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|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Trailhead and Markers Gallery|
|Distance: 10km||Time: 3 hours||Difficulty: Moderate|
|Ascent: 260m||Main Ayalon Trail Parking||Main Ayalon Trail Parking|
When seeking out warmer weather in the wintertime, Park Canada is one of our favorite places to go. It’s not far from our home near Jerusalem. But the temperature always seems to be about 10 degrees warmer in Central Israel where Park Canada is located.
This past Friday, we figured that Park Canada would be a great place to go for a warm, spring-like hike through blossom lined pathways. We scouted out a long trail on the map (The Ayalon Single Trail) and headed in that direction.
Much to our delight, the beauty began even before we reached the trail head. On our way into the park, we were greeted by rows and rows of almond trees, in glorious full bloom.
The trail itself was just what we expected – sunny, green, and covered with wildflowers. We had come at the perfect time of year for lush color. The scenery remained enchanting for all 10 kilometers of the trail.
Here’s how we walked the Ayalon Single Path in Park Canada:
Party Time at Park Canada
We weren’t the only ones who were out to see spring blossoms. Before we got on the trail, we reached orchards of almond trees. Several cars were pulled over on the side, their passengers walking along the rows of falling petals.
We stopped for a quick photo, then continued on our way.
From where we parked, we had the choice to make an immediate left onto the red trail towards the remains of a Roman Bathhouse – a cool place to explore. But we could hear the voices of merrymakers who had beat us to the ruins. We were looking for some peace and quiet.
So, instead, we made a right to follow the red path out towards the middle of nowhere.
The Red Trail
On most days, the red trail is called the red trail because, well, it’s marked in red.
But on the day that we walked it, the trail worked extra hard to earn its name. All along the side of the path were blossoming anemone flowers, peeking up from the grass, their petals open towards the shining sun.
The trail itself was a narrow pathway, hugged on both sides by tall grass and thick greenery. As bikers rode down the trail (which happened at some frequency), we moved to the side to let them pass.
We were eager to relax in a field of flowers and drink our morning coffee. So after a few minutes of walking, we climbed off of the pathway into an area thick with overhanging trees, vines, and greenery and found some rocks to sit on.
A Place to Ourselves
It had almost seemed like Park Canada was too populated for any quiet that day. But just a few meters off the trail, we had a whole world of wonder all to ourselves.
In the distance, we could see almond blossoms falling, the last petals still clinging to the tips of the branches. Between the crimson anemones in the grass, pink cyclamen flowers bloomed in the shady patches, more reclusive than their sun loving friends.
We poured our coffee and sat in silence, enjoying the perfect warm weather on a winter day. Every once in a while, we heard bikes whiz by in the distance, the faint noise barely disturbing the quiet.
On to See the Sights
After breakfast, we were ready to see all the sights that Park Canada had to offer. Back on the trail, we followed the red flowers towards another open field.
A faint noise came from the distance. And looking up, we saw a family of cows, relaxing on the red carpet.
I approached slowly, carefully, trying very hard not to disturb the animals’ slumber. But you just can’t sneak up on a sleeping animal. The mother cow arose, and headed towards her babies, mooing loudly at us.
In response, one of the little calves stood up, bleated, and went over to its mother to start suckling.
Follow the Path
From cows, we moved on to pine forests, twisty back and forth pathways, and more and more wildflowers. Although long, the Ayalon Single Trail wasn’t a difficult path to walk. As we hiked, we ascended ever so slightly. And after many kilometers of walking, we found ourselves looking down from above at the entrance to the park.
The view was beautiful from up there. In the distance, we saw the reservoir, blue and gleaming in the sunlight. Around it stood the almond blossom orchards we had driven through to at the beginning.
We neared the end of the first half of the trail and reached an official lookout. Here, several families gathered for picnics. A parking area was just beyond the lookout, filled with the hubbub of bikers, hikers, and picnickers.
We made our way through the lot, following signs back towards the red trail.
Along a Rocky Ridge and Back Down Again
From this point, the red trail followed a rocky ridge. Red flowers were few and far between. Instead, they were replaced by tall stalks, covered with little white blossoms, popping up between the rocks.
We followed the trail markers carefully, heading downward at a slow and steady pace. On we traveled, through clusters of trees and back out again. Soon, we were walking on the very outskirts of the park, back in fields of yellow blossoms.
As we approached the bottom, we could see that we were getting close to a more popular area of the park. First sign: the smell of strong coffee, its source revealed as we passed a young man, guitar on his lap and camping stove at his feet.
After a bit more walking, we arrived at a series of old structures, rich with greenery growing from every crevice. Nearby, every tree hung down like a protective canopy. An overgrown carpet of green created a jungle between ancient ruins.
I Say Goodbye, You Say Hello
On the last leg of the trail, we finally reached Beit HaKshatot (The Arches House), the Roman ruins that we veered away from at the start of the trail. During the Ottomon Period, the arched structure had been turned into a cistern. So, it now remains, filled with water in the winter months.
For some reason, Beit HaKshatot was the place to be in Park Canada on that warm Friday. The site was swimming with teens and young adults, some of whom were literally swimming in the murky waters.
At Beit HaKshatot, we took our final pictures of the day, then said goodbye to the crowds as we finished our walk through Park Canada. After a few minutes, we were back at the trailhead.
As we headed out of the park, we relished the quiet beauty as we wandered back through the almond blossoms. The Ayalon Single Trail had given us exactly what we needed that day: warm weather, a long walking path, and a sweet taste of spring.
Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail:
- This path is designed as a bike trail. You’ll most likely encounter cyclists on the path.
- Suitable for dogs.
- Best for fall, winter, and spring. Not ideal for hot, summer days.
- The trail is circular.
- There are two places to start this trail. We started near Beit Hakshatot. The road to this entrance is not paved, and can be muddy. Not recommended for small cars. Enter with care! Or park further out and walk.
- For a more secure place to park, start at the official beginning of the Ayalon Trail (It’s at the lookout we crossed through in the middle of our hike). From here, follow the red trail all the way around and back (reaching Beit HaKshatot in the middle).
- To follow the path, get onto the red trail and follow it the whole way through. Keep an eye out for red trail markers. They are sometimes hidden, but you will find them if you look carefully. The only tricky part is getting through the parking lot at the lookout. Use the trail marker gallery up top to see exactly how to navigate your way back to the red trail through the lot.
Trail map from Amud Anan.
Don’t forget to read my guide to the navigational features in this post before you hit the trail!
Questions? Have you been to Park Canada? Let’s hear about it in the comments!