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Hiking in Israel

The Sea to Sea Trail: From the Med Sea to the Sea of Galilee

The Sea to Sea Trail, called Yam L’Yam in Hebrew, is one of the most refreshing trails in Israel. It starts on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, crosses a row of springs, and ends at the Sea of Galilee. My friends and I decided to hike part of it on Chol HaMoed Sukkot. We’ve already done the other part when we hiked the Israel National Trail. So, now that I’ve covered the entire Sea to Sea Trail, I can tell you it’s fun, not TOO difficult, and worth the effort! 

The trail stretches to a length of about 70 km. Most people complete it within 4 days, though it depends on your pace. If you’re fast, you can do it within 3 days. If you’re slow, you can take it easy with 5 to 6 days. In this post, I’ll break the trail down into 6 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.

*There are drinking taps along the trail. You can also bring water purifying equipment if you want to drink water from the springs along the way.

*Most of the trail has poor or no network connection. So, if you’re relying on your phone for navigation, make sure to work with an offline map.

*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 take your garbage with you, including toilet paper.

*The first part of the trail has places where you have to walk through water, so it’s good to have sandals or other shoes for walking in the water.

*Try not to hike when it is too hot (over 32 degrees Celsius) because it’s not enjoyable and can end with a heat stroke or dehydration. Many parts of the trail are exposed to the sun. Also, it’s not recommended to hike after rainfall because the trail could be muddy and slippery.  

*Pay attention to sunset hours (in summer around 6-7 PM, in winter around 4-5 PM). Try to begin each day 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.

*Before you begin the hike, make sure you have a good trail map. The trail is well marked, but it’s always good to have a map to keep track of the route. 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, keep in mind that the apps and maps are not always updated.

*The Sea to Sea Trail is marked by a purple dot. The dot always appears above another trail mark.

*If you need any further help with planning your hike, you are welcome to contact me through lior@backpackisrael.com.

Stay options on the Sea to Sea Trail:

There are several campgrounds along the trail, most of them with water taps and nothing else. If you’re not into camping, you can always find a way to get off the trail and stay in a zimmer or paid campground in the area.

Here are the main stay options on the Sea to Sea Trail:

  • The beach north of Achziv Land – There’s a stretch of beach north of Achziv Land, where you can camp for free. Just make sure to sleep as far as possible from the sea, because it may rise during the night. If you prefer a more organized place, you can stay in Achziv Land, which has a paid camping area. You can also pay and camp in the Achziv Beach National Park, but it’s open for individuals only on holidays. Located near the start of the trail.
  • HaOren Campground in Park Goren – I wouldn’t recommend this campground because it requires a steep 1.3-km detour from the trail.  But if you’re running late or too tired to continue to Abirim, you can go there. There’s supposed to be a water tap. Goren Park also offers a guesthouse and paid camping in Monfortwito Farm. Located about 15-km from the start of the trail.
  • Abirim Campground – A small free campground outside the community settlement of Abirim. There’s a water tap. It could get very crowded on holidays. There are also paid options in Abirim, like Meshek Hefer. Located about 20-km from the start of the trail.
  • Near the Elkosh Bridge – Many people camp a few meters after the old Elkosh Bridge. There’s an open space there where you can open tents. Some people climb up to the bridge itself and camp on the other side, where there’s a large dirt area. We camped in a small forest next to the Elkosh gas station, only 400 meters from the old bridge. The new bridge is a bit before the old one, so don’t get confused. Water is available in the gas station. Located about 30-km from the start of the trail.
  • Horvat Hamama – Personally, I think it’s the best campground on the Sea to Sea Trail and one of the best in the north. There’s water, chemical toilets, and plenty of space for free camping. If you want, you can also stay at the Mt. Meron Field School. Located about 40-km from the start of the trail.
  • HaPitul Campground – A small campground at the foot of Mount Meron. There’s a water tap. Update from 2021: This campground is undergoing construction until further notice, so you may not be allowed to stay here. The campground is located about 50-km from the start of the trail. Alternatively, you can hike another 6.5 km to Ein Koves Campground. There’s no water there, but you can purify the water from the spring or get water from Safed, which is about 2-km from there.
  • Campground near road 85 – A dirt campground between Upper Nahal Amud and Lower Nahal Amud. There’s a water tap about 400 meters from the campground. About 62-km from the start of the trail.

