Reader Recommendations: Spring 2022

This is a different sort of post.

Usually, my write-ups are about the latest hike that we’ve discovered.  But for this week’s hike post, I’m going to tell you about a few of the hikes taken by my readers last week over Pesach. 

Last week, the weather was glorious.  We had intense heat (perfect for water hikes) at the beginning of holiday and cool weather for the rest of it.  Over the holiday, we watched as tens of thousands of people used Hiking the Holyland to get outdoors.  Many of you were kind enough to share your experiences and photos.  We heard about desert hikes, forest hikes, water hikes, and hikes through valleys.  There were family pictures, flower photos, gorgeous views and more.  It was hard to choose which ones to feature.

Without any further ado, let’s get to the reader recommendations!

Most Recommended

Perhaps it’s because it’s so close to Jerusalem.  Maybe it’s because there’s so much variety in the terrain.  Whatever the reason, Nahal Halilim was a user favorite for this Pesach.  And I completely get it: from wildflowers, to rock formations, to awesome caves, Nahal Halilim has it all on one short and easy trail.  It’s a wonderful hike for families.

Tree trunk climbing at Halilim.

This photo is from Tamar who lives in Ramot, just 10 minutes away from the hike.  She took her two little boys on the trail, and they rocked it! (Her two and a half year old hiked the whole thing on foot.)

We also heard from Ayelet who enjoyed the beautiful wildflowers on the trail and the fact that “you can feel so immersed in nature within sight of Jerusalem.”

Most Challenging

One of the coolest hikes in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is to Gav HaChalon, or the Window Waterfall.  This challenging hike with a steep ascent would definitely not be classified as a family hike.  But that didn’t stop Ellen Solomon from taking her kids there.

Her 11 year old son was exhausted from the super steep ascent and about to give up.  But he got a second wind when he looked at the map and saw how close they were.  Go him!

Climbing high towards the Window Waterfall.

It’s getting a bit late in the season to hike to the Window Waterfall, but it’s still doable on a cool day or early in the morning.

Most I Don’t Know Exactly What They Did, But This Just Looks Fun

One reader, Yoni, reported that he went on a 3.5 kilometer hike through beautiful desert canyons.  From the pictures he sent, I’m pretty sure it was an abbreviated version of this Nahal Zohar to Nahal Rom desert trek.  Doesn’t it look like fun?

Antics in the desert.

Near the Dead Sea, it gets hot along this trail.  But luckily for Yoni’s crew, there was plenty of shade from the canyon walls.  They enjoyed beautiful views and a bit of fun climbing along this otherwise easy trail.  Thanks for sharing, Yoni!

Most Poetic

My wonderful reader Pam went for a jog on the Mount Eitan loop trail.  Mount Eitan is an old favorite of mine: this 8 kilometer, moderate trail is a gorgeous place to take a nice, long walk near Jerusalem.

Pam saw lots of flowers on the trail.  And she sent me these beautiful words about her day at Mount Eitan:

“It’s magical how this tree crematorium, still strewn with tree skeletons after the devastating fire in August, is now carpeted by wild flowers: tiny anemones the size of my pinkie fingernail, red tulips growing wild, the cyclamen of course, clover, purple irises, blue flowers merging into purple, purple segueing into pink and glorious deep purple blossom dressing the hills. The acrid smell of ash is now overpowered by the perfume of these flowers.”

On the trail at Mount Eitan.

Most Classic

We had lots of readers recommend Little Switzerland, a beautiful, shady loop trail up in the Carmel Mountains.  Kayla’s kids loved the rock climbing and tree climbing along the path.  The Little Switzerland loop is a crowd pleaser.

Happy campers at Little Switzerland.

Also popular was Nahal Arugot, and it’s easy to understand why.  With crystal cool waterfalls, a waterslide, and fun animals to spot along the trail, it’s a not-to-be-missed Israel hike.  This photo is from Miri, who managed to continue far enough along the trail that her family actually found some peace and quiet (possible, even on Pesach!)

Quiet at Nahal Arugot.

Most Numerous

Most of our readers reported one or two Hiking the Holyland hikes that they tackled recently. But Dovi and Suri Greenfeld went on 4, and reported that they loved them all:

1) Har Bental

2) Kedoshim Forest

3) Nachal Piran/ Talkid

4) Machtesh Ramon- Ein Saharonim

They took 3 generations on the hike at Makhtesh Ramon. Awesome!

3 generations in one incredible crater.

Most Groupie

We also received photos from readers who enjoyed our very own Hiking the Holyland group hikes over Pesach.  That made me happy!

Eva and Paul brought their two grandsons to one of our Survival Skills Workshops.  Here’s what Eva had to say about it:

“My grandsons had an amazing day in the forest with Ben. It was held in a quiet isolated area which is difficult to find during Chol Hamoed. The surroundings were inspiring.”

Chill time at the Hiking the Holyland Survival skills workshop.

Another user favorite was our sunset walk at Beit Guvrin and Tel Adulam.  Many people pass up Beit Guvrin when considering good hiking trails.  But I think it’s a fabulous place to explore (especially with a guide).  Plus, everyone who was on this hike got to take a detour to see the glorious fields of poppies pictured in the lead photo. 

And hiking anywhere at sunset is pretty much magical.

Hope you all had a wonderful Passover, with lots of time in Israel’s great outdoors.  Here’s to many more adventures!

Smiling for the camera at Beit Guvrin.
Sunset in the meadow.
At Arbel.
Enjoying a coastal hike.
Inner strength.
Reaping the fruits of their labor!

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