El Al Riverbed



Opening Hours:

Daylight hours, 7 days a week

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                    Difficulty level: Medium

                    Duration of hike: Up to half a day (3-4 hours)

                    Seasons: Spring, Fall, and Summer

                    Length of hike: Approximately 4 kilometers

                    Hike description: This is a linear hike (not circular), suitable for families with kids that are used to hiking in riverbeds.

                    Arrival: Search for the White Waterfall Parking Lot via Waze. There are also public buses to Avnei Eitan or Eliad. For more information on public transportation, see: www.golan.org.il/bus.


                    Background: In the southern Golan, there is a narrow and twisting canyon that is known in Arabic as Wadi Dufileh (“the riverbed of the oleander”), which is known in Hebrew as Nachal El Al. The length of the riverbed is 20 kilometers. We will hike the segment of the riverbed that goes through the most beautiful part of the canyon. El Al is the southern-most perennial stream in the Golan, and offers two waterfalls with pools below them.

                    The Black Waterfall flows through basalt and drops from a height of 8 meters.

                    The While Waterfall flows through limestone and falls from a height of 20 meters.

                    There are a number of beautiful natural swimming pools throughout the riverbed. The hike begins at Moshav Eliad and ends at the Mapalim Campsite near Moshav Avnei Eitan (the hike can also be done in the opposite direction).


                    Hike description: The path descends to the riverbed according to the signs, and continues on the red-colored trail, which goes through olive groves and walls of cactus; we are close to the ruins of the village of El Al. The path crosses a small riverbed that comes from the east; here there is a beautiful view (please keep your distance from the ledge of the cliff). Notice how the small riverbed pours into a huge canyon; this is where Nachal El Al makes a 90 degree turn. Continue on the red trail at the edge of an olive grove, and after about 500 meters, descend down the path that begins in basalt and ends in limestone, heading towards the White Waterfall. When you get close to the waterfall, the path to the left will lead you down steps made from railroad ties, and you will find yourself at the pool at the foot of the waterfall.

                    Afterwards, ascend back to the main red-colored path, cross the riverbed at the top of the waterfall (stay away from the edge of the cliff), and continue walking towards the Black Waterfall. The path goes through dense patches of oleander bushes, and after about 500 meters, ascends to a few meters above the riverbed. Soon the limestone is gone, and we are again hiking through basalt.

                    At this point, switch to the clear trail marker (follow the path marked by two white stripes, instead of continuing to the left on the red) and descend to the Black Waterfall. There is a small pool underneath the falls, surrounded by stately plane trees that provide cool shade. Afterwards, climb back up to the red trail, which bypasses the waterfall. After a while, the path crosses the water (from left to right) and climbs up the hill through the trees and vines (it’s a relatively steep path), until you reach the Mapalim Campsite at Moshav Avnei Eitan.

                    It is recommended to leave a car at the end of the hike. It’s also possible to walk back to the beginning of the hike by using the sidewalk promenade that connects Eliad and Avnei Eitan (approximately 3.5 kilometers).


                    Geology: The phenomenon of both a white and black waterfall in one riverbed is rare. This was caused by the flow of lava that turned into basalt rock, which covered the older sedimentary limestone rocks that are of white and yellow color. Over the ages, water flowed with intensity on the ground, forming a riverbed that grew larger and larger, and uncovered both layers of rock.


                    Warning: Swimming in the pools of the El Al Riverbed is solely the responsibility of the swimmers themselves.


                    Safety Rules:

                    *Due to the presence of various minefields in the Golan, it is forbidden to cross fences and/or wander off the hiking trail.

                    *It is forbidden to enter IDF firing zones.

                    *There are many cattle fences in the Golan. If you enter a gate on the trail, please close it behind you. Do not climb on the fence, and do not cut or harm the fence in any way.

                    *Be extremely careful when crossing or walking on roads.

                    *Overnight camping is allowed in official campsites only! It is forbidden to sleep in the middle of a trail or in a makeshift campsite.

                    *Do not burn toilet paper. Do not light a fire under trees. Do not leave a fire unattended!

                    *Make sure you carry out all of your trash, and keep nature clean!

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