View all the campgrounds on my Google Map:

The starting point from the north is Achziv Beach. To get there, you will need to reach the Nahariya Central Station and there, take bus 27 or 31 to Achziv Beach station. From the station, walk south alongside road 4 until you reach the memorial site of Yad L’Yud Daled. It’s located right next to a bridge over Nahal Achziv. Go below the bridge, cross to the other side of the road, turn right, and you’ll reach the area where you can camp. The trail itself starts from Yad L’Yud Daled.

From Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, it takes about 3 hours to reach the trailhead by public transportation. From Haifa, it takes about an hour. So, get ready for the long ride.

The hike:

Day 1 – From Achziv Beach to Abirim Campground:

Short overview: This day is full of water! There are even places where you need to cross through the water. It’s one of the most beautiful and pleasant days on the trail, with lots of shade and foliage.

Trail length: About 20 km. Many people skip the first part of the segment and start the trail from Ein Khardalit, which shortens the trail by about 8 km.

Trail duration: About 8-12 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

Water along the way: There’s a water tap at the entrance to Yad L’Yud Daled at the start of the trail. There’s also water at the end of the segment, at Abirim Campground.

The day before, we came in the afternoon and settled on Achziv Beach. Then, we woke up early and went to fill water at Yad L’Yud Daled (1). This is the start point of the Sea to Sea Trail. Yad L’Yud Daled is a memorial site for those killed during the Night of the Bridges, an operation done by the Jewish Haganah in 1946. The aim was to destroy eleven bridges linking the Land of Israel to the neighboring countries. This way, the British army couldn’t move around the region. Two of the bridges were here, but the mission went wrong, and 14 fighters were killed.

The Achziv Beach
The entrance to Yad La’Yud Daled early morning

We filled water and then passed through the memorial site. At the top of the paved path, there’s a mass grave, where 13 of the fighters are buried. The 14th fighter is buried on Mount of Olives. We bypassed the grave from the left, turned left, and then continued down some stairs, and went on the dirt path that took us to the Sea to Sea Trail. Yes, it wasn’t exactly there, but we wanted to walk through the memorial.

Once we got on the Sea to Sea Trail (2), we continued westward alongside banana plantations and other agricultural orchards. Most of the way is paved. After about 3.3 km, we left the paved way (3) and went to the other side of the orchards. We walked on a dirt path for about 1.3 km and then reached a closed electric gate (4). There’s an opening to the left of the gate, where hikers can pass by climbing over a bar. We did that, and then a tractor came and opened the gate. Unluckily, my friend’s walking pole lay next to the gate, and it opened and crashed it. Now, my friend didn’t have a walking pole anymore. Conclusion – Always keep your walking poles near you.

After passing the gate, we reached road 70. We carefully crossed to the other side and then turned right. We continued 250 meters and then turned left to road 8911 towards Manot and Avdon (5). The trail continues alongside this road for about 1.8 km until it turns right onto another road leading to the Nahal Kziv Nature Reserve (6). After about 1.3 km we reached the gateway to the reserve (7).

Nahal Kziv is a stream that flows all year round, which is quite rare in Israel. It is the longest stream in the Western Galilee, stretching over 39 kilometers from Mount Meron to Achziv Beach. While walking alongside it, we passed by several springs.

About 280 meters from the gate, we reached our first water crossing (8). It was shallow, so not too difficult. Then, about 270 meters later, we reached another small water crossing. From there, we continued about 230 meters and then turned left and went a short while to our first spring (9). It might have been Ein Khardalit, but I’m not sure because there was no sign with a name. We sat there for a while, ate a small breakfast, enjoyed the stunning color of the water, and then continued on our way.

