Drive to Beit Shemesh along the highway that links Shaar HaGai to Beit Guvrin (Route no. 38), turn eastwards on to Route no. 3855 and continue straight on. About 1.8 kilometers after the junction, before you reach Moshav Mahsiya, turn left on to the road that leads up to the Stalactite Cave (Route no. 3866). Continue for about 5.5 kilometers, then turn right on to a dirt road indicated by green trail markings. Around a hundred meters further on you will arrive at KKL-JNF’s Rabbi Gershon and Hannah Hadas Recreation Area.
The access road that ascends from Beit Shemesh to the Stalactite Cave passes through American Independence Park. As you drive uphill along the road, take a good look at the wooded spur on your right: this is what we have to climb on our way back.
American Independence Park extends over an area of around 4,000 dunam (approx. 1,000 acres) between Beit Shemesh and Moshav Bar Giora. KKL-JNF began work on the park in 1976, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the USA’s independence. The park comprises areas of natural woodland, planted forests, springs, ancient terraced hillsides and archeological sites, and KKL-JNF has equipped it with picnic areas and marked paths for walkers
In the center of the park is the Nes Harim Information Center, where a permanent exhibition provides information about options for excursions and leisure activities in the area, together with explanations of local natural phenomena. It also offers suggestions for possible routes. Here, you can pick up excursion pamphlets and enjoy a break at the Bar BaHar (“Bar on the Hill”) Café.
There are three ways to explore the gully. Here we describe the most challenging route, from which other, shorter routes can be derived.