Hiking and swimming at Dor HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve
Dor HaBonim Beach Reserve has wonderful easy hiking along beautiful coastal inlets one after another. The reserve also has a nice sandy beach. Described here is a circular hike. It is also possible to do a much longer hike all the way to Tel Dor National Park.
This park is unique in Israel in having so many inlets within such a short distance. The plant life in Dor Habonim Nature Reserve and nearby Dor National Park is formed by the meeting of species from three habitats: the Mediterranean coastal habitat, the Mediterranean woodland margins habitat, and species that have moved northwards from the desert. This unique combination has created an area of singular and rich flora.
Time: Approximately 1¼ hours.
Distance: 2.6 Km.
Type of walk: Circular
Difficulty: This is a very easy trail. The paths are firm and not sinking sand.
Directions and parking: Enter “Dor HaBonim” into Waze and click on “Dor HaBonim beach Nature Reserve”. For the trailhead stop at the first parking lot.
Admission: This is a site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. It is open until 8.00 p.m. during the summer. There is no brochure. There is an admission charge. The reserve is open until 8.00 p.m. the entire summer until October 27. Lifeguards are available at the beach at the following times: March to May 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., June 8:00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., July to August 8:00 to 7.00 p.m., September 8:00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and October 8:00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. This is their phone number 04-825 2266. This is their website:
Public transport: There is no close bus stop. The nearest is a 3.6-Km/ 45-minute walk. Enter “Dor HaBonim Nature Reserve” into Moovit.
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The trailhead is at the western edge of the first parking lot. A sign indicates the direction along the red-marked trail.
You will be walking by the ocean on a kurkar, which is a calcareous sandstone ridge. Along the way you will pass the Shell Inlet, a beach carpeted with shells of oysters and conches, and then the Blue Cave, a cave on the waterline created by erosion from the waves.
When you come to a picnic bench the red-trail turns to the left. There are markings, a sign and a flag, although the trail itself is not initially very clear.
The red-marked trail now joins with the green-marked trail. There are markings on a rock and also a sign “Entry to the Dor Habonim Beach via the wells.” The green-marked trail will take you back to the parking lot. On the way you will pass a well.
This well goes down 4 meters to an aquifer and was dug in the Byzantine period in the 4th to 6th centuries CE. It continued in use until modern times. More recently this western coastal aquifer water has become more saline towards the coast, presumably from over-pumping, and the water is now only used for agriculture and fishponds. (It is also possible to continue on the red-marked trail to Tel Dor National Park, about 3½ Km.
For a swim, head to the beach. You can either walk from the first parking lot or drive the short distance to the next parking lot along. The beach area has a lifeguard, shaded canopies on the beach, a barbecue area, changing rooms, outdoor showers, a kiosk for purchasing soft drinks, expresso coffee and snacks, picnic tables and WCs. There is no breakwater by the beach.
A beach of shells.
The Blue Cave.
Map of Dor HaBonim National Reserve
To follow your location on your smart phone, click on https://israelhiking.osm.org.il/share/xY8ngWSLBI.
Click on the black box with a cross at the top left of the map and it should change color to green. It is not necessary to download the free app unless you wish to.