Our first water spring

We came back to the Sea to Sea Trail and continued on the path through enchanting foliage. Some parts of this way are shaded, but most of them are exposed to the sun.  At some point, we could see the remains of the Monfort Castle on top of a hill. It was built by the Crusaders in the early 13th century and later destroyed by Baibars, the Mamluk leader.

You can’t see it but the Monfort Castle is there on the hill…

About 3.5 km from Ein Khardalit, we reached an old pumping station from the Ottoman era (10). After resting a bit in the shade, we continued about 800 meters and reached a large structure under conservation. According to some sources, this structure was a Crusader-era dam, but it isn’t certain.

From there, we continued another 900 meters and reached an old flour mill (11). We climbed down to enter the old building, which is HUGE! Then, we climbed back to the trail and peeked at the top of the building to see the canals that led water to the mill. 

Inside the old flour mill

Beyond the flour mill comes the REAL fun. Dozens of small natural pools align the route of the stream. We stopped here and there but couldn’t stop at all of the pools, because there were so many! There are also many places where you need to cross through the water, so make sure to have your sandals at easy reach.

After about 2 km, we reached Ein Tamir (12), one of the most famous springs along Nahal Kziv. It was crowded with people because of the holiday but still looked enchanting. From there, we climbed a short set of stairs and turned right with the green-marked trail.

Water everywhere…

We continued on the green-marked trail for about 1.7 km and then turned left onto a black-marked trail (13), which started ascending towards Abirim. The ascend is about 2-km long and overall, we ascended about 260 meters. So, it wasn’t too bad. But there were places where the trail was quite steep. So, you might need to stop to breathe along the way.

The view from the climb to Abirim

At the top of the ascent, we reached the road to Abirim (14). We turned right and walked a short way to the campground, about 200 meters from the trail. It’s a tiny campground and unfortunately, it was almost full when we arrived. So, we had to lay our mattresses right next to the ashes of a fireplace, between a lot of tents. Most of the water taps were also broken, so there was only one tap that you could use, and it was spilling water on all the ground around it. So, yeah… it’s not an ideal campground, but at least there’s a campground.

Our night was full of rain and ants. I hope your night would be better.

If you want to leave the trail after this segment, there is a bus station in Abirim, where you can catch bus 40 to Nahariya. From there, you can get on a bus or train to your destination. Use Google Maps or Moovit to find the best route for you.

Day 2 – From Abirim Campground to Elkosh Bridge:

Short overview: For me, this day wasn’t so interesting. There are gradual descends and ascents along the way and a lot of trees. If you like the wood landscape, you might enjoy the spots where you can see the green forests of the Upper Galilee.

Trail length: About 9.5 km.

Trail duration: About 3-6 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Easy.

Water along the way: There’s a water tap at Abirim Campground at the start of the trail. Next, there’s a water tap at the gas station on road 89, near Elkosh Bridge, the endpoint.

We started our day early from Abirim Campground (1) and retraced our steps to the trail. The trail continues on a red-marked trail that leaves the road (2) and begins as an easy descending gravel route. After about 450 meters, we turned right onto a green-marked trail (3) and gradually started ascending through the woods.

Then, after about 1.4 km, we reached the smallest nature reserve in Israel – The Fassuta Pool (4). When we arrived there, it was completely dry. In winter, there’s supposed to be a seasonal pool, home to three amphibians – the Levant water frog, the Savigny’s treefrog, and fire salamander. It was announced a nature reserve in 2006 and is called Fassuta after the nearby Christian town.  

Fassuta Pool, the smallest nature reserve in Israel

We crossed the road and continued on the trail for about 260 meters. Then, the map told us that we had to turn left, but we didn’t see any path. There was only a pile of stones to our left. So, after walking straight for a bit, we came back and checked the pile of stones. Then we understood that we had to climb over the stones and down to the trail (5).

From there, the trail gradually descends for about 1 km, passing through some beautiful wood on the way. Afterward, it starts to gradually ascend in kind of zigzags on a boring dirt route. Near the end of the trail, it stopped zigzagging and we could see a wonderful view of the surrounding green hills. From that point, the trail starts descending towards road number 89.

