search
Susannah Schild
Creator of Hiking the Holyland
Featured Post

12 family hikes for Pesach 2023

North, center or south: Pack the matza pizza sandwiches, frolic in a field of flowers, and don't miss the disappearing waterfall

You’ve spent the last month cleaning up your house.

Together, your family has emptied out every last drawer and cupboard, cleaning out the crumbs (and the toys, gadgets, and other paraphernalia).  The house is finally spick and span and covered in tin foil – just the way you wish it would look all year long (except the tin foil part).

But guess what?  As nice as your house looks during Pesach time, it also happens to be the most beautiful time of year in Israel’s nature reserves and parks. So, you may not want to sit around inside on the sofa once your work is all done.

The kids are off on vacation anyway — now’s the time to get outdoors together and get onto a hiking trail. Flowers are blossoming, streams are flowing, and migrating birds are filling the sky — Israel’s nature is spectacular at this time of year. Grab a backpack, lace up your hiking shoes, and head on out into the great outdoors. To assist you on your journeys, I’ve compiled a list of 12 perfect-for-the-season family trails to choose from.

And who knows? Perhaps if you stay outside over Pesach vacation, your home’s pristine status will last just a little bit longer…

Let’s get to the trails.

The North

Nahal Aviv & Dishon

Pesach is a great opportunity to go on a day trip to Northern Israel.  At this time of year, you can see sights in the north that just won’t be the same come summertime.  Take Nahal Aviv and Dishon for example. This gorgeous trail in the Galilee will lead you through an unbelievable valley, filled with greenery and wildflowers.

Beautiful Nahal Dishon

Stop in on the incredible caves in the rock cliffs on the sides of the valley before continuing along to Dishon Stream. There, you’ll find more wildflowers and a beautiful forest.  This quiet springtime hike is one of my favorites.

This one-way trail is 5 kilometers long. Read the full hike post with maps right here.

Sachne (Gan HaShlosha)

No kid can say no to water.  And even when it’s not boiling hot outside, Sachne Pools stay a cozy 28 degrees Celsius, all year long!

The nice thing about Sachne, otherwise known as Gan HaShlosha National Park, is that there’s a lot to do there.  You can walk along a path towards a cool display that depicts life in Israel in the early part of the 20th century, when settlers hastily erected stockade towers to claim lands.  Then, tour the Museum of Regional and Mediterranean of Archeology, also part of the park.

The falls at Sachne.

Just make sure to do all this before you stop in on the pools.  Once they’re in the water, your kids aren’t going to want to go anywhere else.

The walk between the various sites in Gan HaShlosha is less than a kilometer long. Read the full hike post with maps right here.

Farood Falls

Usually, you don’t actually have to chase waterfalls to enjoy them.  But Farood Falls are a fleeting phenomenon that disappears just a few weeks after the rainy season ends. So it’s best to get there as early on in the springtime as you can.

Catch these fleeting falls if you can.

You can hike through these cool waterfalls, which send white, rushing rivulets down a rock hill.  There are plenty of different areas of the falls to enjoy, so you should be able to enjoy Farood Falls without the crowds.

Let me know if the falls are still full and flowing when you get there!

The out and back trail at Farood Falls is 1.5 kilometers long (total). Read the full hike post with maps right here.

Central Israel

Hof HaSharon Nature Reserve

You don’t have to go all the way up north to experience some natural beauty.  Pesach time is a great time for a coastal hike, and at Hof HaSharon Nature Reserve, you’ll find a perfect seaside trail.

Dancing flowers at Hof HaSharon.

This easy walking coastal trail leads along dramatic cliffs that stand tall over crashing waves.  A walk along this beach is simply breathtaking.  To loop back to the trailhead, you’ll find yourself walking through fields of flowers that you can only see in springtime.  This colorful coastal paradise is a truly beautiful way to spend a morning.

The full circular trail at Hof HaSharon Reserve is 3 kilometers long. Read the full hike post with maps right here.

Jerusalem Area

Hurvat Kayit

Looking to get off the beaten track in nature near Jerusalem? Check out this 6 kilometer loop trail to Hurvat Kayit, part of the Adulam Grove Nature Reserve.

On the trail at Hurvat Kayit.

This beautiful trail has it all: wildflowers, ancient ruins, and underground caves!  When you pack your bag for the day, make sure to bring along a flashlight or two.  Whether you prefer to sit in a field of wildflowers above ground or explore dark tunnels from the time of the Bar Kochva revolt, this trail at Hurvat Kayit has got you covered.

The full circular trail at Hurvat Kayit is 6 kilometers long. Read the full post with maps right here.

Burgin and Itri Loop Trail

Okay, maybe I’m partial to the Adulam Grove Nature Reserve.  Or maybe this reserve is just the perfect place to take a hike in springtime.

