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|Distance: 1km||Time: 1-3 hours||Difficulty: Easy|
You can’t go to the Golan in the summertime without hiking through Majrase.
This waterway trail, located in the Betiha Nature Reserve, is a classic warm weather hike that appeals to people of all ages. Majrase is the place where several Golan streams merge together on their way to the Kinneret. It sort of feels like an exotic jungle river in Africa – with reeds, bamboo, and tall trees all around.
This past week, we hiked through Majrase with our three youngest kids. It wasn’t our first time hiking there, so we knew that we had to come prepared to get very wet.
But every time you hike a trail, it’s a new experience. We relived some old memories and made some new ones while we waded our way through the Majrase Trail.
After a Rainy Winter
Majrase is located in a Nature Reserve, so after we showed our Parks Card, we got to take advantage of the great facilities there. We got a map and suited up in the changing rooms, then set out on the path.
The trail is divided into numbered sections. We had been told by the Parks worker that the first few sections were closed, due to intense flooding following our rainy winter.
We went down to peek in at the closed part of the trail. The water was pouring down from the river upstream, flooding the trail. And the river was so full that some of the green painted trail markers were submerged.
Let’s Get Wet
We hurried along the dry trail to get to section four – the first part of the river that was open to hikers. What was nice about the dry trail was that it was flat and shady – no suffering in the sun for visitors who want to come along but don’t want to go into the water.
When we reached the fourth entry point, the kids ran towards the water. They were really ready (as always) to get wet.
We hopped into the stream. It was a little cold (it wasn’t a particularly warm day), but not too bad. And the river was shallow enough that all of the kids could stand in it. Which meant that I could walk through with my camera too.
We waded through the river – with a little bit of splashing along the way. My ten-year old daughter started a water fight. My seven-year old son jumped around, petrified that a fish would nibble on his toes (we didn’t see any fish, though). And my three-year old held onto my husband for protection against the suddenly rough waters.
Down the River
After getting thoroughly soaked, we continued wading through the Majrase stream, through overhanging trees and tall reeds all around. The scene was so exotic that we half expected to see a giant snake slithering around a tree branch.
We didn’t see any snakes, but we did see a large turtle perched on a tree.
Before long, the water began to get deeper. And soon, we saw a sign that said that the rest of the trail was for swimmers only.
We could have easily continued the whole way through, but my boys were getting cold and I wanted to keep my camera dry. So, the three of us climbed out of the water to continue on the dry path while my husband and daughter swam the rest of the way through.
Back on Dry Land
Back on dry land, the boys ran to wait for the swimmers at the end. But even the dry path was pretty all by itself. We passed by a beautiful grove of trees and wandered through vine archways.
At the end of the line, there’s a ramp leading down into the water and lots of rocks to sit on. My older son laid flat on the ground in the sunshine, trying to warm up. But my younger son went back into the water, eager to resume the splashing games.
A few minutes later, my husband showed up, swimming through with my daughter on his back. We played for a little while longer in the shallow water, then headed back down to the trailhead.
We only had a couple of hours to spend at Majrase, but a trip through this picturesque river pathway could easily take a whole morning. With plenty of shade, beautiful scenery, and lots of cool clean water, Majrase is the perfect place to hike on a hot day.
When we went it was empty (it wasn’t a day off). But on a summer day, the place gets pretty busy. That said, I never remember it being unpleasantly crowded when we were there.
There’s a paved dry path next to the trail and several places to approach the wet trail along the way. So even if you have a stroller along, you can walk the dry path and pop in to the wet part of the trail for water fun.
It’s a National Park, so there’s a fee to get in. Or show your parks card (worthwhile if you visit a few parks a year!) And there’s a little store, maps, bathrooms – pretty much everything you need. There’s also a beautiful shady picnic area near the trailhead.
I didn’t include a Google Earth file for this one because its completely self explanatory. And there are maps at the site. Just follow the Waze link to get there and go have a blast!
Questions? Tips for other hikers? Leave them in the comments below!