. There was no pipeline there, so we prayed that the water won’t penetrate our shoes and ran through the shallow water to the other side of the stream.
From the Dalia Stream, the trail takes a slight turn left and heads into Park Alona. In the distance, we could see the impressive Mount Horshan, which we were to climb soon. After a short while, we reached a junction of red, blue, and green marked trails. Here, we continued on the green-marked trail, which also had the orange Ramot Menashe trail dot above it. This led us very soon to a sign about the Mount Horshan Nature Reserve and a huge concrete block saying “Danger. Firing Zone. Entrance is forbidden.” Because we had already coordinated with the army, we continued into the firing zone.
Climbing Mount Horshan
About 100 meters after the trail junction, there’s a right turn up to Mount Horshan (3). The marking isn’t so visible, so just make sure to keep your eyes to the right. The climb up doesn’t look so sympathetic, but don’t worry – after about 80 meters of steep climbing, you turn right onto a much milder blue-marked trail. This trail passes through the charming forest of Mount Horshan and occasionally, there’s an opening in the forest and you can gaze down on the landscape below. We could see Bat Shlomo again, this time from the south.
After about 1 km, we reached another trail junction and turned left onto the red-marked trail (4). From here, there’s a mild climb to the peak of Mount Horshan. Then, the trail starts mildly descending until it reaches another trail junction (5). We continued on the orange-marked trail that leads to the left.
About 390 meters later, we reached a junction with a black-marked trail (6), where we stopped for coffee and breakfast.
Getting a bit lost
After breakfast, we turned left onto the black-marked trail and tried to follow it through the lush vegetation, but the trail marks were nowhere to be found. I opened the Amud Anan app and saw that we had strayed off the trail and that we were extremely near the red-marked trail, which also went in the direction that we needed.
“We can get on the red-marked trail and then rejoin the Ramot Menashe Trail later,” I told the group. We decided to split up. Some of us tried finding the right track, while some went on the red-marked trail. I went on the red-marked trail, which led to another trail junction of the red, green, black, and orange trails (7). There, we waited for the rest of the group. They arrived about 10 minutes after us and claimed that the trail was charming.
Down and up on the Ramot Menashe Trail
From this point, the trail continues through a beautiful forest. After crossing the black-marked trail, it mildly descents for about 550 meters until it reaches a dirt road (8). Beyond the dirt road, there’s a lone tree and next to it, a cattle gate. We crossed the cattle gate and then started ascending upwards. Everything around us was green. The vegetation was so high. There was also no shade at all. And then, we reached a point where we could see the whole surroundings beneath us.
We continued on the trail, which wasn’t so clear, jumped over a gate, and started descending through the greenery. A short while after passing a lone Alon tree, we reached another cattle gate and turned left onto the trail, which at this point overlaps a green-marked trail (9).
We stopped for late breakfast about 200 meters later, at the crossroad between the green and the blue marked trails. From this point, the trail overlaps the blue-marked trail and the whole trail is exposed to the sun. We hiked on for about 650 meters and then reached a cattle crossing, which is supposed to block the entrance to cows. Here, there was a weird mark on a pole, which seemed to be pointing into the lush vegetation. We thought that it made no sense, so we continued straight on the blue-marked trail. Looking back, we were supposed to turn into the lush vegetation. But it didn’t really matter, as the blue-marked trail reconnected to the Ramot Menashe Trail later (10).
Looking for shade in the afternoon
We arrived at a sign talking about the “Ramot Menashe Biosphere Park”. Next to it, a huge group of motorcycles was getting ready for their Friday motorcycle ride. We waited for them to start driving away and then hiked below the bridge of road number 6 (11). From down below, it didn’t seem too impressive, although it’s one of the most famous roads in Israel. It is the longest highway in Israel, stretching to a length of over 200 km.
There are tons of yellow mustard flowers over here. We hiked on the flat trail for about 820 meters, and then turned left (12) and started climbing upwards. On the way, we saw a cute crab, that somehow got there.
We continued for about 1.3 km until we reached a water crossing (13). Looking back, we weren’t supposed to cross it because the trail bypasses it, but we were so tired and yearning for a piece of shade, that we crossed it without thinking twice. On the other side of the stream was a pleasant area with trees, which gave lots of shade. We sat down on the ground, ate an apple, and relaxed for a while. Behind us, we could hear the croaking of the toads or frogs in the stream. After a while, a group of children and their parents arrived. Their tour guide told us that they were on a plant-picking tour. There are a lot of edible plants in the region of Ramot Menashe, amongst them mustard flowers, asparagus, and malva. So, it’s a paradise for plant gatherers.