Walking on the trail…
The view from above

We turned right to cross underneath a bridge of road 89 (6), known as “the New Elkosh Bridge.”A few meters later, we crossed beneath “the old Elkosh Bridge.” According to the Sea to Sea Facebook group, we could sleep a few meters after the bridge, but there was a darkish forest over there. We thought it would be too scary to sleep there. So, we climbed up to the old Elkosh Bridge, crossed it, and went a short way to the gas station on road 89 (7).

The New Elkosh Bridge

There’s not a lot of variety in this gas station’s shop, so don’t count on it for supplies. But you can get water from the water tap next to the fuel pumping machines. That’s what we did. Then, we sat down and thought about where we could spend the night. There’s a small wood next to the gas station, so we thought it could be a good place to sleep. Unfortunately, a huge wild boar came in the middle of the night and scared us out of there. To avoid those uncomfortable situations, it might be good to bring a tent.  

If you want to leave the trail after this segment, you can catch bus number 367 from Elkosh Junction to Safed Central Station and take a relevant bus from there. If you’re headed to Haifa, there’s a direct bus – line 294 from Elkosh Junction. Use Google Maps or Moovit to find the best route for you.

Day 3 – From Elkosh Bridge to Horvat Hamama:

Short overview: A very pleasant trail, that passes through a dry part of Nahal Kziv. The only serious spring on the way is the beautiful Ein Hotam. From there, you can make a short detour to the Druze village of Hurfeish and still make it back to the rest of the trail. The only challenging part is the last few kilometers that climb up to Horvat Hamama.

Trail length: About 9.3 km.

Trail duration: About 4-7 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

Water along the way: There’s a water tap at the gas station on road 89, near the starting point at Elkosh Bridge. If you’re really thirsty, you can also drink the water from Ein Hotam (about 3.7 km from the start of the trail), because it’s supposed to be drinking water. But I wouldn’t do it because some people dip in it. Then, there’s water at Horvat Hamama, the endpoint.

We left the gas station after a night without sleep and continued on the trail from the old Elkosh Bridge (1). The trail is easy yet charming, passing through the rather dry channel of Nahal Kziv. Here and there, we saw some puddles of water, which according to the map were supposed to be water springs. Only after about 3.7 km, we reached a serious spring – Ein Hotam (2).

The way to Ein Hotam
Ein Hotam

Ein Hotam is the water spring of the nearby Druze village, Hurfeish. A small cannel takes the water from the spring to a circular, shaded pool. From there, the water flows into a rectangular basin. When we were there, we saw some cows drinking from the basin. There’s a faded sign on the structure of the spring, that says that dipping in the water is forbidden. The water is intended to be drinking water, so they want to keep it as clean as possible. But there were still some people who didn’t stand the temptation and dipped inside the circular pool. Maybe they didn’t see the sign.

We stayed on the plaza next to the water spring for a while, admired the beautiful surroundings, and watched the cows walk around.

A cute cow

If you want and have time, you can take a short detour to Hurfeish, the Druze village, which is only 1.5 km from the spring. We did it on another occasion. All you need to do is go on the blue-marked trail to the north, bypass Mount Zevul, and… You’re there. The route is very easy and quite flat. On the main road of the village, road number 89, you can find several great Druze restaurants. One of them is Sambosak HaErez, which sells pastries filled with all kinds of fillings. The other one is Mefgash Elwaleed, which sells HUGE Druze pitas at very reasonable prices.

We continued on the trail for about 1.9 km, walked a bit on the riverbed stones, and reached a regional road between Hurfeish and another Druze village, Beit Jann (3). We crossed the road. Then, we turned left on the green-marked trail and walked about 270 meters until we reached a crossroad with a red-marked trail (4). We turned right onto the red-marked trail and slowly started ascending towards Horvat Hamama.

The climb up to Horvat Hamama isn’t so bad. The trail goes on for about 3.3 km, but only the last 200 meters are VERY steep. Right after the steep part, we reached the campground of Horvat Hamama (5).

