The Ben Shemen Forest, located about mid-way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is home to a 32 kilometer single track mountain biking trail, one of the longest trails in the whole of Israel. The trail, which opened in late 2011, is split into two parts, the Herzl and Anava trails, and passes through the western part of the Ben Shemen Forest continuing up to the Modi’in Forest across largely flat terrain. As well as the sheer beauty of the forest, along the way are historic and archaeological sites, as well as beautiful lookout spots.
Biking at Ben Shemen Forest. Image courtesy KKL-JNF
The Herzl Trail is a 10 kilometer circular biking trail suitable for intermediate riders. The trail starts and ends at Mitzpe Modi’in, passing through the ancient forest of Ben Shemen including the oldest Cyprus pine forest in Israel. After 7 kilometers, riders on the trail have the opportunity to continue back to finish the circuit or alternatively head south onto the Anava Trail.
The Anava Trail is a 25 kilometer trail, also circular which begins and ends at that split-point on the Herzl Trail. This trail passes historic and archaeological sites including Tel Gamzo and the Monks Valley and has many lookout points across to the modern city of Modi’in, and towns and cities of the Mediterranean coastal plain.
Amazing mtb trails. Image courtesy KKL-JNF
The biking trails at Ben Shemen are part of a wider network of leisure activities in the forest including other biking and hiking trails as well as observation and heritage sites. Built and maintained by KKL-JNF who have take responsibility for managing and creating many of the beautiful forests that can be found across Israel, the trails are well marked and are waiting for you and your bike!