Can you believe it’s almost Seder night? If the passage of time this year has taken you by surprise (wasn’t it just Hanukkah?!), you’re not the only one. Many of us haven’t had a chance to think through our plans for the upcoming holiday. If you have kids, they’ll be home for the next few weeks. And you’ll probably need to think of an activity or two.
Luckily, Passover time is also one of the most beautiful times of year in Israel. Flowers are blossoming abundantly. The land is green and lush. If you’re lucky enough to live here, your kids won’t need much more entertainment than a trip into the great outdoors. Springtime in Israel is the absolute best time to go hiking. Whether it’s hot or cold, sunny or drizzly, there’s a great trail that your family will enjoy.
Here are some of my top picks for this time of year:
Beit Shemesh Area
Ever since we visited Tel Azeka last year, my kids have been asking to go back. Why? Because it’s absolutely gorgeous there, especially in springtime.
At Tel Azeka there are forested pathways, plentiful wildflowers, and impressive panoramic views. Located in Park Britannia near Beit Shemesh, this little hill sits atop the ancient city of Azeka, mentioned several times in the Bible. The wild area at the bottom of the hill is a great place for a picnic in a flower field. At the top, you’ll get a full history lesson. King David battled Goliath in the valley just below the hilltop.
The circular trail is only 2.5 kilometers, so it’s good for kids of all ages. Read the full post here.
While we’re on the topic of Tels, I don’t want to leave out Tel Adulam, one of my favorite family friendly spots in Israel. The views and the scenery in Adulam Park in the springtime can’t be beat. Rolling green meadows seem to stretch out endlessly. Fields of flowers blossom all over the place. It’s a happy place to be.
Besides being beautiful, Tel Adulam is also fun. After your kids tackle the short ascent, they’ll love exploring the many ancient caves on top of the Tel. Like Azeka, Adulam was an ancient city, so there are a lot of ruins to explore.
Another nice thing about Tel Adulam is that it’s off the beaten track. You probably won’t find crowds of people on this pretty hilltop.
The circular trail is 3 kilometers long. Read the full post here.
Have you been to the desert this season? If not, now is the time to go, before it gets too hot. One of my favorite kid-friendly trails is the hike to Tsfira Pools.
The Tsfira Pools are little pockets of water, trapped in the desert canyon after winter rains. They’re tons of fun to splash in. If you have older kids, you can continue on past the shallow pools to a challenging descent into deeper water.
Another great thing about Tsfira Pools is that there’s a free (no-frills) campground at the trailhead. Pitch your tent after your hike, make a bonfire, and roast some marshmallows for a family friendly desert experience you won’t forget.
If you like the desert, you won’t want to miss Nahal Bokek, a flowing stream near the Dead Sea. This hike leads through rocky scenery towards a beautiful oasis.
Your kids will love splashing in the stream along the way. But the main event is the cool waterfall pool at the end. Bring bathing suits and water shoes and get hiking.
Bonus hike: If you’re already in the Dead Sea area, make sure to stop at the Dead Sea Salt Walkway Trail!
Jordan River Valley
Nahal Piran and Nahal Talkid
The best part about springtime is that the weather never gets boring. Sometimes it’s hot…but sometimes the winter hangs on tight. If there’s a cold and wintry day this Passover holiday, take the opportunity to head to Nahal Piran and Talkid in the Jordan Valley.
The scenery at this canyon hike is simply awe-inspiring. There are jagged rocky cliffs, a thick layer of greenery, cheery flowers, meadows, and stunning views. If your kids are adventurous like mine, they’ll love climbing up and down the ladders throughout the two canyons.
Since this hike is located in the Jordan Valley, it can get very hot in Nahal Piran. For this reason, it’s best to hike it on cold days.
This circular trail is 3 kilometers long. Read the full post here.
Not too far away in the Jordan Valley, there’s a water trail that the whole family will love: Nahal HaKibbutzim. This trail is more of a swim than a hike. You can walk along the stream to the beginning of the trail, then jump in and swim the rest of the way down.
Bring floaties for your little kids and lots of patience for the bigger ones. They will want to slide down the awesome waterslide pipes at Nahal HaKibbutzim again and again.
This trail is about one kilometer each way. Read the full post here.
Gamla National Park
Spring time is one of the best times of year to visit Gamla National Park. During spring, it’s full of colorful wildflowers, and the great Gamla Falls are flowing in full force. There are two kid-friendly options at the park: the Gamla Falls Trail and the Gamla Vulture Lookout Trail. The Vulture Trail is also stroller/wheelchair accessible, so it’s a nice option for families.
The Gamla Falls Trail is about 4 kilometers total, to the falls and back. Read the full post here.
Looking for something more low-key? Try Gazelle Valley in Jerusalem, a beautiful reserve in the middle of the city that’s full of nature and wildlife.
My kids love watching the colorful birds and ducks in the observatories along the trail. And the area is full of gazelle grazing in their natural habitat. Get there early in the morning for maximum animal exposure. These graceful creatures tend to look for food early in the day.
Right near Jerusalem, next to the small town of Tzur Hadassah, there’s a world of quiet hiking trails waiting for you to explore. One of my favorites is Mount Kitron. This awesome hike up a small mountain is for families who are a bit more adventurous.
The scenery on the trail will stay green and gorgeous for another few months. Now is the time to take advantage of the serene beauty of Mount Kitron before the heat of the summer. Bonus: there are caves and ruins from the Second Temple Period at the top of the mountain.
The circular trail is 4.5 kilometers. Read the full post here.
Masarek Park Sunset Trail
Some trails are best hiked at a specific time of day. The Masarek Park Sunset Trail is nice all day long. But it becomes magical at sunset.
This short trail through the Jerusalem Mountains leads through thick greenery towards a flat plateau. Bring along a picnic dinner and get ready to watch a spectacular show of pink light over a panoramic view of the hills down below.
Bonus Trail – Sataf
I know I said eleven incredible trails, but I can’t leave out Sataf, one of my favorite places to hike in Israel. It probably won’t be quiet over Passover, but it will be beautiful at this forested trail towards natural springs and water caves on the outskirts of Jerusalem. One of my favorite Sataf trails for kids is the 3 kilometer walk down Shvil HaBa’al towards Sataf spring. But check out this Complete Insider’s Guide to Sataf for more kid-friendly hiking trails in the Sataf Forest.
Get Out There this Passover
This Passover let the great outdoors entertain your family. With beautiful weather and lush green scenery, it’s the best time of year to bring Israel’s nature into your life.
Find more great family friendly hikes in our Kids and Family section.
Looking for something more adventurous? Check out the rest of our trails at Hiking the Holyland.