Metzudat-Yam Ashdod Ecological Park on the shore of the Mediterranean sea offers three loop trails to explore the surroundings.
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Metzudat-Yam Ashdod Ecological Park is located near Ashdod Yam Fortress. And both are situated by the intersection of Sderot Moshe Dayan and Sderot Yitshak Rabin in Ashdod. The easiest way to reach this spot is by entering “Ashdod Yam Fortress” into Waze.
Interactive map of the area:
And here is a map of the area:
Note: you can click on the map to enlarge it.
On the map above, you can see Ashdod Yam Fortress at the top left corner. And it is located by the entrance to Metzudat-Yam Ashdod Ecological Park. And I recommend visiting both places together.
You can use three loop trails to explore Metzudat-Yam Ashdod Ecological Park. And you can see the paths on the map above.
|Trail Name||Color||Length (km)||Description|
|The Gazelle Trail||Orange||1.25||Loop trail that takes you to the Byzantine-era graves, gazelle lookout, and the botanical garden.|
|The Orchard Trail||Green||0.7||Leads through the botanical garden and back to the main entrance.|
|Coastal Pathway||Dark Green||2||Loop trail that goes through the botanical garden and the beach. You can also start this trail at the southern entrance near Be’er Sheva beach.|
As you enter the park you will see a sign pointing to the trails.
The trails are marked with wooden pillars and you will be hiking mostly on sand. Thus wear suitable shoes, and keep in mind that the hike will take more time.
There is a parking lot by the fort (main entrance). It is paid parking lot, and you can pay using your favorite parking app. Parking is free if you are an Ashdod resident registered in their database.
Always open. But there is no artificial light and you are requested not to visit at night in order not to disturb the animals.
There are restrooms near the entrance to Ashdod Yam Fortress. But the toilets were closed during our visit.
Code of Conduct
It is worth mentioning that:
- Campfires and barbeques are not permitted.
- Walk only on the marked trail.
- Overnight stays are not allowed in the park.
- Dogs must be kept on a leash.
The park was established at the initiative of the Ashdod Municipality, in cooperation with the Ashdod Development and Tourism Company, and with support from the Open Spaces Protection Fund of the Israel Land Authority. The city’s residents and local schools neighboring the park helped with planting greenery, trees, and flowering bulbs.
The park will act as an educational focus, teaching pupils from the region’s schools, and as a leisure and recreational facility for the benefit of the wider public. Accessible pathways have been built alongside shaded rest areas and explanatory signs.
The urban nature park was established here for the purpose of preserving and supporting the biodiversity of the park, including a wide range of vegetation native to the local sandy habitat. The nature park boasts remnants of the local moassi agriculture, suited to both shifting and stable sands, and the fertile hamra, loamy soil clearings, as well as a small number of wetlands in the area.
The site has been reclaimed with an abundant variety of species typical of sandy areas, in addition to native shade trees and fruit tree cultivars. The thoughtfully placed plantings, viewing platforms, and shaded teaching spaces are available for the public to enjoy. Great effort was invested in reclaiming and preserving the biodiversity of the park. Please help us to protect the park by following the guidelines.
The Gazelle Trail
During our latest visit, we took the Gazelle trail. And here are several photos from this hike.
We continued towards the gazelle lookout and skipped the Byzantine-era graves. And that is because we joined an Ashdod archeological tour in 2019 and already visited the graves and participated in excavations at Ashdod Yam. And I will show the photos later in this post.
The deer in the park are primarily from the Nitzanim Nature Reserve area along the coastal ecological corridor.
Along the park’s pathways are several odorous Gazelle “scent stations” consisting of deposits of deer droppings left by the alpha males to mark their territory.
The Gazelle is an endangered species and are vulnerable to attack and injury by dogs.
Unfortunatelly, we did not see any gazelles that day.
From the lookout we headed to the main entrance. And on the way we passed through the botanical garden.
The climatic conditions of the habitat in the coastal areas, such as high salinity; strong winds; intense sunlight; drifting sands that cover leaves and expose roots; and a lack of a reliable source of water, are challenges to a variety of plant species.
The flora has evolved to survive under these conditions. For instance, sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum) has succulent, thick, water-storing leaves, and the cotton weed plant (Otanthus maritimus) sports silver leaves to help it cope with strong sunlight. The White Broom plant (Retama raetam) has deep, anchoring roots which prevent it from being uprooted by shifting sand and a root system that reaches deep below the surface for year-round moisture.
An additional challenge to the local flora is the non-indigenous, invasive species that create biological contamination, such as camphorweed. This dominant exotic species competed successfully against the native species of the coastal dunes.
As you can see, there are explanatory signs next to the plants.
It took us an hour at a moderate pace to complete the gazelle trail.
As I mentioned above, we joined an Ashdod archeological tour in 2019. During that tour we visited Ashdod Yam, which is located near the southern entrance.
The remains here are of a much earlier period (as far as I remember they are from the Bronze Age).
Also, you can visit this place only as a part of archeological tour. During our tour we participated in excvations, visited Byzantine-era Graves and then saw a stunning newly excavated mosaic. We enjoyed the tour a lot.
Interesting fact: Azotos Paralos (Ashdod-Coast) appears on the Madaba map.
Excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority on behalf of ‘Hofit’, the Ashdod Tourism Development Corporation, revealed two burial sites of the Roman and Byzantine periods. The western site includes three vaulted tombs. A Byzantine period mosaic map of ancient Israel in a church in Madaba, Jordan, shows the city of Azotus (Ashdod Yam) with buildings along the Mediterranean coast. The Byzantine period buildings of Ashdod are covered with sand or lie under the fortress of Ashdod Yam. The tombs belong to the cemetery of the ancient city.
Metzudat-Yam Ashdod Ecological Park is a lovely place. We enjoyed the hike and I recommend combining the hike with a visit to Ashdod Yam Fortress.
This area has many attractions, and you can explore them using the interactive map above.
Have you visited Metzudat-Yam Ashdod Ecological Park? Tell us in the comment below about your experience.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
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.