Wet Fun at Sataf

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Distance: 3.5kmTime: 2-3 hoursDifficulty: Moderate
Ascent: 200mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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Sataf is like an old friend.

It seems like, no matter what the season, group, or occasion, Sataf is the perfect place to go hiking near Jerusalem.  Want to take a long walk with a stroller?  Take the Mount Eitan 8k loop at Sataf.  Would you rather spend the day wandering through forests to springs?  Try combining a few Sataf trails for a serious hike.

And if you’re looking for an easy walk towards a cool water cave that’s great for families, Sataf has got you covered!

This past week, on an overcast and warm day, we set out on a 3k hike at Sataf.  We took a slightly longer route towards the spring – allowing us to wander through the most beautiful forested parts of Sataf and over ancient terraces. 

Sataf spring.
Sataf for kids.

The spring towards the end was a welcome reward for our tired kids.  They loved exploring in the dark tunnels behind the main pool.

Here’s how we hiked our pint-sized adventure at Sataf:

Follow the Fearless Leader

We got out of the car and headed out on the trail, following the green markers down the hill towards Shvil HaBa’al.  Our kids were all eager to get going.  We put them on the job of scouting out trail markers and leading the way.

Pretty soon, we found ourselves in a magical pine forest.  Somehow, the woodland at Sataf combines incredible mountain views with a feeling of being taken in by a thicket of trees.

Sataf spring.
Taken in.

We walked on, over tree stumps, along a clear pathway, until the kids could take it no longer.  They had to stop to eat.  Turns out they forgot to eat breakfast that morning.

So, following their lead, we stopped on a little stone step under the canopy of trees.  It wasn’t the exact spot that we would have chosen, but it was beautiful and quiet – which is what we’ve come to expect from Sataf.

Sataf spring.
Just perfect.

Olive Groves and Ruins

When the kids had replenished their energy, we picked up and continued on our way, following the blue trail as it snaked down along the mountain.  As we walked, we passed by beautiful old olive groves, the rich olive bark standing out in the shadows.

We climbed over the ruins of an old house, wells, and even an olive press.  And all of this antiquity was overgrown – with tall wildflowers, beautiful vines, and trees.

Sataf spring.
Dark beauty.

My husband and I were having a great time wandering along the trail from one beautiful scene to the next.  But I’m not gonna lie – my kids were getting a bit tired of all the walking.  They were ready to see the spring.

Luckily, we didn’t have much further to go.  We climbed down a set of stone steps into one of our favorite parts of Sataf.  Here, the trees grow tall and thick, in a tangled canopy.  The area is surrounded by old walls, creeping with ivy. 

Olive
Olivewood.

We gave the kids a chance to rest their legs while we admired the scenery.  Then we continued on, for one final push towards the spring.

Spring Time at Last!

The blue trail continued for just a bit longer. And then we were there: at Ein Sataf, the main attraction for most of Sataf’s visitors.

The pool itself was deep and blue.  A few people had climbed down the walls to swim in its depths.  Of course, in typical Israeli fashion, there was a prominently placed sign prohibiting swimming – which everyone ignored.

Sataf spring.
At the spring.

We actually weren’t there to swim that day.  Instead, we climbed up behind the pool towards the entrance of a dark chamber, where the water spouts from inside and pours through a long channel.

Gone Exploring

We climbed into the darkness, using my phone as our flashlight (no, we don’t always come prepared).  It took the kids a minute to adjust to the light.  Then, they dipped their feet into the water, finding their footing on the floor of the dark chamber.

Sataf spring.
The light at the end of the tunnel.

Once we were all situated, we found the beginning of the tunnel.  We climbed through, our feet and hands in the water as we walked hunched over.  A minute or two later, we were back in the sunlight.

At the end of the tunnel, there was a mini pool – perfect for kids to play in.  But my kids had no patience for playing in the water.  They ran back to the secret tunnel, to climb through again and again.

Sataf spring.
Let’s do it again!

Finally, after a lot of water play, everyone was ready to move on.  We followed the green trail away from Ein Sataf.

As the Bird Flies

We had planned on spending some time at Ein Bichora too, which has its own cool cave and pool of water.  But everyone was done for the day.  We peeked in at the other spring, then climbed through an ancient village as we followed the green trail up and out of Sataf.

From Ein Sataf, the green trail takes the straightest path right up the mountain.  It wasn’t a far walk from the spring back to the trailhead. On the other hand, it was mostly uphill.  We encouraged the kids along by telling stories and pointing out interesting sights along the way while we climbed up.

A short while later, we had almost reached the trailhead.  One short stop at the Sataf food truck for ice cream and we were ready to tackle the last little hill.

As always, it had been a wonderful morning at Sataf.  With its beauty in all seasons and many fantastic trails, hiking at Sataf is a great choice for anyone who wants to connect with nature in the Holy City.

Sataf spring.
Made it.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know to hike this family friendly trail at Sataf:

  • Great for every season.
  • Suitable for dogs.
  • Great for kids.
  • The walk is mostly shaded. Wear a hat and sunscreen on hot days.
  • It’s helpful to bring a flashlight and water shoes for exploring the tunnel.
  • To follow the trail: take the green trail down from the parking lot. Then make a right onto the blue trail (Shvil HaBaal). Follow the blue trail all the way to the spring. At the spring, take the green trail back up to the top of the mountain.
  • Use the trailmarker gallery and trail map in the table at the top to find your way.

Want to try more Sataf trails? Check out our Complete Insiders Guide to Sataf Forest.

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 trail at Sataf? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Sataf spring.
It’s a photo op.

Hiking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each hiker’s responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.

4 thoughts on “Wet Fun at Sataf

  1. Thank you for this! We went today and the kids loved it – especially the secret tunnel!!

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