Tzipori River – Visitors Guide (Trails, Hermits` Mill, Ein Yivka, and More)


Tzipori River flows for 32 km. In recent years, near Ras Ali and Hermits` mill, a promenade was constructed. But beyond the accessible trail, there are many lovely tracks, places for picnics, and a big pool at Ein Yivka. All of this makes the Tzipori river a popular spot.

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Map

Tzipori River promenade is located not far from Kiryat Ata and Shefaram. More specifically, by Ras Ali and Hermits` mill.

The easiest way to reach this spot is by entering “Ras Ali” into Waze. But you do not need to enter the village. Near the entrance, you can find a small paved parking lot. And behind it, there is a dirt parking lot. Alternatively, you can take the dirt road to the right and drive along with it for several additional minutes till you see Hermits` mill and park near it.

Entrance to Ras Ali and the parking at the right
Entrance to Ras Ali and the parking at the right

Interactive map of the area:

And here is a map of the scenic road at Tzipori forests:

Map of the scenic road at Tzipori forests
Map of the scenic road at Tzipori forests

You can see Ras Ali and Hermits` mill at the left part of the map.

Note: you can click on the map to enlarge it.

Trails

Note: the data in this post is based on our two most recent visits (December 2020 and February 2021). There are plans to improve the trails and making the promenade longer.

There are many hikes at the Tzipori River. Here is an interactive map from israelhiking.osm.org.il where the most popular trails are marked:

NameColor of the Trail on the Map aboveDescriptionDistance (km)Total climb and descent (meters)Notes
Tzipori River promenadeRedThe paved path is connecting Hermits` mill and Mount Alil Mill.3.5102It is a one-directional accessible trail. And if you want to shorten it, you can walk any part.
Ras Ali loop trail GreenStart at the parking lot near Ras Ali and use the promenade to walk around the village and visit Mount Alil Mill.3.2116Most of this track is accessible (besides the path between Mount Alil Mill and Ras Ali).
Hermits` mill and Ein Yivka loop trail BlueStart at the parking lot near Hermits` mill. Then hike to Ein Yivka and back.4.8240Both the blue track and the Israel National trail connect the two endpoints. You can use any of them.

Entrance Fee

Free.

Opening Hours

While visiting the Tzipori River, I did not see any signs. But since there is no artificial light, I would suggest visiting only during daylight.

Tzipori River, and especially the promenade area, is a popular place. Thus if you are visiting during a weekend or holidays, I suggest arriving early (preferably before 09:30). The later you arrive, the harder it will be to find parking and a place for a picnic.

Picnic and Barbeque

Most people have picnics and barbeque near the promenade by Hermits` mill. This area is both accessible and close to the parking lot.

Restrooms

None.

When to Visit Tzipori River?

Significant parts of the trails do not have shade. Therefore longer routes are suitable for winter and spring (it is not hot during these seasons, and there are many flowers). And if you want to visit during the summer, I would suggest doing what most people do: go to Ein Yivka (either hike or drive there). At Ein Yivka spring, you can find a big pool to chill out.

What Should You Bring to the Trail?

Since there is almost no shade, bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and hats. Moreover, it would help if you had water shoes (even for the promenade).

And now, let’s begin hiking.

Ras Ali Loop Trail

We left our car at the parking lot near Ras Ali and continued to the trail to the east. After about 30 meters, we were already on the Tzipori River promenade.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

If you turn to the left and go over the bridge (as in the photo above), you will hike around Ras Ali till you reach Mount Alil Mill. That is the Ras Ali loop trail, and we will go over it in this section.

If you turn to the right, the promenade will take you to Hermits` mill (as in the next photo).

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

We visited on a Saturday morning, and there were many people. Besides hikers, groups of cyclists were using the same promenade.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

Despite the abundance of water, there are only a few trees along the trails. Thus the tracks are less suitable for summer.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

This visit was on a sunny winter day in December 2020. And though several days before our visit there were no rains, during our hike, there was dirt on some parts of the paved promenade. It is one of the reasons why I suggested water shoes.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade
Goats passing Tzipori River promenade
Goats passing Tzipori River promenade

There are two subjects I want to mention. The first one:

Is the Water in the Tzipori River Clean?

No. Several organizations work on cleaning the Tzipori river, but it is not advised to enter the water and surely not to drink it.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade
Lettuce growing near Tzipori River
Lettuce growing near Tzipori River

Is Tzipori Promenade Clean?

And unfortunately, the answer is again no. As you hike, you will see many plastic bags, bottles, and many other things. And the next photo could be showing a pastoral view – until you look closely at the tree’s roots and along the promenade.

Ras Ali Loop Trail
Ras Ali Loop Trail

During our visits, I saw once one cleaning worker. That is not enough. Just take a look at the bottom of the next photo.

Ras Ali
Ras Ali

But enough with the sad things. Yes, it is not clean, but after all, millions were invested, and a new promenade was built. And I wonder what their plan was (take a look at the following photo)?

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

It could be nice walking in clean water during the summer (but there is hardly any shade; thus, I would not recommend this trail for the summer). And it is less pleasant to walk in dirty water in the middle of the winter.

About twenty meters from this point, there is a bridge over the river leading back to this riverbank. Thus most people did not cross the water. Instead, they continued along this side of the river, in the dirt, till they returned to the promenade.

And here we are already to the west of Ras Ali:

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

Towards the end of the promenade, you can see Mount Alil Mill.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

We reached this point while we were dry and relatively clean. But the fun was about to be started.

