|Get there with Google Maps||Get there with Waze||Get there with Moovit|
|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Terrain View|
|Distance: 1.5-11km||Time: 2-5 hours||Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous|
|Ascent: 60-231m||White Falls Parking||White Falls Parking|
The Golan is the best place to hike in Israel in hot weather. There are cool streams and waterfalls, each with their own unique beauty. Some of these hikes are challenging, good for people who want to push themselves to the max. And some are easy enough for little kids.
Nahal El Al is a little bit of everything.
This hike is comprised of two waterfalls at opposite ends of a stream – the Black Falls and the White Falls. And there are a few of different ways to experience these natural wonders, depending on what type of hike you’re looking for.
When we hiked Nahal El Al last week, we opted for the most comprehensive trail to scope out all the possible options. We figured that by making the hike circular, we would cover the most ground and get to see all of the beauty that Nahal El Al has to offer. And we did. There were two stunning waterfalls, a winding stream, incredible vistas, and wide open fields.
In the meantime, we were also able to pick apart the trail into manageable pieces for those looking for something easier (check out the Hikers’ Notes for these tips).
Here’s how we hiked Nahal El Al, and everything we learned from our experience:
To the Black Falls
Nahal El Al is a National Park, but there’s no entrance booth. It’s open to the public. We parked at the trailhead, next to a little Indian Camp, and headed down the red trail.
As we walked through fields of golden wild wheat, large purple flowers bounced in the wind around us. It was a warm day, and we were eager to get down into the shade. Soon, we began the climb downwards towards the Black Falls.
The descent was pretty short and fairly manageable. We found ourselves in the El Al riverbed, where water flowed over the rocks and past the trees. After switching into water shoes, we continued on towards the waterfall.
Soon we could hear the gushing noise of the falls. We peered down below towards a completely isolated pool, surrounded by pink flowers, with a little wooden bench on the side. It looked incredibly inviting, so down we climbed, still following the red trail.
We headed through the trees towards the pool and waterfall. The scene that greeted us was incredible.
Water streamed down in a gentle cascade from up above. The Black Falls, named for the dark stone on the ground and the walls of the waterfall canyon, was cool and perfect.
Birds chirped. Ivy and moss climbed up against the walls. And the sunlight peeked through the trees, sending a spray of light through the mist.
We got in closer to the falls by treading carefully over slanted, slippery ground, holding onto dangling roots for support. And then we were under the mist, under the dangling moss, in a solitary paradise.
We could have stayed there for hours. But we were only at the beginning of our journey. So, after a few more minutes, we headed back up the rock wall towards the rest of the trail.
On the Dry Trail
One of the coolest things about Nahal El Al were Israel’s seven species which grew en route. As we walked along the dry trail, red pomegranate flowers surrounded us, along with curling grape vines and fig leaves. Wild wheat grew up on all sides. And interspersed amongst the trees and reeds was an assortment of summer flowers.
It wasn’t very shady or very sunny – there was kind of a balance of sun and shade along the path. Every so often, we saw a breakaway path where we could head down towards the stream to get our feet wet, then return to the dry path refreshed.
After walking for a while, we reached a short descent to a wading pool – empty, clean, and quiet. We climbed down through the trees to rest in the shadows.
After a good dunk in the water, we returned to the dry trail towards the White Waterfall.
Birds Eye View
A couple of kilometers later, we reached the top of the White Waterfall – which was actually incredibly cool. We saw the water rushing out from the stream, over flat white rocks, and down into the canyon below.
We crossed over what seemed almost like a gentle trickle, and took the breakaway path towards the crashing fall it created down below.
The steps down were steep…and it was getting hot. We made a mental note that we would have to get seriously wet at the White Waterfall to make our journey back up tolerable.
We continued down the path, through the trees, and then we were there.
At the White Waterfall
The White Waterfall wasn’t as serene and peaceful as the Black Falls – but the pool was much, much bigger. There were people swimming in the water and relaxing on the flat rocks around. The waterfall itself was also much taller – water poured down from the stream above into the white canyon, creating a giant splash.
We knew that the white waterfall was the last place for us to stop and relax. So, we found a quiet spot in the pink flowered overgrowth and unpacked our food.
