Accessible Forest, Parks and Sites in Israel

In recent years, KKL-JNF has been working to develop suitable facilities for the physically challenged in its forests and parks. Our aim is to open nature to all sectors of the population, by creating an environment through which people with limited mobility can move safely and comfortably. We have also gone one step forward, and brought nature into the schoolyard with unique projects in special education schools.

Northern Region

1. HaMa’ayan Park, Metulla - HaMa'ayan Park in Metulla focuses on "Ma'ayan Harishonim" - the "First Settlers Spring" - the only water supply Metulla's early settlers had. They would draw water in buckets and transport it home on donkeys. The spring and its associated storage pool and canals have now been restored, and an orchard developed nearby. The park also has a seating area for events, which is suitable for the physically challenged. Other facilities include a parking area, lookouts, trails and leisure area.
 
2. Shamir Recreation Area, Kiryat Shemona - This recreation area, named for former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and his wife Shulamit, has a toddlers playground in the eucalyptus grove at the city entrance. Compacted earth trails connect the parking area to the recreation area, which includes picnic tables and cookout grills suited to the needs of wheelchair-ridden visitors, as are the toilet and sinks. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in France.
 
3. Hula Lake Park, Hula Valley - In the Hula Valley in the Upper Galilee, KKL-JNF has developed an internationally acclaimed bird watching park. Twice a year, no less than 390 species of birds pass through the area; water fowl, birds of prey and songbirds, water buffaloes and wildcats, unique flora and fauna. Over 500 million birds pass through Hula Valley each year. The park has well paved paths and a number of modes of transport to get around, such as bikes and golf carts. 
 

Accessible trail at Hula Valley. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 
4. HaElot Recreation Area, Kadesh River - Only a few concentrations of the large Atlantic pistachio (elot in Hebrew) trees that once covered most of the eastern Upper Galilee remain. KKL-JNF has developed a recreation area in one of these stands that blends in with the natural environment and is the perfect place for a picnic in nature. The picnic tables, toilets and water taps are suited to the needs of the physically challenged.
 
5. Adamit Park and Keshet Cave - Adamit Park, in the western Upper Galilee, is the easternmost part of the Northern Border Park that extends along the Lebanese border, from Rosh Hanikra in the west to the Adamit Plateau in the east. The park is one-half kilometer west of Kibbutz Adamit and about 1 kilometer south of the Lebanese border. The Main Recreation Area in Adamit Park has been upgraded and suited to the needs of the physically challenged, so they too can enjoy this splendid park.
 
6. Tower-and-Stockade Picnic Area, Hanita - The picnic area is situated in Hanita Forest next to the Hanita Fire Watchtower, in the Western Galilee. KKL-JNF developed the recreation area especially for visitors who come to learn and experience the founding of Hanita in the 1940s, a unique chapter in the history of modern Israel. As part of the project a central parking area was built with a paved path leading into the recreation area. Along the path are two round enclosures with wheelchair-accessible round picnic tables. Toilets are located at the edge of the picnic area in a wooden structure that blends in with the forest landscape. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in Canada
 
7. Goren Park - Goren Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the Upper Galilee. It is part of the Keziv forest bloc and extends over an area of almost 5,000 acres. The Montfort - remains of an ancient crusader fortress found in the park - is renowned throughout Israel. The scenic lookout recreation area, from where you can get a breath-taking view of Montfort castle across the valley below your feet, is equipped with an accessible walking path to the lookout point.
 
8. Montfort Castle Trail - The trail includes two elements: an open amphitheater overlooking the breathtaking scenery of the western Galilee forests and the Montfort crusader fortress, and a path from the main parking area to the lookout over the Montfort. The path is 200-m long, paved with asphalt and with a slope suited for wheelchairs. The amphitheater, which is accessible to wheelchairs from the parking area, is built on a natural rock ledge in six levels.
 
9. Liman Picnic Area -  This charming picnic area, under shady eucalyptus trees in the Western Galilee, has several picnic tables adapted for wheelchairs. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in Argentina
 
