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.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Map
- 2 Trails
- 3 Cycling
- 4 Opening Hours
- 5 Entrance Fee
- 6 Tours
- 7 Dogs
- 8 Contact Information
- 9 Introduction
- 10 Mountain Compound – Mount Hiriya
- 11 Summary
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Ariel Sharon Park is located near the intersection of highways #1 and #4.
Map of the area:
And here is the map of Ariel Sharon Park:
Note: you can click on the map to enlarge it.
Currently, the park has two complexes, and there are two different entrances.
- The mountain compound (Mount Hiriya) 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.
It is marked with the white arrow on the map above.
- The northern compound (Shalem Farm) 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.
Enter “Park Ariel Sharon, mountain compound” into Waze or Google Maps to get to the mountain area. And as you get off highway #4 south, turn right and drive around the industrial complex. After completing a semi-circle, you will see a turn right that leads uphill to the mountain parking.
And here is a closeup map of the mountain compound at Ariel Sharon park:
And here is how the park looks today and how it will look once completed:
Update regarding the Northern Compound (Shalem Farm)
In September 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 the guard told me that many trails lead to this place, and people can start hiking or cycling and any of them. For example, Begin park.
The complete trail at the top of the mountain is about 2 km long. But you can easily make it shorter. It is only a hiking path since cycling on top of the hill is forbidden.
Here is an interactive map from israelhiking.osm.org.il:
Cycling on top of the hill is forbidden. But there are asphalt trails to the north of the mountain. And many use them for cycling. There is a cyclic three km trail, and you can continue towards Menachem Begin park. You can see part of this trail in the following photo.
The mountain compound is open according to the following schedule unless there is a special event (check at the official site).
Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 8:00 – 17:00
Friday: 08:00 – 16:00
Today (October 2021), there are only tours for organized groups (no more free tours for the general public). You can find additional information at the official site.
You can bring dogs to Ariel Sharon Park, 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 450,000 square meters and a height of 70 meters. It is visible as a flat-topped mountain on the intersection of highways #1 and #4.
From the establishment of the State of Israel up until 1998, this site was used as the main waste landfill for the Dan District municipality. For years, Israel’s “Mountain of Waste” was a symbol of an environmental, sanitary, and safety hazard, until the onset of its rehabilitation project in 2000.
The mountain spans approximately 110 acres and stands 230 feet above ground level. The mountain holds approximately 16 million cubes of all sorts of waste!
The mountain’s rehabilitation and transformation into a park was an architectural-engineering initiative based upon the principles of sustainable development with the following objectives:
• Pumping out the methane gas that is emitted by the decomposition of organic waste buried deep inside the mountain. The gas is used to produce green energy.
• Recycling and use of construction waste in the mountain’s rehabilitation process.
• Building underground detention ponds to store rainwater in the winter months for irrigation of plant life in the summer.
On the mountain site, you can enjoy:
• Spectacular observation points overlooking the Dan District region.
• Visitor’s Center with a multimedia presentation that tells the story of the mountain (entrance fee required).
• Self-guided walking tour – “The Way Side Story” – An easily accessible and well-marked walking trail that includes observation points, information, and interesting facts about the rehabilitation process of the landfill mountain.
• Shaded areas and green lawns.
• An ecological lake and a coffee shop.
Source: sign on site
Mountain Compound – Mount Hiriya
And now, let’s visit the mountain compound.
Near the parking, you can find restrooms and explanation signs.
From viewpoint #8 (on the map of the mountain compound), you can see the ecological lake (#11 on the map), visitors center, cafe, and parking.
Here are several additional photos of the ecological lake:
There are picnic tables, and some of them have shade. But as you can see in the rules above, starting a fire, including gas fire kit, barbeque, and bonfire, is prohibited in Ariel Sharon Park.
I was afraid there would be some smell, but I did not feel any smell throughout the park.
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 not recommend visiting on hot days.
From the ecological lake, we will continue to the viewpoints. And near point #2 (on the mountain map), you can see the story of the stones by the road.
To moderated the angles of the mountain’s inner slopes, the planning team chose to use broken fragments of concrete recycled from construction waster. This use of construction waste mirrors the ecological principles for sustainable development implemented in the mountain plans.
Source: sign on site
Near point #3, you will find additional restrooms and a complex used for concerts.
We will continue our walk in the anti-clockwise direction and head towards viewpoint #4.
And here are several photos from the northern observation point (#4 on the map):
And now, let’s head to the Caroline and Joseph Gruss Terrace (#6 on the map).
You can see Tel Aviv and its surroundings from there. Here are several photos that I shot from this terrace.
I wanted to mention that you can find water taps in various places in the park.
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 show 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, 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 the 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.
Ariel Sharon Park (Hiriya) is a lovely place. And 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.
The downsides of this park are the lack of shade and slow development. I have visited this park several times between 2015 and 2021, and it almost did not change. Moreover, Shalem Farm is still not finished (though it looks almost ready).
Have you ever been to Ariel Sharon Park? 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.