Located in the center of the Golan Heights, about 20kms south of Qatzrin.
The reserve contains a mighty waterfall, the highest in Israel - 51meters high, archaeological sites including the remnants of ancient Gamla, a field of dolmens, the biggest Griffon Vulture nesting colony in the country, and more.
One can easily spend anywhere from one hour to a whole day in the reserve.
Preferred timing: April-May, summer is too hot.
The Dolmens are megalithic structures [megalith is a structure that is built from immense stone slabs]. They were erected 4,000 years ago. The word 'dolmen' means a stone table in ancient Breton[dol=table, men=stone]. The Dolmens in the reserve are built of immense stone slabs laid upon two upright slabs. Approx. 700 dolmens have been found around Gamla. It seems that the dolmens served as burial edifices for nomadic tribes that roamed Golan Heights during the period of the intermediate Bronze Age.
The population of the Griffon Voltures, once numerous throughout its breeding range, has suffered from severe decline. The dramatic decline is due to, mainly, to the reduction/ loss of their habitat, which caused shortage of food. These voltures suffered also from the results of the extensive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers
At its sources the water flows into a shallow natural wide canal [called Masil]. This part of the river ends in a tall waterfall that drops into a deep canyon, forming Israel's tallest waterfall. About 300m further south along the river there is another waterfall - 21m high. The Gamla Stream then winds from the waterfall and forms a deep canyon with very steep cliffs rising about it.
The Golan area is characterized by volcanic rocks - some large, most medium sized. Notice how the rocks are strewn about the ground...contributing to an almost "lunar" quality that, together with the vastness of the area and the wind sweeping through, is somewhat eerie and yet somehow peaceful.
One of the best rewards (and the reason we visited this spot in the first place) is to experience the little known "Hexagon Pools" (Brechat HaMeshushim, in Hebrew). These pools feature hexagonal formations caused by cooling of molten rock in the area long ago.
It was December when we went there so the water was a bit too cold for my taste - but we did see a family splashing around and enjoying the day.
I can only imagine how refreshing a dip in this spot would be on a hot summer day in the Golan Heights....
Israelis are born nature lovers, and this is a favorite spot.
The Yehudiya Nature Reserve is 16,500 acres of forest located in the Beit Zaida Valley. The trees populating the reserve are primarily Mount Tabor oak - which is really a large evergreen. What is peculiar about this nature reserve is that the trees grow far apart from each other, with lots of scrub brush and pistachio in between.
The main activity here is hiking. The trails follow the route of the Zavitan River (and other rivers) and are visibly marked via color coding. You can choose to do a more strenuous hike (and rappelling) - or a fairly easy one, which is what we opted for since I was 4 months pregnant at the time.
Be sure to stop by the Visitor Information Center (note: it's really just a small kiosk with someone inside) for a map/pamphlet and an update on the trail conditions. Good, accessible parking available.
Hours of Operation:
Apr-Sep 8:00a - 5:00p
Oct-Mar 8:00a - 4:00p
Entrance Fee: Adult NIS 18, child NIS 8
There are three hiking trails along the Zavitan stream. One is quite tough and requires swimming and jumping from high rocks into the water, the other two are much easier. So, make sure to consult someoe who knows the place before coming to hike here.
Hexagonals Pool or Brechat Ha'Meshushim as it's known in Hebrew is a little natural pool in the middle of Nachal Meshushim (Hexagonals Stream). This is the most perfect sample of the volcanic hexagons which can be found in other streams in the area. Unitl several years ago, coming here wasn't easy. You had to leave your car and hike for about an hour to get here. Now, it's much easier. You can drive your car right to the pool, only you still need to climb down a lot of stairs until you reach the bottom of the wadi and reach the water. Also, now you need to pay some money to get in. Anyway, once you're here don't think twice and enter the cold water. This is perfect in a hot summer day.
A perfect spot for a picnic or just to relax in the refreshing waters of the cool Jordan River.
Located down the main road from town of Had Nes, northern point above Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).