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article imageReview: Israel’s waterfalls – in search of hikes in cool water spots Special

By Lesley Lanir     Jul 30, 2012 in Travel
Cooling down is one of the first things on your mind when venturing outdoors into Israel’s summer heat. A number of waterfalls are scattered along selected hiking trails, some you can dip into and enjoy the torrents of water and refresing spray.
You just need to know where and when to go, to enjoy not only cool damp air and bathing in cold water but also to avoid the crowds, so you can savour in solitude, the sounds and sights that nature has to offer.
In the area of the Northern Galilee and Golan Heights you can easily hike in full shade to the Banias Falls located in the Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve by following a new wooden path that hangs above the bubbling waters of the fast flowing river.
The Hermon stream and waterfall flow all year round. Their source is on Mount Hermon. THe annual flow of this river is around 125 million cubic meters.
Suspended Bridge Banyas Nature Reserve
Suspended Bridge Banyas Nature Reserve
Hermon Stream - Banyas Nature Reserve
Hermon Stream - Banyas Nature Reserve
Banyas Falls
Banyas Falls
Because of the strong force of the Banyas cascade, you are not allowed to enter the falls directly but you can stand or sit nearby and enjoy the air cooled by the spray.
Moving slightly south to the Senir (Hatsbani) Stream Nature Reserve, you can freshen up in the waterfall and pool by the path that leads you along to the main Senir river hike.
Cascade and pool  Senir Stream Nature Reserve
Cascade and pool, Senir Stream Nature Reserve
And, also along the Senir, if you aren’t wading through the river, you can still dip yourself in the small waterfalls scattered along the trail.
Along the Senir River
Along the Senir River
For different scenery, head south towards the Sea of Galilee. The Meshushim Pool and waterfall is part of the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve in the central Golan Heights above the Sea of Galilee. A number of deep canyons and cascades flowing into pools can be found throughout the park covering 66,000 dunams (16,500 acres).
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
Many of the pools in this reserve are formed from unusual hexagonal basalt columns.
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
The reserve’s five main streams are the Meshushim, the Yehudiya, the Daliyot, the Zavitan and the Gamla. This is one of Israel’s most challenging northern nature reserves. There is little shade on many of the hikes and although there are many easy trails, there are also those that require climbing rope ladders and snappeling to reach the most beautiful pools and scenery.
Travelling back to the very northern extremeties of Israel, the Bara’it/Ayyon/Iyon or Tanur Stream, cuts through steep rock walls below the town of Metula on the Lebanese border.
These are examples of the smaller waterfalls found in the Iyon nature reserve, in the height the summer, when the flow of water is reduced sometimes to a trickle.
Iyon Reserve
Iyon Reserve
After hiking around the reserve, you can call back into Metula and wander around this beautiful, historic sandstone town that peers down over the hills and villages of Lebanon.
Lebanon from Metulah
Lebanon from Metulah
Here you can relax and enjoy the cooler weather and stop to nibble cake and sip coffee from a selection of cafes along the main street.
Chocolate fudge cake
Chocolate fudge cake
Changing directions, scenery, atmosphere and climate, you can drive 3 hours due south in search of more waterfalls, since a number are found along the Western shores of the Dead Sea and Judean Desert.
The Dead Sea or Yam Hamellach (Sea of Salt) is not a refreshing place to cool yourself down or stop and have a dip. Travelling from the north, the Jordan River ends its 251km journey by flowing into the northern tip of this salty lake. This famous river is the only constant source of water supply into the Dead Sea and the amount of evaporation taking place over this great expanse of water is more than the river can provide, causing the Dead Sea to have a 33.7% concentration of salt, the highest of any body of water in the world.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea
However, fresh water springs can be found in the lush Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, nestled on the western shores opposite the salty lake. A number of streams and waterfalls can be found in the northern reserve of Ein Gedi, known as Nachal David
Nachal David  Ein Gedi
Nachal David, Ein Gedi
and in the southern reserve the Nachal Arugot.
Nachal Arugot   Ein Gedi
Nachal Arugot , Ein Gedi
Nachal Arugot  Ein Gedi
Nachal Arugot, Ein Gedi
Travelling further south along the Dead Sea, you pass the area of Ein Bokek. A short walk leads you through a shallow stream to waterfalls that pour into bathing pools, a welcome relief to the surrounding barren landscape.
Ein Bokek
Ein Bokek
For more information about travelling around Israel’s beauty spots, visit the
Israel Nature and Parks Authority
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