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Two family hikes at Ramat HaNadiv

Most people who visit Ramat Hanadiv head for the beautiful gardens. However, the grounds of Ramat Hanadiv are very extensive and two very nice trails have been laid out for hiking. This area was extensively settled in the past and both hikes have interesting historical and botanical features. They also offer impressive views.

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Both these hikes are described in detail on line: The Spring Trail and the Manor Trail

You can also purchase a booklet about the two trails in their store for 5 NIS each. The description below describes the highlights of these two trails, but not the detail provided by these other resources and the on-sight signs. When you are ready to leave the park, pay for your parking by a machine by the park store.

 

The trailhead for both hikes is the same and is directly opposite the park store, on the far side of the parking lot. For the Spring Trail follow the blue-markings and for the Manor Trail follow the red markings. The Manor Trail is a circular trail, but it is possible to go just as far as the Manor and to return the way you came. In fact, many people may find this preferable as there is little of interest beyond the Manor.

The Spring Trail

 

This hike is on the southern edge of the Carmel Mountain and provides beautiful views over the Hanadiv Valley, which extends to the coast. On the other side of the valley are the hills of Samaria.

DirectionsEnter “Ramat Hanadiv” into Waze.

Time: Approximately 2½ Km

Distance: About 1½ hours

Type of hike: Circular

Difficulty: The trail is minimally difficult in that there is bare rock on sections of the path, but only a short section involves a descent on rock. Walking shoes or sneakers with an adequate tread are advised and not flip-flops.

Admission: The park is open from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and Saturday and from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. on Friday. Entry into the gardens is free but there is a parking fee. There is a kiosk and restaurant. There is a partially shaded area with picnic benches. The Visitor Center has a gift shop. Arrangements to see the movie are made from here. Their phone number is 04 629 8111. This is their website.

Public transport: Enter “Ramat Hanadiv” into Moovit. The nearest bus stop is a 19 minute/ 1.6-Km walk. There are a number of bus lines to this stop.

Traihead: The starting point of the trail is a gate opposite the Visitor Center on the far side of the second parking lot and directly opposite the main path into the gardens. Go through the gate to the intersection of the blue-marked and red-marked trails and turn slightly leftwards along the blue-marked trail.

The pool on the Spring Trail at Ramat Hanadiv

The pool by the spring of Ein Tzur.

#1 is an Observation Point. Below you is Hanadiv Valley and immediately south of it is the town of Binyamina. To the north are the houses of Zichron Ya’akov.

 

The trail continues to a stone step where there is a large carob tree (#2). #3 is a Tabor oak and #4 artificial wetlands.

 

You will soon reach the ruins of settlement by the spring Ein Tzur, which includes a Roman bathhouse (#5) built at the end of the 1st century BCE and that continued in use until the Great Revolt against Rome in 70 CE. From the metal stairway and platform above the bathhouse you can make out the typical four rooms of this type of structure that includes an undressing room, cold water room, warm room (tepidarium), and hot bath or sauna room (caldarium). The latter was heated by warm air circulating beneath the floor.

 

#6 is the spring of Ein Tzur, its tunnel, aqueduct and pooll. The tunnel consists of three shafts that wind 47 meters along a natural fissure in the bedrock to the spring. The large pool at the end of the aqueduct suppled water to the bathhouse and would also have been used for agriculture and as a bathing pool. It is suitable for children to get wet.

 

You cannot not miss the dovecote or columbarium (#7) in the form of a round tower. Birds entered the tower through small openings in the upper section. Workers entered the tower by means of a ladder and an opening on the side of the building.

 

The trail goes up stone stairs through a gap in the wall and then turns left to a large archeological complex Horvat ‘Aleq (#8). This site was inhabited from prehistoric to the 2nd century CE, including Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods. The site has been reconstructed as it was when it reached its peak in the early Hellenistic period. There was also settlement at the end of the Ottoman era as the village of Umm el-‘Aleq.

 

The last set of ruins you will meet are those of Beit Khouri (#9). You can see the remnant of a large farmhouse built by the El-Khouri family in about 1880. Their land was purchased by the Jewish Colonization Society on behalf of Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1913. Three groups of pioneers attempted to settle here between 1919 to 1923.  However, the conditions were too difficult and they abandoned their attempts and the land is now part of the grounds of Ramat Hanadiv.

Views from the Spring Trail at Ramat Hanadiv.eg

On the trail with wonderful views over the Hanadiv Valley.

Beit Khouri on the Spring Trail at Ramat Hanadiv.jpeg

The ruins of Beit Khouri, a large farmhouse built around 1880, the land of which was purchased by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

The Roman bathhouse on the Spring trail at Ramat Hanadiv

Overlooking the Roman bathhouse. The short pillars supported a floor with air heating.

The Manor Trail (red-marked trail)

Throughout the first part of the trail are signs to enable you and your family appreciate the trail and the environment. They have their own numbering system. Other features on the trail have a numbering system according to the map.If you are not used to hiking, have young family members with you, or do not have suitable foot ware, consider returning the way you came once you reach the manor.

Time: About 2 hours 15 minutes for the circular hike.

Distance: Almost 4 Km for the entire circular hike

Type of hike: Circular

Difficulty: The first part of the trail to the manor is easy hiking. However, the sections after this are mild to moderately difficult with some climbing down on rocks. Hiking poles can be useful.

Admission: See above. 

Traihead: The entrance path to this circular hike is straight ahead, while the return path joins it to its right by the parking lot. You will not confuse them since the entrance path is clearly indicated by red markings. It is also part of the Schvil Yisrael, which is not the case for the return path.

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The view from Wadi Timsach.

The stone quarries (#1) are quite shallow, since the miners chiseled no further than the soft bedrock. #2 is a Cypress Grove.  It is useful to be able to identify this tree. The highlight of this hike is Horvat Aqav (#3) on the highest point on this part of the ridge of the Carmel range.

 

This ruin is from two periods. During the Second Temple period a fortified farmstead was here. It is estimated that it had about 20 people occupants, including its owner, servants and workers. It was abandoned during the Great Revolt against Rome. On top of the ruins a country manor house was built in the Byzantine period (4th to 7th centuries CE), which functioned as a residence, workplace and storehouse. It remained occupied until the Muslim conquest in the 7th century. The nature of these two habitations is described in greater detail in the brochure, online and on the signs.

 

The mikveh in front of the building is from the Second Temple period. Agricultural equipment from the Byzantine period is displayed by the side of the ruins and is described by signs. The olive and fig trees and grape vines were recently planted and were the type of trees that would have been here when these buildings were habited.

 

Do not forget to look over the coastal plain from the Observation Plaza. A sign indicates what you are viewing. The hills of Samaria, Ramot Menashe and the Carmel range are to the east.

Looking at the beauty of this agricultural land, it is difficult to imagine that this was once malaria-infested swamp. It was Baron de Rothschild who began draining it.  

 

From the front of the building, the well-marked trail goes to the right (facing the building) along the Ramat Hanadiv cliffs. One might anticipate lots of views of the coastal plain, but this is not the case because of the scrubland foliage. The trail descends to Wadi Timsach and turns right along the wadi.

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View of the coastal plain from the Observation Plaza.

Ruins of the Manor from the Byzantine period.

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A sign to keep you and your family engaged on the way

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Threshing floor from the Second Temple Period

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