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|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Terrain View|
|Distance: 1.5km||Time: 1-2 hours||Difficulty: Easy|
|Ascent: 25m||Trailhead and Markers Gallery|
What do most people think of when they hear the word hike?
Usually, the idea of hiking conjures up images of long trails, through forests or over mountains. Most people imagine hiking boots, big packs, and maybe a bonfire at the end of the day.
But to me, hikes come in all shapes and sizes. A hike can be a full day trek or a one-hour excursion. To qualify as a hike, it doesn’t have to be a secluded, forested trail. The most important factor in my book is whether your walk takes you into the natural world, even just for a bit.
A couple of weeks ago, we spent some time in Herzliya on vacation. While we were there, we decided to scope out Tel Michal, a nature trail inside the city near the coastline.
Tel Michal wasn’t a long, challenging trail or an isolated walk through nature. But it was a pretty escape from the city into a relatively quiet natural world, full of beauty and a bit of history.
Our kids really enjoyed the plentiful wildflowers and sea views at Tel Michal. And we enjoyed learning more about the history of the Tel, a series of mounds that covers ancient settlements from several time periods.
Here’s how we took a short hike through nature at Tel Michal, in Herzliya:
Just Rambling Along
We pulled to the side of the road, parked our car, and began to climb up towards the Tel. Despite being a site of tremendous archeological importance, Tel Michal was not particularly well marked. One small sign at the beginning of the trail pointed us in the direction of Shvil Tel Michal. And as we walked, we encountered a basic map of the area, pointing to an ancient press (Gat) and fortress.
We followed the little signs into a world of coastal beauty.
Springtime happens to be a particularly beautiful time of year for coastal hikes. In the spring, bright and cheery flowers blossom in abundance in areas such as Tel Michal. We enjoyed fields of yellow, along with clusters of bright red poppies. This scenery plastered against the deep blue of the sea and sky just beyond the Tel was striking.
Eventually, we arrived at a lookout, with views of the Herzliya Marina. Flowers grew on the edge of the hill, creating picture perfect scenery.
As much as we enjoyed the scenery at midday, I imagined that this little hike would be perfect for a sunset walk. At that time of day, we could watch the setting sun over the sea from this spot. A cool evening breeze would blow up from the sea, and the soft light would illuminate the wildflowers covering the hill.
In the early afternoon, we checked out the action at the marina in the distance. Everyone enjoyed the refreshing sea breeze that blew on our faces. Then, we continued our walk along the trail.
Towards the Fortress
After rambling along the for a while, we eventually reached the press and the fortress. These remains were much less impressive than we expected them to be, especially considering what a treasure trove of history this little hill was.
For years, archeologists worked at Tel Michal, uncovering findings from as early as the 19th century BCE (around the time of Abraham). They found spearheads, old jewelry, coins, a seal stamped with a winged sphinx, and even the remains of an infant that had been buried in a jar. With a slow and thorough excavation of the four hills that make up Tel Michal, archeologists were able to piece together the rich history of the place. Early Israelites lived there, along with Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and more.
All that was left at the site (that we could see) were the walls of the fortress, overgrown with flowers and greenery. We walked along the walls for a few minutes, then continued our walk, in search of a perfect lunch spot.
Not Hard to Find a Picnic Spot Here
And of course, we found one, atop a little protrusion, surrounded by cheery yellow flowers. In the spot where we sat on some rocks a sea breeze blew in, keeping us cool in the afternoon sun. We relaxed and enjoyed this little piece of nature in the city over lunch.
After our picnic, we continued back down the hill towards the best part of the trail.
The Hidden Adventure Trail
Soon, we reached a little path covered in thick greenery and hanging yellow flowers. The sign at the beginning of the path said that it was a “Shvil HaNistar HaPartkani,”or a Hidden Adventure Trail.
Judging from the scenery we had seen so far at Tel Michal, it was hard to imagine how hidden or adventurous this trail could be. But we proceeded along with an open mind.
A few minutes into the Hidden Adventure Trail, we all agreed: this winding trail through thick greenery was really special, especially for a coastal hike. Along the shady path, wildflowers grew in sunny patches. We couldn’t see out to the sea from this part of the hike, because of the thick canopy of greenery that concealed us. It may not have been all that adventurous, but this trail was definitely hidden, and very pretty.
Beauty Near the City
After a little ramble on the Hidden Adventure Trail, we found ourselves back in the open again, on the path back towards the road. Our jaunt into nature at Tel Michal that morning had been fun and beautiful.
For those looking for a mini-escape into nature near the city, Tel Michal is a great choice. With a fascinating history and abundant beauty, this nature trail over ancient cities is a wonderful place to take a walk. Especially at sunset.
Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail at Tel Michal:
- This is a year round trail. On warmer days, hike this trail early in the morning or at sunset.
- Good for kids.
- Dogs are allowed.
- To hike this trail, wear good walking shoes and a hat. Bring water for the way. There are no facilities.
- Read up about the archeological excavations at Tel Michal before you go here.
- This trail isn't particularly well marked or easy to follow. At the same time, it's difficult to get lost as the Tel is quite small.
- Recommendations: Hike this trail backwards, enjoying the shady part first. Or, take a romantic walk here at sunset, enjoying a bottle of wine at the lookout over the marina.
- Use the Google Earth file, the trail marker gallery and trail map in the table at the top of the page to find your way on the trail. This trail is not very easy to follow, but it doesn't really matter how you walk it. Just go and wander!
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 at Tel Michal? Let’s hear about it in the comments!