Little Loop in Adulam

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Distance: 5kmTime: 2 hoursDifficulty: Easy
Ascent: 113mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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It’s early March.  And here in Israel, that means flowers, greenery, and cool temperatures. It’s the perfect time of year to go hiking.

This past week we were looking for something to do with my brother and sister in-law – we hadn’t spent time together in a while.  So, of course, we chose to get outdoors into the sunshine and go for a hike in a nearby KKL park.  Armed with a thermos of hot coffee and healthy muffins (thanks Pat Bamelach!), we embarked on a 5K loop in Park Adulam (which happens to be particularly beautiful in the wintertime).

The weather and the company were both wonderful.  We breathed in fresh air as we took in the view of fields of flowers and green rolling meadows.  Our walk was just challenging enough to make us feel like we earned our picnic in a forest.  We also discovered some ancient ruins right off the trail, complete with wells, cisterns, and an old columbarium.

Park Adulam hike
Discoveries.

As always, Park Adulam was a great choice for the season.  Here’s how we hiked this short loop trail through one of our favorite KKL forests:

In Search of a Stream

Our job here at Hiking the Holyland is to scout out the trails: both the well-known and the off the beaten track. So, we started off the day at nearby Nahal Guvrin (it’s actually right across the road from Park Adulam in Maresha Forest).  We were hoping to find a nice place to walk along the flowing stream. 

We did find lots of water, but no easy access point in this season.  Many of the main roads were cut off by the river.  So, we scouted out a hidden pool along the stream (Breichat Tzanan), and then made plans to return in a few weeks when the weather warms up.  This part of the trail would be perfect for an outing with kids on a sunny day.

Park Adulam hike
Saving this one for another day.

After the pool, we retraced our steps and drove to our new starting point for the hike at the beginning of the red trail just across the highway.

Breathe

As soon as we stepped out of the car, we knew we were in for a great walk.  On one side, a woodland climbed up the hill, providing ample shade and rich pine scent.  On the other, meadows stretched out, striped with rows of yellow mustard flowers and peppered with red cyclamen.  The scenery was simply beautiful.

We began on the red trail, walking and talking as we followed a wide pathway between the trees and the meadows.

Park Adulam hike
Great place to catch up.

The trail proceeded slightly uphill.  Soon, we reached a flat area right near the forest, which seemed like a great place to stop for coffee.  Clearly, we weren’t the only ones who thought so.  Just inside the trees, we found a circle of stones set up for bonfires.

We found our own spot and got settled under the trees.

Doesn’t Get Better

I am a firm believer that given the right conditions, brunch in the great outdoors is a thousand times more delightful than eating in any café.  In the thick of the pine forest, we were able to take in the beautiful views to the mountains and flower fields while eating breakfast.

Sitting on a carpet of pine needles, we lost ourselves in conversation over hot coffee and muffins.  My baby nephew who was along for the ride gobbled up our leftovers and patted our border collie.  It was a relaxing and fun place to catch up.

Park Adulam hike
Picnic on a forest floor.

After a long coffee break, we brushed off the muffin crumbs and packed up our stuff, heading back out into the sunshine.

In Search of Secrets

From here, we continued on the red trail, then broke left to follow an unmarked trail across the park.  The forested part of Park Adulam disappeared from view, and the trail became flatter and sunnier.  On our left we could see a big hill, which according to the map, covered the remnants of an ancient town.  We decided to break right off of the trail to go explore.

Park Adulam hike
Wandering.

There was no trail to climb up, but that didn’t matter.  The terrain was made up of tall grass and flowers – perfect for stomping through.  Towards the top of the hill, we came across our first small well hidden in the grass (very deep with no guardrail).  Up we continued until we reached the very top and discovered the first in a series of underground caves and cisterns.

According to the map, there was supposed to be an old columbarium right around this spot.  We made our way through dense overgrowth until we found an opening in the rocks at our feet.  Down we climbed until we reached the inside an awesome cave, open on one side to thick greenery and sunshine.  All along the walls, we could see little carved out niches, indicating that this “cave” was once a dovecote.

Park Adulam hike
Families that explore together stay together.

Sunshine and Easy Walking

After exploring the ruins on top of the hill and picking some asparagus and hyssop, we were ready to continue on, back down towards the main pathway.  From here, it was an easy walk through classic Adulam scenery: white and yellow flowers blossoming in abundance along the sides of the path, green grass and red flowers filling in all the empty spaces.  We all enjoyed the sun on our faces as we walked down the narrow blue trail through the meadows.

After a while, we rounded one last bend and found ourselves back at our car.  It had been a wonderful morning, a classic Israel hike.  We had set out on an unknown trail and found a beautiful woodland for shelter, ancient ruins to explore, and flower fields to wander through.  This little loop trail in Park Adulam was a great spot for mini adventure in the wintertime.

Park Adulam hike
Classic Adulam.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know to hike this 5K loop trail in Park Adulam:

  • This trail is best December through April. Park Adulam is generally hot and dry in the summertime.
  • Good for kids. It's short and there are plenty of things to discover along the way. Please be careful when you explore the ruins!!! There are several open wells which are quite deep. Keep kids close.
  • Suitable for dogs.
  • Wear good walking shoes and a hat and bring water to hike this trail.
  • The red trail is easy to follow and well marked. After the red trail, use the trail marker gallery or the Google Earth file to find the turnoff to an unmarked dirt path which will bring you to the green trail. You will see a hill up on your left hand side. Climb up the hill to explore the caves and columbarium. When you are finished, return to the green trail. Follow it until the blue trail where you will make a left to walk back to your car.

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? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Park Adulam hike
Bees love mustard blossoms too.

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.

3 thoughts on “Little Loop in Adulam

  1. Looks great. Can you continue on the red trail instead of breaking off? Will that avoid the unmarked wells?

    1. You can easily skip the wells. After you cross to the green trail (on the unmarked trail – see trailmarker gallery) just follow the green trail to the blue trail without climbing the hill. Then you won’t have to worry about falling into a well. 🙂

  2. We did this hike on Friday (December). Truthfully I found the first half, walking along the pathway on the red trail, a little boring. There are not yet many flowers. The second half, after we turned off, was beautiful! Great views and ancient ruins and then a delightful walk along the bike trail. Unfortunately I missed the columbarium but we did see plenty of cisterns. I would be really scared to take small kids up to that hill!

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