On to the Regional Council of Megiddo
We continued right on a blue-marked trail for about 200 meters, turned right with the trail, and then reunited with the Ramot Menashe Trail. Then, there’s a long 3-km hike on a segment that overlaps the blue-marked trail. There were a few times that we had to leave the main route because Jeeps were driving there. So, we walked next to the lovely cyclamen that grew on the right side of the route. There are supposed to be two water springs near the end of the 3-km, but we didn’t see them. The trail is also parallel to Nahal Shelef, but it’s too far away to be seen.
At the end of the 3-km, we reached road number 672 (14). Carefully, we crossed to the other side, where there was a long asphalt path that went northward. We continued with the path for about 1.3 km and then crossed another road (15) to the compound of the Regional Council of Megiddo.
It was afternoon when we got there. After walking for so long under the sun, we had to stop for an afternoon nap. Since it was Friday, there was no one at the regional council offices, so we used the opportunity to nap on their lawn. Afterward, we filled water from a drinking water tap located in the inner yard of the offices and continued onward.
On to Nahal HaShofet
We exited the compound from its northeastern edge and descended for about 1 km until we reached a right turn onto a blue-marked trail (16). From there, the trail is very wide, easy, and exposed to the sun. After about 1.2 km, we climbed a few meters to the left and then turned left, and continued on the trail for another 1 km, until we reached the right turn towards a red-marked trail (17). Don’t expect to see the Ramot Menashe trail mark over here, because we didn’t find it. If you don’t turn right and continue a few steps ahead, you’ll reach the Emek HaShalom Farm, where some people say you can fill water.
We continued on the red-marked trail for about 580 meters, with lots of stinging nettles all around us. To the right, you can see the trees next to Ein Faror. It’s possible to camp there. After 580 meters, we reached a place where families were doing BBQ and picnics, next to the flow of Nahal HaShofet (“the Stream of the Judge”) (18). The stream is called after the United States Circuit Judge, Julian William Mack, who also happened to be Jewish and served three years as the head of the Zionist Organization of America.
Finding a place to camp
We went on for about 1 km, with fields of crops and HaShofet Stream flowing to the right and tall trees growing to the left. Then, we decided to stop in a place that seemed suitable for camping, right next to the stream (19). Because it was Friday evening, we figured that the nearby Haruvim Parking Site (“Carobs Parking Site”), which was less than a kilometer away, might be crowded and noisy. Was it legal camping where we camped? I’m not sure. It’s not so clear if the specific spot is part of the nature reserve of HaShofet Stream. I recommend being on the safe side and camping at Haruvim Parking Site. It’s a picnic area, but I guess you can also camp there (and correct me if I’m wrong!)
If you want to leave the trail after this segment, you can only do it by hiking another 2 km to Hazorea and taking a bus from there.
Day 3 – From Nahal HaShofet to Joop Westerweel Parking Site
It was also a long hike, but it felt a bit more shaded, at least at the beginning. We began our hike along HaShofet Stream, one of the most charming streams in Ramot Menashe. Then, we hiked through a beautiful forest, where there were some steep climbs and descents. Actually, there were several steep climbs along this segment, and that’s why I rated it as an easy-moderate trail. Most of it is easy, but there are some challenging parts. The most interesting place, in my view, is the Mishmar HaEmek Monument, which also has a fantastic viewpoint over the Jezreel Valley.
Trail length: About 19 km. You can also hike it from the other direction.
Trail duration: About 8-11 hours, depending on your pace.
Difficulty level: Easy-moderate.
Water along the way: If you really need water, you can try to buy some from the grocery store at HaZorea (about 2 km from the start of the trail). The next option to fill water is at the cemetery of Mishmar HaEmek (about 8.5 km from the start of the trail). Finally, there should be water at Ein HaShofet (about 14.5 km from the start of the trail). You’ll need to make a 700-meters detour into the kibbutz. We couldn’t find a water tap, but we asked some foreign workers for water and they gave us.
Stay options at the end of the trail: We camped at Joop Westerweel Parking Site. I’ve also heard of people who camped near the Raz Reservoir, about 1.5 km away from our parking site.
Description of the trail
We started early from our campsite (1) and hiked for about 600 meters until we reached the entrance to Nahal HaShofet Trail (2), an established paved route that goes along HaShofet Stream. It was fairly dark, but we were still able to see the small and charming waterfalls, hear the flow of water, and stand next to the beautiful pools that formed here and there. “Too bad it’s not hot,” we said, “We might have dipped a bit.”
After about 720 meters, we left the side of the stream and started ascending upwards (3). We could see the houses of Hazorea in front of us. After another 600 meters, we were already on the road of the kibbutz. A few steps afterward, we returned to a dirt path and stopped there for coffee and snacks. When we were done, we had to climb down some rocks to reach the road again, because the trail overlapped it. They were super slippery, and I accidentally slipped down them. So be careful, especially after rainfall!
