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|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Terrain View|
|Distance: 1.8km||Time: 1-2||Difficulty: Easy|
|Ascent: 86m||Trailhead and Markers Gallery|
This trail is temporarily closed for rehabilitation (2021). Update June 2022: The trail is reopened, but still quite burned after 2021 forest fires.
Beautiful forest walks near Jerusalem aren’t hard to come by. The area around the holy city is full of thick woodland and mountainous terrain, perfect for hiking through. But there’s a trail in Masarak Park near Beit Meir that’s especially suited to one special purpose: watching the sunset.
The 1.5 kilometer loop trail in Masarak Park is a beautiful walk all on its own. Along the trail, there’s a thick canopy of shade, framing the pathway in a way that makes it look almost magical. There are also old caves, bunkers, and trenches along the trail.
But by far the most appealing thing about this little loop trail is the flat stone seating area right in the middle. From this spot, you can watch the sunset wash over the hills in a glowing panorama. I can’t think of a better spot to watch the daily drama of sunset unfold.
We hiked the Masarek Park Sunset Trail twice – once, just the two of us on a quiet evening out and the second time with our kids. Both experiences were memorable. Hiking the trail as the sun descended in the sky felt like a quintessential summer experience.
Here’s how we hiked this tiny but incredible loop trail in Masarek Park:
Where Do We Go Now?
We pulled into the parking lot at Masarek Park and got out of the car, trying to get our bearings. The trail was supposed to begin from this spot, but we couldn’t figure out which way to go. At one end of the parking lot a dirt trail descended into the trees.
After following that path for a while and determining that we had gone in the wrong direction, we backtracked. Near the entrance to the lot was another trail – also unmarked. It led up the mountain towards a forested area. In the distance we could see two electrical towers. This was the right trail.
We walked up the stone ridge towards the forest.
Sights to Remember
As we walked through the forest (the first time around – just the two of us), the sun was already descending in the sky. The trees were thick all around us, and pink light filtered through the leaves, giving the whole area an ethereal glow.
It was already quite dark as we walked, so we didn’t really stop to take in the landmarks along the way. Our goal that evening was to make it to the lookout before the sun set.
The second time we walked the trail (with our kids), we had plenty of time to spare and already knew our way. So, we got to stop to explore a cool cave and a little trenches left over from the War of Independence.
Still, the scene between the trees both times was magical. Even this little part of the walk made the whole hike worth taking.
The Lookout: Take One
Before we knew it, we were there, at a large stone semicircle overlooking a spectacular view of the hills all around. We got there just as the sun was beginning to set.
The rolling hills glowed in shades of pink and orange. We could see lone birds hovering in the open sky. And far in the distance, we could just make out the sea, a glowing strip of light against an ocean of buildings.
We sat down on the edge of the circle with two cold bottles of beer and let the scene unfold before our eyes. The sky slowly darkened, a hot pink sun dropped over the edge of the horizon. A gentle breeze blew in from the hills. It was the perfect date night.
At the very last possible moment, we decided that we had better head back. It was too dark to tackle new terrain and we had no headlamps. So, we chose to go back the way we came instead of completing the loop.
The Lookout: Take Two
The second time we went to watch the sunset, we arrived nice and early with kids in tow. When we reached the stone semicircle, it was still light out, the sun just beginning to head towards the horizon.
Instead of beer, this time we brought dinner. We had plenty of time to have a complete picnic before the sky turned shades of pink and purple. The kids were up to dessert as the sun started to descend. They brought their chocolate to the edge of the cliff to watch the fantastic show that took place over the surrounding hills.
We watched the sunset all over again, just as beautiful the second time around. But this time, we made sure to leave as soon as the sun dipped over the horizon.
The Rest of the Story
Since we left earlier, we had plenty of light left to scope out the rest of the trail. We followed the pathway through the trees, made a left onto a dirt trail, then another left back into the trees.
After walking through the thick and beautiful forest for a little while, we reached several sights, one after the other. The first was a sheikh’s tomb – not sure who’s, but there it was along the side of the trail.
Next, we found little bunkers, carved out cubbies underneath the ground. As the light faded in the sky, we had just enough time to stop and explore.
After that, we headed towards the electrical towers, our landmarks to guide us back to the parking lot. Soon enough, we were back at the steps where we started the trail.
How often do you find a trail that’s so uniquely suited to a particular moment in time? This loop trail at Masarek Park is nice anytime, but at sunset, it’s simply magnificent.
Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail at Masarek Park:
- Good for all seasons. The trail is mostly shaded. I imagine it gets windy and cool at the lookout in the wintertime.
- Great for kids.
- Suitable for dogs.
- You can hike this trail as a loop. Or hike to the lookout and hike back the way you came.
- This trail is not marked by trail markers. Once you get started, it is not hard to stick to the path.
- Use the trail marker gallery in the table up top to find your way. You can also follow your location on our trail map by downloading our Google Earth file.
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 in Masarek Park? Let’s hear about it in the comments.