The Menara Cliffs in the Upper Galilee

The Menara Cliffs in Israel is a breathtaking nature spot that boasts woodlands, precipitous mountainsides, valleys and the steep slopes of the Naftali Hills Ridge (Ramim Ridge) at a height of over 700 meters above sea level.

Geographic location: Golan heights
Access: Special (adapted for the disabled)

Identity Card



Photo: Michael Huri.


The Menara Cliffs are a recreational activities site that offers woodland, precipitous mountainsides, valleys and the steep slopes of the Naftali Hills Ridge (Ramim Ridge) at a height of over 700 meters above sea level. In the 1950's, KKL-JNF began to plant the Naftali Hills Forests in this rocky landscape, and today the trees extend from Kibbutz Yiftah all the way to Metulla. Inside the forest are scenic routes and footpaths, recreation facilities and quiet spots to take a rest. The Israel Trail crosses the eastern flank of the mountain ridge.

• Region: Northern Israel, Central Galilee and the Golan Heights

• Notable sites in the park: Alpine slides, bungee trampoline, the cliffside railway tour, walks in natural woodland, geology of the cliffs, the cable car.

• Additional sites in the area: Kiryat Shmona, Kibbutz Menara, the Naftali Hills, the Hula Valley.

• Facilities: Picinic area, Lookout, Marked path, Archeological or Historic site, Memorial, Water, Restroom, Accessible site.

• How to get there?
From Route no. 90 at the southern entrance to Kiryat Shmona, or from Route no. 889 adjacent to Kibbutz Menara (for the upper entrance to the site).

Projects and Partners Worldwide
Menara Cliffs were rehabilitated and developed thanks to a contribution from friends of KKL-JNF worldwide.

About the site


Photo: Michael Huri

On the slopes of the Naftali Hills large balls can be observed ascending and descending in groups of three, dangling above the treetops as they make their way up and down the hillside. This is the Menara Cliff cable car, which provides a magnificent view of the expanses of Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights, with the green and brown checkerboard fields of the Hula Valley spread out below. Lake Hula and the surrounding fishponds add patches of blue to the scene, while the hills of the Golan Heights preside majestically over all.

The Menara Cliffs are a recreational activities site that offers woodland, precipitous mountainsides, valleys and steep slopes on the Naftali Hills Ridge (Ramim Ridge) at a height of over 700 meters above sea level. In the 1950s, KKL-JNF began to plant the Naftali Hills Forests on the unpromisingly rocky ground of the hillsides that descend steeply from the mountain ridge to the Hula Valley, and today the trees extend from Kibbutz Yiftah all the way to Metulla. Inside the forest are scenic routes and footpaths, recreation facilities and quiet spots to take a rest. The Israel Trail crosses the eastern flank of the mountain ridge and to the south lies the fertile Kadesh Valley where vineyards flourish.

Geology and Archeology


Photo: Hava Braun

The area possesses some impressive geological features, some of which are the result of the Syrian-African fault line whose influence on the landscape can be plainly seen. It is this fault that caused the Naftali Hills Ridge to rear up to such great heights, exposing geological layers of a kind familiar to us from the Negev and Sinai: the remarkable colors of Nubian sandstone, for example, can be observed in the rock face. The Kadesh Valley is a polje, i.e. a large flat plain resulting from the collapse of underground caverns that were created over time as rainfall slowly dissolved the limestone rock.

The area also possesses a number of archeological sites, such as Tel Kadesh Naftali, Hunin Fortress and heritage sites such as Koah Fortress (also known as Yesha Fortress), Tel Hai and Kfar Giladi.

Collaboration between KKL-JNF and the Menara Cliff Site
During the Second Lebanon War, the Menara Cliff site sustained direct hits that damaged some of its facilities, and extensive areas of the surrounding forest went up in flames. The prolonged rehabilitation process and the necessity of closing the site to visitors for a long period almost caused it to collapse financially – but KKL-JNF was on hand and hurried to its rescue: local foresters worked hard to encourage the pine trees to seed themselves, and new saplings were planted in areas that could not restore themselves naturally.

The woodland paths adjacent to the site’s upper station provide scenic views of the landscape, and it was decided that KKL-JNF guides should lead tours along them to introduce visitors to the special natural features of the area. KKL-JNF also encourages increased economic activity in the border area in order to stabilize the local population and help local residents make a living and improve their quality of life.