We did not want to return since we were towards the end of the Ras Ali loop trail. Thus we skipped forward.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade
A Boy with Horses
A Boy with Horses

But after a short while, we reached another obstacle.

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

After this point, most of us had wet socks. Water shoes or waterproof shoes would have helped in this situation.

Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)

Tzipori river promenade abruptly ended near mount Alil mill. Thus we started climbing towards the mill and looked for a trail.

Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)
Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)

The Marfuqa or Mount Alil Mill dates back to the Ottoman period. It too is a water-driven funnel mill, and it is located about 1,200 meters to the west of the Monks` Mill. The building’s foundations reveal the archeological remains of a sugar mill that operated at the site during the Crusader and Mamluk periods.

Source: KKL

Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)
Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)

We saw one trail, but it was leading through a fenced area where the cows rested.

Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)
Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)

In the end, we climbed up (partially using the trail in the following photo) to the road and returned to the parking.

Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)
Mount Alil Mill (Marfuqa)

Hermits` Mill and Ein Yivka Loop Trail

Several months later, in the middle of February 2021, we returned to this area. We parked by Hermits` mill and started hiking.

Hermits` Mill Parking
Hermits` Mill Parking

You can reach Ein Yivka either using the Israel National Trail or the blue track. Here is how the Israel National Trail looked:

Israel National Trail
Israel National Trail

Thus we decided to use the blue trail.

The Blue Trail
The Blue Trail

The blue trail is a dirt road. Thus be careful of tractors, ATVs, and other vehicles.

Hermits` mill from a distance:

Hermits` Mill
Hermits` Mill

Here are several additional photos from the blue trail:

Hermits` Mill and Ein Yivka Loop Trail
Hermits` Mill and Ein Yivka Loop Trail
Hermits` Mill and Ein Yivka Loop Trail
Hermits` Mill and Ein Yivka Loop Trail
The Blue Trail
The Blue Trail

Whether using the blue track and the Israel National Trail, you will have to pass through the Tzipori River at least twice.

The Blue Trail
The Blue Trail

I was hoping for the best, but you have to walk in the water. After seeing cyclists passing in this section, I understood that the water is about thirty centimeters deep. Waterproof shoes would not help. Thus take either high boots or water shoes. Since we had neither, we decided to return to Hermits` mill.

The Blue Trail
The Blue Trail
Cyclamen
Cyclamen

Ein Yivka

Though on that occasion we did not reach Ein Yivka, I want to give some background information.

Ein Yivka, also known as the “Horse Spring,” is one of three groups of springs that feed the Tzipori River.

Ein Yivka spring flows into a pool built on the remains of a pool from the Roman period. Part of the pool was used as a level pool to transport the spring water through an aqueduct. The goal was to use this water to run the nearby flour mill, the monks` mill. The depth of the pool is about one meter.

You can reach Ein Yivka either using the mentioned hike or drive there directly (enter “Ein Yivka” into Waze).

The Yivka Spring, which is referred to locally as Ras il-‘Ein or Ras in-Naba‘, two Arabic expressions that mean “the Head of the Spring,” flows with water all year round. In Hebrew it is also known as “the Spring of the Horses,” because of its use in the past for washing down horses and flocks. The spring’s pool dates back to Roman times, and the remains of ancient walls can be seen jutting out at its edges. In the early 20th century the pool was repaired, and the Carmelite monks built a wall to raise the level of the water so that it could be carried by aqueduct and used to drive their flourmill. In the past these river waters drove a large number of mills whose remains can still be seen scattered along its banks. Two particularly impressive mills, the Monks’ Mill and Mount Alil Mill, can be observed along the western section of the river.

Source: KKL

Hermits` Mill
Hermits` Mill

Note: the Sanhedrin trail passed near Hermits` mill.

The Sanhedrin Trail
The Sanhedrin Trail

Hermits` Mill

Hermits` mill was established in the Ottoman period and operated until the beginning of the 20th century.

In 2011, the Kishon River Authority leased the site from the Carmelite monks to establish a training center for river restoration.

The Monks’ Mill, whose building is well preserved, belonged to the local Carmelite monastery that continued to operate it until the early 20th century. The water that drove the mill was carried by aqueduct from the Ein Yivka spring some two kilometers to the east. On arrival, it dropped from the roof of the building onto the paddles of the wheel via a funnel designed to concentrate and strengthen its flow. The mill consists of two levels, each of which contained two grinding systems, i.e., two paddled wheels and two sets of millstones. Today the building serves as a restaurant and guest house; bookings should be made ahead of time.

Source: KKL

Hermits` Mill
Hermits` Mill

It would have been a better image without all the garbage. But we already discussed that issue.

Tzipori River promenade begins about 20 meters from Hermits` mill, at this point:

Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade

Since we did not complete the Hermits` mill and Ein Yivka loop trail, we decided to hike along the Tzipori river promenade. Here are several photos of the promenade, the part that is between Hermits` Mill and Ras Ali:

Tzipori River promenade and Hermits` Mill
Tzipori River promenade and Hermits` Mill
Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade
Tzipori River promenade and Ras Ali
Tzipori River promenade and Ras Ali

Summary

Despite the mentioned downsides, the Tzipori River is still a popular place. It offers scenic views, trails with points of interest, and a big pool at Ein Yivka. And we will return in the upcoming years.

There are many attractions in this area, and you can explore them using the interactive map above.

Have you visited the Tzipori River? Tell us in the comment below about your experience.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

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? Email me at hi@israel-in-photos.com, 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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