Be'eri - The Red Track (Be'eri Circuit)

Difficulty: high| Length: 29 kilometers | Area: South Northern Negev| Riding direction: counterclockwiseTotal ascent: 208 meters | Recommended season: Winter


Be'eri single-track. Photograph: Yoav Lavi, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Be'eri single-track. Photograph: Yoav Lavi, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

At 23 km length, this is the longest and most challenging track Be'eri has to offer. It is suitable for riders with a high skill level.
The trail updating and marking project has been completed. You can now scan the barcode on the entry sign to view the updated map on your mobile phone. (Note: the single is currently closed to cyclists)
The trail and single-track network connecting the greater Be'eri region will lead you through mesmerizing hilly landscapes, through hidden stream beds, along the magical Be'eri Forest pathways and among numerous points of interest of historical and heritage value, delivering an unparalleled riding experience.Through the seasons, the region undergoes transformations - always surprising you with its carpets of flowers (in season), with riding challenges (for the more adventurous among us), with its very special ambiance.

The diverse network of trails and single-tracks allows riders of all ages and skill levels to plan their route to the length and level of difficulty suited to their abilities and experience. Anything from a few kilometers through to 30-km rides or more. The terrain layout, which is dominated by low hills and mostly sandy soil, dictate relaxed cycling with short (but sometimes challenging) bursts of climbing and exhilarating downhill rolls, which are guaranteed to put a smile on any rider's face.
Take Road 232 southbound from Sa'ad Junction to the road leading to Kibbutz Be'eri - about 5.5 km. Turn right at the access road and park in the nearby parking bay near the KKL-JNF signs that tell the story of Be'eri Forest and the cycling tracks. You can also continue an extra 200 meters toward the Kibbutz and park at the Lamedavesh bicycle center..
The trail and single-track network at Be'eri together form an outstanding gem in the Israeli cycling scene. The hilly terrain allows for exceptionally enjoyable riding, even if you're not in the best of physical shape. The relative proximity to the center of the country is conducive to multiple yearly excursions. In winter the track is especially attractive since it is ridable even when the center of the country is being drenched with rain. Early spring sees the annual explosion of red anemones, which paint the trails and hills red.

The trail is, for the most part, clearly visible, including signposts making it easier to orient oneself and estimate distances. Be'eri Forest covers 1100 hectares. The forest patches are interspersed among cultivated fields and fascinating historic sites. KKL-JNF has set up three Recreation Areas in the forest: Nakhabir at Old Be'eri, Re'im to the south, near the road to the water installations, and Hurvat Mador, not far from Re'im Recreation Area.

On February 18, 2011, KKL-JNF officially inaugurated three family-grade cycling tracks, marked orange, blue and green. The three tracks depart from the trailhead parking lot at the entrance to the forest. They are signposted with bicycle-specific signs. Where the tracks overlap, signs will appear in two or three colors, depending on the relevant tracks. The area is ideal for cycling outings. The landscape, for a change, consists of green fields and open spaces without electricity pylons to clutter the pristine view. Winter and spring, particularly in late February, are the Western Negev's time to shine - but there are enough points of interest here to make a visit worthwhile any other time.
In June 2016 the track updating project was completed. This included alteration of the routes of the single-tracks in certain places, renewal of the signposts and infrastructure works intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of the track.
Before you leave
Be'eri Forest and its environs are crisscrossed by several tracks which intersect with each other and allow for the creation of a range of possibilities, each differing from one another in their travel direction, length and difficulty. You are advised to read the track descriptions, to look at the map and decide in advance which track or combination you are going to ride.
Remember: this is the "Gaza Envelope" and safety and security instructions are to be followed. The marking of the biological toilets on the attached map is no longer relevant. There is no biological toilet at the Nakhabir Recreation Area.
There are many days during which it is rainy in the center of the country - in the Be'eri area it's business as usual. This being said, if it rains on the track, it might not be ridable. If it is raining in the south, it is worth calling Lamedavesh at the Kibbutz (08-9949374) to find out whether the weather and terrain are suitable for riding.

