|Get there with Google Maps||Get there with Waze||Get there with Moovit|
|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Terrain View|
|Distance: 2.6km||Time: 1 hour||Difficulty: Easy|
|Ascent: 70m||Trailhead and Markers Gallery|
Click here to go straight to hike notes.
This past Friday, we almost missed out on our weekly hike.
We had two very important kids’ parties to attend that morning. But the weather outside was so beautiful. We were experiencing a mid-winter spring: sunshine and warm temperatures right in the middle of February. It felt sacrilegious to skip our morning hike.
So, after all of the parties were over, we packed our three youngest children in the car and set off for Haruvit Forest. We remembered a trail that would be just about right for the short time we had.
Shvil Ben Haselaim, or The Boulder Trail is a stroller friendly/ handicapped accessible hike in the woods. It’s only about 3 kilometers to make a full loop out of the trail. At this time of year, Haruvit forest is green, beautiful, and full of wildflowers.
Not only that, but the road to the trailhead passes by picnic areas and large playgrounds. If we had some extra time after our hike, the kids would have a place to play.
Haruvit Forest didn’t let us down. My kids had lots of fun chasing butterflies, finding wildflowers, and discovering all sorts of other surprises on the trail. We enjoyed the spring-like weather in a beautiful place.
Here’s how we walked The Boulder Trail in Haruvit Forest:
We followed the path from the parking lot. A big sign led us in the right direction.
The weather was beautiful, and so were our surroundings. But even under ideal conditions, it takes a few minutes for our kids to get into the hiking spirit. Especially when they’re experiencing a post party sugar crash.
So, we got them immersed in the exciting task of searching for red anemones. These wildflowers can be found on almost any forest floor in Israel starting in mid-February.
The kids left the path to go searching.
They found their first flower close to the trail. Bending close, my 4 year old son caressed the flower carefully, repeating aloud the lesson he learned in school: No picking wildflowers!
They scurried further into the woods in pursuit of new flower discoveries.
As we followed the path, it led us on a zig zag back and forth through the trees. The kids took “shortcuts” by running through the forest to get to the next part of the path.
After a while, they got tired. They have little legs, after all.
But the nice thing about Shvil Ben Haselaim is that there are lots of great stopping points. There are cute little benches along the side of the trail, rocks to sit on, and even a few picnic tables scattered along the path.
We took a short break in the forest, giving everyone a chance to rest their legs before continuing our long journey through the trees.
More Fantastic Finds
As we walked, we saw tall wildflowers blooming in between the clusters of red blossoms. My son insisted that he saw a butterfly on one white flower. I leaned in to look but saw nothing.
And then the butterfly flitted away from its camouflage petal, exposing itself for all to see.
We heard frogs croaking in one pile of grasses and rocks. But search as we might, we couldn’t find the source of the noise.
And as we turned the bend onto the red trail, larger patches of red blossoms appeared. My boys sped down the hill towards the flowers, ready to dance in flower fields.
The Plan for the Day: No Plan
Sometimes, all we want is to walk in nature without any real goal in mind.
For us, no plan means we can discover giant sticks (which become magic wands) along the way. It means that we can stop to take in whatever beautiful view the world has to offer. In this case, it was green hills that only look this verdant and lush in the winter season.
As we wandered down the hill, we passed over a cattle guard- a slatted metal grate designed to prevent cows from crossing over. New-found sticks in hand, my kids pretended they were cows with magic wands that let them cross.
Down the hill, then a right onto the brown trail and we were back at the trail head. We hadn’t covered a particularly large area that day.
But we had spent a wonderful afternoon in nature, a short drive from home. Walking through forests, spotting wildflowers, and running through tall grass: these experiences add beauty to everyday life. I’m grateful that we have places like Haruvit Forest to wander through.
And no, we never made it to the playground.
Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail:
- This trail is suitable for all seasons. The first part of the hike is well shaded. The second half is out in the sun, and not practical for very hot days.
- This whole hike is stroller friendly. The first part of the trail (the part that is actually called the Boulder Trail) is totally flat and handicapped accessible. The trail is lined with stones that can be tapped for guidance. The official handicapped accessible part of the trail is one way (not circular).
- Suitable for dogs.
- Free entry. There are picnic tables, playgrounds, and bathrooms not far from the trailhead.
- The Boulder Trail isn’t really marked by color. To walk this hike, follow the Ben Haselaim asphalt path, then make a right onto red at the very end. The red brings you most of the way back. From red, make a right onto brown to get back to your car.
- Use the gallery of trail marker images to find your way on the trail.
- You can use the attached KKL trail map to help you figure out which way you are going. Start at the black trail where it says “Shvil Ben Haselaim.” When you reach the blue trail on the map, make a right. In real life, the blue trail is marked as a red trail. When you reach the red dotted line trail (marked brown in real life), make a right to get back to your car.
Combine this with a trip to Tel Tzafit, right up the road.
Don’t forget to read my guide to the navigational features in this post before you hit the trail.
Questions? Have you visited Haruvit Forest? Let’s hear about it in the comments!
4 thoughts on “Wander in a Woodland – Haruvit Forest”
I tried camping here with 2 friends very recently in preparation for hiking in this forest the following day. FYI this forest becomes overrun with “arsim” and Arabs after dark who all come and blast loud music. This occasion was the nearest I’ve ever come to using my pepper spray. Around midnight, the situation between the Arabs and the “arsim” got to the point where it was making us nervous and we pulled up camp and peeled out of there as fast as we could. My friend and I drove to the nearby kibbutz and pulled off near the main kibbutz gate where there was good lighting, locked the doors and tried to sleep in my car until morning. In the morning, we drove back to Haruvit Forest where we had tried to camp and there was no sign of what had gone on in the middle of the night. Just normal people out jogging, biking, walking dogs, etc. My friend and I had a lovely hike through this forest – it’s really pretty and not a difficult route – which made up for the rough night.
Thanks for your detailed comment!
I took my parents to this trail on Thursday, as my father is in a wheelchair.
They really enjoyed the ‘between the rocks’ trail and we took breaks to enjoy the view and the shade.
Unfortunately I had missed the bit in your notes that it isn’t a circular trail, and there didn’t seem to be a proper marking that the handicapped part of the trail had ended, so we carried on way too far, and ended up on the 4×4 track, lost, hot and bothered, with two overwhelmed 80 year olds and not enough water….
We needed to be rescued, it was quite stressful, and they were very upset at the end.
One day I’ll go back and check again if there were clear signs that we just missed, but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t well-marked that we should turn back.
Thanks for your comments. I’m sorry that the hike didn’t end well for you!