Nahal Amud Stream Hike
Known as one of the most gorgeous one-day hiking trails up North, the Nahal (Wadi) Amud stream hike crosses the valley below Tzefat and offers some of the most breathtaking natural sceneries along the trail. The stream springs out to the ground 800 meters above sea level in Ramat Dalton. The valley pours into the Kinneret down south, passing the imposing Meron mountains in the west, spreading across 20 kilometers.
The name Nahal Amud translates to “the Pillar River” because of the spot where a huge stone pillar sticks out above the ground, near a channel in the vicinity of Kibbutz Hukok. The channel then gives birth to a beautiful gorge, home of numerous caves that used to be populated by Homo Heidelbergensis and the Neanderthal Man. The Amud cave is one of the most popular caves explored by most tourists who hike here. Excavations have revealed a lot of Acheulean and Mousterian artefacts inside the caves, so if you are passionate about history and archeology, this hike will definitely hit the spot!
Follow the Nahal Amud stream trail and take in the splendor of all the old water-mills and wildflowers that will pop up along the track. For an even more exciting hiking experience, climb the Mizpe Hayamim mountain on your way back and get your camera ready to capture a view above the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. It's a unique scenery you will not encounter again anytime soon, so give yourself the time to take it all in!
What To Expect
Together with the Wadi Darga trail near the Dead Sea (one of the most difficult hikes in Israel), the hexagon pool in the Golan Heights or the Nahal Snir Nature Reserve trail in the Upper Galilee, the Nahal Amud stream hike has won its place in the top of some of the most challenging hikes in Israel. While the hike might not look or sound that intimidating to a seasoned hiker, keep in mind there is a 450 m long steep climb you may find pretty demanding in the summertime. The reward at the end of the trail, however, will definitely be worth all the effort: taking a cooling dip into a wading pool. There is also a shorter version of the trail of 5 km that you may want to take, especially if you are traveling with small children or you hiking skills are not the best.
- Hike distance: 13.5 hm (short hike: 5km, easy)
- Climb: 200 m
- Level of difficulty: difficult
- When's the best time to hike: from December to April
- Availability: from October to May
Starting point: parking area at Nahal Amud Natural Reserve (1). You will need to pay an entrance fee here. If you wish to use public transportation, take bus #361 to Kfar Shammai and start the hike at (8). If you want to opt for the shorter version of the hike, go back from (5) to the beginning of the trail and let the Blue trail marks lead your way back to point (3). Climb on the Red markers until you reach (1).
Look for the Green trail signs that will lead you to a junction with a Black marked trail part of the Israel National Trail. (2) You will shortly reach the Miron stream, one of the tributaries of the Amud Stream. You can take a short break here to cool off, especially if you are hiking in the middle of August. The Black marks should lead you to the Yakim spring, so make sure to follow them for another 250 meters. (3) You should now get ready to see a waterfall that pours into a generous pool covered in shade - how inviting does that sound to you?
Once you are done swimming in the pool, go back to the Black signs and follow them along the stream bed for the next 850 meters. You should now get to the ruin of an ancient wool will called “Mivtasha” (4). An interesting fact about the mill: it was used to process wool using the power of water, similarly to flour mills. The mill apparently served the needs of the people of Sefad in the 16 century, so it´s a cool spot to come across during your hike.
When you are done taking photos of the mill, you can resume your track by getting back to the Black marks for the following 200 m, when you will find the amazing Shechvi Pools (5), another ideal spot for this time a longer break. Have a small picnic, hydrate yourself and catch your breath. Next, get ready to hike for the next 3.5 km along the black track marks and you will reach the Seter Spring along with an intersection marked with a Blue sign. (6) If you are hiking here in the winter, you will see the stream is dry. You will also come across more old watermills, as well as the Aqueduct system that used to tie the mills to one another.
Turn right where the Blue marking begins and brace yourself for a steep climb of around 450 m all the way to the top of the Seas Viewpoint (the summit of the Mizpe Hayamim mountain). (7) Pull out your camera, you are going to need it! This is one of the handful of Israeli spots where you can see two seas at the same time - the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and the gorgeous Sea of Galilee – the it´s worth the climb.
Once you are done admiring the mesmerizing scenery, you can prepare for your descend to the opposite part of Blue trail signs for the following 1.3 km. At the end of the descent, you should see the main road #866. (8) Follow the path leading to the right and take the unmarked road there for the next 3 km. You will then reach the Amud National Park road sign. (9) Here, go right for about one kilometer and you should reach your parked vehicle. (1)
Side note; If you are looking for local accommodation in the old city center, Villa Tiferet is an excellent choice.