10. Biriya Forest - Scenic Route, Springs and Ancient Synagogue. Biriya Forest, on the mountain slopes north of Zefat in the Upper Galilee is one of the largest forests in Israel. The forest is a green lung and a major recreation and nature center for the growing Zefat population, as well as residents from the towns Hazor and Rosh Pinna and the rural communities in the Upper Galilee. Forest roads and trails lead to a variety of archeological and historical sites, fantastic panoramic views, springs, vegetation and wildlife, as well as several sacred tombs. The combination of water, greenery, cliffs and orchards with crystal clear mountain air make Biriyya Forest the ideal place for a day or two out in nature. KKL-JNF has ensured accessibility to the En Zetim Recreation Area, an old, large recreation area in Upper Galilee comprising the western section of Biriyya Forest. Its spacious parking area, picnic tables and access path are wheelchair-accessible, as are the biodegradable toilets, thanks to the support of Friends of JNF Australia in Perth. The Ancient Nevoraya Synagogue is located near Ein Nevoraya, a spring in Biriyya Forest that flows throughout the year, and was once the water source for the ancient village Nevoraya. KKL has restored the site uncovering a complex network of pools and channels. Salamanders, a rare amphibian almost extinct in Israel, breed in the En Nevoraya pools. This historical and cultural treasure is also fully accessible to people with disabilities.
 

Photo: Barkay Wolfson, KKL-JNF Photo Archive


 
11. Lavi Forest - Lavi Forest is situated in the eastern Lower Galilee. KKL-JNF began planting the forest in 1946, and it now extends over 740 acres, and includes pine, olive and eucalyptus trees. The forest abounds with archeological remains of traditional farming (cisterns, winepresses, olive presses and terraces), ancient tombs and hiding caves. KKL-JNF has developed a number of picnic and active recreation areas in the forest as well as projects suited to the needs of the challenged community. One of these is the main recreation area that includes a playground, visitors center, amphitheater, group assembly plazas and picnic areas.This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in South Africa
 
14. HaSolelim Forest Picnic Area - A charming picnic area suited to the needs of the physically challenged, surrounded by natural woodland in HaSolelim Forest in the Lower Galilee.
 
15. Beit Keshet Forest Scenic Drive - Beit Keshet Forest in the Lower Galilee is one of the most beautiful in all of Israel, a combination of planted conifer forests, natural woodland and olive groves. The 18-km Beit Keshet Forest Scenic Drive crosses the slopes surrounding Nazareth in the Lower Galilee, from south of Nazareth through the forest, to Golani Junction. The entire length of the road passes through planted forests - pine, cypress and cedars - and natural woodland, where KKL-JNF foresters have fostered development of native species such as oak, terebinth and carob trees. KKL-JNF has developed lookouts, recreation areas and hiking trails along the road, many of which are suited to the needs of the challenged community. Some of these projects are described below.
 
16. Beit Keshet Oaks Lookout - The Beit Keshet Oaks Lookout is located in the middle of the Scenic Drive and provides an excellent view of the surroundings. The lookout is built on two levels, facing east. The upper level is for parking while the lookout itself is located on the lower level, and is shaded by an S-shaped pergola. A path paved in stoneleads from the parking area to the lookout, where benches have been placed facing the view. Bronze plaques with a relief map of the area and details of the view from the lookout have been put up, allowing both sighted and visually challenged visitors to gain a better understanding of the surrounding area.
 
17.Tur’an Lookout - This prominent peak on Nazareth’s southeastern slopes is identified as the site where enraged Nazarenes intended to cast Jesus to his to death. The scenic road along the ridge provides magnificent views of Nazareth, the Jezreel Valley, Mt. Gilboa and HaMore Hill. KKL-JNF has developed a network of wheelchair-accessible trails and lookouts, as well as Hebrew, Arabic and English Braille sign-posting, for the benefit of the visually challenged, in cooperation with the Government Tourist Corporation. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in Canada.

The Tur’an Lookout is located just off the Scenic Drive, at a spot with a breathtaking panoramic view. In winter the valley and surrounding hills come alive with wildflowers blooming in a riot of colors. At the back of the lookout is a parking area from which a paved path, bordered by rough stones and aromatic herbs, leads to a plaza bounded on the south by a small terraced area, which functions as a “mini-amphitheater”. Signs explaining the view from the site have been put up. Bronze relief maps will be put up for the benefit of the visually challenged.
 

Accessible trail at Beit Keshet Forest. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 
18. Forester’s House Picnic Area - The Forester’s House Picnic Area is one of the major projects along the Bet Keshet Scenic Drive. The house was originally built in 1946 and was used to store planting equipment and. The building stood unused and neglected for many years, until KKL-JNF rehabilitated and restored it, developing the main forest picnic ground in the beautiful old forest around it. Groups of picnic tables and trashcans have been set up among the trees, five of which have been paved and equipped with special tables for the convenience of the physically challenged. An 800-meter circular path, leads from the Forester’s House to the nearby lookout. Bronze plaques with a relief map of the area and details of the view from the lookout, allow both sighted and visually challenged visitors to gain a better understanding of the surrounding area. 
 
