Ariel Sharon Park stands on top of a former waste dump named Hiriya. And once completed, it will be the biggest park in the middle east. Let’s begin exploring!
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Ariel Sharon Park is located near the intersection of highways #1 and #4.
Map of the area:
Currently, the park has two complexes, and there are two different entrances.
- The mountain compound is the restored waste mountain, and it was the first area to open. The entrance is from highway #4 south, and we will visit it later in this post. Also, you can get there only by car, since there is no public transport that reaches this site.
- The northern compound is located near the northern entrance, and it is under construction. You have to get off highway #4 and drive on road #461 in Tel Aviv’s direction to get there. After several minutes you will see a sign pointing to the left.
You can find a map of Ariel Sharon Park here.
To get to the mountain area, enter “Park Ariel Sharon, mountain compound” into Waze or Google Maps.
Update regarding the Northern Compound
On 26 March of 2021, we tried to visit the northern compound, but the gate was closed. The guard told me that it is still under construction and not open to the public.
We reached this site since I saw photos of the northern compound online. But he told me that many trails lead to this place, and people can start hiking or cycling and any of them. For example, park Begin.
The full trail at the top of the mountain is about 2 km long. But you can easily make it shorter. This is a hiking path since cycling on top of the hill is forbidden.
Here is an interactive map from israelhiking.osm.org.il:
There are asphalt trails to the north of the hill. And many use them for cycling. There is a cyclic three km trail, and you can continue towards Menachem Begin park. You can see these trails at the bottom of the following panorama.
The mountain compound is open according to the following schedule unless there is a special event (you can check at the official site).
Sunday – Thursday: 8:00 – 17:00
Friday: 08:00 – 16:00
Saturday: 8:00 – 17:00
You can join free tours on Saturdays at 9:30, 11:30, or 13:30. Registration is not needed.
According to the official site, you can bring dogs, but they should be on a leash.
Ariel Sharon Park stands on a waste dump. Wait. What? Park on a waste dump? Yes, let’s start chronologically.
Hiriya is a former waste dump located southeast of Tel Aviv. It received waste and worked as a landfill in 1952 – 1999. Over time, the size of the mountain reached 450,000m² and a height of 60m. It is visible as a flat-topped mountain on the intersection of highways #1 and #4.
Later on, it was decided to make a park out of it. Yes, Ariel Sharon Park stands on a former waste dump. Here is what they say on the official site:
Ariel Sharon Park is one of the biggest environmental rehabilitation projects in the world. It is unique in that this plot of land, part of which was polluted and neglected for decades, has been turned into a flourishing urban park. Ariel Sharon Park is the green lung of the country’s most densely populated urban region. The park is open to the general public and has a network of hiking trails and bicycle paths across open areas, along river banks, and through shady groves, as well as areas for leisure and recreation activities.
At the Mountain Compound
And now let’s visit the mountain compound.
There is significant parking, and not far from it you can find this passage:
And here are several additional photos of that area:
I was afraid there would be some smell, but I did not feel any.
One downside of this park is that all trees are very young and small. Moreover, there are not many of them. Thus, there is hardly any shade. As a result, I would recommend not to visit during the hot days.
Viewpoints of Tel-Aviv and Surrounding Cities
And now let’s go to the views. Here is a panorama of Ramat Gan (you can see Safari on the right) and Tel Aviv:
Here is another one:
Note: you can click on the panoramas to enlarge them.
And now let’s head to the main viewpoint.
You can see Tel Aviv and its surroundings from there. Here are several photos that I shot from this viewpoint.
While visiting, we saw this guy:
It is one of the “Trash People.” In 2014 Ariel Sharon park hosted the international exhibition “Trash People” by the German artist HA Schult. The exhibition presented 500 life-sized statues on the mountaintop. All of the figures were made from crushed cans, electronic waste, and other types of garbage. This exhibition was created in 1996 as a criticism of consumer culture.
Like the rehabilitated mountain of waste, the human-like statues serve as a reminder of the power of humankind to ruin and destroy the environment, but also of his ability to restore and repair it.
Why was the Hiriya waste dump closed?
When you visit this park you will see many planes.
Ben Gurion airport is not far away, and aircraft fly over the park after they already started to decrease their altitude.
Though the official site does not mention why Hiriya was closed, some say it is because of planes and birds combination. Each waste dump attracts many birds. And as the waste dump became higher and higher, the birds above it flew closer to the landing planes. And this could lead to a disaster.
Besides the shade issue, I was pleasantly surprised. It is inspiring what people can do when they put their minds to it. Also, keep in mind they have not finished building this park. Only the first stage is completed. And over the years, it will be extended. The plan is that it will become the biggest park in the middle east.
Have you ever been to Ariel Sharon Park? How was your visit? Let us know in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional points of interest nearby see Tel Aviv-Yafo.
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.