While many Israeli families use Passover holiday to travel overseas the Inon family started a tradition that follows the footsteps of Moses and the Children of Israel – a multi-day hiking vacation in Israel. This time they explored the new and beautiful Ramot Menashe Trail starting literally footsteps from the doorsteps of their home. Maoz Inon is an award winning tourism entrepreneur with many successful initiatives in is resume such as Fauzi Azar Inn, Abraham Hostels, ILH – Israel Hostels, but above all he is a backpacker for life and experienced hiker. Here, he shares his family’s experience:
After our successful hike in Spring 2013, we started looking for our 2014 hiking vacation. Miraculously enough, a new regional trail had been blazed,starting 50 meters from our house in Binyamina, near Zichron Yaakov – the 64km Ramot Menashe regional trail, just south of the Carmel Mountain Range.
Ramot Mensashe Trail Summary
The Ramot Menashe Regional Trail comprises 64km of marked trail, from the ancient port of Caesarea and the Arab village of Jisr az Zarka to the plain of Menashe, traversing the beautiful landscape, with its many natural springs and forests. The trail also goes through agriculturally cultivated land such as vineyards, orchards, wheat fields and of course olive groves. The trail is very well blazed and is an ideal 3-4 day hiking experience that could arguably be dubbed “the most beautiful Spring trail in Israel, together with the Jesus Trail.”
Our Family Hike
Shlomit my wife, the manager of Jesus Trail Tours took it on herself to build the itinerary and work on the logistical and practical aspects of hiking the trail. With the support of Mr. Shlomo Brand, the trail co-founder, she came up with an eight day itinerary for our family, which covered nearly 70 km (meaning 8-12 km per day.)
We started our preparations early, with a meeting with the kids, Liad (8), Dor (6) and Eden (2.5), to ensure we had matched expectations and to see if there are any special needs for anyone within our group… Dor needed a new daypack and both boys asked to watch a movie at the end of each day, but other than that, it seemed like everyone was really into it. Eden wanted to make sure her carrier was in “girl’s blue” and after we confirmed it, she was happy enough. We also got the kids a pocket camera to keep them entertained and responsible on the trail.
On the first day of the Passover holiday we started hiking, from our doorstep to Aviel, where my sister lives. We decided that we would not return home until we finish the trail, and had all our heavy gear in our car which, with support of our neighbor and friend, was brought to us at the end of each day.
We had eight amazing days on the trail passing many springs, blossoming trees and flowers and the best quality time a family can ever ask for. On most days, we started hiking at 09:30 and finished around 17:30. The kids got very much into it and around 15:00 got into their “zone” walking almost without breaks until the end of the day. In the mornings we started slowly letting them get into the rhythm and stopping for breaks whenever they asked for one – letting them chose the “right” tree for it.
It appears that children are natural hikers that just need guidance and support to help them along the way. Of course each one carried his own pack with the daily snack, water, and his favorite items – knives, camera, swimsuits etc. The time flies by on the trail and a full day can go as fast as a regular afternoon at home when the only thing you are waiting for is for the kids to go to bed… So a big success here too!
On the last day, the kids chose to hike a full day to our friends pizzeria in Zichron Ya’akov, rather than hiking the last 2km of the trail like we had planned. Liad even said that he want to hike all the way home (another 6 km) but we talked him out of it :)!
We hope that you too will be able to experience this great trail,
Eden, Dor, Liad, Shlomit & Maoz Inon
Here are some suggestions and information that will help you hike this beautiful trail:
End point: Bat Shlomo
Maps: There are no maps in English yet. I would recommend to buy SPNI map #4 (available at most bookstores) and translate the relevant details with a marker
When to hike: The trail can be hiked all year round excluding June-August. The best time would be between three weeks after the first rain until the end of April
Camping or staying at B&B: If you are not traveling with your kids like us, I’d definitely recommend camping. It will make your logistics easier and much cheaper. There are many places to get supplies and to refill water. Please see a list of recommended camping site and accommodation places below.
Not to be missed!
- Coffee at Palogi, 100 meters from the trail in Binyamina and 50 meters from our house. Give us a call when you are there, we would love to meet you!
- Avial Springs
- Camping next to one of the many springs
- Drinking tea under an Ancient Oak tree – many potential locations!
- The ancient mosaic with a cross symbol next to Kibbutz Mishmar Ha-Emek
Suggested Camping Itinerary
We hiked more slowly with the family, but the trail is very much doable in three-four days.
Day 1 – Arrive to Jizr Zarqa Guest House. Explore Caesarea and get ready to hike the trail.
Day 2 – Hike to Ein Nili and camp next to the spring. About 18km.
Day 3 – Hike to Emek Ha’Shalom and camp in the valley or the nearby forest. About 20 km
Day 4 – Hike to Bat Shlomo. About 16km – The End!