Jerusalem Hikes for Summertime- 6 Trails You Can’t Miss

Jerusalem – it’s Israel’s capital city, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.  Most people who come to Israel stay in Jerusalem for part of their trip, if not the whole time.

But did you know that Jerusalem is not only home to the world’s top holy sites, but also part of one of the most beautifully forested regions in all of Israel?  Jerusalem’s mountainous terrain means temperate weather and beautiful views – if you can find a place to enjoy them.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to the best summertime hikes around the Holy City.  Whether you’re visiting Jerusalem or you live there full time, it’s incredible to experience the vast natural beauty in and around the city.

These top five favorite hikes for summer in Jerusalem will help you get started:

The Schuster Trail

First things first.  Any hike in Israel in the summertime needs to be somewhat shaded.  No matter the weather, that intense Mediterranean sun really beats down in the summertime.  So, if you’re out hiking you’ll want to be somewhere where there are plenty of trees.

First up on the list is a short, sweet, and beautiful hike in Nes Harim, in the area around Jerusalem.  The Schuster Trail is great for kids and adults alike.  It’s a two kilometer trek that takes you past stunning mountain views.

Jerusalem hikes for summer
Climbing trees on the Schuster Trail.

The entire length of the path is covered with overhanging oak trees.  And there are lots of carved out benches under tree canopies along the way. 

Even young children will enjoy climbing over boulders and following the trail markers through this short but adventurous hike.  Make sure to plan a stop for popsicles near the little café at the end.

Click here to for free maps and to read the full post.

Israeli Breakfast Without the Guilt

 Nothing says Jerusalem like an ice cold limonana and an extravagant Israeli breakfast. If you’re going to go on a hike, you deserve to lounge around at a gorgeous outdoor café at the end.

This off the beaten track hike to Café Derech HaGefen starts off from the cute and quaint neighborhood of Ein Karem.  The path follows the Israel trail down a set of stone steps through the beautiful backcountry of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem hikes for summer
Hike through the countryside to the best brunch in town.

You’ll have a hard time believing that you’re still in the Holy City as you pass through the countryside, with trailing bougainvillea in some places and forest views in others.  But at the end of the trail, you’ll arrive in another one of Jerusalem’s best neighborhoods – Beit Zayit.

From here, you’ll turn up the road towards Café Derech HaGefen, probably the best brunch spot in all of Jerusalem.  The outdoor part of the café is in a garden center – so you don’t have to leave the great outdoors behind while you sip on your iced latte.

This is my favorite cheater’s hike in all of Israel.

Click here for the full post and free maps.

Har Eitan Loop Trail

If you’re looking for a hike around a mountain that will actually get your pulse rate up, Har Eitan is it.  This eight kilometer trail is so beautiful.  Between the views out to the peaks in the distance and the thick forest on the other side, this hike really highlights the majesty of the Jerusalem mountains.

Jerusalem hikes for summer
On the Har Eitan loop trail.

One of the best things about this path is that it is stroller friendly.  The pathway is even the whole way through.  So it works equally well for older people (who can handle the distance) and families with babies.

This is one of the first great hikes I discovered in the Jerusalem area – and I still consider it to be the Best Hike in Jerusalem.

Click here for the full post and free maps.

Beit Itab Trail

If you’re hiking with family, you need something that’s going to keep the kids entertained while still giving you maximum exposure to nature’s beauty.  If that’s what you’re looking for, the trail to Beit Itab has got it.

On the trail to Beit Itab.

This 3.5 kilometer hike is also about 30 minutes from Central Jerusalem.  It starts off in an immense and beautiful forest park, with fire pits, playground equipment, and picnic benches in every nook and cranny.  The path continues down a shady hillside past picturesque vineyards.  Then hikers can walk up towards some caves and out to an ancient crusader fortress, a spring, and several wells.

This path is short and shady and perfect for summertime.  Go in the late afternoon, and when you get to the end make a bonfire to roast hot dogs for dinner.  Can anyone say summer?

Click here for the full post and free maps.

The Springs Trail Jerusalem

Nothing is better on a summertime hike than a watering hole – and the Springs Trail has a bunch of them.

This three kilometer hike may start off in the sun, but before you know it you’ll reach an area with lots of caves to explore and tall trees all around.  My kids love this part of the hike – there are so many places to climb.

Jerusalem hikes for summer
A cave on the path at the Springs Trail.

After a kilometer or so, the trail leads to several natural springs.  There are a couple of deep ones for real swimmers, and a shallow one which is perfect for little kids.  The water may look murky, but it is constantly flowing from clean springs in the rocks.  Which means that a dip in any of these pools is incredibly cool and refreshing on a hot day.

The Springs Trail starts from Yad Kennedy in the Jerusalem mountains.

Click here for the full post and free maps.

Nahal Prat

I can’t write about Jerusalem area hikes without mentioning Nahal Prat.  This water hike isn’t technically in the Jerusalem area, but it only takes about thirty minutes to get there.

Jerusalem hikes for summer
Wet fun at Nahal Prat.

Nahal Prat is a beautiful natural oasis in the desert.  It can be a bit crowded in the summertime, but all it takes is a little exploring to find your own quiet place to spend the day splashing in the water.

If you’re with little kids, take the short path to the left and find your own secret hideaway by breaking off towards the stream.  More adventurous hikers can follow the long trail to the right to walk along Nahal Prat as it flows.  There are several picture-perfect pools to choose from along the path.

Click here to read the full post for the short hike.

Click here to read the full post for the long hike.

We may not think of Jerusalem as a hiker’s hot spot, but this special city is surrounded by mountains, forests, and incredible natural beauty. Experience the Jerusalem wilderness this summer with these six incredible hikes around the Holy City.

Jerusalem hikes for summer
Hiking the long trail at Ein Prat.

Do you live in Jerusalem? Are you visiting this summer? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!

Click through the links up above to read the full hike posts, complete with photos, free maps, and GPS links. For more great hikes in the Jerusalem area, check out this table, organized by length and difficulty.

Don’t forget to read my guide to the navigational features in these posts before you hit the trail.

Susannah Schild
Cooler times on the trail.

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