Even though there were other people in the water, it was still peaceful staring out at the falls from our spot in the shade. There’s nothing quite like setting up your lunch on a rock and watching a waterfall while you eat. TV dinner for nature lovers.
When we were done, we repacked our bag and hopped into the water. The rest of the walk was going to be in the sun, so we needed to be as wet as possible. Plus, the cool waterfall pool was incredibly refreshing.
The Long Road Home
Back in our sneakers, we started the climb out of the White Waterfall. Then we continued on a slow and steady ascent up, up, up and out of Nahal El Al.
Some of the views along the way were breathtaking. We could see the green valley down below and the multicolored mountains in the distance. One gorge on the side of the mountain was filled with rolling green, framed against a rocky backdrop. And purple flowers, of course.
After a long and hot climb out of El Al we reached the last part of the hike – a walk on the bike path (black trail) which made the hike circular and would bring us back to our car.
The Great Plains of El Al
This part of the hike was almost comical. The scene before us was beautiful to our eyes at first – fields of golden wheat, purple flowers, dried mustard blossoms.
But it just kept going and going.
On a cool day, if I wanted a nice long walk, this path would have been perfect. But it wasn’t shady, it was noon on a hot day, and after a while we were ready for it to end. But no such luck. We plowed away through the great plains above Nahal El Al. Until we reached our car about an hour later.
But no harm done. We had seen two beautiful waterfalls that day. And walked through showstopping scenery.
The waterfalls of Nahal El Al are spectacular gems of Israel. We hiked through lots of wild terrain to see them both, along with the stream that runs in between.
A visit to either one of these picture perfect El Al waterfalls would be enough to make any hiker’s day complete.
This was a really, really beautiful hike. But the way we hiked it was very looong. If you are looking for a long hike, then by all means, hike it the way we did! But here are a few options if want to try something else:
Option A– Black Falls:
|Distance: 1.5km||Time: 1 - 2 hours||Difficulty: Moderate|
Park at the Black Falls lot (the first Maps/Waze point in the table). Walk down to the Black Falls and back up. This is about 1.5 km round trip. It’s a moderate walk, but I think active kids could make it down and back up without too much trouble. There is one part that has a couple of handholds – so two adults would be required to help very small children.
I personally recommend this option! I think the Black Falls were the most beautiful part. There’s also a nice pool to swim in at the bottom of the Falls.
Option B- White Falls:
|Distance: 4 km||Time: 1.5-3 hours||Difficulty: Moderate|
Park at the White Falls lot. Walk down and back up. This option is great for people who can handle a big descent and ascent (140 m) and also want a big pool to splash around in.
Option C – One Way:
|Distance: 6.7 km||Time: 3-4 hours||Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous|
Take two cars. Park one at each lot – one at the first Waze/Maps point and one at the White Falls Lot. Hike Black Falls to White falls. Great option for anyone who wants a serious hike through beautiful scenery, who can handle an ascent, and who wants to see both waterfalls. Highly recommended.
Option D – The Circular Hike:
|Distance: 11 km||Time: 4-5 hours||Difficulty: Strenuous|
Hike it the way we did 🙂 . If you only have one car and want to hike the whole thing, you can do it this way. Just prepare for the fact that the last part of the walk, after you’re done with the waterfalls and all the climbing, is five kilometers through basically unchanging terrain. If you have a lot of time to hike and the day is overcast, this could be the option for you.
The walk is along the red trail the whole way through. Don’t miss the turnoff to the White Falls – – its marked with a white, clear, white trail marker. The bike path/black trail isn’t marked with a black trail marker, but you should see it on your left when you get up to the top of the trail. It’s labeled as a bike trail.
It’s a National Park, but there’s free entrance, and no facilities. There was a dog down by the White Falls, so I’m assuming that dogs are allowed.
Water shoes are nice to fully enjoy this hike, but you could get by without them. Make sure to bring a hat and plenty of water on a hot day.
Don’t forget to read my guide to the navigational features in this post before you hit the trail!
Trail map from Amud Anan.
Questions? Have you hiked this path? Do you have any tips for fellow hikers? Please share in the comments section below!