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|Trail Map||Hike it with Google Earth||Trailhead and Markers Gallery|
|Distance: 8.5km||Time: 3-4 hours||Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous|
|Ascent: 337m||Parking at Ein Lavan||Parking at Ein Lavan|
Four years and hundreds of hikes into Hiking the Holyland, I can honestly say that we have hiked most of the trails within a 30-minute radius of our home. This is no small feat.
The Jerusalem mountains are a treasure trove of fantastic hikes. A glance at the map reveals a spaghetti string mess of colorful trails, weaving through every possible valley, canyon, mountain, and forest in the area around Jerusalem. We’ve hiked almost all of them.
But there are a few that we haven’t covered to completion. With only one car in our possession, long, one-way trails tend to be passed over for circular trails.
A few weeks ago, we decided to tackle a new, one-way trail between two places we had been to many times: Ein Kobe and Ein Lavan. The Israel Trail led along a mountain path between the two springs, providing a smooth pathway from the Jerusalem mountains into the city of Jerusalem.
There wasn’t much planning required for this hike. Since we would be following the Israel Trail the whole time, it would be hard to get lost. And once we were in Jerusalem, we could make the decision to either get a cab back to our car or hike back the way we came.
The hike was actually quite beautiful, with many more points of interest than expected. Aside from the springs at the beginning and end, there were also more springs and gorgeous views along the way.
Here’s how we hiked this 8.5 kilometer trail from Ein Kobe to Ein Lavan in Jerusalem:
We began the hike at Ein Kobe, one of our favorite places to wander. As we got out of the car, we could smell the sweet scent of fig trees that surrounded the spring.
We made our way towards the underground spring and climbed down the steps, into the arched chamber below. The water, cool and clear, was still plentiful, even in early fall.
Without water shoes, we had to execute some spider man moves to get across the wet pathway towards the ladder on the other side. Then we climbed through the darkness, up one of the tallest ladders I’ve ever seen in an underground spring.
Time to Move
After a visit to Ein Kobe, we were ready to start the hike. We followed the Israel Trail into beautiful Nahal Kobe, another old favorite trail.
This shady stream bed led us past pomegranate trees and grape vines, into the oak tree shadows. We climbed down slowly, enjoying the sounds of animals and birds rustling in the trees. This part of the trail felt truly magical in the early morning light.
After a twenty-minute walk, we emerged from Nahal Kobe towards the old train track bridge (Gesher Kobe). We crossed Nahal Refaim (which only flows on rainy days) and followed the Israel Trail up along a path through the forest.
The Easy Part
Here, the Israel Trail turned into a wide, flat pathway. We enjoyed the early morning breeze, the beautiful views, and the warm greetings from the occasional packs of bikers who whizzed by. This part of the hike was easy walking – we passed by small forests and pretty lookouts. But mostly, we just walked.
After a long journey, we began scoping out the place for the perfect breakfast spot. This was not easy to find.
There were patches of forest to one side of the trail. These seemed appealing. But every place in the shade seemed to block off the beautiful views out into the valley. And I wasn’t willing to give up on the view.
Eventually, we found a place which offered some sort of combo of shade and scenery. We climbed up over some rocks into the trees and broke out the iced coffee and apple muffins.
With our energy replenished, we were ready to continue onward, towards several springs which awaited in the distance. The trail became narrower and began to ramble up and down over rocks and through overgrown grass. Our first stop was a spring inside a cave.
From the outside, all we could see was a tiny hole in the rocks. It looked too small to house anything of significance. But supposedly, there was a flowing spring inside – so I climbed in.
I crouched down in the darkness as I walked along the flowing water, all the way to the end of the tunnel where a tiny pool of water, indeed, awaited.
After that discovery, we continued to Ein Itamar: a well-known pool which always seems to be busy (we’ve happened upon this spring before). And that day was no exception – despite the bees and flies which are perpetually drawn to the place (and the graffiti which adorns a nearby wall), Ein Itamar is a hot spot. One man sat with his feet in the water and a 4×4 pulled up just as we passed by.
Towards Ein Lavan
We were almost at the end of the hike. As we walked, the city of Jerusalem came into our field of vision. Soon, we would reach Ein Lavan and the end of our one-way trail. We continued along the Israel Trail, not paying much attention to our surroundings. Before we knew it, we reached the pretty terraces of Ein Lavan, adorned with fig trees full of ripe fruit. We had made it into the city of Jerusalem.
If it had been a few hours earlier, we may have taken the opportunity to dip into the spring. But late on a Friday morning, Ein Lavan was already packed with people, picnicking and swimming in the fresh water pools. So instead, we focused on getting a taxi ride back to the trailhead.
Our one-way hike into Jerusalem along the Israel Trail had been eye opening. It’s fun to walk to a place which we usually drive to – especially when that place is the holiest city on earth.
Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail from Ein Kobe to Ein Lavan:
- This is a one way trail.
- This is an all season trail. On rainy days and the day right after, a section of the trail right next to Kobe Bridge will be blocked by a flowing river.
- Suitable for dogs.
- We used a Gett to get back to the trailhead (90 NIS).
- Make sure to wear good footwear, a hat, and sun protection to hike this trail. It is useful to bring a headlamp or flashlight to explore Ein Kobe and the spring inside a cave. You may want to bring water shoes for Ein Kobe.
- To follow the trail: find signs for the Israel Trail and follow them all the way to Ein Lavan. You can use the trail map and the Google Earth file in the table at the top of the page to help you find your way on the 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 this trail from Ein Kobe to Ein Lavan? Let’s hear about it in the comments!