Negev Desert

Hiking the Israel National Trail: A Guide to the Country’s Epic Trek

The Israel National Trail (INT) is one of the most iconic and challenging long-distance hikes in the world. Covering over 1,000 kilometers, the trail takes hikers on a journey through some of Israel’s most stunning landscapes, including the Galilee, the Negev Desert, and the Judean Mountains. If you’re looking for an adventure, here’s everything you need to know about hiking the INT.

Planning for the Hike

The best time to hike the INT is in the spring (March to May) or the fall (September to November), when the weather is mild and the trail is less crowded. You’ll need to obtain a permit to hike the INT, which you can do through the Israel Nature and Parks Authority website.

In terms of equipment, you’ll need sturdy hiking boots, a backpack, a tent, a sleeping bag, and a water filtration system. It’s also important to be physically prepared for the hike, as the trail is quite challenging and requires a good level of fitness.

Finally, make sure you budget accordingly, as the hike can include accommodation, food, and transportation.

Navigating the Trail

The INT stretches from the northern tip of Israel to the southernmost point, covering a variety of landscapes along the way. The trail is broken up into 42 sections, each of which takes about a day to complete.

The trail’s terrain varies, from rocky mountain paths to sandy desert terrain. Hiking the INT requires a good level of navigation skills, as the trail is not always well-marked. It’s important to bring a map and a compass, and to familiarize yourself with the route before setting out.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of safety considerations when hiking the INT, such as the risk of flash floods and the need to carry enough water.

Highlights of the Hike

One of the best things about hiking the INT is the incredible scenery you’ll encounter along the way. Some of the most notable landmarks on the trail include the Sea of Galilee, the Ramon Crater, and the Masada fortress. The trail also offers plenty of opportunities for cultural experiences, such as visiting Bedouin villages and learning about the history of the land. Additionally, hikers on the INT may encounter a range of wildlife, from ibex to desert foxes.

Accommodations and Logistics

There are a range of accommodation options along the INT, from camping to guesthouses to luxury hotels. Some sections of the trail require hikers to camp, while others have more established accommodation options. It’s important to plan your accommodation in advance, as options can be limited in some areas.

Finding food and water on the trail can also be challenging, so hikers should plan to bring enough supplies with them. Finally, transportation can be an issue, as the trail is not always easily accessible by public transport. Some hikers choose to hire a car or arrange for a shuttle service to transport them to and from the trail.

Hiking the Israel National Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a unique and immersive way to experience the beauty and diversity of Israel. While the hike is challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding, offering hikers a chance to connect with nature and experience the rich history and culture of the land. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for an adventure, the INT is an experience you won’t soon forget. So why not lace up your hiking boots and set out on the trail today?