Located in the Lower Galilee, near Tiberias, Israel is the stunning Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve. This magnificent national park draws thousands of visitors every year who want to learn its history and enjoy the sweeping views over the enchanting landscape. Arbel National Park features four mountain villages, an ancient synagogue, cliff dwellings, and gorgeous hiking trails that will allow you to unplug from the world and embrace nature at its finest. As you hike, keep an eye out for all the wonderful creatures that call this land home, from sneaky red foxes hiding amongst the brush to the Egyptian slit-faced bat hanging in the caves to the rare Arbel Cristataria snail; the Arbel National Park is the only place in the world that this snail calls home.
Arbel National Park Protects An Incredible Ecosystem
Arbel National Park was declared a natural reserve in 1967 not only to protect the incredible ecosystem living within its bounds, but also to protect the fascinating historical, cultural, and religious remnants left behind. The history of this region dates back to the Second Temple period when the Jewish people dug cliff dwellings into the mountain’s side. Those tunnels were later extended by the Druze people in the 17th century.
This area is also the home to where a great battle took place in 161 BCE between the supporters of the Maccabees and the Seleucid general, Bacchides; who ended up winning the fight. As well, when visiting the parks, you have to explore the ancient and unusual Jewish synagogue. In fact, what makes it unique is that it is the only synagogue in the world where the ark does not face Jerusalem!
Those who visit Arbel National Park have access to many incredible adventures, including hiking. Two main hiking trails are popular to traverse; and some shorter routes are available for those who just want a quick jaunt. First is the trail that ascends to the top of Mount Arbel from the south and is a part of the Israel National Trail that runs 950 kilometers from Kibbutz Dan to Eilat.
Once you reach the peak of Mount Arbel; your jaw will drop at the scenery. Moreover, the sweeping views extend over the Jordan Valley; past the Golan heights; and towards the Sea of Galilee will blow you away! Also on a clear day; you may even be able to see Mt. Hermon! Second is the popular trail that approaches from the west; this trail is linked to the Jesus Trail; which is a 65-kilometer long hiking and pilgrimage route that traces the path that Jesus once walked.