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|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Terrain View|
|Distance: 6-9km||Time: 2-3 hours||Difficulty: Easy|
|Ascent: 154m||Trailhead and Markers Gallery|
Most people think of summertime when they think of the beach. But as any serious hiker knows, coastal hikes are much more fun when it’s not hot outside. For great hiking weather at the beach, you have to hike at sunrise and sunset on hot days. Or hit the trails on a cool, overcast day in the fall and winter time.
Last week, as the late autumn chill finally settled in, we decided it was time to begin beach hike season. Our trail for the day: the Ga’ash Beach Coastal Trail.
This magnificent stretch of coastline is lined with dramatic cliffs and narrow sand beaches. In the sea itself, flat tables of rock pop up through the water, creating perfect places for fisherman and snorkelers to seek out their catch of the day.
Our main goal that morning was to walk for a long time. We had planned out a 7 kilometer loop trail. But once we were halfway through, we just weren’t ready to turn back. Luckily, extending this hike was quite simple.
The Hof Ga’ash Coastal Trail was just what we were looking for: incredible scenery, beautiful weather, easy walking, and lots of quiet. The steady noise of the ocean waves against the shore filled the air, creating an impenetrable cloud of silence. Jaw dropping scenery made it impossible to get bored.
Here’s how we walked this beautiful sea-side trail from Ga’ash Beach on the North side of Hof HaSharon Nature Reserve:
Path to an Alternate Universe
As we pulled up to the trailhead and got out of the car, we could tell that we were in for a treat. The smell of salt filled the air, along with the noise of seagulls swooping in from above. A cool breeze greeted us as we set out on the path.
We walked through a gate and followed the Israel trail down towards the coast. Right away, we were amazed at the incredible scenery all around us. Coastal plants grew on little hills of sand and rock, creating an uncharacteristically green channel towards the ocean. In the distance, the deep blue of the sea peeked through the crevice at the end of the pathway. Up above, wispy white clouds hung in a bright blue sky.
We were only five minutes into the trail and it already felt like we were in paradise. We congratulated ourselves on a trail well-chosen as we headed down towards the beach.
Beach Bums and Picture Perfect Details
It was too cold for typical beach goers. But fisherman and snorkelers were relishing the calm, cool waters – they were geared up and set up for the day.
This beach looked like a picture out of a storybook. We passed by a rustic white lifeguard station, then followed the Israel trail next to the water for a bit. Soon, we turned right to continue along the trail, up the cliffs and along the coastline.
As we walked, the scenery just got more and more perfect. The trail led us through green plants and beach flowers. But every so often, a space would open up between the cliffs. Through these rock windows, we peeked out to the spectacular layers of blue made up of sky and sea.
We weren’t the only ones who found these little windows enchanting. Someone had set up white painted benches in some places, creating the finishing touches to an already wonderful place to sit.
We stopped at one of these spots for a quiet meditation on nature before getting deep into our walk.
After coffee and fall inspired pumpkin muffins, we brushed ourselves off and continued walking from the red trail and onto the long and winding blue trail. The path wavered back and forth, sometimes with sea views, sometimes with views inland. In the distance, the city of Netanya glimmered in the early morning light.
Before we knew it, we were at the halfway point, almost 4 kilometers in. But we weren’t at all ready to head back. We decided to keep on walking for as long as we felt like it, then backtrack when we were ready to cut across to the red trail.
On we wandered, past one small grove of trees, through tall grasses full of crickets. The scenery remained much the same throughout the entire journey: sandy cliffs, blue sea, and the occasional cluster of coastal flowers. It was a great place to get lost in.
Eventually, it seemed like it was time to head back. We made our way back to the red/ blue crossroads and began our journey back along the red trail.
The Red Trail?!
We tried to stick to the red trail. But the deep gorges along the cliffs and views out to sun speckled waves kept calling us back to the cliff edge. Luckily, there were lots of little trails that veered off the side of the red trail. And we couldn’t exactly get lost – all we had to do was follow the coast until we were back where we started.
Before we got there, we decided to stop one more time. On our breakfast break, we hadn’t spent any time just watching the birds. Now was our chance. We found a spot overlooking the ocean and got down in the sand to absorb as much coastal beauty as we could before heading home.
We saw spear fisherman and sailboats. Birds soared above, looping back every so often to catch a sea breeze. They would glide in the wind, floating in mid-air before swooping down to grab a snack from the beach.
Our Mid-Week Vacation Comes to an End
Back on the trail, we retraced our steps to the beach and towards the trailhead. It was hard to say goodbye to the sea, sand, and salty air. But knowing that this beautiful scenery was only about an hour from home made it easier to leave.
Life is always better at the beach. The Ga’ash Beach Coastal trail had been a wonderful way to get a mid-week vacation and experience some of Israel’s most magnificent coastal beauty.
Here’s what you need to know to hike the Ga’ash Beach Coastal Trail:
- This trail is best for fall, winter, and spring. If hiking here in the summertime, stick to early morning and sunset walks.
- Suitable for dogs.
- Good for families – you don’t have to hike the whole trail and there’s a beach along the way!
- Great for all terrain biking too.
- To follow the trail, turn right (North) at the trailhead and take the Israel trail/red trail out until you reach the blue trail. Hop onto the blue trail and walk until you reach a red/blue crossroads. Take the red trail back the way you came. You can easily wander off the red trail to the smaller cliffside trails. They all lead back to the main trail in the end.
- Use the trail map and the trail marker gallery in the table at the top of the page to find your way.
Also try the Hof HaSharon Nature Reserve Trail right nearby. The Ga’ash Beach Trail begins at an access point to the Hof HaSharon Trail.
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 the Ga’ash Beach Coastal Trail? Let’s hear about it in the comments.