The trail is considered by many as one of the world’s best long-distance hiking trails. The National Geographic Magazine also nominated it to the top twenty epic hikes in the world.
Quick facts about the Israel National Trail
- Length: 1,025 Kilometers
- Typical Duration: 45-60 Days
- Recommended month to start:
North to South direction: October–December
South to North Direction: February-March
- Trail Blazers: Orange / Blue / White.
Why hike the Israel National Trail (INT)?
- Diversity of scenery: Over a relatively short distance, you will pass from the lush green Galilee mountains, walk along the Mediterranean coastline, and cross the rugged desert landscape. You will be able to swim in three famous seas—the Sea of Galilee, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Red sea.
- History and heritage: In no other trail, you will explore along the way historic sites from so many different periods in history. The trail passes through Roman cities (Cesare), Crusader fortresses (Apolonia), Nabataean desert towns (Avdat), and many less famous archeological and historical sites from all periods of history.
- Religious sentiment: The trail passes near Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sites such as Mount Tabor, Mount Carmel, and Elah Valley.
- City breaks: The trail pass by Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. Two amazing cities that can not be more different, each of them compelling in its way. You can take a break in the middle of the hike and spend a few days resting and explore the cities.
Why is it complicated to hike the Israel National Trail?
The trail is well marked, maintained, and safe. You can also download for free high-quality topo-maps in English and GPS data of the entire route. On the other hand, it lacks any organized hiking infrastructure, mainly accommodations and water/food refiling spots. You cannot hike “hut to hut”, like in the Tour du Mont Blanc in France or the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. You need to plan and organize everything by yourself from start to finish. It is not easy for locals and even harder for foreigners.
Logistics problems and solutions for the Israel National Trail
The Israel national trail is composed of 53 sections, each about 20 Km. The logistics are very different between the North-Center part (Section 1-30), and the southern, desert part (Sections 31-53).
North – Center – Sections 1-33
Along this part, you can pass each day in at least one town/village, so there is no problem to refill water and buy supplies. You can backpack with a tent and sleep outdoors or find accommodations along the way (with small detours), and sleep in hotels and B&B’s. You can even arrange luggage transfers from one accommodation to the next and hike with a small day-backpack.
Israel by Foot can help you plan such an itinerary. Read our terms for consultation and contact us if you are interested.
South – Desert – Section 31 to 53
Along this part, you do not pass any towns or villages for days, and therefore refilling water and getting basic supplies is a challenge. The dry and harsh weather conditions do not make it any easier.
There are two main ways to handle this desert challenge:
Backpacking and camping along the way with your own tent
This is how most people (especially Israelis), cross the Israel National Trail. In this case, the only thing you need is “Water Caching”. But what is “Water Caching”?
Water Caching on the Israel National Trail
Water caching involves placing before the hike daily water supplies at specific locations (About 10 spots). You need to consider that most of the spots can only be reached with a rugged 4WD jeep. You can hire a Jeep and DIY it, however, this method is not recommended if you are not an expert that knows the desert very well.
The other option is hiring a “water caching” service. There are several locals that provide this service. They will put you the water in predefined locations and provide you with GPS coordinates and photos of the caching spots. They will cache with the water also food and other supplies upon request.
To tackle the Israel Trail in this concept you must be an experienced hiker that is confident enough to reach the exact GPS locations each day. However, if you are such, it is not so intimidating since the trail is well marked and traveled.
The cost of such a service is about 350 USD per person depending on the specific request. Contact us for more details to get a quotation.
Camping along the way with full logistics support.
In this method, you can hike with a small day-backpack and each evening a 4WD Jeep will meet you with your bigger luggage, food, water, and high-level camp. Such a service can include also:
- Cooking equipment
- Bedouin tent for a group of up to 15 travelers
- Coleman quality tents (3 persons per tent)
- Field Shower
- Filed toilet
This method of traveling is suitable for groups of 6 people or more (to divide the costs) and pricing depends on the requested service level. Contact us for more details to get a quotation.