Hiking through a beautiful forest
We continued about 500 meters on the road, passed by a horse range, and arrived at the entry gate to the kibbutz (4). There, we met an early jogger, exchanged a few words, and turned right onto an asphalt route, aligned with yellow mustard flowers and trees with yellow flowers. My friends suggested that the trees were orange wattles.
After about 450 meters, we turned right and started climbing upwards on a curvy trail (5). At some point, the trail turns extremely steep, but the steep part is short. At the top, we saw the fantastic view of the Jezreel Valley.
From there, the trail turns extremely beautiful. It passes through the forest, with a large variety of trees and flowers, crosses a few asphalt roads and a stream, and includes some descents and ascends. After about 3.8 km it reaches road number 6953 (6). Not all the trail marks on the way are visible and clear, so keep your eyes out for marks and keep your map at hand’s reach.
On to Mishmar HaEmek Kibbutzim Memorial:
We crossed the road towards Mishmar HaEmek, another kibbutz in Ramot Menashe. At the entry gate, we turned right and continued on an easy, shaded dirt path along Mishmar HaEmek Stream.
After about 420 meters, we turned left (7) and started a very steep climb through the forest. A few meters after the steep climb, we reached the Mishmar HaEmek Cemetery and a memorial site to Irma Lindheim (8). She was an American Zionist fund-raiser and educator, who moved to Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek at the late stages of her life. At this point, we found a water tap, where we were able to fill water.
The trail continued upwards through the forest, but it wasn’t too hard. After about 1 km, we got out of the forest, although there were still some trees in the area, and hiked alongside a road. We hiked for about 400 meters more and then turned left and continued hiking on the road all the way to the Mishmar HaEmek Kibbutzim Memorial (9).
To get to the Mishmar HaEmek Kibbutzim Memorial, you need to stray a bit off the trail, but it’s worth it. This memorial was built in memory of the kibbutz members who fell in the Israeli battles. It’s a concrete tower, overlooking the kibbutz of Mishmar HaEmek and the Jezreel Valley. You don’t have to climb up the tower to enjoy the view. In the distance, you can even see Mount Tabor!
Looking for water
After appreciating the memorial, we continued on an easy trail overlapping a black-marked trail for about 1.2 km. Then, there was another steep climb up to Hurvat Ha-Ras (10). This site sits on top of a high hill. The Israeli forces used it to protect Mishmar HaEmek during the Independence War. There are supposed to be some archeological remnants over there, but we only saw a lot of vegetation. We circled the top of Hurvat Ha-Ras and then started descending on a moderate descent, which later turned into a flat Jeep route.
About 2.5 km from Hurvat Ha-Ras, we reached the back entrance to Kibbutz Ein HaShofet (11). At this point, we already needed water, although we still had some water till the end of the day. According to our research and the map, there was supposed to be water in Ein HaShofet, but to get there we had to walk at least 700 meters in each direction. Because we weren’t sure that there was water and because we were already quite tired, we decided to send only one of us, Ayelet, to check if there was water over there.
She went and after about 15 minutes called us on the phone: “There wasn’t a water tap where we thought, but there was a hut with a few foreign Thai workers. I told them I need water, so they let me fill from their water tap. They know you might be coming, too.”
We decided that we didn’t want to waste time, as it was almost sunset. Instead, we asked Paz if she could ask her parents to bring us some water to the campground. They live in the north, and they planned to pick her up anyway. After they approved that they would bring us some bottles and jerricans of water, we continued on our way.
Getting to the Joop Westerweel Parking Site
From Ein HaShofet, the trail continues straight to the west. For some reason, we turned left and continued to the south. Only after a few minutes, we had realized that we left the trail completely, and had to cut through the fields of vegetation to get back on track. The trail is fully exposed to the sun, but it’s extremely easy, so we were able to hike it very fast.
About 3.8 km from Ein HaShofet, we reached road number 672 (12) and turned left. Then, we walked on the trail in a woody area for about 700 meters until we saw the Joop Westerweel Parking Site (13). It’s a bit off the trail, but very close by.
Joop Westerweel was a schoolteacher, who became a Dutch World War II resistance leader and helped save hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust by organizing an escape route for them. He was executed by the Nazis. For his actions, he was named Righteous Among the Nations. The place where we camped was a memorial site for him and other Dutch people, who helped save Jews. It’s actually a picnic area, but we found a quiet spot to place our sleeping bags for the night. Just make sure not to camp under one of the Eucalyptus trees over there.
If you want to leave the trail after this segment, you need to walk about 2.5 km northward to Dalia Junction and catch a bus from there.
Day 4 – From Joop Westerweel Parking Site to Binyamina
This day was full of water and was overall super easy! Though, it was almost always exposed to the sun, which was hard, especially near the end of the segment, when it was already afternoon.