The campground is called Horvat Hamama after the ancient building that stands at the entrance to the site. It was most probably part of an agricultural farm. Today, the place is well maintained, with many picnic tables, plenty of water taps, and even some chemical restrooms.  

Horvat Hamama

If you want to leave the trail after this segment, you can catch bus number 367 from the Mount Meron Field School. You will need to change a bus or two to reach central destinations. Use Google Maps or Moovit to find the best route for you.

Day 4 – From Horvat Hamama to HaPitul Campground:

Short overview: Till Horvat Hamama, the Sea to Sea Trail is quite flat. But then comes Mount Meron, the second-highest mountain in Israel. We climbed up the mountain, saw the beautiful views from the summit, and then made our way down to moshav Meron, where the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is located.

Trail length: About 10 km.

Trail duration: About 5-8 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Water along the way: There’s a water tap at Horvat Hamama, the starting point. Then, there’s water at the Peak Parking Lot (about 4.2 km from the start). There’s also a water tap at HaPitul Campground, at the end of the trail.

Important to note:

Currently (October 2021), HaPitul Campground is undergoing construction. Therefore, large groups cannot camp in the campground. You might need to continue to the next campground.

We did this part of the trail while hiking the Israel National Trail, so you can read more about it here – Climbing Mount Meron on the Israel National Trail. The following description is a short version of my experience.

From Horvat Hamama, the trail starts ascending to the top of Mount Meron on a black-marked trail (1). Mount Meron rises to a height of 1,204 meters above sea level, but don’t worry, you’ve already done most of the climb when you reached Horvat Hamama. The height from Horvat Homama to the Peak Trail is only 300 meters. Also, most of the climb isn’t very steep because the trail curves from side to side gradually.

As it climbs up Mount Meron, the trail passed through a beautiful forest. Make sure to look at the trees and plants, because there are some rare Mediterranean, Lebanese, and Turish flora on the mountain. That’s why Mount Meron was declared a nature reserve by the British.

About 1.8 km from Horvat Homama, we reached the Neriah Mountain Observation Point (2). From here, we could see a fantastic view of the surroundings. On a clear day, you can spot Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights in the distance.

The view from Mount Meron

We continued another 800 meters until we reached a trail junction with a red-marked trail (3). We turned left onto the red-marked trail and started the Peak Trail, which offers more beautiful views of the surroundings.

About 1.4 km afterward, we reached the huge parking lot on top of Mount Meron (4). There’s a water tap over there, where we filled water. Then, we started our way down the mountain on a blue-marked trail. After about 700 meters, we reached the Bak Ruins (5), the remains of a small agricultural settlement established by Yisrael Bak in the early 19th century. It is considered the first Jewish agricultural settlement in modern times. The Jewish settlers were forced to leave by the Ottomans after the surrounding Arab settlements complained about their presence.

From the Bak Ruins, we turned left onto a green-marked trail and continued descending the mountain. This part of the trail is completely exposed to the sun, so make sure to wear a hat. After about 1 km, the trail slightly turns to the left and continues as the Israel National Trail and Sea to Sea Trail, without any other mark. A short while later, we reached a memorial stone (6), built to honor the memory of the 44 people who died during the Mount Carmel forest fire in 2010. Meishar Adel Tapash, who grew up in the nearby village of Beit Jan, is one of the people who died in this tragedy. His family built the memorial.

After about 500 meters, we reached a left turn (7). We passed through a forest and then reached a point with a fantastic view and a lone tree. A lot of people stood next to the tree and looked at a hole in the ground. That hole is Ein Zeved (8), a small water spring, usually filled with water in winter. It is the breeding home of salamanders, so you can try to spot some.

From this point on, the trail starts a steeper descend. On the way, about 650 meters from Ein Zeved, there’s an impressive rock sculpture called Elijah’s Chair (9). The legend tells that when prophet Elijah will come to herald the redemption, he will sit on this chair and blow his horn.