There’s another great trail that’s great for families at Adulam: the loop trail between Burgin and Itri Ruins.  Burgin and Itri are two ancient towns, both made up of many layers, some of which date back to the time of the Second Temple.  You can explore ancient burial caves, old ritual baths, and even an ancient synagogue at these ruins.

Spring vibes at Adulam.

In between the two towns, there’s a beautiful, flower filled trail that will have you skipping along in joy.  This is one of my favorite trails in the Jerusalem area, especially during the spring season.

The circular trail at Burgin and Itri is 6.4 kilometers long. Read the full hike post with maps right here.

Climb to Shimshon’s Cave

If your family is a bit more adventurous, try the climb to Shimshon’s Cave, near Beit Shemesh.  This trail only really opens up in April time, when the Sorek stream become calm enough to cross.  After you cross the stream, you’ll follow the trail up, up, up, passing by pretty wildflowers and beautiful views along the way.

Taking in the views from Shimshon’s Cave.

At the end, you’ll reach a magnificent cave with an open view out to the valley below.  Bring along a picnic lunch and plan to spend some time here enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

This trail is short, but tough, so it’s perfect for physically fit and active families.

The out and back trail to Shimshon’s Cave is 2.6 kilometers long, total. Read the full post with hike maps right here.

Hurvat Toura

The Nes Harim area is full of beautiful trails.  And one of the nicest must be the hike to Hurvat Toura.

Ready to climb Hurvat Toura.

This quiet trail includes thick greenery, wildflowers, and incredible views of green rolling hills that surround a deep valley.  While this trail isn’t quite as challenging as Shimshon’s Cave, it’s no walk in the park.  The hike to Hurvat Toura (which was an ancient Hasmonean Fortress) is suitable for more active families.

The out and back trail to Hurvat Toura is 3.5 kilometers long, total. Read the full post with hike maps right here.

Judea and Samaria

Nahal Firan and Nahal Talkid

The eastern side of Israel has its own special beauty, especially during the spring season.  This area can look dry and desertlike once April passes.  But for now, it’s filled with wildflowers and greenery.

One of the most popular family hikes in Judea and Samaria is Nahal Firan and Nahal Talkid.  Here, you can climb up along an awesome series of rock ladders to a green area with beautiful views.  Then climb down through another series of rock slides back to the trailhead.

Playing games at Nahal Firan & Talkid.

This trail is full of adventure and beauty, especially in springtime.

The circular trail at Nahal Firan and Nahal Talkid is 3 kilometers long. Read the full hike post with maps right here.

Har HaKokhav

Not too far away, near the town of Kochav HaShachar, there’s a pretty little trail that encircles a mountaintop, at Har HaKokhav.  Here, you can take in magnificent views of the temporarily green surroundings, while following an easy trail that takes you around the mountain.

Coastal Irises at Har HaKokhav.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the fleeting Coastal Irises, which appear at random alongside the hill on your way back to the trailhead.

The circular trail at Har HaKokhav is 4 kilometers long. Read the full post with hike maps right here.

The South

Hurvat Zak

We just recently discovered a perfect family trail in Southern Israel, at Hurvat Zak.  This beautiful trail is easy walking and filled with wildflowers in the springtime.  Midway through, you’ll reach the gorgeous remains of a crumbling settlement.  There are rock archways, underground caves, and little rooms to explore.

Past and present at Hurvat Zak.

Hurvat Zak is an area with a rich history, that dates back to the Early Bronze age.  If your kids aren’t big history fans, they’ll have fun just climbing around the ruins and sitting in a field of green to enjoy the beautiful views while you share a picnic.

The circular trail at Hurvat Zak is 5.5 kilometers long. Read the full post with hike map right here.

Havarei Masada

The weather can be so fickle during the springtime! On Pesach, you may have a heat wave.  Or you may have a cold, winter day.

If you wake up to find cold temperatures and clouds in the sky, head down to Havarei Masada, a beautiful desert trail at the foot of the famous Judean stronghold of Masada.  This easy trail leads through alabaster rock, which almost seems to have been carefully carved into beautiful formations.

Walls of white at Havarei Masada.

The best time to hike this trail is late in the day, just before sunset.  Havarei Masada is a perfect choice to top off a day out at Masada National Park.

Feel the Freedom of Spring

There you have it.  Israel’s outdoors is at its very best over the Pesach holiday.  Now is the best time to get out there and enjoy the most magnificent scenery the Holy Land has to offer.

So pack up some matza pizza sandwiches and go frolic in a field of flowers.  There’s no better way to tune in to the rhythm of Pesach, Chag HaCherut, the Holiday of Freedom.

Get out and explore this Pesach!
About the Author
Susannah Schild is the creator of Hiking the Holyland, Israel's premier English language hiking website and author of From Southerner to Settler: Unexpected Lessons from the Land of Israel. You can find out more, see the book, and join group hikes at hikingintheholyland.com
Related Topics
Related Posts