Bashanit Ridge Hike In The Golan Heights
Located in the North-East of Israel, close to the Syrian border, the beautiful Golan Heights or the Golan as the locals call it is comprised of a proud rocky mountain range in the Levant. The area spans around 690 square miles and it spectacularly rises from the Jordan Valley rift right before it turns into a vast and flat plateau to the west. The slopes are nicely carved by canyons extending far down – a hiker's haven as well as an excellent destination for big fans of canyoning.
If you have never hiked to the Yehudiya Forest Natural Reserve, we strongly suggest you to add this spot to your next itinerary. The deep and imposing ravines crossing the heart of the Golan and the impressive waterfalls flowing all the way into deep pools will immediately catch your eye, no doubt about it. Get your camera ready if you wish to capture some of your best vacation snapshots: the oaks on Mount Tabor growing on its glorious peaks. It's a sight you won't be seeing again anytime soon.
The Golan Trail is 130 km long and it passes the Golan heights from North to South, blessing trekkers' eyes and souls with some of the most amazing historical and natural attractions in the country. The entire area is drenched in aesthetically pleasing green, rolling hills and cone-shaped volcanos that are long extinct. The volcanic eruptions here date back to 4 million years ago – definitely an extra reason to consider this hike. Together with Lake Ram, a gorgeous lake in a sleeping volcano crater, the ancient Odem oak forest, the Israeli Stonehenge or the most exquisite scenic view in the country up on Mount Bental's summit (views of Israel, Syria and Lebanon), the Bashanit ridge is another hot point of attraction in the region. This splendid oak forest area will give you the finest views of the Golan Heights. Here is more on what you can expect to discover on this hike.
What To Expect
Bashanit Ridge is located in the Northern Golan Heights, among the lush foliage of the North. In the first part of your hike, you will trek through the oak forests, while the second part will carry you all the way to the very top of Mount Kortam. Get ready to take in some out of this world views of the Golan Heights and Syria and sneak a peek at some unique flowers you will not be able to see anywhere else. Pack your camera, plenty of water and your best bug-spray and let the hike begin. If you are a winter aficionado, you should also know that this is one of the best spots to tour the Golan after the first snow has fallen.
- Hiking distance: 10 km
- Climb: 200 m
- Level of difficulty: moderate
- When's the best time to hike: from December to April
- Availability: from October to May
- Starting point: the access road to Alonei Habashan
You will begin your hike by going to the access road leading to Alonei Habashan, then go south using the main road 89, until you notice a dirt road with Green trail marks (2). Here, you will need to go left and follow the Green signs until you will come across a spring filling a stream of water. What an interesting image to see on a hike! Here, walk on the dirt track for about one kilometer (3). Make sure you can see the Green trail signs going left, following a new path you will need to follow. This is the beginning of the climb that will take you to the mesmerizing Bashanit Ridge, so brace yourself for it.
Don´t forget to have your camera ready – you will definitely want to capture the wild and unique flowers that are in bloom here from the beginning of fall to late springs days. You should spot these flowers all the way to (5).
Next, continue on the path that leads to the left and keep following the Green trail marks for about 850 m. You should come across yet another dirt road (4). This is the exciting moment when the marks should reunite with the Golan Trail. Keep going as directed by the Green signs that will continue to merge with the Golan marks for approximately 1.2 km. You should now get to a paved road (5) where you will need to follow the trail to the point it continues left, then hike the dirt road until you reach a junction with another dirt track (6). Here, the Green trail marks should continue on the paved road, with the Golan trail signs taking the dirt road in the opposite direction. You will need to do the same and follow the Golan Trail for close to 900 m.
Keep an eye on an upcoming dirt road that is not marked – the road will turn right. Take the dirt track and get ready for a climb (no more than a few minutes) all the way to Mount Kortam´s summit. There´s an 1125 altitude there and you will get to see the ruins of an IDF bunker that is no longer in use there, along with an old tank. Get ready to take out your snacks and take a longer break here – you deserve it! The 360 degrees scenic view overlooking the entire Northern region of the country, as well as Syria will definitely leave you speechless.
When you are ready to bid goodbye to this amazing scenery, you will need to walk back to (7), then go right and walk on the Golan trail for about 750 m, when you will reach a T junction consisting of dirt roads (8). The Golan trail continues right here; however, you will need to go left and take an unmarked dirt track (900 m) all the way to the main road #98 (9). This is where you will need to turn left and keep walking for 2.5 km to the point where your hike started.