Trail length: About 17.5 km. You can also hike it from the other direction.
Trail duration: About 6-8 hours, depending on your pace.
Difficulty level: Easy.
Water along the way: The only place where you can fill water is at the Alona Cemetery (about 10 km from the start of the trail).
Stay options at the end of the trail: The trail ends at Binyamina.
Description of the trail
We woke up super early because we wanted to reach Binyamina this day. After leaving the Joop Westerweel Parking Site (1), we carefully crossed road number 672. The first minutes of the hike were in complete darkness, but luckily the trail was very flat and easy.
After about 1.4 km, we stopped above the Raz Reservoir (2) for coffee and sunrise. This beautiful reservoir is a natural one, that fills up every winter.
When the sun rose, we continued on the easy trail through breathtaking landscapes – sweeping fields of green, hills, and agricultural crops. After about 1.4 km, we reached the water crossing of Nahal Taninim (“The Crocodile Stream”) (3). Then, we climbed up about 400 meters to a fenced station, turned around to appreciate the view of the fields below, and continued right, parallel to the station, and right onto an asphalt route.
We continued another 330 km until we turned left (4) onto a dirt path and headed downwards. After about 750 km, we reached Ein Nili (5). This amazing water spring is a great place to rest and enjoy some refreshing water. We stayed there for a while before heading on.
On to Nahal Taninim
The trail continues through an agricultural area for about 1.3 km, until it turns right, back into the wilderness (6). After about 300 meters, we turned left, passed a cattle gate, and started climbing upwards to the top of a hill that overlooks the surroundings. We rested up there for a few minutes and then started climbing down, towards the crossing underneath road number 6 (7).
The trail continues through lush vegetation, trees, and flowers for about 3.6 km, with some easy climbs and descents. Then, it comes out of the forest and arrives at the banks of Nahal Taninim (8). There were lots of people splashing around over there.
We turned left, passed by the Alona Cemetery, where it is possible to fill water, and walked all the way to road number 6533 (9). There, we turned right, crossed a small bridge above the stream, and turned left back to the trail. It continues along the stream, now on its other bank.
Nahal Taninim, by the way, is called after the crocodiles that lived in its waters until 1912. Crocodiles were probably present here from the 5th-4th century BCE. A local legend says that they were brought here by the ancient Egyptians. Two Egyptian brothers wanted to rule over Caesarea. One of them brought the crocodiles in hope that they will eat his brother, who had to wash in the waters of the stream regularly because of his medical condition.
Stopping at Ein Aviel
It was quite a hot day and we were starting to melt from the heat. The path was completely unshaded because all the shade from the trees was going in the other direction. There was supposed to be a water spring, so that motivated us to continue. We hiked on for about 1.4 km until we finally reached it – Ein Aviel (10). It was absolutely stunning! The spring was partly shaded by the trees and reeds around it. There were all kinds of small hideaways where you can sit and chill out, and there was plenty of room in the water. When we arrived, it was full of kids, who were enjoying their early Passover break. But they left after a while.
Ayelet decided to cut off from the trail at Ein Aviel. There’s a passage that connects the water spring to moshav Aviel. It’s a short walk to the nearest bus station. So, if you’re tired of the trail or you’re short on time, you can stop here. A lot of people do it. Actually, the rest of the trail till Binyamina is quite boring.
Walking to Binyamina with no shade
Although we’ve heard that the rest of the trail is boring, we decided to do it anyway. We said: “We’re already here, so why not check if the reviews are accurate?” After splashing around in Ein Aviel, we got back onto the unshaded trail and walked for about 5.3 km until the first spot of shade (11). These 5 kilometers are devastating, especially when it’s hot. You just walk and walk next to the stream, hear the buzz of the insects, see some agricultural fields to your right, and yearn to reach Binyamina, which can be clearly seen up ahead.
The first spot of shade on these 5 kilometers were two massive trees, which provided plenty of shade next to what seemed to be a horse ranch. We sat there for a while, gathered our last drops of energy, and then set off to Binyamina. We crossed the small bridge over the stream, turned right, and continued for about 1 km to the access road to Binyamina (12). All the way, we sang the song of the acclaimed Israeli poet, Ehud Manor, “The Days of Binyamina“. This song depicts Manor’s yearning for his childhood in Binyamina. Binyamina was another settlement funded by Baron Rothschild back in the Ottoman days.
We turned left, entered the moshava of Binyamina, and headed to one of its fantastic restaurants to finish the hike with a good taste.
The Ramot Menashe Regional Trail is a beautiful hike in springtime, especially recommended for water and flower lovers. Go at your own pace and enjoy the beauty!
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Hiked the trail on March 2021.
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