Ma’arat Keshet (Keshet Cave)

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Distance: 1kmTime: 1 hourDifficulty: Easy
Ascent: 117mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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Ma’arat Keshet is a famous lookout in the Galilee.  This well-known natural archway once formed the mouth of a cave.  Over time, the ceiling of the cave gave way and collapsed.  Now, the archway frames an iconic view out to the green rolling hills of the Galilean hills.

One of the nice things about Keshet Cave is that anybody can enjoy its beauty, no matter their physical ability.  At Ma’arat Keshet Nature Reserve, a handicapped accessible pathway leads through the trees towards the famous lookout.

More adventurous types can hike all the way from Nahal Betzet (one of my favorite Galilee hikes!) and reach Keshet Cave at the end of the trail.  And for those who want something in between, there’s a short trail that leads from the handicapped path to the cave and beyond, towards more incredible views of the Galilee and the Carmel. That’s the trail we took for this post.

Keshet Cave Ma'arat Keshet
It’s all about the views.

We visited Keshet Cave a few weeks ago, on a trip up North.  It was close to sunset when we arrived.  The archway had taken on the golden glow of late afternoon.  The view out to the thick greenery above and below the archway was spectacular as always.

That day, we hiked the slightly longer circular trail to Keshet Cave (including the red trail).  Here’s how we hiked it:

We’re Heeeeere!

It was the end of a long day hiking. It had been such a long day, in fact, that we really debated whether to stop at Ma’arat Keshet or not for one last foray into nature.  Normally, we would have just skipped it.  But we were all the way up North and we had really been wanting to get to Keshet Cave for quite a while.

After considering for a few minutes and almost backing out, we decided to throw caution to the wind (and ignore our complete exhaustion).  We drove on over to the Keshet Cave Nature Reserve.  As we pulled into the reserve, we saw that the sun was hanging low in the sky. We would have to hoof it if we wanted to take in this long-awaited trail before sunset.

Running Path

Luckily for us, the path to Keshet Cave was handicapped accessible, ie: totally flat and easy.  We fast-walked and jogged along the path in order to reach the archway as expeditiously as possible.  As we jogged along, I had just enough time to notice that the path we were heading down was quite pretty and would make a nice little nature walk.

Keshet Cave Ma'arat Keshet
Just jogging along!

After a few minutes of fast-paced walking, we reached Ma’arat Keshet itself, breathtakingly beautiful as always.  We slowed down our pace and then sat down to take in the views.

Famously Unusual

The funny thing about Keshet Cave is that it’s not a cave at all.  Once upon a time, the archway that remains (Keshet = arch) was the mouth of a cave.  But the enclosure collapsed a long time ago.  Now, just the mouth of the cave stands, a window to the world of green beauty just beyond.

As usual, a group of people was preparing to repel off the side of the archway.  Because of its unique structure, Keshet Cave makes a really neat place to jump off and dangle in the sky.  When you fly off the side, you feel like you’re free falling in the air, with no rock wall to support you. 

Keshet Cave Ma'arat Keshet
Israeli Classic.

But we weren’t repelling that day.  Instead, we took in the magical views of golden rock and verdant greenery through the opening.  After taking lots of pictures, we set off in search of the rest of the trail.

Fun on the Trail

Past the archway, we found the red marked path that creates a circular hike out of a visit to Ma’arat Keshet.  This trail isn’t handicapped accessible, but it is perfect for small children and families, who want to escape from the crowds and benefit from the natural beauty at Ma’arat Keshet Nature Reserve.

Keshet Cave Ma'arat Keshet
Fun on the trail.

As we walked, we climbed up and over rocks from one spectacular lookout to another.  From our elevated perspective, we could see a series of small towns, nestled amongst the greenery down below.  We stopped to consult a map on a rock which pointed out the various landmarks in our panoramic view.  In the distance, we could see Nahal Betzet snaking through the valley.

Back Through the Trees

After enjoying the fresh air and scenery, we were ready to head back on the blue trail.  We climbed up the rocks and along tree lined pathways.  After a short walk (which was perfect for us at the end of a long day) we were back the car and main picnic area.

A trip to Keshet Cave should be on everyone’s Galilee Area bucket list.  This impressive archway is a wonderful place to take in gorgeous views and great natural beauty.

Keshet Cave Ma'arat Keshet
Follow the path.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail to Ma’arat Keshet:

  • This is an all-season trail.
  • Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.
  • This trail is suitable for kids.
  • The first part of this trail is handicapped accessible and stroller friendly. The red trail continuation is not.
  • There are bathrooms and a picnic area at the trail head.
  • This is a free entry Nature Reserve! No reservations required.
  • Bring good walking shoes a hat. There is a water point on site.
  • To follow the trail: follow signs along the paved pathway to Keshet Cave. From Keshet Cave, locate the red trail and follow it to the blue trail. Follow the blue trail 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 to Keshet Cave? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Keshet Cave Ma'arat Keshet
Galilee beauty in the summertime.

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.

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