The Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve As you hike among the oaks, terebinth and Christ-thorn trees and grasses in this forested mountain reserve, you might spy gazelles, wild boars, jackals, conies, Indian-crested porcupines and a variety of raptors and song birds. The streams have cut deep canyons and high waterfalls through the volcanic rock. Most have marked trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Before you get started, find out which ones are right for you at the reserve’s information center. Map.
Main points of interest
- The Meshushim Pool – a large, deep pool. The pool is surrounded by dozens of hexagonal basalt pillars, creating a unique and impressive scene.
- The Lookout trail – a short, circular trail with breathtaking views of the Golan Heights along the way.
- The Dolmen trail – a short, circular route to the dolmen – a burial mound of huge basalt boulders, made by long-ago residents of the Golan.
- The Stream trail – this trail leads along the flowing Meshushim Stream to the Meshushim (Hexagon) Pool, and includes climbing along the banks of the stream with the help of handholds.
- From the Meshushim Stream to the Zavitan Stream – a long trail for good walkers. The trail crosses the watercourses of the Meshushim and Zavitan streams, with steep descents and ascents, and ends at the Yehudiya campground.
Points of interest in detail:
- The Meshushim Pool – this enchanting pool is the main point of interest for visitors to the nature reserve. It is a large pool (around 20 x 30 m) surrounded by a cliff made up of numerous hexagonal basalt pillars. The hexagonal pillars, standing vertically around the sides of the pool, are a uniquely beautiful natural sight. This phenomenon is caused by flowing streams of molten lava that has cooled and, in a slow process, formed basalt rocks. When the lava solidifies very slowly and without interruption, the shape it forms is a hexagon.
The path to the pool winds among the Mt. Tabor oaks. The descent takes approximately 20 minutes. Ascent from the pool to the entrance plaza by the same path takes about 30 minutes. Before reaching the edge of the pool, turn upstream to the little bridge that crosses the stream, from which you can watch the water gushing through the narrow ravine.
- The Lookout trail – this short, circular trail offers a breathtaking view of the Yehudiya nature reserve and the Golan Heights. From the observation terraces you can see the Meshushim and Zavitan streams as they burrow their way across the level plains dotted with Mt Tabor oaks, and carpeted with flowers in the spring. From the lookout points along the path you can see eastward to the Golan, Mt Hermon, the volcanic peaks, and the border with Syria. The trail is about 10 to 15 minutes long, and is suitable for baby buggies and wheelchairs.
- The Dolmen trail – a short, circular route that leads to the dolmen, a structure made of a large, uncut basalt boulder placed over other, smaller rocks. In fact, this is a large burial mound built by the Bronze Age residents of the Golan. Hundreds of dolmens of different types can be found scattered across the central and northern Golan Heights. From the dolmen, the path goes on to join the Lookout trail.
- The Stream trail – this is a trail for hikers wanting to walk to the Meshushim Pool along the watercourse of the flowing stream, which gets progressively deeper. The trail crosses the stream, and the route includes climbing the escarpment on the eastern bank of the stream, using handholds. Walking along this trail to the pool takes 45 minutes.
- From the Meshushim Stream to the Zavitan Stream – this long and challenging trail is only suitable for very good hikers, and takes six hours or more to complete. The trail leads to the Meshushim Pool, crosses the Meshushim Stream, and ascends to the ridge separating it from the Zavitan Stream. After crossing the ridge, through a park forest of Mt Tabor oaks, the trail leads down steeply to the lower Zavitan Stream. From here, it is possible to climb the eastern bank of the stream bed to the Yehudiya campground, or continue to walk along the stream for another two hours, through more pools, and then ascend to the campground.
Length of a tour: 20 minutes down to the pool, and 30 minutes climb back to the campground.
Another trail sets out towards the Zavitan Stream and ends at the Yehudiya campground: 4 – 6 hours walking – do not set out on this trail after 11 am in summer, and 10 am in winter.
Swimming in the pool: There are no lifeguards, the water is very deep and cold, and jumping into the pool is prohibited and dangerous.
Best season: Fall, winter, and spring
Last entry to the Pool trail is two hours before the site closes. Entry to the nature reserve until one hour before closing time
- Summer: 8 am – 5 pm, Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm
- Winter: 8 am – 4 pm, Friday and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm
On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm
- Individuals: Adult – NIS 22, child – NIS 10
- Groups (over 30): Adult – NIS 19, child – NIS 8
Soldier in regular or mandatory service, on presentation of service certificate – free of charge.
Dogs – Dogs on a leash may be taken on the trails. Dogs defined as dangerous must be muzzled.