Elijah’s Chair

We continued down the trail for about 450 meters and then reached Horvat Shema (10). This place might have been the ancient town of Tekoah of the Galilee. The huge stone structure here might have been a mausoleum of someone important.

From Horvat Shema, we turned left and continued down the curving trail to HaPitul Campground (11).  If you have time and energy, you can climb up to moshav Meron and visit the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, one of the greatest Jewish sages. Many Orthodox Jews see him as the editor of the Zohar, the chief work of the Kabbalah, one of the most important school of thoughts in Jewish mysticism.

If you want to leave the trail after this segment, multiple buses are leaving from Moshav Meron, near the endpoint of the segment. You will probably need to change 2-3 buses to reach one of the major cities like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Use Google Maps or Moovit to find the best route for you.

Day 5 – From HaPitul Campground to road 85:

Short overview: This segment passed through the upper part of Nahal Amud (Amud Stream). It’s a beautiful segment, with flowing water, ancient watermills and aqueducts, and green foliage. The second half of the trail is still beautiful, but there’s no water and it’s a bit challenging, with huge boulders that you need to climb using hand and leg bars.

Trail length: About 12.5 km.

Trail duration: About 7-9 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Moderate to hard.

Water along the way: There’s a water tap at HaPitul Campground, at the start of the trail. The next water tap is only at the campground near road 85, at the end of the trail.  

We did this part of the trail while hiking the Israel National Trail, so you can read more about it here – Hiking Upper Nahal Amud on the Israel National Trail. The following description is a short version of my experience.

We started our hike from HaPitul Campground. First, we had to cross through a short tunnel below the road (1) and then we continued straight through the Lower Meron Stream, which was dry at the time. At this point, the trail overlaps a black-marked trail and is exposed to the sun.

After about 700 meters, we reached the entrance to Nahal Amud Nature Reserve (2). It’s not the official entrance, so there’s no need to pay anything. Then, after about 1.8 km, we reached a trail crossroad and turned left with the black-marked trail (3). We climbed down a long set of stairs and then turned right, deeper into the reserve. About 190 meters afterward, we turned left with the black-marked trail (4) and went down a set of stairs to an area above the flowing stream.

The sound of the gushing water accompanied us for a while. If you want, you can go down and wade in the pools. We didn’t do it, though, because it was too early in the morning. The well-marked trail continues through the forest, above the flowing water and small cascades. There are a few places where we had to cross the stream, but it was easy to do.

After about 500 meters, we reached a sign that said we’ve arrived at a stream junction (5). So, from this point on, we’re leaving Meron Steam and continuing with the Amud Stream. We turned left, climbed down a set of stairs, and crossed to the other side of the stream. Then, we turned right onto a blue-marked trail and went another 600 meters until the Sechvi Pools (6). This is where the Sechvi Stream meets the Amud Stream, and it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the reserve.

The Sechvi Pools

From the Sechvi Pools, we continued on the black-marked trail, on a trail exposed to the sun. As we walked, we passed by ancient ruins of flour mills. Nahal Amud is called “Wadi Tawachin” in Arabic, which means “The Mill Stream,” because there are many flour mills along its banks. About 500 years ago, some of those buildings were used for fulling, a step in wool cloth creation.

After about 2 km, we reached a junction with a blue-marked trail (7). The blue-marked trail turns left, towards Ein Koves, an optional camping spot that is 0.5 km away. It also leads to Safed, which is only 2 km away. If you want to visit Safed, you could take the trail from here and return to the Sea to Sea Trail the next day.

 We continued on the black-marked trail and after a short while reached a warning sign: “Danger of falling. Pit ahead!” Then, we climbed up a long set of steep steps, which had a railing next to them. Below us, we could see the beautiful view of the dry wadi of Nahal Amud. Then, we reached a long, metal ladder that led us downwards, into the wadi (8). Right afterward, there’s a short but challenging ascent to the other side of the wadi.

“Danger, pit ahead!”

