Around the Sea of Galilee

A scenic bike trail will lead us over 142 kilometers (88 miles) around the Sea of Galilee, passing through most of the local historic sites that are important to Christians and Jews alike. The trail winds past beautiful landscapes and overlooks the rippling lake.

 The trail is divided into segments and requires between three to six days of cycling, depending upon the skills of the cyclists.

 Throughout the entire trip, cyclists will be hosted by the renovated country lodge hotel at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan, www.elmulgolan.co.il, where we will be able to enjoy comfortable accommodations, tasty breakfasts and dinners, and a heated pool. Every morning, cyclists will be driven to the beginning of that day’s trail and every evening, will be returned to their accommodations at Sha’ar HaGolan.

 This trail is recommended for cycling through the months of October-May, as temperatures around the Sea of Galilee can climb during the summer months to over 40°C (104°F).

 Transportation from Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv to Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan will be organized for groups of 4 cyclists and above.

  • renovated country lodge hotel
  • breakfasts and dinners (optional)
  • heated Swimming pool
Ride Grades:
Intermediate - Expert

Total distance : 31 km (20 miles)
Total accent : 794 meters (2608 feet)
Cyclist level: Advanced-Expert / 3-4
Attractions of the day: The Turkish Pilots Monument, Hippos (Sussita) archeological site, the Golan cliffs

Daily track map:

Click Map to Enlarge

The track for Day One begins at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan, on the banks of the Yarmuch River that flows into the Southern Jordan River at NaHarayim, a site we will reach at the culmination of our trip. We will cycle northwards, through banana and avocado groves, riding leisurely at the foot of the Golan mountains to the Turkish Pilots Monument. There, we will take our first break and hear the wondrous tale of the pilots.

 We will continue northwards along the eastern banks of the Sea of Galilee until Kibbutz Ein Gev after which we will begin our ascent to the Golan Heights. We will visit the Hippos-Sussita archeological site, a most impressive site that was built by Herrod and recently uncovered bit by bit by archeological digs, with finds of fascinating ancient artifacts.

We will then continue our ascent, turning alongside the cliffs atop the eastern banks of the Sea of Galilee. All throughout our ride, we will see the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias, the capital city of the region, right beneath us. We will finish the day’s ride near Givat Yoav and return to our hotel at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan.

Total distance : 30 kilometers (18.5 miles)
Total ascent: 643 meters (2110 feet)
Total descent: 916 meters (3005 feet)
Cyclist: level 2-3
Attractions of the day: Semech River, Maj’raseh, Zakki, Jordan River, Um-El-Qantir, Syrian diversion canal, Hirbet Kanaf

Daily track map:

Click Map to Enlarge

We will begin the day with a steep descent towards the Semech River. After crossing the river, we will begin our ascent to Um-El-Qantir, the site of a recently restored first century synagogue and a sparkling natural pond. We will continue along the Syrian diversion canal towards the Kanaf Stream and will pass by an additional ancient synagogue in Kanaf. We will stop at a spectacular observation point from which we will view the Sea of Galilee in its entirety. We will cycle down the sharp decline and quickly reach the marked path of the Sea of Galilee circular trail and we will continue via the Maj’raseh and Zakki stream tributaries that flow with water all year round towards the Beit Siddah Valley. We will end the day by crossing the Jordan River before it merges into the Sea of Galilee, next to the Arik Bridge, and will then return after lunch to the hotel at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan.

Total distance : 40 kilometers (28 miles)
Total ascent: 1050 meters (3444 feet)
Cyclist level: 3-4
Attractions of the day: Church of the Beatitudes, Capernaum (optional), Wadi Hammam, Jethro’s Tomb, the Arbel Cliffs

Daily track map:

Click Map to Enlarge

On Day Three, we will begin at the Arik Bridge near the Jordan estuary and will begin our ascent towards Almagor. We will continue on a leisurely ride to the Church of Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and then begin our descent to Capernaum for a brief visit at this holy Christian site. We will continue westward, cross Route 90 and cycle through banana and mango groves until we reach the village of Migdal. After a short break, we will cycle to the Bedouin village, Wadi Hammam, and learn about the lives of this Bedouin minority population in Israel. We will resume our ascent towards the Ravid settlement and then cycle downhill towards the Tomb of Jethro, the holiest site in the world to the Druze. We will end the day with a breathtaking view atop the Arbel Cliffs.

Total distance : 37 kilometers (23 miles)
Total ascent: 514 meters (1686 feet)
Cyclist level: Advanced-Intermediate 2-3
Attractions of the day: Tiberias, the Swiss Forest, Ein Poriah, Yardenit, the Southern Jordan River, the Naharayim Dam

Daily track map:

Click Map to Enlarge

The day will begin in the Arbel Valley as we cycle above the city of Tiberias, with a panoramic view of the Golan Heights and the snow capped peaks (in the winter months) of the Hermon Mountain before us. We will continue on a scenic route to the Swiss Forest where we will be able to view Mount Breniki from above. http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%94%D7%A8_%D7%91%D7%A8
%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%99

 We will proceed through the beautiful grounds of the Poriyah youth hostel towards “Ein Poriah,” a small natural spring by which we will rest for a short time and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Below us, we will already be able to see the Jordan Valley, with the settlements that marked the birth of Zionism in the country. We will note the progressive and thriving agriculture in the region. We will continue on to the Yardenit baptimsmal site http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%99%D7%A8%D7%93%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%AA
and those who wish to dip in the Jordan water may do so.

 We will then ride along the banks of the Jordan River to Naharayim, a dam that was constructed in the 1930s in an attempt to produce electricity for the renewed settlements in the land of Israel. We will end the day riding alongside the Yarmuch stream that flows into the Southern Jordan River at the Naharayim Dam until we arrive back at our hotel at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan.

Total distance: 4-5 hours of urban biking, including tours of the sites

We will wake up in the morning at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan. After breakfast, we will load our bicycles onto our vehicles and drive to Jerusalem via the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert. We will park near the hotel and set out on a 4-5 hour bike ride to all of the sites unique to our amazing and holy city of Jerusalem. We will begin at the Armon Hanatziv Promenade and cycle down to Gei Ben Hinom and the neighborhood of Wadi Amoud. We will visit the gravesite of the prophet Zachariah and then ascend to a beautiful observation point overlooking the Temple Mount and the Old City from the Mount of Olives. We will reach the Augustus Victoria Complex and then climb up to an observation point that offers a 3600 view of the Dead Sea, the Judean Desert, Western Jerusalem, and of course, the Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We will continue our ride to Mount Scopus and after one last view of the desert landscape, we will bike to the Sheikh Jarakh area that borders on the edge of both the western and eastern parts of the city. We will visit the Garden Tomb and continue on towards Jaffa Gate where we will enter the Old City through the Armenian Quarter. We will pass through the Jewish quarter towards the Kotel (the Western Wall) and exit via the Golden Gate out beyond the city walls. We will continue riding alongside the walls of the city to the Lions’ Gate and will enter the Via Dolorosa. We will visit the Austrian Hospice and climb atop the roof for another special view of the Old City. We will exit via the Damascus Gate after walking our bikes through the bustling shuk. We will end the day with a pleasant ride to Mishkenot Sha’ananim and the Old Jerusalem Railway Station that has recently been restored and reopened as a cultural and entertainment center.

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