Shoham Forest Park Single-Track Cycle Trail

Difficulty: Medium | Length: 9.5 kilometers | Area: Center Judean Plain| Riding direction: clockwise| Total ascent: 120 meters | Recommended season: Spring
Photograph: Ilan Schaham, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Photograph: Ilan Schaham, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
A single-track cycle trail near central Israel that offers all the winning elements necessary for an enjoyable and enriching mountain-bike experience.
Main access: Horvat Tinshemet. From Route no. 444, around 100 meters to the south of the entrance to Shoham, turn eastwards towards the Hevel Modiin Industrial Park, then, about one kilometer further on, turn right following signs to Shoham Forest Park. Follow the main road through the park for about 1.5 kilometers until you reach a small parking lot near Horvat Tinshemet (“Barn Owl Ruins”).

Southern access: The Israel Trail. This approach is located at the southern junction of the single-track with the Israel Trail, and it is easily accessible from the direction of KKL-JNF’s offices at Beit Nehemia. From Route no. 444 enter Moshav Beit Nehemia and then turn left immediately after you pass through the gate and leave your vehicle in the parking lot. From here you cycle northwards, turn left through the gate into the fields, and then turn right at the next turnoff. After about 800 meters you will come to the Israel Trail. Turn left on to it, and after another 300 meters you will reach the point where it meets up with the Shoham Forest single-track.

Shoham access: This approach is situated near the underground passage from the direction of the town of Shoham. Once inside Shoham make your way to Gan Kedem (“Kedem Park”) near Rehov Kedem no. 96, cycle along the path to the right of the soccer pitch until you come to the scenic route, where you turn left, then, after continuing for 100 meters, turn right to the underground passage that crosses beneath Route no. 444 (mind your head!). When you emerge from the tunnel at the other side, continue straight on. After crossing a straight road and then a path, you immediately meet up with the single track. Turn left on to it and you’re on your way.
The Route
Although the Shoham Forest Park single-track cycle trail occupies just a small area of land bounded by Route no. 6 to the east, Route no. 444 to the west, Hevel Modiin, Industrial Zone to the north and Moshav Beit Nehemia to the south, it takes the rider past ruins, mosaics, wonderful flowers, orchards and panoramic views.

The single-track is well constructed and provides a marvelous flow both uphill and down, together with occasional mild technical challenges that offer regular spurts of adrenalin all along the way.

The terrain we cycle through is hilly; some of it is open, other parts are forested, and it includes an area of flowering anemones whose varied colors dominate the landscape throughout February and March.

Details of the route:
Length: 9.5 kilometers
Cumulative elevation gain: 120 meters
Level of expertise required: Medium

The single-track is indicated throughout its length by blue trail markings 

Route Description
Slightly to the south of the Horvat Tinshemet parking lot we see the sign that indicates the approach to the single-track, and we turn right to get on to it. Right at the start we find ourselves confronted with a number of rocks that present some challenging technical passages designed to check whether or not we’ve woken up properly this morning.

Having now rudely awoken us, the trail emerges from the forest into open ground and after a short ascent we are treated to a wonderful view in the direction of the Hevel Modiin Industrial Park, Route no. 6 and the Mitkan Adam hills, with Samaria behind them in the background.

While still rubbing the sleep out of our eyes, we embark upon a particularly enjoyable downhill stretch, which is followed by another short climb up to a splendid landscape at the foot of a short row of trees. This is the perfect spot for a coffee break, but as we’ve barely started our ride we haven’t yet earned our coffee. What should we do? (Hint: The coffee’s even tastier on the second lap).

Now comes another brief ascent towards a rocky landscape that wonderfully exemplifies how the Land of Israel looked before planting began, then we begin three kilometers of enjoyable downhill cycling that include a wonderful flow, some challenging rocky steps, speedy switchbacks and plenty of scenery. After a kilometer or so of downhill cycling we find ourselves on a broad path, but we turn off it after 100 meters to rejoin the single-track.

After the downhill stretch we arrive at the single-track’s southernmost extremity, where it meets up with the Israel Trail at the southern access point. From here the trail continues uphill through a magical landscape of rock walls, fruit trees and carpets of greenery. As we make our way around Givat HaSaflulim (“Acorn-Cup Hill”) we catch our first glimpse of Shoham Forest, which welcomes us to its playground.

After a short section of double track we plunge down into woodland once more to follow a serpentine path that descends enjoyably and leads us to an ancient ruined limekiln close to Route no. 444. Another two hundred meters of speeding downhill bring us to the point at which the trail meets the approach to Shoham.

Now we toil uphill again and emerge once more into open ground that overlooks the town of Shoham and the industrial park. Then it’s back into the forest as we continue on towards Horvat Tinshemet and its magnificent mosaics. A few more turns of the pedals and we’ve finished the lap.
Our Thanks To
The trail was designed by Doron Amitz and architect Otto Friedman. Doron Amitz supervised the construction work, which was carried out by KKL-JNF workers. 

Further General Information
The Shoham Forest Park Cycle Trail has a great deal to offer, and it is certainly worth a visit on its own. However, if you are looking for a longer ride you can easily link it up to the Hadid Single Track to create a route that is around 27 kilometers long. To do this you need to leave the northern part of the Hadid Single Track, cross through Beit Nehemia to the KKL-JNF offices and from there follow the written instructions on the upper part of the sign at the approach to the Israel Trail.

Of course, if you add the Herzl and Anava single tracks to your route you will increase the distance significantly. For lovers of the genre.