The Golan. For many, this word evokes images of lush greenery and cool waterfalls. All Israelis know that Northern Israel is the place to go to experience the best of the country’s nature in the summertime. The Golan and Galilee regions are home to an atypically large number of rivers, streams, and springs. This translates into lush greenery and great water hikes all summer long.
But if you’re planning a family trip to Israel, how do you know which northern trails to tackle? There are dozens of different hikes to choose from – and not all water hikes are created equal. Some are far too difficult for families. And you’re going to want to see the most beautiful hikes in the area.
This guide will help you choose the best, most family-friendly water hikes in the Golan and Galilee. All the incredible trails on this list are sure to be a hit with hikers of many ages and skill levels.
Let’s get to the trails:
The Banias – it’s the first place you think of when you think of waterfalls in Northern Israel. On the classic Banias waterfall trail, you can walk along a suspended trail toward a magnificent observation post. From the viewing platform, the sheer force of the incredible Banias waterfall will blow you away – almost literally. Prepare to get wet if you’re standing too close.
There are two options for hiking the trail at the Banias. The first is to take a short, 1.5-kilometer loop along the stream, to the waterfall, and back.
But for those who would like a longer adventure, there’s a one-way trail out to Banias Springs on the other side of the reserve. This trail extends the regular waterfall loop to a 4-kilometer, one-way trail. And it’s worth it. Hiking the Springs Trail at the Banias is the best way to experience all of the shady beauty that this gorgeous nature reserve has to offer.
Whichever way you hike it, it’s a good idea to visit the Banias early in the morning or late in the day to avoid summer crowds.
Lower Hermon Stream
Want to walk alongside a cold, lazy river, complete with miniature waterfalls? This hike at Lower Hermon Stream will take you to the other (free-entry) side of the Banias. There’s no massive waterfall here, but there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy thick greenery and a cool, flowing stream.
The best way to hike this trail is to come prepared to walk through the water. Get decked out in swim gear and bring floaties for the kids. Together, your family can hike through one of the most beautiful streams in Northern Israel.
The full hike at Lower Hermon Stream is 2 kilometers. Click here for the full hike post with maps.
If the Lower Hermon Stream sounds appealing, you’re also going to love Majrase – a beautiful nature reserve in the Golan. At Majrase, you can walk in a cool stream through waist-high water.
Families love this trail. It’s short, beautiful, and there’s a stroller-friendly path alongside the stream. Majrase is the ultimate way to stay cool in the summer in Northern Israel.
At the Snir Stream Nature Reserve, you can take a hike along one of the Golan area’s most beautiful streams.
With both a handicapped-accessible trail and a longer, more adventurous trail, Snir has something for everyone. The accessible trail will take you to a mid-sized waterfall pool. Just a little further and you’ll reach the classic Nahal Snir (Snir Stream) riverside trail, where you can walk over giant tree roots and rocks that pop out of a beautiful bubbling stream.
You won’t be swimming through Nahal Snir (unless you want to!) Instead, you’ll be stepping in and out of the water as you make your way down the trail next to the river.
Tel Dan Nature Reserve
In Biblical times, ancient Dan used to be Israel’s northernmost city. Now, at Tel Dan Nature Reserve, you can hike through ancient history and lush beauty in one amazing National Park.
The classic trail at Tel Dan (partially accessible), takes you through thick greenery along a rushing river. The trail is shady, beautiful, and features waterfalls to boot. Cool down in the refreshing spray of white falls and dip your feet in a wading pool as you hike.
If you’re a history buff, you can head on over to the other side of the park after you’re thoroughly soaked. There, you can explore the ancient city at Tel Dan.
At 5 kilometers, the Yehudiya Falls hike is a bit more strenuous than some of the other trails on this list. At first, the trail heads through ancient ruins, then along a sunny path before going down, down, down towards the falls.
But once you’ve reached the bottom, you’re not going to want to leave. A magnificent, rushing waterfall sets the scene at Yehudiya. One could hang around in the pools at the bottom of the falls for hours.
And you just may want to do that – because once you’re done enjoying the wild world of beauty at Yehudiya, you’ll have to climb back up the way you came. At least you’ll be cool and wet for the trip back to the trailhead!
The Golan doesn’t have all the best water hikes in Northern Israel. A bit further west in the Galilee region, there are several beautiful wet trails to choose from.
Nahal Amud (Amud Stream) is one of the best. On this shady trail, you’ll walk along a stream past charming structures from the British Mandate period (like an old flour mill and stone benches). Once you’re down in the thick of things, there are plenty of places to veer off the path and into the water. Each pool along the way boasts its own miniature waterfall, so get ready to cool down.
Iyon Stream Waterfalls Trail
For our last stop in Northern Israel, let’s head on over Nahal Iyon (Iyon Stream), another gorgeous Galilee Trail. At Nahal Iyon, there are four magnificent waterfalls. Some of the falls have cool pools at the bottom, where you can dip your feet or splash around in.
But at the main Iyon waterfall, you won’t need to go into the water to get wet. The forceful spray of the falls from the viewing platform will likely get you completely soaked.
Get to the Golan and Galilee
Now that you’re armed and ready, you can plan your next family trip to Northern Israel. Any of the hikes on this list will allow you to experience the exquisite beauty of the Golan and Galilee regions. Make these trails a part of your Israel summer itinerary and you’re sure to walk away inspired. And wet.
Check out Hiking the Holyland for more amazing hike tips!