THE ISRAEL NATIONAL TRAIL

The Israel National Trail is a hiking route that leads through the entire country of Israel from north to south. It starts at Dan on the border with Lebanon and ends at the city of Eilat on the Red Sea. On average, hikers spend 45-60 days completing the trail. Even though this is not an easy trek, the wide range of geographic scenery, biblical locations, and modern Israeli towns along the way inspires one to go on. You can hike a section of the trail, or if you are an experienced hiker up for a challenge, then go for the whole thing! If coming to Israel is a fantasy and hiking a dream, then check out the Israel National Trail on Google Street View.

History

Avraham Tamir and Ori Dvir established the Israel National Trail. Avraham was inspired by his previous trek on the Appalachian trail in the USA, and Ori was a part of the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel. Their goal was to give Israelis the opportunity to experience the entirety of the land and to appreciate its beauty. This goal comes from God’s command to Abraham in Genesis 13:17 which says, “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” For this reason, Israelis value and make an effort to hike in the land of Israel and experience its entirety. In 1994, Israel’s prime minister Ezer Weizmann officially dedicated the trail to this purpose and declared it ready for use. It has continually been in use since.

Trail Details

The trail is about 1,025 kilometers (636.9 miles) long. It is marked with an orange, blue, and white sign which is often painted on rocks along the trail in order to let hikers know where to go. The trail doesn’t enter into the Golan Heights or the West Bank. It is divided into 12 sections, each section named after a highlighted location it contains. Local hikers often only hike individual sections. Some have hiked the entire trail over a long period of time by hiking each section individually.

A noteworthy aspect of the Israel National Trial are its “trail angels.” These are people who live along the trail who voluntarily offer hikers help and, at times, even a free place to stay. For an updated list of trail angels see here.

The Israel National Trail was listed in a list of 20 hikes on National Geographic’s “World’s Best Hikes: Epic Trails.” It is described as a trail that “delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of modern Israelis” and a trail on which “there is peace and friendship.”