19. Carmel Park - Ofer Forest - Ofer Forest was planted in 1948-49 by KKL-JNF.  A fire watchtower was built in the forest with an accessible  picnic area suited to the needs of the physically challenged was built several hundred meters east of the tower. This project is supported by Australian, Israeli and Other KKL-JNF Friends
 
20. Upper Nazareth - HaEmek Promenade - This 300-meter scenic promenade overlooks the Afula Valley. The paths are made of chiseled stone with granular surfacing and have benches and a shaded plaza along the way.
 
21. Upper Nazareth - Olive Park - A paved promenade with unique sculptures along the way. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in Great Britain.
 
22. Mt. Kedumim (Mount of the Precipice) - Sponsored by Friends of JNF Canada. This prominent peak on Nazareth’s southeastern slopes is identified as the site where enraged Nazarenes intended to cast Jesus to his to death. The scenic road along the ridge provides magnificent views of Nazareth, the Jezreel Valley, Mt. Gilboa and HaMore Hill. KKL-JNF has developed a network of wheelchair-accessible trails and lookouts, as well as Hebrew, Arabic and English Braille sign-posting, for the benefit of the visually challenged, in cooperation with the Government Tourist Corporation.
 
23. Gilboa Scenic Drive - The Gilboa Scenic Drive was originally built by KKL-JNF as a security road in 1958. The road offers panoramic views of the Harod, Jezreel and Bet She’an valleys below, and the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon in the horizon. In early spring the landscape is covered in colorful wildflowers and the beautiful Gilboa iris is in full bloom. KKL-JNF developed a variety of projects along the road, many suited to the needs of the challenged community. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in the United States, Canada and Israel.
 
24. Mamrei Sha'ul Recreation Area - The recreation area includes two accessible lookouts, connected by a paved path. The site has picnic tables that are wheelchair accessible.
 
25. Maaleh Gilboa - Scenic Plaza - KKL-JNF built a panoramic terrace in Kibbutz Ma'ale Gilboa, above the kibbutz guesthouse rooms, overlooking the Harod Valey and the water reservoirs KKL-JNF built at Bet Alpha and Nir David. A paved path to the terrace, which is built of concrete, bordered with a safety railing and has benches for viewers. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in the United States.

Central Region

1. HaShofet River Trail, Ramot Menashe Park - KKL-JNF developed a ring trail that begins and ends at the small waterfall in Nahal HaShofet. At its foot, there is a small wading pool, leading downstream to a dam, which is used to measure water flow. The trail is wheelchair accessible and continues through dense reeds to a series of caves, passing by remains of old flourmills and on to En Ammi (En Haroshet) near Kibbutz HaZorea.

 

2. Italy Park - Alexander River - Waterside Path - Alexander River flows into the Mediterranean Sea just north of the town of Netanya. KKL-JNF developed a number of projects along the Alexander River as part of the riverbank rehabilitation and development. The 2.8-kilometer Waterside Path connects the Eucalyptus Grove (on the western side of the river) to the old entrance to Kefar Vitkin, known as “Turtle Bridge”. The path is accessible to wheelchairs. The path begins at the Eucalyptus Grove, a stand of mature eucalyptus trees that overlooks the river, where KKL has set up a large picnic area, with more than 30 picnic tables, water points and parking nearby. Some of the tables are arranged in groups, some are solitary and some are conveniently accessible. The path is bounded with stones along its entire length, and at points where it approaches the riverbank large boulders have been placed for the safety of people walking along it. The path ends at “Turtle Bridge”, where basking surfaces for the local African softshell population have been built, and strollers can watch the turtles as they bask in the warm sun.

 

Accessible recreation facilities at Haruvit Park. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 

3. Ben Shemen Forest - Ben Shemen Forest, the largest forest in central Israel, is one of the most popular recreational sites for residents of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The site offers a variety of recreational sites relating to Israeli heritage – ancient agriculture, the brave Maccabees - and many quiet green spots for rest and relaxation. KKL-JNF has developed a number of projects for the physically challenged community in the forest, such as the Recreation Area for the Visually Challenged - this unique park is aimed at the visually challenged population.  A 500-meter path has a chain railing that follows the route through the park. The path is 2.5-meter-wide and consists of compacted earth and is bordered by curbstones. Turns are indicated by a change in "flooring" (stone paving instead of earth). There are explanatory signs in Braille along the way, in Hebrew and English. The path focuses on two themes - forest and ancient agriculture. The Scenic Forestry Section begins with a wide stone gateway. On the left is a “mobile,” which jingles in the breeze to signal its location. There are a number of stops along the way focusing on different aspects of nature: rocks, wood and flowers. There are elements at each stop to emphasize each aspect: A seat hewn in stone, a large pine tree, a flower bed and other features. The Agriculture Section is a  path that follows the original stone wall of a former farming village. At the start of the path are remains of an ancient winepress. The next stop is a bed of native aromatic herbs. Further on, are stops focusing on a variety of typical orchard trees: olive, pomegranate, fig, plum, almond and a grape vine, each with its own explanatory signs. At the end of the path, near the gate, there is a picnic area. The HaTikvah Park Recreation Area, also known as the Family Recreation Area, is the perfect spot for a picnic and fun-filled day in nature. A 350-meter-long asphalt trail winds between family and group picnic tables, all wheelchair-accessible, as is all the play equipment - swings, carousels, slides. The ground is covered with special rubber convenient for wheelchairs and also has accessible toilets. This project is supported by KKL-JNF's Friends in the United States.