The level of technical difficulty of the Be'eri tracks depends on how fast you are riding. The easier parts of the track tempt even beginners to pick up speed.  Nevertheless, first-time riders on these tracks are advised to take it easy to avoid dangerous surprises.

Route Description
Be'eri single-track - the Red Track

Track legth - 23 km This track is intended for experienced, physically fit cyclists.
The track includes several lengthy technical stretches and obstacles to be crossed in the forest. The track is marked with special red cycling signs. the northern circuit can be added to the basic track, adding another 5 km and the Anemone Track, which adds 3 km more.

Park the car at the Lamedavesh parking lot. This is a safe parking lot offering the opportunity to replenish the body (coffee!!) or the bicycle. This will get you going on the right foot for a highly enjoyable experience.
The track begins from the entrance at the Kibbutz gate. It passes by the temporary cemetery, from where it follows the grazing corral toward the agave patches, which have been left over from when these plants were cultivated here for sisal rope production until they were replaced with the plastic ropes we use today.

From there we continue down a narrow creek to a track intersection in the Hidden Valley. Here you can get onto the northern track and return to the same point or continue upstream of the creek toward Hakhabir at the knife-edge ascent.
From Nakhabir we coast down a kurkar ridge toward the pine grove, from which we will climb up for an observation of the triangulation point in the sulfur mines. This place served the Be'eri settlers during the War of Independence as a post, which became known as the Sulfur Post, which defended against hostile fire from the Muslim Brotherhood, which was incoming from the south. After taking in the view of the nearby WWII ammo dumps and the further view of the Gaza Strip and its refugee camps with the sea in the background to the west, we will enter the sulfur mine en route to the concrete road that will take us south toward Sha'arata Stream at the end of the concrete road.

Where the track intersects with the Besor Stream [a popular coffee stop near Number 9], we descend to a platform on the stream bank and climb back up to the left bank. On the way we will pass by a round British well - remnants of the British Mandate. Shortly after the well we will pass by a kurkar ridge, on whose slope we will be able to notice remnants of pebbles, which originated in a stream and in a sea - meaning this was an ancient estuary of the Besor Stream, when the sea reached this far inland.

The track continues until the confluence of streams with Gerar Stream near a large tamarisk tree. We will ride upstream on a flat layer of kurkar as far as a floodwater measurement weir.
The weir is a track intersection with the Besor Track in the Tze'elim direction. We will ascend to a sandy, sparse eucalyptus forest that will lead us to a ridge and furrow playground where we can practice real pumptrack riding. From here we will take a left toward the antilia well along the Water Installations Track coming from the Re'im Recreation Area. Here you will find drinking water and a rest corner. The time has come to decide whether to continue along the Anemone Track or take the main track east toward Road 232. About 200 meters before the road we will return northwards down the new furrows along Palmach Stream, which comes from the Be'eri oxidation ponds. The track winds inside the streambed until the Access road between Nakhabit and Be'eri.

We will get onto the road back to Be'eri with the option of bypassing the Derekh HaBanim track near the Be'eri cemetery, which will lead us to the amphitheater and from there back to the entrance at the Kibbutz gate.
Our Thanks To
This track is a historic milestone in Israel's cycling culture: it is the brainchild of two individuals - Erez Manor and Rammi Gold - who, with the aid of the local community, created a magnet for cyclists from all over the country.
Be'eri was one of the first places to create a track dedicated specifically to cycling. It was also the first place in which KKL-JNF endorsed such a track - a seminal decision from which the relationship between KKL-JNF and the cycling community blossomed into what it is today.
Authors: Galit Buzaglo, Eyal Inbar and Yaakov ShkolnikPhotography: Ilan Shacham, Hava Brown, Technographics, Yoav LaviMap: Avigdor and Galit Buzaglo, Community and Forest Coordinator, Western NegevLast update date: 3.7.2016.