Yarkon Bridges

The Upper Yarkon River is a nature spot of rare beauty and importance. New bridges have expanded touring possibilities. The following is a description of a hike from the Concrete House Bridge to the Yarkon Source Bridge.



Geographic location: Sharon and coastal plains
Track type: Walking path
Target audience: All
Season: All
Track length: 6 km
Duration: 2-3 hrs

Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

General Information

How to get there? The starting point for the outing is the Baptist Village, which can be accessed from Highway 40, between Segula Junction in Petach Tikva and the Yarkon Interchange (Highway 5). For those of you coming from the Yarkon Interchange, turn south on Highway 40, drive about 600m, and turn left (east) at the traffic light by the Paz gas station. This is also the entrance to the Yarkon Source National Park. After 800m the road turns right, and after another 400m it curves left and arrives at the gate of the Yarkon Source National Park, where you turn left, drive another 150m and then park to the left of the road, across from the entrance to the Baptist Village.

Tour Information

From its source in Rosh Haayin to its estuary in Tel Aviv, the Yarkon River twists and turns for 27km. Ecologically, the river may be divided into three segments. In the upper segment, from the springs to the estuary of Nahal Kaneh, about 7km, there is clean water flowing. This is a segment that has never suffered the ills of most of the streams of Israel’s coastal plain. Unfortunately, its beauty is relatively unknown.

In the middle segment, from the Kaneh River estuary to the Seven Mills, about 16km, the water is mainly comprised of purified effluents treated in local wastewater treatment plants. Here, too, the Yarkon discloses beautiful and captivating places, especially since the quality of its water has improved.

The Lower Yarkon, 4km, is a wide channel that flows mostly in the vicinity of Ganei Yehoshua, Tel Aviv. A considerable proportion of the water flowing in this segment is saltwater due to the influx of sea water.
 

Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive


In August 2011, the Yarkon River Authority, in conjunction with KKL-JNF, the Ministry for Environmental Protection, and the Israel Government Tourist Corporation, completed the construction of four new bridges on the river, two in the upper section and two in the middle section. The bridges fit into the overall system of the Yarkon’s pathways, which have been serving hikers for quite some time all along river. At present, the Brandeis Restoration Planning Company is planning access roads to the Yarkon River from Petach Tikva, Hod Hasharon and Rosh Ha'ayin. Yarkon River restoration has been accomplished thanks to the generous support of friends of KKL-JNF in Australia and worldwide.

To the Concrete House and the Restored Meander

From the parking area we will walk north along the road, with the fence of the Baptist Village on our right. The village, which covers an area of 30 hectares, was founded in 1955. It is the center of the Baptist community in Israel and is a place of worship as well as a meeting place for the members of the community in Israel.
 
About 200m from the parking area we reach the corner of the Baptist Village fence. Here we turn right, between the north fence of the village and a cultivated field, and very soon we are on the bank of the Yarkon. The river is flowing, and the eucalyptus trees and reeds create a feeling of tranquility and charm. A special path was paved here very recently for bicycles, and a gate was constructed, which prevents cars from driving along the river.
 
After about 600m we reach the Concrete House Bridge. We will be returning to it in order to cross the Yarkon, but in the meantime we will proceed for several meters in order to get to the concrete house itself. It is a two-story building, which was built in 1912 as a pumping station for the Palestine Irrigation Company. In those days there was an architect in the village named Daniel Lichtenstein, who was looking for an opportunity to build with concrete—a material that had not yet been used in the land of Israel. His vision was realized on the banks of the Yarkon, where he built the first concrete building in Israel.
 

Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 
We continue downstream another 200m, and we see, before Highway 5, a meander, where the Yarkon River bends so sharply to the right that it almost completes a circle. There was a natural meander here in the past, but when Highway 5 was paved it was turned into a straight canal. Later, when the road was widened and the Yarkon River was rehabilitated, it was decided that the lost meander should be restored.
 
We will return to the Concrete House Bridge, the construction of which was completed in August 2011. The planner of this bridge and the other three bridges of the Yarkon, architect Erez Lotan, succeeded in creating a bridge that is amazing in its simplicity, blending in with the landscape of the Yarkon and integrated with the natural surroundings. These bridges are for pedestrians and bicycles only.

The Lotus Pools and the Train Bridge

We will cross the Yarkon on the Concrete House Bridge, then go a bit further and reach the Yarkon Trail on the north bank. We will turn right and pass an old orchard house, from where we can get a glimpse of the Yarkon Source National Park on the other side of the river.
 
After another 1.3km we will reach the Train Bridge, which crosses the Yarkon. We will pass underneath it and discover the new Yarkon Source Bridge. If you are already tired, you can cross the bridge here, get to the pillbox station and proceed back to the parking lot. You will have “saved” approximately 1km but missed a lot more.
 
Instead, we will proceed on the dirt road another 150m and turn right to the riverbank. A giant eucalyptus marks the spot of another meander, which is called the Lotus Meander and is named after the large yellow water lilies that grow there. The flower is easily recognized by its large leaves that float on the surface of the water and by its large yellow flowers that appear on the water from March to September.
 

Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 
We will return to the dirt road and turn right (away from the bridge). We walk another 300m, which will take us around a pool until we reach a wide dirt road and a sign to the Water Lily Pool. We will then turn right to get to the pool, which is adjacent to the fence around the Yarkon Springs site. The large pool, which is surrounded by reeds and other riverbank vegetation, is almost completely covered with yellow water lilies. From here the Yarkon River begins to flow, depending on the amount of water it is allocated. The Water Lily Pool serves as a safe haven for the flora and fauna that live in the wild on the Yarkon. This is the most sensitive spot on the river, and it is therefore important to protect it from environmental threats. This is why the lower pool was dug, which we passed earlier. The lower pool was meant to widen the area of water in the Yarkon channel and protect the pool of water lilies from pollutants.
 
We will continue around the pool and reach a dirt road, where we will turn right and walk another 400m until we reach the Yarkon Source Bridge, but we will be on the other side of the river than before. The pillbox station there protected the Yarkon Bridge from sabotage in the days of the Arab uprising (1936 – 1939).
 
Now we have two choices. We could enter the Yarkon National Park through a wicket in the gate, and then proceed along the Yarkon and exit on the other side—a pleasant way to conclude the hike, but it requires a fee.
 
The other option is to walk left on the dirt road about 500m, cross under the iron rail, right to the underground pass and continue another 30m on a dirt road that passes through a cultivated field (signs for the Yarkon Trail will help you find the way). We have reached the entrance to the National Park. From here we can already see the parking area, about 150km ahead, where we parked.