Gibton Springs Nature Reserve – Visitors Guide

Gibton Springs Nature Reserve near Mazkeret Batya offers an easy hike through water sources, a eucalyptus grove, and Tel Malut.

Map

Gibton Springs Nature Reserve near Mazkeret Batya (behind Rehovot). You can reach this nature reserve in one of two ways:

  • According to the official site, Mazkeret Batya Train Station is the suggested starting point. Park there and take the blue trail (walk north for about 15 minutes).
  • Yatsits Cemetery is the more popular starting point since there is no extra walk (15 minutes in each direction from Mazkeret Batya Train Station) till the beginning of the trail. Also, Waze will lead you there when you enter the nature reserve’s name.

Note: Initially, Waze took us through Petahia, but the dirt road behind it was blocked with greenery. Hence, ensure the navigation app takes you through road #40.

The easiest way to reach Yatsits Cemetery is by clicking the links below.

Directions for drivers: Link to Waze and Link to Google Maps
Directions for public transport: Link to Moovit

View TripHelp

Interactive map of the area:

Offers:

  • Hotels, hostels, and apartments in this area:
Booking.com

Gezer trail consists of seven sections. Section #4 passes through Gibton Springs Nature Reserve. Here is a map that we saw during our hike.

Note: if the name Gezer sounds familiar, this is because of the nearby Tel Gezer National Park.

Gezer trail
Gezer trail

Parking

There is a free parking lot by Yatsits Cemetery. However, since the parking is small and this is a popular nature reserve, people park along the leading road on Saturdays.

Parking along the road to Yatsits Cemetery
Parking along the road to Yatsits Cemetery

Opening Hours

No gates or fences exist, so you can enter at any time. However, according to the sign, remaining in the nature reserve after dark is forbidden.

Gibton Springs Nature Reserve
Gibton Springs Nature Reserve

Barbeque and Starting Fire

The signs above also state that starting a fire or having a barbeque is prohibited in this reserve.

Since there are animals, dogs and horses are not allowed.

Entrance Fee

Free.

Trails

Here is an interactive map from israelhiking.osm.org.il where the most popular trail is marked (from Yatsits Cemetery):

The length of the loop trail is 2 km and has a total climb and descent of 44 meters. Most of this trail has blue markings. Moreover, there are many signs, so a map is not required.

I will take you through this trail in the following sections.

When To Visit?

Since this is a popular nature reserve, I advise arriving early if you visit on a Saturday or during holidays.

You can visit all year round, but toward the end of winter and spring, the weather is nice, and you will see a lot of flowers.

Note: we visited toward the end of March.

Here are several photos from the beginning of the hike:

Tel Malut

After about fifteen minutes, we reached Tel Malut. Here are several photos from the Tel:

1 Kings 15 (27) (New International Version):

“Baasha son of Ahijah from the tribe of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it.”

Tel Malut is identified with the biblical Gibton, an ancient settlement that was included in the possession of the tribe of Dan and is mentioned in the book of Joshua. In the Book of Kings, Gibton is mentioned as a border town between Philistine and Israel, and it was a focus for internal battles between the kings of Israel.

The Assyrians conquered Gavton towards the end of the First Temple, and its inhabitants were exiled with the ten tribes. She is even mentioned in the Assyrian relief painting from the palace of Sargon, the king, in his capital, Dor-Sharokin (711 BC).

The archaeological findings indicate that the mound was inhabited almost continuously from the Chalcolithic period (3300-4000 BC) until the Byzantine period (638-324 AD). In the excavations at Tel, Israel’s largest hoard of coins, about 26,000 bronze coins from the Byzantine period (4th and 5th centuries AD), was discovered.

From the Tel, you can see in four directions. To the east, you can see the mountains of Judah and Benjamin, including Jerusalem. In the west, you can see from Gush Dan in the north to Gaza in the south, including a Mazkeret Batya, the settlement where Rafnal was born and raised.

The viewpoin was established in memory of Rafanel Moskal, an IDF fighter who fell defending the homeland in the Second Lebanon War in Maron a Ras on 20/7/2006. Along with Rafnal, another four fighters of the patrol fell.

Source: sign

Note: the word Tel is mentioned many times during this article. You can check the meaning at What Does Tel Mean?

Gibton Springs and the Lookout Tower

From the Tel, we continued along the blue trail to Gibton Springs.

After visiting the lookout tower, we continued the trail through Eucalyptus Grove and the train tracks back to the parking.

Summary

The hike took us about 1.5 hours (including several short food breaks). Thus, at a moderate pace, you can easily complete it in one hour. And you can always make it longer by having a picnic in one of the forest areas.

Since this is an easy loop trail, it is very popular among families with kids. Moreover, it is close to the center, with things to see. And if you arrive early, there is a chance you will see wildlife. Overall, we enjoyed this hike!

Since many other points of interest are nearby, you can always combine a visit with other places. Additional attractions are listed on the interactive map at the top of this page.

Have you ever been to Gibton Springs Nature Reserve? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you on future trips!

Stay Tuned!

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Leave a comment below, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Lev Tsimbler

Lev from israel-in-photos.com. You can contact me at hi@israel-in-photos.com

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