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Hermon: Hazori to Hula

Golan: Devora &  Gilbon

Golan: Nahal Meitzar

Galilee: Nahal Kziv

Galilee: Nahal Amud

Galilee: Nahal Rosh Pina

Galilee: Ramat Adamit

Coast: Dor to Caesarea

Judean Hills: Ela Valley

Judean Desert: Masada

Judean Desert: Peres

Negev: Mount Zaror

Negev: Hatira Coxcomb

Negev: Ramon Ridge

Negev: Hatzra Ascent

Negev: Nekarot Hike

Negev: Ada Canyon

Arava: Barak Canyon

Arava: Maok & Nekarot

Eilat: Israel Trail Finale

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A small stream and lush green slopes make this an ideal place for a family hike

Nahal Meitzar is the largest of the riverbeds that run from the southern Golan Heights to the Yarmuk Valley. Growing on its slopes is a wonderful park forest with a combination of Mediterranean and desert plants. In winter, the slopes are covered with green and in spring they are carpeted with beautiful flowers.

The name Meitzar describes the narrow bit of land that separates Nahal Meitzar from Nahal Ein Gev, which flows into the Sea of Galilee. Route 98 passes though this area, connecting Kfar Haruv with Afik. Locals refer to the riverbed as Wadi Yakutza and Wadi Masoud (Arabic for “Happy River”).

The riverbed begins beside Khirbet el-Yakutza, about a kilometer from Kibbutz Meitzar. It then descends westward, digging through mountains and soft rock for about four kilometers before Wadi Barbara (Arabic for “Noisy Riverbed”) flows into it. Two kilometers from there, the upper border highway crosses it.

Hikers can continue along the slopes for another half kilometer to the Nahal Meitzar waterfall. The riverbed continues for four kilometers from here, carving into the rock and forming shallow pools, before flowing into the Yarmuk.

The Hike

A few eucalyptus trees and a small cow pen mark the starting point of the hike, three kilometers southwest of Afik Junction. The trail passes through a gate and continues to an open plateau, between thorny bushes of lotus jujube.

Before starting down the steep decline, on the edge of the slope above the riverbed, take a 50-meter detour to the left to the lookout point, for a view of the lovely forest of  Mt. Tabor oaks that covers the surrounding slopes. Then follow the trail down the steep slope to Wadi Barbara.

The trail crosses the river and continues along Wadi Barbara’s southern bank. Wadi Barbara joins Nahal Meitzar at the bottom of Ras a-Hatzamtza, a large hill. From here, the banks are covered with willows and the surrounding slopes with Mt. Tabor oaks. A short distance further, you will come to a gigantic oak tree. The trail approaches the riverbed, and then curls toward the highway. From there, descend to the left into the parking area where, hopefully, a car waiting for you.

But this is not the end of the hike. Continue on the trail along the slope on the riverbed’s right bank for 15 minutes to a lookout point with a view of the beautiful Nahal Meitzar waterfall.



Route: A moderate hike along the slope of a riverbed. The trail is marked in blue.

Best Time: Winter and spring. Do not hike here in summer during the hot part of the day.

Start: 3 km southwest of the Afik Junction, alongside Route 98 between kilometer markers 21 and 22.

End: Where the river meets the upper border road.

How to Get There: Take the approach road to Kibbutz Meitzar, pass the kibbutz, turn right at the junction, and continue to some buildings used by the army. Turn right onto a road beside a short row of cypresses. The road is in poor condition, but navigable in any vehicle. It leads down to a parking area beside Nahal Meitzar.

Length of Hike: 3 kilometers.

Map: Golan & Hermon Trail Map 1.

What to Bring: Comfortable hiking shoes, water, and a hat.

Be sure to arrange for a car to pick you up at the end of the trail.



© ERETZ Magazine 2016