 

4. Herzl House - Hulda Forest - The story of Herzl House begins after the death of Benjamin Zeev Herzl in 1904, when KKL-JNF initiated the Olive Tree Donation Project. In 1901 the farmstead at Hulda was established and a large, two-story farmhouse was built and named Herzl House. Hulda underwent many changes over the years – groups of workers came and went, various farming methods were tried, some successfully and some less – but the magnificent house remained. The house and grounds have been restored and recreation areas installed, including picnic tables, taps, and playgrounds. Access to the museum for the challenged community is suitable for 70cm. width wheelchairs only. This project is supported by American and Canadian KKL-JNF Friends

 

7. Rabin Park - KKL- JNF has a long-standing policy of remembering Israel's prime ministers with forest parks. Parks have been established in memory of David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharret, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin. Yitzhak Rabin Park extends across some 15,000 dunams*, from the Judean Plain on the west to the Jerusalem Hills on the east. The park integrates chapters of Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy with a variety of educational and recreational activities, in an area replete with natural, historical and cultural heritage. A number of projects have been developed for the benefit of the challenged community, some of which are listed below.

 

8. Shaar Hagai Complex (Khan) - This historic (Ottman Inn) structure has been restored and will become the Yitzhak Rabin Park Visitors Complex. The complex will include a memorial to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the central KKL-JNF donor recognition site, a coffee shop and restrooms. Visitors to the park will also be able to obtain information on the region and KKL sites in the vicinity. The museum exhibits in the building will tell the story of pilgrimage throughout the generations and its signifcance to the three monotheistic religions, and of the fierce battles waged in the area during Israel's War of Independence, emphasizing the role Yitzhak Rabin played.

 

Accessible trail at Hula Valley. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 

9. Harel Lookout Picnic Area - This picnic area is in the Eshta'ol woodlands, on the western side of the park, next to the lookout terrace, which overlooks Burma Road, the Judean Foothills and the Ayyalon Valley.

 

10. Overseas Volunteers (MAHAL) Picnic Area - The picnic area is near the memorial for overseas volunteers in the 1948 war, under a canopy of pine, cypress and carob trees. It is easily reached by car or bus, and has asphalt paths and ramps, assembly and picnic areas, and park equipment suited to the physically challenged. A 150-meter asphalt path connects the parking area to the picnic site. This project is supported by KKL-JNF friends in the USA.

 

11. Martyrs Forest - Martyrs Forest - Ya'ar HaKedoshim - has a special significance for all of us. KKL has created a living, breathing memorial to the Jews wiped out in the Holocaust - six million trees, with different parts of the forest dedicated to the memory of the lost Jewish communities. A number of projects for the benefit of the challenged community have been developed in the forest, one of which is described below. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends Worldwide.

 

11a. Trail and Recreation Area - Near the forest’s western entrance is a 200-meter circular path with a wheelchair-accessible picnic area in a stand of cypress and olive trees. The site also has remains of an ancient winepress. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in Switzerland.

 

12. American Independence Park - American Independence Park was conceived by KKL-JNF in 1975 as a gift to the American people, and was inaugurated on July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of American independence. While strolling through the forest visitors can glimpse breathtaking views of Jerusalem to the east and Israel's coast to the west.  The park has a number of accessible facilities, two of which appear below. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in the United States.

 

13. Bar Giyyora Forest Service Center - The KKL-JNF forest service center is located at the Nes Harim park entrance. The facilities at the site are accessible to the physically challenged and there is a wheelchair-accessible picnic table at the site. The center also has a cafe-restaurant called Bar BaHar".

 

14. Hadassah Recreation Area - Hadassah Pioneer Women of America sponsored this recreation area. The recreation area includes a scenic lookout, paths, picnic area and playground all suited to the needs of the physically challenged and wheelchair-accessible.

