Meshushim Stream Nature Reserve (Nahal Meshushim in Hebrew) is a river in the Golan Heights. The rocks of the banks of the river in the center of the stream are characterized by the shape of hexagons, and these gave the stream its name. The phenomenon is especially noticeable in the Meshushim Pool, which is surrounded by dozens of hexagonal basalt columns. The length of the stream is about 30 km and it is the longest in the Golan streams. In its basin, there are about 40 springs, most of which flow all year round.
Points of Interest in Meshushim Stream Nature Reserve
This pool is a major point of interest for hikers in the Meshushim Stream reserve. This is a large pool of water surrounded by a cliff built of masses of basalt hexagons. The hexagonal pillars that stand upright on the sides of the pool, create an impressive and special spectacle of nature. This phenomenon was created by lava flows that cooled and became basalt rocks in a slow process. When the lava cools down slowly and without interruption, the resulting shape is hexagonal.
A walking path that winds through the Tabor oak trees leads to the pool. The descent lasts for about 20 minutes. The ascent from the pool to the entrance hall on the same path takes about 30 minutes. Before reaching the pool, it is recommended to turn up the stream to a bridge out of it, from where you can watch the water flowing in the narrow creek. So don’t skip Nahal Meshushim it’s worth your time!
If You’re Looking for Some Challenging Hikes
Hiking from theMeshushim Stream to Zavitan Stream – This a long and difficult trail and is suitable only for hikers. Now the hike in it takes six hours or more. The path leads to the Meshushim Pool, crosses the Meshushim Stream gorge, and climbs to the spur that separates it from Zavitan Stream. After crossing the spur, in the park forest of Aloni Tavor, the steep path descends to Lower Zavitan Stream. From here you can climb the eastern bank of the canyon to the Yehudiya parking lot, or continue walking for another two hours up the stream through additional pools and then go up to the parking lot.
The Observation Trail – for this short circular walk you can enjoy the spectacular view of the Yehudiya Nature Reserve and the center of the Golan Heights. From the observation decks, you can see the Meshushim Stream and Zavitan Stream dotted with Tabor oaks and covered with flowering carpets in the spring. From the observations along the trail, one can look east over the Golan Heights, Mount Hermon, the volcanoes, and the borderline with Syria. The route lasts about 10-15 minutes and is suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.
Fauna Meshushim Stream Nature Reserve
Many large mammal species live in the Reserve, including deer, wild boars, jackals, and foxes. Many birds of prey fly in over the sky of the reserve, as there are colonies of nesting birds are in the area, some of the largest in the country. The variety of birds and predators, some rare, varies with the seasons, depending on the migration.
The animal survey in the reserve found 172 species of vertebrates, including five species of fish, two species of amphibians, 24 species of reptiles, 111 species of birds, and 29 species of mammals. The largest mammal in the reserve is the wild boar. Signs of pig activity can be seen near the oak trunks, where they stomp their feet and fangs in the moist soil in search of edible seeds and acorns, even though they are omnivores.
Among the mammals are vegetarian species, such as the Mountain Gazelle, the Indian Crested Porcupine, the rock rabbit, the Cairo Spiny Mouse, and the Eastern Broad-toothed Field Mouse, and predator species – Wolfs; wildcats; ]weasels, jackal, and foxes. Rare endangered mammals living in the reserve are Striped hyena, Martens, and otter. The reserve is also home to a population of Nubian Ibex, an endangered species that was brought to the Golan Heights from the south of the country in the 1980s after its populations in the south were hit by poachers.
Meshushim Stream is Important Birding Sites in the Country
So the canyons and streams in the center of the Golan Heights are among the most important birding sites in the country. Furthermore, on the cliffs of the streams in reserve, and especially in the nearby Gamla River, many birds of prey nest, including Griffon vulture; Egyptian vulture; The Snake Eagles, Long-Legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Common Kestrel. The composition of the species of birds and predators in the reserve changes with the seasons. In autumn and spring, the migratory seasons, many other species pass through the reserve.
The Flora in Nahal Meshushim Nature Reserve
The “Park Forest”, which extends along with Meshushim Reserve and the entire Yehudiya Nature Reserve; extends across the plateau plains and on the slopes of the streams. In this forest, the trees grow at large intervals, and many herbaceous plants grow between them. In the stream canyon itself, you can see stream plants that characterize habitats rich in water.
The park forest is a sparse forest, and the trees in it cover only 10% of the area. The tree that dominates the park forest in the reserve is Mount Tabor Oak. It is also accompanied by Mt. Atlas Mastic Tree, Styrax officinalis, Christ’s Thorn Jujube, and Ziziphus Lotus. An interesting phenomenon is the growth of Tabor oaks from stone piles, some of which are natural and some of which are man-made.
GRIFFON VULTURE IN THE RESERVE
Meshushim Stream Nature Reserve Opening Hours
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 17:00 – 08:00
Friday and holiday eves: 16:00 – 08:00
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 16:00 – 08:00
Friday and holiday eves: 15:00 – 08:00
Holiday eves: 13:00 – 08:00
Yom Kippur eve: 13:00 – 08:00