Adamit Park - Caves of Legend in the Carmel

Panoramic views, caves, walks along the cliff top and through the gullies below – discover the untouched expanses of Ramat Adamit with its views of the coastal plain from Lebanon to Haifa Bay.


Geographic location: Galilee
Water: Drinking fountain
Access: Special (adapted for the disabled)
Picnic
Marked path
Lookout

Identity Card



Exploring Adamit Park. Photo: Avi Hirschfield, KKL-JNF archive.

 
Adamit Park is situated on Ramat Adamit and provides a magnificent view of the hilly landscapes of Western Galilee and Haifa Bay, including the precipitous slopes of Nahal Betzet and Nahal Namer (“leopard gully”).
 
Region: northern, Western Galilee / Carmel.

Special sites in the park: Horvat Adamit (Khirbet Idmit), Henion-nof picnic ground, Me‘arat HaKeshet (the Arch Cave).
 
Facilities: Picinic area, Lookout, Marked pathes, Archeological or Historic site, Active recreation area, Drinking water, Restroom, Accessible site.
 
Other sites in the area: Hanita Forest and Hanita’s Tower and Stockade site, Hanita Museum and the Ladder Cave, Me‘arat Sharakh (“fern cave”) and Nahal Betzet, Henion HaYeled HaYehudi picnic ground (in Nahal Sharakh), Horvat Danila (the Danila ruins), the sea-side cliffs of Rosh HaNikra, Rosh HaNikra Promenade, Akhziv, Liman recreational area.
 
How to get there? Drive east from Shlomi for about 4 kilometers on the northern road (Route 899). Just before Moshav Yaara turn northwards on to the winding road that climbs up to Kibbutz Adamit (Route 8993). The entrance to Adamit Park is at the top of the hill, about four kilometers from the junction below and shortly before the entrance to Kibbutz Adamit.

Projects and Partners Worldwide

The development and maintenance of Adamit Park has been carried out with the help of Friends of KKL-JNF worldwide, including communities in Australia, Germany, Canada and Israel.

 
 

About the Park

KKL-JNF has provided recreational areas equipped with picnic tables, drinking water and toilets. The park is planted with fruit trees and woodland trees, hiking trails have been marked out, and lookout points provide extensive views – everything one needs for an enjoyable day out in natural surroundings. There are historic sites to explore and KKL-JNF’s Adamit Park provides shady walks and easy access to the nearby cave bridge (the Arch Cave).

Ramat Adamit forms part of the Western Galilee’s Rosh HaNikra ridge, which is situated some 400 meters above sea level. A geological rupture raised the ridge on its southern and south-eastern sides, creating steep slopes that loom like a wall above Nahal Betzet. On the northern side, however, the slope is gentler.

To the west, Ramat Adamit ends in a steep promontory cut off from its surroundings by the deep gullies of Nahal Namer to the west and Nahal Betzet to the east – one of the longest river valleys in the Galilee region.

Ramat Adamit consists mainly of dolomite, which is a hard cracked rock. The abundant rainfall in the area, which averages around 750 millimeters annually, dissolves the dolomite, creating numerous caves and areas of rocky outcrops. Some caves, such as Namer Cave, are notable for their stalactites and stalagmites.

Although Horvat Adamit (Khirbet Idmit) has never been excavated, clay artifacts found at the site provide evidence of continued settlement from the Early Bronze Age until the Ottoman period. The remains of wine presses and olive presses can be observed nearby.

History

KKL-JNF began to plant Adamit Forest in the 1950s, but Khirbet Idmit remained desolate and increasingly damaged by fires, tree-cutting and overgrazing by goats. In 1995 all this changed, and KKL-JNF began to turn the area, which was overgrown with prickly shrubs, into a small paradise as the foresters’ trained hands worked miracles.

A traditional farming system was reconstructed on the northern slopes of Khirbet Idmit, including terraces planted with vines and fig, carob, apricot, citrus, walnut, almond, pomegranate and olive trees. Hedges of prickly pear cacti grow here and there between the terraces. On the northern slope, a special area has been allotted to herbs, including wild Syrian oregano, spiked thyme (Thymbra spicata), Spanish lavender, white-leaved savory and other plants that can survive in this habitat without irrigation. The main area of the park extends over an area of around 700 dunam (approx 175 acres), and the vision for the distant future is the possible establishment of a small artists’ village at the site.

On the periphery of the park KKL-JNF has planted forest trees – both conifers and Mediterranean woodland species. On the western slope, there is a large stand of cedars, mainly Atlas cedars whose origins lie in the mountains of North Africa but which adapt easily to the climate of the Galilean hills. Here and there, specimens of Lebanon cedar and Himalayan cedar can also be found.

A number of large woodland trees once in danger of being felled have found a home and a refuge in Adamit Park. Palestine oaks, terebinths and carob trees endangered by neighborhood expansion or the construction of new roads were moved by KKL-JNF to a new home in the park, and now they look as if they had always been there.

