The Best Hikes in Israel (in My Opinion)

Israel is a perfect place for people who like hiking. There are many hiking trails all around the country, even in the desert. Many people hike on short day hikes over the weekend. But there are also long treks that offer a glimpse into the diverse landscapes of Israel. Most aren’t TOO difficult, so even beginner hikers can try them out. In this post, I want to share with you a list of what I believe are the best hikes in Israel. But let’s start with some tips for making the most of your hiking trip in Israel.

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When is the best time to hike in Israel?

Israel’s most popular hiking season is spring, from around mid-February to May. That’s when everything blossoms, even in the desert. In the north, everything is green, and the streams are flowing. Weather is usually pleasant, with temperatures ranging around 20-25 degrees Celcius during the day in March-May. In February, the temperature could be colder, and you might still need something warm during the night. The only problem with this season is that there is more chance of rain, especially in February-March, so you might need to change your plans.

Another popular hiking season is fall, in October-November. This is also a pleasant season, right after the summer. The landscapes are a bit yellowish in the north, but there are still many green places thanks to the water springs that emerge here and there. In the desert, it looks more or less the same as in spring, just without the flowers. Temperatures range around 25-30 degrees Celcius during the day, so you might need to start your days early. But the nights will be much warmer than in springtime, so you’ll need less equipment. 

The 5 best day hikes in Israel

Israel has some beautiful day hikes all around Israel, so it’s hard to pick the best ones. But here are some of my favorite day hikes in Israel so far:

Mount Sodom hike

This is a great trail to hike while you’re in the Dead Sea area. It takes you up Mount Sodom, a geological wonder, and offers a beautiful view of the Dead Sea evaporation pools. The only minus is that it’s not a circular trail, so if you’re coming in one car, you’ll need to retrace your steps back to the start point.

It’s a 2.5-km linear trail. 5-km round trip.

How long? It takes about 1.5 hours in each direction.

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Where? The Judean Desert, Dead Sea area.

Read my full Mount Sodom trail description

The Nekarot Horseshoe hike

In my opinion, this is definitely one of the most beautiful day hikes in Israel. The setting is Makhtesh Ramon, the largest erosion crater in Israel, so you’ll be hiking in a desert full of shapes and colors. On the trail, you pass by an ancient inn from the time of the Nabataeans, climb up to Mount Saharonim for a fantastic view of the crater, and then climb down to walk through the horseshoe and see a few beautiful dikes.

It’s a 13.3-km circular trail.

How long? About 6 hours.

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Where? Negev Desert, Makhtesh Ramon.

Read my full Nekarot Horseshoe description

Nahal Arugot hike

If you’re looking for a recommended water hike in Israel – I highly recommend Nahal Arugot. This stream is in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve but is a bit off the beaten track. Most people who visit the reserve hike Nahal David (read more about Nahal David here). But I like Nahal Arugot better because it includes much more parts that pass through the stream itself, which makes it more exciting. Make sure to bring your waterproof shoes or sandals.   

It’s a 3.3-km linear trail. 6.6-km round trip.

How long? About 4 hours.

Difficulty level: Easy, for the whole family.

Where? The Judean Desert, Dead Sea area.

Read my full Nahal Arugot hike description

Mount Meron Peak Trail

This is a fun trail that takes you to the top of Mount Meron, the second-highest mountain in Israel. I recommend staying the night at the Horvat Homama Campground and climbing up the mountain for sunrise. The view from the top is fantastic, and the vegetation on the mountain is also beautiful. You can walk around the Peak Trail at the top and then climb back down to Horvat Homama, or you can climb down in another direction to the settlement of Meron.

If you choose to hike back to Horvat Homama, it will be around 8 km, including the Peak Trail. If you decide to continue down to the settlement of Meron, it will be about 10 km.

How long? It takes about 5-8 hours, depending on the trail you choose to do.

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Where? The Upper Galilee.

Read my full Mount Meron trail description (as part of the Israel National Trail)

The Red Canyon hike

The Eilat Mountain region is full of stunning trails, thanks to the gorgeous colors of the mountains. But one of the most popular and beautiful trails is the Red Canyon. It takes you through a small canyon made of reddish sandstone and includes some climbing down bars and ladders.

The family-friendly circular trail is only about 2 km long. Still, if you want to do more, you can continue on the longer circular route, which takes about 5 km. 

How long? It takes about 2-4 hours, depending on your chosen trail.

Difficulty level: The short trail is family-friendly. The longer route is moderate.

Where? The Eilat Mountains.

Read my experience from the Red Canyon

The best long hikes in Israel

Israel has some hikes which require more than a day. Most long trails in Israel take about a week, but there’s also the Israel National Trail, the longest trail in Israel, which takes about two months to complete. Personally, I have only hiked four long trails in Israel: the Israel National Trail, the Golan Trail, the Sea to Sea Trail, and the Ramot Menashe trail. I think all of those trails are fantastic, so here is a short review of each one:

The Israel National Trail

The Israel National Trail is the most popular in Israel. Some hike it fully, and some hike a small portion each weekend. It spreads to a length of over 1,000 kilometers from the north to the south. On the way, you’ll pass through green landscapes, by the Sea of Galilee, along the Coastal Plain, near Jerusalem, down to the Dead Sea, and through the Negev Desert all the way to Eilat. You’ll pass by small villages, historical and archeological sites, and beautiful views. It’s breathtaking. The landscapes change all the time, and you always meet someone interesting on the way.

It’s best to start the trail in September or October from the north or in February or March from the south.

Read my full guide to the Israel National Trail

The Golan Trail

I love Golan Heights. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful region and definitely one of the best hikes in Israel. It has ancient dormant volcanoes, forests, historical battlefields, and fantastic views of the Sea of Galilee from above. So, if you’re interested in a long trail that isn’t TOO long – the Golan Trail would be my first pick.

The trail is about 120 kilometers long and makes its way from the slopes of Mount Hermon in the north to Ein Aqov in the south. Many add a few more kilometers and end at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Usually, the trail takes about a week, but it could take less or more, depending on your pace.

It’s best to hike this trail in springtime when everything is green and blossoming. But fall is also ok. It will just be more yellow.

Read my full guide to the Golan Trail

The Sea to Sea Trail

The Sea to Sea Trail is also a very popular trail in Israel. Many people hike it during springtime when the weather is ideal for getting into the water sources. The trail connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee. On the way, it passes through the beautiful and flowing Kziv Stream, several water springs, Mount Meron, and Amud Stream. Not all parts of the trail include water, but you usually get at least one water source each day. If you like dipping in natural water, this could be your trail.  

The trail is about 70 kilometers long, so most people finish it within 3 to 5 days. When I hiked the trail with my friends, it took us 6 days. So, it really depends on your pace.

Springtime is the best season for this trail, from around March to May.

Read my full guide to the Sea to Sea Trail

The Ramot Menashe Trail

The Ramot Menashe Trail is one of the shortest long trails in Israel. It is only about 65 km long and usually takes about 4 days to complete it. The trail passes through the beautiful region of Ramot Menashe, between Mount Carmel and Mount Amir. And it’s highly recommended for flower lovers who want to see Israel blossom in springtime. 

Read my full guide to the Ramot Menashe Trail

Conclusion

Israel is a paradise for people who like hiking. It is covered hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging and from short to long. Whether you’re looking for a nice day hike or want to start planning a long hike – Israel has you covered. Hope the list of recommended hiking trails will help you choose your hikes in Israel. 

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Yours,

Lior

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