 

Paved trail at Ilanot Forest. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 

15. Halochem Park - Haruvit Forest - Halochem (“fighter” in Hebrew) Park is truly unique - it was named for the disabled veterans of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF-Zahal) and is the first park in the country specifically adapted for the physically challenged. This park, focusing entirely on the needs of the challenged community is one more step to allow all sectors of the population to enjoy the beauties of nature. The park is located in Haruvit Forest is a mixed forest of conifers (cypress and pine) and broad-leaved species (eucalyptus and carob). Fruit trees, remnants of old orchards, grow on the abandoned terraces interspersed between the planted forest trees, as well as bushes and herbs and a variety of colorful wildflowers in winter and spring. Halochem Park Road, the main thoroughfare in the park, is a circular road that is reached via a beautiful avenue lined with carob trees. The one-kilometer road runs through the park with occasional parking bays along the way. The road winds through varied landscapes offering a range of picnic opportunities for the challenged community. The average width of the road is four and a half meters and it is paved in asphalt. This project is developed with the Israel Disabled Veterans Organization and Sponsored by British, Canadian and American KKL-JNF Friends.

 

16. British Park - British Park is situated in the heart of the Judean Lowlands, on hills covered with planted conifer forests and natural Mediterranean woodlands. In the center of Israel, between the Tel-Aviv metropolitan area and Jerusalem, breathtaking views, varied vegetation and exciting remnants of the past abound. British Park, whose area is about 15,000 dunams, contains archaeological remains, orchards, scenic lookouts and a variety of recreational facilities, many of them accessible to the challenged community. This project is supported by KKL-JNF Friends in Great Britain.

Southern Region

1. Hamalachim-Shahariya Forest - The Hamalachim-Shahariya Forest bloc is a large forest about 5 kilometers east of Qiryat Gat, in southwestern Israel. The forest covers an area of 7000 dunams (1750 acres) on both sides of the Qiryat Gat-Bet Guvrin road. The forest has a number of recreation areas with accessible sculpture elements. KKL-JNF is developing a series of projects suited to the needs of the physically challenged in cooperation with the National Insurance Institute of Israel. This project is supported by American and Italian KKL-JNF Friends.
 
2. Lahav Forest - KKL-JNF began planting this 25,000-dunam forest on the outskirts of Be’er-Sheva, in 1952. Lahav Forest has since expanded considerably, creating an island of green that attracts numerous visitors from the northern Negev, as well as other parts of the country. KKL-JNF developed a number of projects for the benfit of the physically challenged, two of which are described below. This project is supported by American and other KKL-JNF Friends.
 
Campbell Recreation Area - The wheelchair-accessible recreation area was developed adjacent to the fire watchtower in Lahav Forest. The site has a concrete path and playground facilities suited to the needs of the physically challenged.
 
HaShdera Picnic Area - The picnic area is located at the forest’s northern entrance, and has wheelchair-accessible picnic tables.
 

Accessible trail at Hula Valley. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 
3. Air Force Museum Recreation Area, Hazerim - KKL-JNF has developed a picnic site with wooden pergolas, tables and grills, paths and lawns at the museum entrance. The Hazerim Sculpture Route begins near the entrance, leading visitors along a number of sites interspersed with environmental sculptures.
 
4. Golda Meir Park and Mash’abbim Recreation Area - Golda Meir Park is about one kilometer northwest of Mash’abbim Junction, in the Negev Desert. The park includes a number of attractions including a recreation area with a lake, lawns and paths. There are also picnic tables under shady trees and barbecue facilities, some accessible to the physically challenged. Additional picnic facilities are located at the Mash’abbim Recreation Area opposite Golda Park.
 
5. Sappir Park - Sappir Park is located just next to the Sappir Regional Center in the Central Arava. The highlight of the park is an artificial lake that formed naturally in the 1980’s, when a small depression near the En Yahav spring expanded and spring water began accumulating, creating a pool. KKL-JNF developed this small oasis into a beautiful park that attracts many visitors, particularly from among travelers on the Arava Highway who can stop here to rest and break the long trip to and from Eilat. KKL-JNF friends in the Netherlands and Australia sponsored picnic tables and toilets accessible to the physically challenged. This project is supported by Dutch and Australian KKL-JNF Friends.

 

6. Timna Park - Many people consider Timna Park one of the best places in Israel for desert cycling. With its unique landscape features - Solomon’s Pillars, the lake, the Mushroom, the Arches and the copper mines - and five marked cycling routes, the park is the perfect place to spend the day the family. Best of all, it has accessible paths and rest-rooms!