One of my favorite spots in Northern Israel is the Tel Dan Nature Reserve.
Take Rd.90 about 30 km north passing Zomet Machanayim, through the western
side of the Hula Valley and pass the town of Kiryat Shemona. At the northern
end of town, turn east (right) immediately after the shopping mall onto
Road 99. This turn off is Zomet HaMetzudot. Continue on Road 99 east approximately
9 km, passing the turn off to Moshav Bet Hillel on the right, and Kibbutz
Mayan Baruch and then Kibbutz Dafna on the left. Shortly after passing
Moshav Shaar HaGolan on the right you will see the sign pointing to Tel
Dan Nature Reserve. Turn left on this road and continue straight until
the entrance of the park.
The Tel Dan Nature Reserve has a number of trails, mostly covered by
beautiful trees that provide shade. There are clean bathrooms here as
well as a shady picnic area right next to the water. Please remember to
wear hats and take water bottles as you begin hiking.
The trails all begin as a concrete path that passes along the riverbank
before changing to a wooden "boardwalk." The walking here is
relatively easy and the trails are all well marked. There are signs in
English and Hebrew indicating the names of many of the places as well
as naming some of the trees. One of the trails leads to a place called
"Winnie the Pooh's Tree," which is worth visiting but unfortunately
is not accessible to baby carriages.
The area was originally the Biblical town of Laish. During the time of
the Judges the tribe of Dan was originally located in the center of the
country (Gush Dan), but was hemmed in by other tribes as well as by the
Philistines. The elders of Dan told their young to head north in search
of more room. The tribe of Dan conquered this land for themselves and
established a ritual area here after the tribes broke up into the Kingdoms
of Yehuda and Yisrael. Dan was a major center for the northern Kingdom
To see the remains of the Kingdom we must leave the boardwalk and walk
along the marked foot trail. If you take the long path along the boardwalk
you will come to the end of this path when it becomes a dirt trail. Follow
this dirt trail to the left and walk about 65 feet (20 meters) to a small
pool of water fed by one of the tributaries of the Dan. This pool was
made especially for children to allow them to wade but only under parental
supervision. The water is relatively shallow but very cold. The water
comes from the Dan Spring which flows not far from here. The spring is
fed by rainwater and melting snows from Lebanon.
When you leave Tel Dan, proceed to Kibbutz Dafna and then turn left (south)
on Road 918 which goes along the Western side of the Hula valley parallel
to Road 90. This road avoids passing through Kiryat Shemona and any traffic
in that area. Take this picturesque road for about 26 km. when you will
get to the Gadot Junction passing
At the junction, turn right (west) to Zomet Machanayim and back to Road
90 to head south.
This site is appropriate for a family outing with kids of all ages, and
is accessible to both wheelchairs as well as baby carriages.
Based on an article in the Safed "Western Settlers' Newsletter."
Moshe Friedman is a certified tour guide and medic. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
cell phone: 050-417651.