Nature and Kabbalahic Hikes

Amuka, Upper Galilee

Amuka is the final resting place of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel. Who was one of the greatest sages of the Talmud. He studied so intensely that when a bird flew over his head, it would evaporate into thin air. He was so dedicated to Torah study that he never married, because Torah was his only occupation. Before passing away, he announced that anyone visiting his tomb to pray for a soul mate in marriage, his or her blessings would be answered within a year. This is why some refer to Amuka as the “Valley of Love.” The tomb was once a pristine little shrine in the middle of a verdant valley, but today features a larger shrine and parking lot.

How to Reach Amuka

(Map 1)

Typically takes about 1.2 to 2 hours to hike to reach Amuka (See Map 1 For Hiking Directions From Safed).

  1. Head northeast toward Aliya Bet Street (16 meters)
  2. Exit the roundabout onto Aliya Bet St (190 meters)
  3. Turn right onto Jerusalem Street (350 meters)
  4. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit (80 meters)
  5. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Derech HaAtsma’ut (750 meters)
  6. Continue straight to stay on Derech HaAtsma’ut (260 meters)
  7. Turn left at Ha-Galil Street/Route 8900 (Go through the roundabout) (1.8 KM)
  8. Slight Right, then walk (2.6 KM)
  9. Arrive at Amuka

Amud Stream Nature Reserve – Mount Meron

The Amud Stream is a “miniature Garden of Eden,” a magical creation of one of Israel’s natural wonders with amazing views of nature that is located in the valley below Tzfat across from highway after the cemetery. One of the most specular and scenic hikes visitors can trek in Northern Israel. Amud Stream flows all year-round all year round in the shade of groves and fruit trees. The Israel National Parks Authority (INPA) has marked trails that can take visitors between two to fours hours to explore the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Most visitors enter trail under the bridge of that goes under highway 89. The Amud Stream valley goes from Tzfat (North) to the Kinneret (South), and past the Mount Meron mountain range (West) making up a total distance of 20 KM.

The highlights along the 8 KM Amud Stream hike:

  • En Yakim (En Tina)-a year-round spring surrounded by fruit trees.
  • Don’t forget to check out the ancient flour and wool mills that were operated by local Tzfat Jews centuries ago.
  • Don’t miss the specular pillars located above stream.
  • Traditionally irrigated orchards and the largest plane trees in Israel.
  • Pillar caves are an amazing sight to explore. (Take flashlight to explore inside the caves).
  • Hikers can explore some of the reserve long and short hiking trails to explore nature and historical sites.
  • Orchards are irrigated by traditional mountain methods, that include grapevines and fruit trees such as dates, olives, figs, lemons, apples, plums and pomegranates.
  • Wading pool with about a depth of a waist high that hikers can take a rewarding dip into after a long hike to cool down from the hot weather.

Things to Remember:

  • There are no facilities along the trail until you exit at Meron.
  • Bring plenty of water, at least 2-3 Liters per person and flashlights to explore caves).
  • Take plenty of food eat to replenish your energy or even a light meal like a tuna sandwich.
  • Wear good quality comfortable hiking shoes or covered sandals. Don’t take flip-flops because they will be very dangerous to hike with.
  • Start in the early morning no later than 9:00 AM or later in the afternoon around 1:00 PM in the summertime. Please remember the facilities at Meron close at 5:00. Please begin your way to the Meron exit no later than 3:00.
  • We advise wearing a bathing suit or shorts that you don’t have a problem getting wet.
  • Please don’t wander off the trail and carefully pay attention to all the trail markings.

How to reach Amud Stream Nature Reserve – Mount Meron

(Map 1)

(Map 2)

Typically takes about 2 to 3 hours to hike to reach Amud Stream Nature Reserve - Mount Meron (See Map 1 and Map 2 for Hiking Directions From Safed).

  1. Head northwest on Jerusalem Street toward Hatam Sofer Street (130 meters)
  2. Turn left onto Ma’a lot Olei Ha-Gardom Street (Take the Stairs 250 meters)
  3. Turn right onto Ma’a lot ha-Ramak Street (Take the stairs 140 meters)
  4. Turn left onto Derech KKL (300 meters)
  5. Turn right onto Tsahal Street (300 meters) Until 30 Tsahal Street
  6. Then turn right on to a dirt road; continue walking to until you reach a bridge that goes under the route 90 (500 meters).
  7. Then turn right after the bridge and look for the markings of the Israel national trail that is marked in Black, Red, or Blue (700 meters).
  8. Continue walking until you reach the Sechvi Pools about (4 KM).
  9. Head northeast to reach the Meron 1 bus stop to take the 361 bus back to Safed Central Bus Station (63 meters).
  10. Continue on Israel National trail (63 meters).
  11. Turn left to stay on Israel National Trail, go past Ein Taron and Ein Yakim along Nahal Meiron Stream (2.5 KM).
  12. Turn right to stay on Israel National Trail (650 meters).
  13. Then, turn right onto Route 866 (850 meters).
  14. Go through 1 roundabout, Moshav Meron bus stop will be on your right (850 meters).

Birya Forest – Birya Fortress Hike

The Birya Forest was founded in January 1945 by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Birya is a cluster of pre-State Galilee settlements. The striking arm of the underground Jewish defense forces controlled the area including Safed.

Besides patrolling the area and guarding nearby Safed, The JNF constructed a stone fort with living quarters, stonewalls, bathroom facilities, kitchen and a watchtower.

During the beginning of the 1950,s, the JNF hired settlers test forestry techniques to plant trees on barren soil. The 20,000-dunam forest with its five million pine trees was pioneered by Jews owned that the land.

Birya suffered a bad winter in 1992 with a heavy snowfall where thousands of trees were destroyed. They were replaced by a variety of native trees to the land of Israel (hawthorn, cedar, olive, oak, and the Mediterranean rosebud).

The Birya Fortress is situated on a mountaintop was reconstructed by the JNF and the Society for the Society for the Preservation of Historic sites that has become known as Israel’s largest forest. Mount Yavnit is the highest point in the Birya forest (910 meters above sea level). Nature lovers and visitors can admire the most stunning panorama views in the Galilee (Mount Meron, part of Lebanon, Hermon Mountains, and complete ridge of the Naphtali Heights).

How to Reach The Birya Forest – Birya Fortress Hike

(Map 1)

Takes about 1 hour to hike to reach the Birya Fortress that is located on top of the Birya Forest. (See Map 1 for Hiking Directions From Safed)

  1. Head northeast toward Aliya Bet Street (16 meters).
  2. Exit the roundabout onto Aliya Bet St (190 meters).
  3. Turn right onto Jerusalem Street (350 meters).
  4. At the roundabout, take 2nd exit (80 meters).
  5. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Derech HaAtsma’ut (750 meters).
  6. Continue straight to stay on Derech HaAtsma’ut (250 meters).
  7. Turn left a Ha-Galil Street/Route 8900, go through one roundabout (1.6 KM)
  8. Turn right (350 meters)
  9. Turn left (66 meters)
  10. Turn left (140 meters)
  11. Turn right, Birya Fortress will be on the right (20 meters). 

 

 

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