Oz VeGaon Loop Trail

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Distance: 1.5kmTime: 1-2 hoursDifficulty: Easy
Ascent: 50mTrailhead and Markers Gallery

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A few weeks ago, during the Pesach holiday, we were looking for a low-key trail to tackle on a Friday morning.  Luckily for us, the weather was beautiful- cool, cloudy, and just a bit overcast.  During this season, gorgeous trails aren’t particularly hard to come by – nature is currently decked out in its spring finery.  So we knew we could have a successful hike almost anywhere at all.

There was just one caveat: the Pesach holiday.  During any holiday in Israel, it’s wise to steer clear of the more popular trails…unless you like dealing with bottlenecks, foot traffic, and parking problems.  So we came up with a few local options that weren’t very well known.

After a family discussion over breakfast, we zeroed in on the new circular trail at Oz veGaon, a nature reserve in Gush Etzion.

Oz VeGaon loop trail
At Oz Ve’Gaon.

We had hiked this trail once before, just after it was marked last year.  But since then, we’d heard that there was a new wading pool along the trail.  Not only that, but we figured that everything would look a lot more beautiful in the springtime. We were eager to see what kind of wildflowers were growing along the trail.

With the help of our two youngest sons and 18 year old daughter, we packed up a bag of Passover classics (KLP Bisli and chocolate) and set out with our border collie towards Oz VeGaon.  Ten minutes later we were on the trail.

Here’s how we hiked it:

Oz VeGaon

We pulled into the parking lot and got ourselves situated.  We’ve been to Oz VeGaon many times before.  The reserve was established by Women in Green and Gush Etzion in response to the murder of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali, three young boys who were kidnapped by terrorists in 2014. 

Since its establishment, the nature reserve has undergone a dramatic transformation.  Nowadays, there are regular classes, events, and all sorts of other things that happen at Oz VeGaon.  I actually took a woodcrafting class there a couple of years ago (and learned to build some really cool things!)

Mad woodcrafting skills 🙂

There are playgrounds in the middle of the forest, along with an awesome basketball/soccer court. Everything is organized and well marked, with maps, signs, etc.

We followed the signs towards the loop trail.  As we walked along the main road, we passed little wooden plaques, engraved with famous Zionist quotes in English and Hebrew.

Oz VeGaon loop trail
Along the trail.

Into the Woods

It only took a few minutes of walking to decide I was very happy with our choice to hike at Oz VeGaon.  The wind blew softly through the many tall pine trees.  Butterflies flitted between tall grasses and white Queen Anne’s Lace.  It was quiet there – we were the only hikers on the trail that morning.

Oz VeGaon loop trail
Just the right pace.

We walked slowly, taking the time to thoroughly enjoy all the sights and sounds along the way.  The boys stopped to blow the petals off of dandelion flowers.  We noticed lizards, trails of black ants, and a Eurasian jay in the trees.  The walk was easy, and lovely.

New Splash Pool!

After some time we reached the splash pool, built by local volunteers.  Most of us were happy to sit on the rocks and just look out at the gorgeous views beyond the pool.  But my thick-skinned youngest son decided that it was definitely worth going in, even on that cool morning. 

Oz VeGaon loop trail
Braving the splash pool.

It was, as expected, quite shallow, and really just a fun place to get a little wet.  But he stayed there for some time anyway, while we watched from the sidelines.

After a while, we convinced my son to get out of the pool and follow us along a side path through the tall reeds and rocks.  In the distance, we could see a wooden deck under some trees, and wooden benches in another spot.  We cozied up on two benches and broke out the Pesach snacks.

Oz VeGaon loop trail
A Pesach picnic.

This whole area was really lovely – a perfect place for a quiet picnic.  After spending some time relaxing, we packed up our bag and continued on our way.

Game’s On!

Next, we made our way back to the trail and continued along at a mild ascent.  At only about 2 kilometers, it didn’t take us much time to complete the loop.  Before we knew it, we were back at the parking lot where we had started.

This was great, because we were all really eager to take advantage of the amazing basketball soccer court at Oz VeGaon.  We scurried up to the caged in area, and made use of the many available balls to shoot some hoops.  Then we set up a (pretty lame but very fun) two on two soccer match.

And that was that.  The loop trail was complete.  Our morning at Oz VeGaon had been exactly what we needed: easy, quiet, and full of natural beauty. 

Oz VeGaon loop trail
Games in a forest.

Hikers’ Notes:

Here’s what you need to know to hike this little loop trail at Oz VeGaon:

  • This is an all season trail.
  • This trail is great for kids.
  • Suitable for dogs.
  • This trail is located in Judea and Samaria. Please make sure you feel comfortable with your level of personal safety before hiking this trail.
  • Wear good walking shoes and sun protection to hike this trail.
  • Our mapping system was not working when we hiked the trail, so you're on your own on directions on this one. Use the trail marker gallery at the top of the page to find your way. The trail is actually quite simple to follow - just follow signs for the Oz VeGaon loop trail. There is basically just one path to follow.

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 at Oz VeGaon? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Oz VeGaon loop trail
A pretty place.

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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