From then on, we continued on this side of the wadi, which was almost always exposed to the sun. To the right, we could see the stunning views of the wadi. On the path itself, we had to pass many boulders. There are hand bars and railings attached to the boulders, so get ready for some rock climbing.

One of the railings

Near the end of the segment, we left the cliff and got onto a wide, flat path. In the distance, we could see road number 85, which separates Upper Galilee from Lower Galilee. It also separates Upper Nahal Amud and Lower Nahal Amud.  

Then, we reached a big tree (9), turned left, and ascended about 35 meters on a wide path. We reached a green gate and a sign pointing left towards drinking water. The drinking tap is a bit off the trail, next to the Nahal Amud pumping station (10).

From the green gate, we continued about 300 meters to the campground near road 85, also known as Nahal Akbara Campground (11). It’s a flat, open space with no facilities.

Day 6 – From road 85 to the Sea of Galilee:

Short overview: This day passes on the riverbed of Lower Nahal Amud. There are some interesting sites on the way, like the “Gichon,” the prehistoric Golgolet Cave, and the rock pillar that gave the stream its name. Though, most of the way it’s just walking on riverbed stones, on a trail exposed to the sun. Good thing that it ends on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where you can refresh yourselves.

Trail length: About 11 km.

Trail duration: About 5 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Easy.

Water along the way: There’s a water tap near the campground near road 85, at the start of the trail. Next, you’ll find water only on the Sea of Galilee beaches, at the end of the trail.

We did most of this trail while hiking the Israel National Trail, so you can read more about it here – Hiking Lower Nahal Amud on the Israel National Trail. The following description is a short version of my experience + some additions.  

We left the campground near road 85 (1), walked to the traffic roundabout and turned right with the trail. The trail took us to a tunnel below the road, so we crossed through it, and then started descending to the riverbed of Nahal Amud.

At the end of the descend, we continued on the trail, passed a cattle gate (2) and tried to keep track of the trail marks. It wasn’t so easy because there was a lot of foliage and stones everywhere. Oh, and it was dark. But at the end, we managed to find the trail and continued through the dry wadi with no major ascents or descends.  

About 4.2 km from the start of the trail, we reached the “Gichon” (3). To our right, we could see a long set of concrete stairs leading to the top edge of the wadi. Underneath those stairs are U-shaped water pipes, that make their way from one edge of the wadi to the other and transport water by communicating vessels. It belongs to “Mekorot,” the Israeli national water company.

The “Gichon”

We continued another 1.6 km and reached the “Amud” (4), a huge chalk pillar rising to a height of 20 meters. This pillar is what gave the stream its name, Nahal Amud. In Hebrew, “Nahal” means “stream” and “amud” means “pillar.”

The “Amud”

About 440 meters afterward, we reached road 8077 (5). We crossed below the road and then continued for about 340 meters until we reached the Golgolet Cave (6). In Hebrew, “Golgolet” means “skull.” In 1925, Francis Turville-Petre discovered the “Galilee skull” in this cave. It was the first fossilized archaic human found in western Asia. It was also the first paleontological excavation in the Land of Israel.

We continued on the fully exposed path for about 830 meters and then turned right with the black-marked trail (7). There was a small basalt stone bridge to our left, which might have been a carriage bridge during the British mandate.

A bit after the bridge, the Sea to Sea Trail turns left with the black-marked trail and continues on the riverbed of Nahal Amud. After about 1.4 km, it crosses below road 90. Then, it continues a short while to an undeclared beach of the Sea of Galilee, which is usually covered with thorns. So, instead of ending the trail there, you can continue northward about 1.5 km to the Green Beach (8). It is free to enter on foot, so it’s a great ending point!  

To get back by public transport, you can get on bus 541 from “Hof Hukok/ Atar Sapir” station on road 90 and get off at Tiberias Central Station. From there, you can catch a bus to your destination. Use Google Maps or Moovit to find the best route for you.


Hiked the trail on September 2021.

If you liked this post or found it useful, would really appreciate a like, a share and a comment (:

If you need any help with planning this hike, feel free to contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com.

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Yours,

Lior.

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