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Galilee Lake Nature Reserves

The Kinneret is blessed with an abundance of stunningly beautiful nature tours. It is the perfect place to step out of the daily grind and get back to nature while enjoying the beauty of the Holy Land. Among the gorgeous nature sites are; the Mount Arbel National Park with it's breath-taking view of the Kinneret, the family-friendly Majrasa wet trail; the pastoral Jordan Park that spreads over an astounding one-thousand dunams and includes numerous walking trails; the Sussita Nature Reserve with it's fantastic view and intriguing landscape and the Meshushim Reserve with it's stunning hexagonal basalt formations.
There is no shortage of natural beauty to explore in the Kinneret region; one can spend days wandering the region and never be short of new things to discover!
 


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The Majrasa is an estuary of the Nahal Daliot in the Tzaida Ravine- one of the loveliest nature reserves in Israel.  The Majrasa is one of the lagoons that stem from the Golan heights rivers.
The Majrasa is a fantastic, family-friendly route; a wet trail with thick vegetation, cold water and aquatic wildlife to be observed on the way. The height of the water that one must tread through varies between twenty centimeters and three meters depending on the season, the amount of rainfall during the year and the amount of water being pumped in from the Sea of the Galilee. In any event, make sure to come prepared in clothing and shoes that are suitable for water.
 




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In the Lower Galilee stands the majestic Mount Arbel with it's breath-taking views of the Kinneret, the Golan heights and Mount Hermon. The mountain is part of the history-rich Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve and contains beautiful observation points, hiking trails and archaeological treasures, as well as being the only place that is approved for base jumping in Israel.
The fantastic views from the top of Mount Arbel can be reached on foot or by car and as well as beautiful Galilean scenery, one can see the Horns of Hittin; the place where Saladin defeated the Crusaders in 1187.
In the slopes of Mount Arbel are caves where Jewish people hid from the Romans and Greeks which date back to the Second Temple Period. Additionally, an ancient Synagogue is situated on the mountain and the ruins can be viewed today.
The ascent to the top of the mountain is a part of the Israel National Trail and there are also a number of shorter trails for walkers of all levels.
 




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The beautiful, pastoral Jordan Park is located not far from the Kinneret and spreads over one-thousand dunams, including numerous walking trails that pass by water sources, ancient gristmill sites, aqueducts, pools and sites of archaeological interest, such as the ancient Fortress City of Bethsaida. Huge trees, flowing streams, warm springs even in the winter, kayaking, water tubes and fishing areas are all a part of this fantastic nature reserve.




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The ancient city of Sussita (also known by it's Greek name, Hippos, meaning "horse") is located on a mountain that is 350 meters above the Kinneret. The Sussita Nature Reserve offers a fantastic view and intriguing landscape.
The city dates back to the Hellenistic period, was destroyed by an earthquake in 749, only to flourish once again in the Roman and Byzantine periods. It was one of the ten cities in the region that combined Greek and Roman culture. Sussita and Bet Shean are the only cities in Israel that were part of these ten cities (also known as the Decapolis); the remaining eight are located in present-day Jordan and Syria.
In the early 1950s the mountaintop served as a frontline IDF fortress and excavations of the site began in 2000. Findings include a temple dated to the second or third century, a Byzantine church and sanctuary. Many artifacts from the site are astonishingly well-preserved due to the city never being resettled after the earthquake of 749.
The mountain can be climbed via the snake path from Ein Gev with beautiful flora, wildlife and birds along the way.
 




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The Meshushim Reserve is a part of the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve in the central Golan heights. With deep canyons, stunning hexagonal ("meshushim" is Hebrew for "Hexagons") basalt formations, flowing water and cascades, the trail is truly spectacular. In spring there is an abundance of herbaceous flora along the trail and visitors will often spot wild boar roaming around. The pool I named after the shape of the basalt pillars that make up its walls which were created by the cooling of layers of lava floes over a long period of time.
It takes twenty minutes to reach the pool and thirty minutes to get back up to the parking lot. There is an additional trail leading to the Zavitan stream that ends at the Yehudiya parking lot that must not be started after 11:00 AM due to the length of the trail. The trail is suitable at all times of year although it may be less comfortable to do the trail in the summer time. Make sure to take in the rare observation points of the Golan with a view to the east.
 




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Next to Kibbutz Kinneret is Yardenit; a particularly beautiful spot where the Jordan River is wide, calm and shaded by Eucalyptus trees. During baptismal ceremonies, those being baptized don special gowns which can be rented at the site. There are empty bottles available that can be filled with holy water from the site.
At the entrance to Yardenit is the Community Wall which welcomes visitors and explains the significance of the site for Christians. In recent years, a walking path has been opened which allows pilgrims to sit peacefully by the banks of the river. South of the baptismal site is a Eucalyptus grove where private prayer meetings can be held.
 




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Nahal Ammud (meaning "Pillar Stream"), located in a valley below the city of Tzfat, is one of Israel's most famous nature trails. The name of the trail is due to a large stone pillar somewhere along the trail that is in the middle of the riverbed. This stunning stream pours into the Sea of Galilee and begins at the Dalton Plateau, 800 meters above sea level. The stream flows along twenty kilometers, is clearly marked and makes for a perfect family trip. As well as the stunning water there are other attractions along the way such as beautiful orchards, breath-taking mountainous scenery, a clear water pool and the huge pillar which is the namesake of the stream. Nahal Ammud is a part of the Israel Trail which spans the country from the northern border to the southern-most tip and it can be walked year-round but is especially recommended in spring when the flowers are blossoming and the pools of water overflowing.

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