Keren HaCarmel Forest

Photograph: Yaakov Shkolnik, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The Keren HaCarmel Forest is located at the southeastern Carmel, between the "Muhraka" monastery and the city of Yokne'am and Elyakim Interchange. The forest is rich with natural growth and planted trees.
  • How to get there

    On the Elyakim interchange (where Road 70 meets Road 672), a turn toward Daliyat al-Carmel (Road 672) brings travelers to the hitchhiking station with a sign directing to "Keren HaCarmel Forest – Hermesh Ruins Recreation Area". A dirt road leads to a recreation area.
  • Geographic location-

    Mount Carmel-Krayot and surroundings
  • Area-

  • Special Sites in the Area-

    KKL-JNF Park at Nesher – The Hanging Bridges; Carmel National Park: Carmel Nature Reserve, Caves Stream, Kelah Stream ("Little Switzerland"), Daliyat al-Carmel and Isfiya, Kdumim Strip Mines, Grove of the Forty, The Mandatory Trails, Haifa Streams.
  • Special Sites in the Forest-

    Keren HaCarmel Forest, Caves Path and Cyclamen Path, Muhraka Scenic Lookout
  • Recreation areas-

    Sha'ar HaCarmel and Hermesh
  • Interest-

    Hiking and Walking Tracks,Lookouts

About the Forest

The Keren HaCarmel Forest is located at the southeastern Carmel, between the "Muhraka" monastery and the city of Yokne'am and Elyakim Interchange. The forest is rich with natural growth and planted trees.
One of the forest's most colorful spots is the Cyclamen Trail, which starts at the southeastern corner of the cedar compound towards the Hermesh Ruins Recreation Area. About 200 meters from the beginning of the track, on the left side of the road, the burial site with six arched openings can be seen. Each cave contains a few burial niches, and it is speculated that the site was a burial grounds for one of the rich Jewish families that lived in the area.
After bypassing the caves from the right, travelers reach the recreation area. Shaded by pine tree are wooden tables used for picnic. Further north of the burial trail is a section where travelers can see the wonderful blooming of daffodils from November to December. The forest contains new plating of Mediterranean grove trees, including oaks, terebinth, rosebuds and almonds. The trail continues into the forest, to an area that is covered with different flowers after the rains: cyclamens, daffodils and early anemones. The trail leads through a dirt road back to the recreation area.
Those who wish to extend the trip can continue on the trail and go a short way up to the Muhraka Scenic Lookout. The site is equipped with benches overlooking the panoramic view that offers the sight of the Muhraka Monastery (Keren Carmel), Jezreel Valley, the lower Galilee Ridges, Ramat Menashe, the Gilboa, and on sunny days also the peak of Mount Hermon. The circular road leads from the scenic lookout to the Cyclamen Trail marked in red, and then west back to the Hermesh recreation area.
KKL-JNF Park at Nesher near Haifa was built by KKL-JNF in collaboration with the Nesher municipality (park maintenance is under the municipality's responsibility). The park contains green fields, sport facilities, walking trails, scenic lookouts, picnic tables, and two hanging bridges.
The bridges are made of 70-meter long steel cables, and are a major attraction for park visitors. The bridges stretch over the Katia Strea, which is mostly a seasonal stream. The track starts at the parking lot, goes through a pine tree grove and goes down to the stream. On the way, travelers pass through a grove of common oaks, pistacias and arbutus. After crossing a bridge and getting to the lower part of the stream, several stone steps lead to a Mediterranean grove with benches and lookouts. A few hundred meters west, travelers reach the handing bridge and can cross above the treetops on a narrow, rocking bridge. A marked trail continues into the grove through another hanging bridge and reaches the parking lot.
How to Get There
Travelers should drive on the Nesher Road toward the Haifa University and from there according to the signs leading to KKL-JNF Park. Then, a turn to the Carob street leads to the Nesher Park.
The Upper Carmel area was given the status of a national park, with recreation areas for travelers. Notable sites in it include:
Carmel Nature Reserve
Used to house wild sheep, wild goats and fallow deer in order to bring them back to nature (entrance fee required).
Caves Reserve
A reserve which demonstrates, using a light show in one of the caves, the lives of the caveman in the Carmel (entrance fee required).
Kelah Stream ("Little Switzerland")
This area brings together walking tracks and a picnic recreation area in one of the most beautiful sites of the Carmel Forests Ridge.
Daliyat al-Carmel and Isfiya
Two Druze towns at the heart of green forests that draw many visitors and offer popular dining spots and souvenirs.
Kdumim Strip Mines
Stone strip mines from the Byzantine period are at the side of the Atlit-Beit Oren road, about one kilometer from the Beit Oren Fork. The stone beds create a unique site, along with the burial caves at the eastern edge of the site.
Grove of the Forty
A small reserve about a kilometer south of the Haifa University. Within the reserve are large, impressive common oak trees.
"The Mandatory Trails"
KKL-JNF reopened a wide system of abandoned trails covered in grove and used during the British Mandate period. Most of the trails are located around the "Carmel Landscape Road". An exceptionally beautiful trail goes down to Kibbutz Yagur.
Haifa Streams
Within the city of Haifa are several streams, including the Cistus and Bush streams, with Mediterranean growth at their banks, archeological sites and springs. KKL-JNF maintains the areas near the streams, and created walking trails along them.
Ein Hod
A picturesque artists' village with a museum presenting their works.