Where to Hike on Passover? Hikes That Will Get You Out of the House


This year, you simply can’t let yourselves miss the opportunity to frolic in nature on Passover. I mean, Chol Hamoed is always a good time to take a family trip outdoors, but this year is something special that you really can’t miss. Let’s start with the fact that there are a lot of days of Chol Hamoed this year, which means you can visit all the grandmas and aunts and STILL have some time for hiking. Also, this year most of the rain fell at the end of the winter, which means more greenery now, an abundance of wildflowers, and hikes with flowing water, which is usually rare during this season. So the question isn’t if, but rather where, you should hike this Passover!

So that you don’t have any excuses, we’ve made you a list of the best hikes this Passover that are suitable for every type of family, from the athletic hiker families to families who don’t go on hikes often and aren’t accustomed to long trails. All that’s left is to choose the hike that sounds best to you, pack your outdoor coffee kit and a few matzas, and set your WAZE:

1. For Families Who Like Hiking and Water: A Refreshingly Wet Hike through Nahal Shiloh and a Visit to Ancient Shiloh

If your family isn’t afraid of a good hike but prefers a trail that isn’t too challenging, Nahal Shiloh is definitely for you. This trail will take you deep into nature and to artifacts of human handiwork – ancient artifacts and pools that collect the spring water. The hike starts at the Jewish Brigades Parking Lot at Shiloh Junction. A comfortable dirt path winds through the vineyards and olive groves until you reach a large pool of water. Continue on the trail that leads you to the valley between steep mountains, at the end of which you will reach Oz Spring. Here you’ll find a spring with a deep pool and a shallow pool for young children. A driver can reach Oz Spring by car and pick up the rest of the family, or you can all continue on the dirt path and cross Highway 60 via the underpass and end the hike at HaGvura Spring.

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Trail around Ancient Shiloh

Finished the hike but your adrenaline is still pumping? You’re invited to visit Ancient Shiloh, which is an especially festive site on Passover and in addition to its regular attractions, features a farmers’ market, roaming actors and tons of activities for children and teens. Please note – based on our experience, it’s hard to pull the kids out of Ancient Shiloh once they’ve entered, so make sure to set aside a few hours.

Level of difficulty:

Easy-moderate. It’s a hike, but not one that will leave you with stiff muscles the next day. The whole trail, including stops for playing in the water on the way, takes about three hours.

The Trail:

Begins at the Jewish Brigades Parking Lot (Shiloh Junction) and ends at Oz Spring (Eli Junction). This means that someone who drives needs to get a ride back to the parking lot. You can leave one car at the parking lot at Oz Spring. How do you get there? Drive on Highway 60 to Shiloh Junction.

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Nahal Shiloh

2. Archaeology, Underground Tunnels and the Tower to the Mediterranean Sea: Givat Hayekevim

Givat Hayekevim (Winery Hill) is an archaeological site named for the ancient underground wine cellars located at the site. Along the trail are audio information stations that will guide you with entertaining stories and interested facts about the biblical village, as you pass by the ancient olive press that now operates using unique technology, the columbarium, underground tunnels from the second Temple period and an amazing overlook – the Tower to the Mediterranean Sea. Please note – if you see an elephant wandering around, don’t be scared! It’s just a life-sized statue, reminiscent of the Hasmoneans who once hid here during their fight against the Greeks.

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Givat Hayekevim

A 20-minute walk will bring you to Talmon Spring, which flows into a pool about 4 meters wide and over 1.5 meters deep. Impressive olive trees grow all around the spring and at the site are picnic tables, a swing and a deck overlooking the gorgeous landscape, so you can rest after your hike.

Level of Difficulty:

Easy. The hike through Givat Hayekevim is short and circular: several hundred meters on a marked path that is mostly flat. Your car is always a short distance away if needed.

The Trail:

An hour-long comfortable walk around the site. If you like springs, you can keep walking for about 20 minutes to Talmon Spring. How do you get there? Navigate with WAZE to the Givat Hakeyevim parking lot adjacent to the community of Haresha, which is also clearly marked with signs.

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Underground tunnels at Givat Hayekevim. Photo credits: Shahar Cohen

3. The Ultimate Israeli Hike: Shvil HaMaayanot at the Female Bible Heroes Park

What do Israelis want? A combination of a picnic site, water attractions and a nature hike – and if there are wildflowers, even better. Shvil HaMaayanot at the Female Bible Heroes Park is exactly that: a pleasant trail that winds between the trees and reaches five springs named for female biblical heroes. Wildflowers dot the entire length of the trail during the spring. Recently, two more springs have been added to the trail – the upper springs, perfect for those looking to go a bit further on the hike.

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Shvil HaMaayanot

The trail is organized, there’s plenty of water to play in and your car will always be a reasonable distance away at any stage of the hike. The different springs are appropriate for children of varying ages.

Level of Difficulty:

Easy. The trail is circular and the path is organized and while it’s not suitable for strollers, it is a pleasant hike to do with small children or while wearing a baby carrier.

The Trail:

Circular. Average duration of the hike – three hours, including stopping and spending time at the springs. There is an organized parking lot at the site. How do you get there? Navigate with WAZE by writing Park Giborot Hatanach in Hebrew.

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Vineyards Spring

4. Panoramic View: Climb Up Mount Kochav

A circular trail from Mount Kochav to Vineyards Spring will take you through vibrant, colorful wildflowers, Mediterranean trees and desert plants, plus various archaeological artifacts. The highlight of the trail is undoubtedly the amazing panoramic view of Jerusalem, the Binyamin mountains, the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley and the Gilad mountains on the eastern side of the Jordan River. The ascent to the mountain follows a trail marked with green and white, and at the end you’ll reach Vineyards Spring.

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Kochav Hashachar Overlook

Level of Difficulty:

Medium. When there’s a high lookout point, you need to climb up to it…

The Trail:

Circular. If you want a good hike and some time in the spring – set aside about four hours. To reach the starting point, drive to Kochav Hashachar via Alon Highway and turn right at the first turn until you reach the signs and trail markings.

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Mount Kochav

5. For Seasoned Hikers: From Nofei Prat to Mabua Spring

A gorgeous hike in Nahal Prat Nature Reserve – one of the most beautiful reserves in Israel. Three large springs flow from Nahal Prat (Wadi Qelt): Prat Spring, Mabua Spring and Qelt Spring. During the hike, you’ll encounter a flowing stream with pools and waterfalls, a large thicket of trees, impressive cliffs, and archaeological artifacts that date all the way back to Herod’s time.

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Nahal Prat. Credit: Ilan Nerinsky

Level of Difficulty:

Hard. A long hike that is slightly challenging for families that enjoy serious hiking.

The Trail:

Long (about six hours including time in the water). The hike can be shortened and ended at Mabua Spring – in which case, a driver will need to get a ride back to the starting point. This point ends up at the entrance to the community of Nofei Prat, where there is a parking lot.

 

So do you know where you’re going to hike on Passover?!

If you’ve already chosen your favorite trail, go ahead and pick a few attractions, reserve a vacation rental or visit a winery. The gorgeous Binaymin region awaits you with all of the answers to the question – what should we do on Passover?!

 

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