The Scenic Road

The park’s main scenic road is one-way only. After entering the park gate the road turns left and circles Khirbet Idmit from the east. Further along it arrives at the park’s upper parking area. It’s best to leave your vehicle here and begin to explore the site and the views it offers: you can wander among the ruined houses, look across towards the border with Lebanon and down at the Galilean expanses or take a quiet stroll along one of the marked paths, such as the Scented Flowerbeds Trail or the Terrace Path that leads to the Arch Cave. The nearby Adamit Recreational Area offers a tempting spot to enjoy a picnic, and, in summer, benefit from the cool breeze that blows in from the sea. 

The scenic road continues to circle Khirbet Idmit from the south until it reaches the recreational area known as Henion-Nof because of the extensive view it offers of the surrounding countryside. The recreational area is equipped with wheelchair-accessible tables, drinking water and biological toilets, and at its western end is a vantage point that overlooks the area between Rekhes HaSullam (“ladder ridge”) and Mount Carmel.

Two circular paths depart from this point and return to the recreational area. One leads to the Arch Cave, about five minutes’ walk away, while the other climbs up to Khirbet Idmit via the plot of cedars and spices, eventually returning to its point of departure.

The Path to Me‘arat HaKeshet (the Arch Cave)

Type of route: A very easy walk along the Ramat Adamit cliff top towards the Arch Cave and the Amir Meital observation point.

Time required: About half an hour

Trail markings: Red markings of the Israel Trails Committee.
The path from the recreational area heads westwards and passes through a cattle fence at a hikers’ crossing point. Here we turn west (right) along a trail marked in green, and within two minutes we find ourselves overlooking the steep cliff edge of Me`arat HaKeshet. In the past this was a cave like any other, until a large part of the roof fell in, leaving a narrow strip of rocky land suspended over the void.

After visiting the cave, you can return at once to the recreational area, but we recommend continuing to walk along the same trail, heading eastwards along the top of the cliff and following the red markings until, after about 200 meters, you arrive at the Amir lookout (in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Amir Meital, a Golani Patrol commander killed in 1988 in an attack on terrorist targets in Lebanon). This vantage point provides a panoramic view of the Upper Galilee from the coastal plain to the Meron Hills.

Looking down from the top of the cliff, which rises 150 meters above the valley of Nahal Betzet and offers fresh air in unaccustomed quantities, is liable to cause mild dizziness in those unused to such sights. The trail continues eastwards along a large rock ledge until it reaches another crossing point in the fence. If you walk through the gap you can climb a flight of stone steps that lead back to the parking area.
 
How was Me‘arat HaKeshet formed?

The cave’s unusual appearance gave rise to a local legend (see Yaakov Shorer’s book Tiyulei Yisrael – Tzafon, Keter Publishing House, 1992), which tells of a band of brigands who made their living by robbing travelers passing through Nahal Betzet. One night, according to the legend, the Prophet Muhammad appeared to one of these highway-men and warned him that if they did not mend their evil ways they would come to a bad end. In the morning the brigand told his comrades of the vision he had seen, and asked them to forsake robbery and turn to farming instead. However, they were unconvinced.

The penitent highwayman continued to pester his companions, who decided they had to rid themselves of him. They promised him that after robbing the large caravan that was on its way towards them, they would abandon their evil ways. They posted the penitent as a watch-man at the mouth of the Arch Cave, whose roof was still intact in those days, and waited for the first opportunity to throw him down the cliff into the abyss below. But at just that very moment, God in his wisdom caused the roof of the cave to collapse on the brigands, leaving intact only the strip of rock where the penitent stood, creating the arch that has given the cave the name it bears to this day.

The Garden Trail / The Orchard Trail

Type of route: An easy walk through the cedar grove and along the spice trail up to Khirbet Idmit and back again.

Time required: Between an hour and an hour and a half.

Trail markings: Wooden forest signs.
From the Me‘arat HaKeshet parking lot, we walk westwards to the nearby lookout platform. There we turn northwards and pass through a stand of young forest trees. Beside us carobs, oaks and pines are growing, interspersed here and there with cedars. The path winds among cypresses and crosses the park’s scenic road – watch out for oncoming vehicles!

After crossing the road, we climb up to a shelf of rock where the remains of an oil press can be seen. From here, the path continues to the northern slope of Khirbet Idmit, winding on among fruit trees and leading to the spice terraces, those “scented flowerbeds,” where KKL-JNF is trying to persuade a variety of spice plants to adapt to local conditions.

From here, we continue to the northern lookout point, which overlooks Israel’s border with Lebanon. Then we walk southwards towards the heart of Khirbet Idmit, amidst large fig trees and the ruins of stone houses. KKL-JNF are working to save these impressive trees from a pest known as the fig borer beetle whose larvae bore into the trunks and main branches causing serious damage.

On the western side of Khirbet Idmit is another observation point where benches in the shade of a large pine tree provide a place to sit comfortably and enjoy the view. Before we go through the orchards and down to the Henion-nof, where the walk ends, we shall pass the southern vantage point, which provides a broad panorama of the Galilean hills from Mount Meron all the way to the coast.