After a fantastic night at our Trail Angels’ house at Kfar Vitkin, we woke up early and started walking towards Bet Yanai Beach, our starting point for our day on the Israel National Trail. The walk took us about 20 minutes. As we came closer to Bet Yanai Beach, we noticed a large pool of water, situated right next to the beach. This pool of water, called Bet Yanai Lake, was formed following construction works in the 1990s. A huge pit was dug into the ground, and the sweet groundwater penetrated it. To fight the flies that came to the pool every summer, the regional council brought mosquitofish, which got rid of them.
Check out the previous segment – From Sdot Yam to Bet Yanai Beach.
The segment from Bet Yanai Beach to Poleg Beach is very pleasant and easy. It starts on the beach and then passes through the marvelous city of Netanya, known as the capital of the Sharon plain. Most of the way includes fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Trail length: About 14.5 km. You can also hike it from the other direction.
Trail duration: About 5-7 hours, depending on your pace.
Difficulty level: Easy.
Best season: Fall (October-November), Winter (December-January), and Spring (February-April).
Water along the way: It’s possible to fill water at Bet Yanai Beach. Next, there are some water taps along the Netanya Promenade (about 8.5 km from the start). You can also get water at the end point, at Poleg Beach. There’s a restaurant over there, and there is a water tap on the street that leads to the neighborhood.
Stay options at the end of the trail: The people at the restaurant at Poleg Beach granted us permission to sleep on the deck of the restaurant. You can also ask them if you can do the same.
Before we begin, let’s go over some safety instructions and general notes:
· The hike is under your responsibility, so please be careful.
· Make sure you hike with good hiking shoes, have at least 3 liters of water (and 5 on hot days), and wear a hat. Pack food and snacks for the whole day, BUT make sure to bring a garbage bag as well and take your garbage with you, including toilet papers.
· This segment passes through a city, so you will be able to get supplies or water fairly easily.
· Don’t go on the hike when it is too hot (over 30 degrees Celsius), because it’s not enjoyable and can end with a heatstroke. There is no shade on this segment.
· Pay attention to sunset hours (in Summer around 6-7 PM, in Winter around 4-5 PM). Try to begin the hike before 8 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.
· The phone signal is good throughout the trail.
· Before you begin the hike, make sure you have a good trail map. The trail isn’t always well marked, so it’s good to have a map. You can also use a navigation app such as the Israel Hiking Map. With GPS, you can also see where you are exactly. Though, remember that wherever you do see a trail mark – this trail mark is superior to what’s shown on your map. You can also download the trail map in English (created by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel). This map is extremely basic but gives you a general sense of the trail.
· The trail is marked with the Israel National Trail colors, orange-blue-white.
· If you need any further help with planning your trail, I recommend posting on the Israel National Trail forum on Tapatalk. Of course, you can also talk to me through email@example.com.
How to get to the head of the trail?
To reach the head of the trail, you will need to reach Bet Yanai Beach (in Hebrew: חוף בית ינאי). There isn’t a direct bus from Jerusalem, so if you’re arriving from there, it’s best to use a navigation app like Google Maps or Moovit to find the best route for you. If you’re coming from Tel Aviv, there is a direct bus from Tel Aviv Savidor Central railway station (number 704). You will need to get off at “Hadassah Neurim Boarding School” (in Hebrew: פנימיית הדסה נעורים) and from there continue on foot to the beach. If you’re coming from Haifa, there is a direct bus from Hof HaCarmel Central Station (number 910). You will need to get off at “Yanai Junction” (in Hebrew: מחלף ינאי). If you’re having trouble finding the right route, feel free to contact me through Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hike on the Israel National Trail:
We started our hike from the large wooden sign that stood above the beach (1). This sign talks about Welus, the first Jewish immigrants’ ship that left Europe and reached the Land of Israel as part of the Ha’apala. The ship reached this beach in July 1934, with 350 Jewish immigrants on board. The Ha’apala, which means “ascension”, went on until 1948. Thousands of Jews reached the Land of Israel this way, which was illegal at the time because of the British restrictions regarding the number of immigrates that were allowed to enter. Most of the immigrants were refugees escaping from Nazi Germany and Holocaust survivors.
Then, we went down to the beach and started walking southward. The sky had lovely pinkish colors and the weather was fantastic. After a while, we passed through some construction site on the beach itself. About 3.3 km from Bet Yanai Beach, we reached Tzukei Yam Beach (2). Here, there’s a monument for Amnon Pomerantz, who was killed by a terrorist while on reserve duty in the Buriej camp in Gaza in 1990. The monument is in the shape of a surfboard because Amnon loved the sea and was one of the first people to surf on this beach.
