Our hike begins next to the Ein Keshatot National Heritage Site. It’s worth your while to see the arched spring, and the impressive ancient synagogue that was restored with cutting-edge technology. The massive stone arches above the spring were built during the Roman Period, and gave the site its Arab name: Um el-Kanatir. In English, that would mean “The Site of the Great Arches;” the Hebrew name Ein Keshatot means “The Spring of the Arches”.
We will descend to the riverbed and stop where Nachal El-Al flows into Nachal Samakh; there are clean, refreshing pools of water here that are relatively shallow (usually up to the knees, but sometimes a bit higher). Thanks to the willow and plane trees, this beautiful spot has wonderful shade and is a great rest stop.
We then go up the long ascent from Nachal Samakh, going underneath Road 789 (with water often up to the knees). After the final ascent to Mitzpe Ofir, we’re rewarded with a breathtaking view of Lake Kinneret and much of northern Israel.
The hike begins at Ein Keshatot. Be aware that the site’s gate is locked before and after opening hours, so it is not recommended to leave your car inside the gated-area parking lot. Park in the flat area just south of the site’s fence, and descend on the jeep path that’s marked with a black trail marker, with Ein Keshatot’s fence on your right; soon you’ll reach the Golan Trail.
Another possibility is to visit the Ein Keshatot site, and afterwards exit via the spring gate (please remember to ask the staff at Ein Keshatot to let you out the lower gate).
Note: There is an entrance fee to Ein Keshatot. You can enter the lower gate of the site that is next to the village spring; you’ll find an intercom there that can open the gate for you during the site’s opening hours. For more information, see www.einkeshatot.org.il.
The hike ends at Mitzpe Ofir. There is a parking lot on site. There’s also a public bus stop on the main road (789) about one kilometer from Mitzpe Ofir.
Hiking Rules & Safety:
*In the Golan, it is strictly forbidden to cross fences or wander off the marked trail; in a number of places, the path goes near minefields.
*It is forbidden to enter IDF live-fire training areas.
*In the Golan, you will see many cattle fences; make sure you cross only at the official crossing points. Open the gate, and remember to close it behind you! It is forbidden to climb or cut fences.
*Be very careful when crossing or walking on roads.
*Overnight camping is allowed only at official campsites. Don’t camp out in the middle of a trail segment, or anywhere that is not an approved campsite.
*It is strictly forbidden to burn toilet paper. Don’t light a fire under trees, and never leave a campfire unattended.
*Make sure you take your trash with you, and leave sites cleaner than when you arrived.
Thank you, and enjoy your hike!