Orvim Falls: A Wintertime Wonder

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Distance: 1.6kmTime: 2 hoursDifficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Ascent: 82mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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It’s wintertime in Israel.  And judging by the continuously gloomy and stormy weather, it’s safe to say that this year’s rainy season will be a whopping success.  That’s a good thing.  Every winter, we await the results of Israel’s rainy season.  It’s nice to know that there will be plenty of rainwater to fill reservoirs, water crops, and beautify the country.  And another perk of plentiful rains: winter rivers and waterfalls around the country are full and flowing.

For years, we’ve wanted to visit winter waterfalls in the Golan.  But due to timing concerns (it’s a 3 hour drive each way) and other factors (driving 6 hours for almost no hiking?!), it just never seemed to happen.  But this year, the stars aligned for us.  The rains had been so plentiful and consistent that we were eagerly awaiting a post-storm sunny day trip.  With a war raging, a long drive to the Golan to go waterfall peeping seemed like just the sort of idyllic escape we needed.

Worth waiting for.

So, this past Thursday we made the trip up north to Orvim falls and more.  The skies were sunny and bright, and warmer temperatures made it a great day to get outdoors.  Of course, considering the current situation in Israel, the trip wasn’t completely normal: in Northern Israel and the Gaza area GPS signals are being scrambled, which makes finding your way around somewhat challenging.  Throughout the day, we heard resounding booms from somewhere far away, making it all too clear that this is no normal time in Israel.

Still, Orvim falls were beautiful, spectacular even. And much to our surprise, we got a nice little hike out of the trip too.

Here’s how we hiked this 1.6 kilometer trail at Orvim Falls in Northern Israel.

A Beautiful Journey

The beauty began well before we started hiking.  We left the house before dawn – the moon was a picturesque crescent sliver in the sky. We marveled at the slowly changing sky as it turned faint orange, then pink, then bright blue as we made our way up and through Central Israel. When we reached the North, we encountered rolling green hills of wintertime, brightened by the sunny skies we had missed for the last few weeks. It was great to be out.

After a looooong drive, we reached the trailhead to Orvim Falls off the side of quiet road, and we parked our car.  There were plenty of puddles left over from the heavy rains of previous weeks.  And as we exited the car into the street, we could hear the rushing noise of Nahal Orvim (Orvim Stream).

On the trail.

After saying our morning prayers at the trailhead, we strapped on our backpacks and began hiking.


We had read a few Hebrew posts about this trail to Orvim falls.  Each one had warned that it was for metivei lechet, “good hikers.”  I had wondered what could be so difficult about a 1.6 kilometer trail to a well know waterfall. 

It wasn’t that the trail was difficult exactly – it was more technical than hard.  We walked along a muddy trail (those rainstorms) and up and over boulders which lined the stream.  It was just the type of trail that bigger kids would love – full of climbing over and next to big boulders. There were even a few moments of mild trepidation as we looked down at the sight of the river rushing beneath us.

Climbing around.

I didn’t yet know what Oravim Waterfall itself would look like, but we really enjoyed all the mini waterfalls that formed along the stream.

Cattle Time

Of course, there were other beautiful sights to see along the trail.  We were greeted by many healthy-looking cows who prudently moved out of the path as we approached.  And we were especially thrilled to see a mother cow carefully crossing the stream with two calves.  After they crossed, a third baby ran down the hill and crossed the stream to join them.

Idyllic scenery.

There were wildflowers: cyclamen, anemone, and a variety of small yellow blossoms. The scene was exactly what we had longed for after so many rainy days indoors.

After an extremely pleasant hike along the stream, we began to hear a loud rushing sound.  We knew that the waterfall was just up ahead, but it was completely out of our view.  So, we headed to the edge of the cliff and peeked around the bend – and there it was, the spectacular Orvim Waterfall.

Approaching the falls.

Closed for Repairs

Any serious hiker would, of course, want to continue on from this point, down the hill, all the way to the falls themselves.  And that’s what we would have done too…had the trail not been officially closed by the Park’s Authority.  For safety reasons (falling rocks, maybe?) the trail to Orvim Falls is closed right now (Feb 2024).  This meant that a point-to-point hike was out of the question.  All visitors to Orvim Falls must hike out and back, at least for the time being.

But we weren’t done with this spectacular multi-level waterfall yet.  We found a perfect set of boulders in the sunshine, perched right above the falls, laid out our plaid picnic blanket, and poured two hot cups of coffee.

What a place for coffee!

It was this moment that made it all worth it: the rainy day slog of the previous weeks, the long drive up north that morning.  As we watched butterflies flitting over the flowers and listened to the crashing noise of the whitewater fall, it felt as if life was unfairly amazing.  All of my stress – the war, the future – melted away into the background as I lost myself in the soothing sounds of water rushing over rock.

The waterfall was so loud and full that it was hard to imagine that in a couple months time it would completely disappear.

A Dose of Goodness

We stayed in that spot much longer than was prudent for a day with three more hours of driving ahead.  But it was so lovely…and so worth it.  After meditating on Orvim Falls, we picked ourselves up and took the trail back the way we came.  And the trail was beautiful a second time around too.

We climbed back into the car ready for the next spectacular waterfall, the beauty of Orvim made us want to see more. Orvim Falls had been truly magnificent, a breathtaking sight to behold in silence and serenity far away from the crowds.

Zen garden.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know to hike this trail to Orvim Falls:

  • This waterfall only flows during the winter and spring, after plentiful rains.
  • Although there is a nice one way trail, it is not open right now. The trail all the way down to the waterfall is closed for safety reasons. Visitors will have to hike out to the waterfall lookout and then return to the trailhead. (Feb 2024)
  • This trail is great for adventurous kids and families.
  • The trail can be muddy and wet after winter rains. Wear proper footwear to hike this trail.
  • There are no facilities at this trail.
  • To follow the trail: use the trail marker gallery and trail map in the table at the top of the page.
  • The trail color to follow is green out and back. On maps like Amud Anan, it may be marked red (on the ground it is green).

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 Orvim Falls? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Muddy, but wonderful.

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.

1 thought on “Orvim Falls: A Wintertime Wonder

  1. This sounds so nice. I’m going stir crazy. There hasn’t been a single day that I’ve not been working that it hasn’t rained in at least a month. And this Friday again. Is there a good rainy day hike not too far from Bet Shemesh?

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