A new hiking trail stretching some 70 kilometers through the UNESCO-recognized Ramot Menashe Biosphere Reserve in northern Israel was opened recently by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI).
Unlike most hiking trails in the country, the Ramot Menashe footpath is fully accessible by public transport because it starts and ends at Megiddo Junction, which has a bus station.
The Biosphere Reserve covers some 197,000 dunams (about 48,700 acres) — double the area of Gush Dan, the largest metropolitan area in Israel. The reserve encompasses archeological and historical sites, pastures, agricultural areas, planted and natural forests, a variety of plants and rare natural vegetation. The Megiddo Trail was designed by officials and residents of the Megiddo Regional Council in collaboration with the Israel Trails Committee, KKL-JNF and Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Itzik Ben Dov, the trail marking coordinator at SPNI, said it was unusual to plan out such a rich hiking trail relatively close to the center of the country.
“During the winter and spring, the Ramot Menashe area is covered in a green carpet and spectacular flowers: daffodils, marigolds, anemones, lupines and more. The streams flow and the springs are abundant,” he said.
“The fact that this is a beautiful and interesting area leads me to hope that the trail will attract many hikers. It is guaranteed to provide an enriching and unique travel experience,” Ben Dov said.