5 Israeli Waterfalls That Will Take Your Breath Away

5 Israeli Waterfalls That Will Take Your Breath Away

Nothing beats the majestic power of a waterfall as it splashes down from a mighty stream into a clear pool below. Israel has been blessed with many beautiful waterfalls, and a hike to see at least one of them is an essential element of a trip to Israel.

History and Nature at the Banias

The Banias spring carries water from Mount Hermon to the Jordan River, with an impressive waterfall forming the center of the Banias Nature Reserve. A hike to the fall takes you through a lush green forest, past a cave dedicated to the Greek god Pan and the remains of a Herodian temple. If you are lucky you, will even get to see hyrax (a small land mammal) hopping around on the rocks. The shorter hike is about 45 minutes long, and the longer one can take up to two hours.

Desert Oasis at Ein Gedi

The Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is home to two waterfalls, which flow year round despite being located in the dry and arid Judean Desert. An easy one-hour hike will take you to the first waterfall, Nahal David. If you can spare approximately three hours and are in relatively good shape, though, continue on to Nahal Arugot. One of the largest riverbeds in the desert, Nahal Arugot sports an especially majestic waterfall. Keep an eye out for herds of ibex and groups of hyrax that hike freely alongside the humans at this reserve. After the hike, make a stop at the ancient Ein Gedi Synagogue to see its famous mosaic floor.

Climbing Down the Yehudiya Waterfall

The Yehudiya Nature Reserve is the central Golan’s favorite hiking site, with five different streams to choose from. The tallest waterfall in the park is that of Nahal Yehudiya, which you can actually walk through, using footholds embedded into rock. The more challenging trail here also requires you to jump into a pool and swim to get out of it. The hike is about three hours long and a great deal of fun.

Nahal Elal’s Black and White Falls

A three-hour hike at this Golan landmark will take you past the black waterfall, whose water is colored by the black basalt rock beneath it, and the white waterfall, which gets its color from white chalkstone. These high and powerful waterfalls pour into enormous pools, where you can dip for a relaxing swim. The end of the hike takes you back up and out of the canyon and is moderately challenging. Don’t miss the panoramic view from the cliffs atop the entire gorge.

Rainbows at Jilabun 

At 41 meters high, the Jilabun is the second-highest waterfall in the Golan. In the afternoon, you can see rainbows in the water as it crashes down into a deep pool. The hike takes you to a smaller waterfall amid beautiful vegetation, including oleander, holly brambles, purple loosestrife and lilac chaste trees. The short route takes three hours and requires an uphill trek at the end. The longer route is a full five hours long and takes you past the ruins of an Arab village that once stood here and an abandoned Syrian "officer’s pool," a concrete-framed swimming hole filled from a natural water source.

The natural beauty of Israel’s natural wonders is very much in evidence in all of these awesome waterfall hikes. Israelis enjoy hiking as a pastime and visits to these waterfalls are included as standard stops on many school and youth group trips. All too often, international tourists skip over hiking opportunities, but you will gain a much better feel for the stunning natural landscape that is Israel if you make time to walk the land.

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