While Tel Dan Nature Reserve is most famous for the Dan Stream, the largest and most powerful source of the Jordan River, this stunning park has much in store for those who visit. By visiting Tel Dan Nature Reserve, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of the river by relaxing on the water’s edge, hiking next to its strong currents, playing in the wading pools, and much more.
The babbling brooks and refreshing waters are just the beginning; you will also be able to explore the ruins of Tel Dan, one of the largest ancient tels in Israel at over 5,000 years old. Tel Dan Nature Reserve is the perfect day trip for all types of visitors, whether you are traveling solo or in groups and no matter your age. With easily accessible areas, this is an ideal getaway for tiny tots to aging grandparents. Everyone will love a visit to Tel Dan Nature Reserve!
The ruins of the ancient city of Tel Dan are an important and fascinating archaeological site. Dating back thousands of years, Tel Dan was mentioned in numerous sources, including Bible stories. The earliest settlement dates back to the Neolithic period, but the city did not flourish until the Canaanite and Israelite periods. The city was initially called Laish, or Leshem, but when the tribe of Dan migrated from the Judean plains and conquered the city, its name was changed in honor of the leader of the tribe “Dan.”
The Tel Dan Stele
The Tel Dan Stele (House of David Stele), found by an archaeology team from Hebrew Union College in 1993, is a fragment of a 9th-century-BCE tablet in which the king of Damascus boasts, in Aramaic, of having defeated both the ‘king of Israel’ and the ‘king of the House of David’. This is the earliest known reference to King David from a source outside the Bible; the original is at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Tel Dan Nature Reserve: Historical Background
Dan became an influential city and was one of the two centers of worship in Israel; it is to this city that the phrase “from Dan to Beersheba” references. Sadly, when the city of Banias began to grow, Dan slowly began to fail. It wasn’t until the 1920s that Dan rose to fame again when it became a marker on the northern border, and a kibbutz was established nearby.
When visiting the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, you must keep an eye out for the fascinating fauna living amongst the plentiful flora. While this park is small, it holds a plethora of extraordinary creatures. You can see everything from otters swimming within the river to wild boar snuffling through the undergrowth. Although you should certainly keep your distance from both. One particularly rare creature is the Near Eastern salamander.
The Near Eastern salamander in the Tel Dan Nature Reserve is different in both size and color to other populations known throughout the world, and sadly, it is close to extinction. However, if you happen to visit Tel Dan Nature Reserve on or after a particularly rainy day; you might just see these stunning creatures alongside the trails! Therefore, whenever you visit, rain or shine, there will always be something here that will intrigue your mind and connect with your soul.
Tel Dan Nature Reserve Opening Hours:
Last entry to the site: one hour before cited closing time
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00-17:00
Friday and holiday eves: 08:00-16:00
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00-16:00
Friday and holiday eves: 08:00-15:00
Holiday eves: 08:00-13:00
Yom Kippur eve: 08:00-13:00
On holidays and Saturday, I recommend arriving early, entry is based on the availability of space.