Amud Stream Nature Reserve in Northern Israel is a beloved nature reserved by families with kids. And today we are going to find out why. Let’s begin!
Sunday – Thursday And Saturday: 8 – 14 entry to the long trail (13 during winter), 8 – 15 entry to the short path (14 during winter). And the nature reserve is open till 17 (16 during winter).
Fridays and holidays eve: 8 – 16 (15 during winter).
Adults 28 NIS, children 14 NIS, and Students 24 NIS.
If you are going to visit several National Parks, then consider purchasing a combo ticket. You can find additional info at National Parks And Nature Reserves post.
As in most other national parks and nature reserves, the entrance is free to subscription members.
Note: opening hours and ticket prices were updated on Nov. 2018. In any case, recheck the official site before visiting.
Amud Stream Nature Reserve is located not far from Safed.
Map of the area:
When we entered this nature reserve, we received a brochure with explanations and a map. Since a part of the route was under reconstruction, the local guide drew the suggested way. He marked it with red arrows.
The parking, cafeteria, restrooms and the night camp are located at point #1. And this is where our route started. Then we continued along the red trail till we reached the black path. From the black, we switched to the blue one and near point #10 we took the black and the red ones back to the starting point. The guide told us that this path would take about two hours.
The route I mentioned above was the suggested one, but you can make another path including taking the green trail or further incorporating the Israeli National trail.
Origin Of The Name
Amud in Hebrew refers to an inanimate standing object. For example a lamp post, or a pillar. In this case, it relates to the natural stone pillar that is located near Kibbutz Hukok. Hence, this river is called after that rock.
Here is additional information about Amud Stream, that can be found on site.
Upper Vs. Lower
The source of the stream, Ramat Dalton, is located 800 meters above sea level. It flows south through eastern Galilee to the northwest part of the Sea of Galilee, which is around 200 meters below sea level. Usually, people travel either in the upper or in the lower part of Amud Stream. Each section is about five km long and offers it is own POI.
At Upper Nahal Amud you can find En Tina police station, En Yakim, The Orchard, and The Sekhvi Pools. And at the Lower Nahal Amud, you will see Prehistoric caves, The “Amud,” The En Shavshevet and En Amud springs, and Chera lookout point.
Today we will be visiting the upper part.
Upper Amud Stream Trail
As I mentioned above, we started with the red trail.
Water means life. And it also means animals. Here is a sign with a list of animals you might run into. But the chances are low since most animals are afraid of humans. I visited this nature reserve several times and never saw any of them.
Wildlife at the nature reserve is very plentiful, thanks to the abundance of water, the vegetation, and the lofty cliffs.
At Nahal Amud Nature Reserve and in the surrounding area a continuum of open spaces has been left, allowing the stable existence of diverse populations of animals. Within the reserve there is a large population of wild boar, and a permanent population of Palestine mountain gazelles numbering around 100 individual, as well as hyenas, wolves, jackals, weasels, mongooses, porcupines, martens, European badgers, red foxes, rock hyraxes, various species of rodents, and a few species of bats.
Many reptiles live in the river, and it is a significant breeding ground for the Near Eastern fire salamander, the Middle Eastern tree frog, and the marsh frog of the amphibian group, a group that is in danger of extinction due to a severe loss of wetland habitats in Israel.
The ornithological world by the stream is also prosperous: in the thickets and open scrub a large selection of songbirds can be found; birds of prey such as the long-legged buzzard, lesser kestrel, Bonelli’s eagle, Egyptian vulture, and common kestrel nest or stay in the cliffs of the stream; and the snake eagle nests in the well-developed trees. In the past, the nesting grounds here housed some 40 vultures, and cinereous vultures and horned owls were also seen here. In the niches, the red-rumped swallow, Alpine swift, and little swift hatch their eggs.
Recently, the wallcreeper has been observed in the cliffs of Lower Nahal Amud, and in the limestone cliffs lives a species of endemic snail called the Arbel cristataria.
Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official site.
En Tina Police Station
The red trail led us to the En Tina police station (POI #2 on the map above).
En Tina police station – an abandoned, concrete building, pocked by bullets, built by the British during the “Arab Revolt” (1936-1939). The building was intended to guard the pumping station at En Yakim – the spring that rises at the foot of the hillside. Entering the building is prohibited because of the risk of collapse.
After the police station, the descent begins. Most of this trail’s part is stairs free and has a moderate decline.
The red trail and En Tina police station:
Towards the end of the descent, there are stairs. In any case, do not take baby strollers, and use baby sling instead.
At the end of the descent, point #4, we reached En Yakim.
En Yakim – a full spring that flows all year round. There is a Mandate-era fortified pumping station. These pumps brought water up from the spring to Safed. As a result of pressure by Nature and Parks Authority, pumping from the spring stopped in 1995, and all the spring water now flows into the stream. Near the spring is a large walnut tree. The name of the spring commemorates the Yakim watch – Yakim was one of the priestly families that moved to Galilee after the destruction of the Second Temple. Leading from the spring is an aqueduct that in the past served all the flour mills along the spring and the orchards.
If you want to continue to visit the pools, then you should take the black route at this point. But we as I mentioned previously, continued along the blue trail.
Keep in mind, that if you travel with kids and go straight to the pools, there is a high chance that you will spend there all your time and will not see anything else 😉
While walking along the blue trail, you can see the aqueduct.
Number 7 on the map is the orchard. These terraces are used to grow fruits using ancient methods.
Entrance to the farm is prohibited.
If you are wondering about terraces, here is a short explanation from Wikipedia:
In agriculture, a terrace is a piece of the sloped plane that has been cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which resemble steps, for the purposes of more efficient farming. This type of landscaping is therefore called terracing. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used to farm on a hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease both erosion and surface runoff, and may be used to support growing crops that require irrigation, such as rice. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the significance of this technique.
Remains of the sheikh’s house:
The only animals we saw that day were some fish and lizards.
At POI number 9 you can find a water-powered wool processing machine. The water moved the wheels that operated heavy wooden mallets, which in turn beat the woven fabric.
This fulling mill operated during the 16th century when the wool industry was at its height in Safed.
Wading In The Water
The black trail from POI #10 to #5 offers a variety of small pools. You can use the pools to cool yourself and let children play.
Since there are many rocks I would advise bringing water sandals or any other type of footwear, you can use to enter the water.
Most pools are shallow, and their depth is about 20 cm to a 1 meter. But, this, of course, depends on the season. We visited in July, and the summer is the driest season.
Once I visited during March, and the water almost reached the bridge from the photo above.
Israel National Trail also passes here. Israel National Trail has three colors, and using them you can know the direction. White symbolizes the snow at Hermon, meaning you are going to the north. And orange symbolizes Eilat mountains, explaining you are going to the south. Israel National Trail is drawn as steps, and in this case, white is the highest, i.e. we were heading north.
Along the black path, you can also find remains of old buildings.
But, I would say that this part is mostly dedicated to wading in the water.
There are many beautiful spots, and you will enjoy the fresh water. But, keep in mind that rocks are slippery. Thus, use common sense before any activity.
The mentioned round route at upper Amud Stream Nature Reserve took us about 2.5 hours. It was fun and enjoyable not only for us but for our daughter as well.
Most of the route is shaded, and there are many pools. Thus you can visit it during different seasons. But I would recommend early spring as the water level is the highest and nature starts to bloom.
Have you ever been to Amud Stream Nature Reserve? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!