We continued for another 3.7 km and passed several beaches until we reached Sironit Beach (3). On the way, we saw a lot of people who were jogging, walking, or doing some other sports activity. Some of them seemed surprised to see us, with all of our hiking gear, and asked what we were doing. “Are you doing the Sea-to-Sea Trail?” someone asked us. “No, we’re doing the Israel National Trail,” we replied. The Sea-to-Sea Trail, known in Hebrew as the Yam Le’Yam Trail, doesn’t pass here at all.
At Sironit Beach we got on the Elevator to the Sea. While there was a sign that said that there was an entry fee to the elevator, there was no one who asked for payment, so we got into it and took it up to the Netanya Promenade.
Today, Netanya is known as the capital of the Sharon plain. It was established in 1929 as a moshava, which was a Jewish rural form of settlement. Many of its residents made a living from orange orchards, that were grown in the area. As the city expanded, these orchards were later covered by new buildings.
We followed the trail marks and continued on the promenade. The views of the Mediterranean Sea are breathtaking. There were places where we left the promenade for a while, but most of the way was full of beautiful sea views.
Then, after about 3.7 km, we reached the Victory Monument in Netanya (4). This magnificent monument marks the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Originally, the monument was supposed to be placed in Jerusalem, but because of the great number of Holocaust survivors and former fighters in the Red Army who live in Netanya, they changed their minds and placed it here. It was made by Salavat Scherbakov, Vasiliy Perfiliev, and Michail Naroditsky.
The first thing we saw were the huge white wings, that look like an angel’s wings. These wings are supposed to resemble peace and hope. Then, we walked through a dark tunnel with all kinds of reliefs that tell the story of the Jewish people. There’s also an option to hear audio guidance. Next to the monument, there’s also the building of Yad LaBanim, an organization that works to commemorate the fallen soldiers of Israel.
We continued to Ben Gurion Road, one of the main roads of Netanya, and walked along with it for about 1 km until we reached the left turn to the Winter Pond Park (5). The pond is one of the last remaining ponds in the Sharon plain, as most of the ponds were dried up in the early 20th century. The pond is also called Dora Pond after the military camp that existed here during the Independence War. We didn’t see the pond, maybe because we weren’t there in the right season or because we didn’t look enough, but the park was very pleasant. We stopped under one of the trees, closed our eyes, and enjoyed a few minutes of rest.
After resting a bit, we exited the park and continued a short way to a bridge over Ben Gurion Road (6). We passed over the bridge and then got a bit confused because we couldn’t find the trail mark. But soon enough, we were able to get back on track. A bit southward to the bridge, there’s a turn into the dunes.
This sandy area is called the Iris Nature Reserve. It’s full of beautiful beach plants and flowers, that grow very well in the sandy dunes. Nearby, we could see the skyscrapers of Netanya. I was really impressed that they kept this little piece of nature in the middle of the city.
We continued through the nature reserve for about 1.3 km, on a trail that overlaps a blue-marked trail, until we reached the beach (7). Then, we continued southward for another 600 meters until we reached Poleg Beach, where there was shade and a restaurant (8). Some of us went to cool down in the sea, while some of us went to get some refreshments in the restaurant. There’s an incredibly fun vibe over there, with nice music and places to sit. Though, the prices for food and drinks are quite high.
When we asked the person behind the counter if it’s allowed to camp on the beach, he said: “If you’re Israel National Trail hikers, you can stay on our deck.” We were happy to accept the offer, as it’s not so fun sleeping in sleeping bags on the sand.
That’s all for now. I wish you a fantastic hike on the Israel National Trail!
Continue to the next segment – From Poleg to Herzliya.
If you want to leave the trail after this segment – There aren’t any direct buses from Poleg Beach to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, so you’ll need to switch somewhere. You will need to enter the neighborhood of Ramat Poleg to catch a bus there. It is a 10 minutes’ walk from the beach. If you want to get to Haifa, you can catch bus number 910 from Udim Junction, which will take you directly to Hof HaCarmel Central Station in Haifa. The Udim Junction station is about 2 km from Poleg Beach.
Get ready for the trail by reading my post – The Israel National Trail: Ultimate Preparation Guide.
And check out previous segments of the Israel National Trail.
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Hiked the trail in November 2020.
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If you need any help with planning this hike, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I also offer guided hiking tours on several segments of the Israel National Trail.
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