The story of the Menara Cliffs and the events of the Second Lebanon War led to a variety of volunteer initiatives designed to help the site to recover. Among the volunteers was Search and Rescue Unit 669, whose members used railway sleepers to construct steps in the woodland footpath in order to moderate the gradient and make it easier for walkers to use.

The Woodland Footpath


Ramim ridge. Photo: Yaakov Shkolnik

The Woodland Footpath (Shvil HaHoresh) constructed by KKL-JNF is situated at a height of 700 meters above sea level overlooking the landscapes of the Hula Valley and the Golan Heights. Up here, a cool breeze blows through the trees even on the hottest days of summer. The upper station is the starting point for a walk along this woodland route that is suitable for all the family. The path forks into two routes that can be walked separately or in combination with each other. The path that begins close to the entrance to the upper station compound is also the work of KKL-JNF, and it is marked out on both sides with rough local stones. This route, which is around 200 meters long, leads us through natural woodland combined with pine trees until we reach the sign-posted spot where the Woodland Footpath splits into two. The eastern (right-hand) fork takes us in a circle of around 650 meters, while the western (left-hand) fork starts off straight before looping round in a circle for a distance of some 400 meters.

The western route leads to a shady woodland footpath amidst dense vegetation, while the eastern fork takes us to a scenic lookout with an impressive view of the Hula Valley. At this point the route becomes a little rocky as it descends to the Amir Kara Scenic Lookout, allowing us glimpses of the landscape through the gaps between the trees as we make our way down. The scent of pine trees is all around us, and pine needles are everywhere underfoot. A variety of plants and small bushes flourish among the tall mature pines and ferns twine around the bottom of the trees. Only a few sunbeams are able to filter their way through the dense woodland, and the silence deepens as we advance further into the forest. At any point along the way we can decide to pause and spread a picnic blanket among the trees.

Guided tours


Photo: Hava Braun

The KKL-JNF guided tour lasts between an hour and an hour and a half. Participants should equip themselves with water, comfortable walking shoes and a hat. The route is easy going and the Woodland Footpath, unlike the route to the Amir Kara Scenic Lookout, is suitable for baby carriages and strollers; there are a few gentle hills.

The tour focuses on the various types of vegetation and the different varieties of tree that compose the woodland – the Mount Atlas mastic tree, the Israeli common oak, the gall oak and the Lebanon oak, which is usually glimpsed by Israelis only on the slopes of Mount Hermon – and their suitability to the climate. These woodland trees grow here in company with the pines planted by KKL-JNF. In early spring many of the plants and trees come into flower; however, as some of these flowers are green, they can be hard to discern amongst the leaves.  The trees are home to blackbirds, jays and sparrows, while on the ground you may occasionally encounter a jackal, a fox, a wild boar or a family of hyraxes.

The trail descends from the scenic lookout down a number of wooden steps towards another observation point and a memorial to Staff Sergeant Amir Kara, who fell on May 17th, 1995 while on lookout duty with the Intelligence Corps. He was killed by a Hizbullah shell while attempting to locate the source of the shooting. The scenic lookout created in his memory provides a view of the Hula Valley, Ramat HaGolan, Mount Hermon and South Lebanon. Miftan Korazim (“the Korazim Threshold”) and the basalt hills to the south of the Hula Valley are also visible. These hills were created by a zigzag in the Syrian-African fault line and the hot basaltic lava that flowed from the Golan and Galilee hills. The basalt ridge of Miftan Korazim blocked the flow of the River Jordan into the Kinneret, creating Lake Hula and the adjoining swampland. The story of how these swamps were drained then flooded once more is particularly relevant to this area and this scenic lookout. From here we can also trace the routes of the valley’s main drainage channels, which meet up at its southern end to create the Jordan diversion-project channel before flowing into the Jordan River. In wintertime, we can observe the migratory birds as they arrive to rest at Lake Hula; the best times of day for this are the early morning hours, when the birds take flight in search of food and just before sunset, when they return to roost for the night.


Photo: Yaakov Shkolnik

Our route continues southwards along the broad dirt road and leads us beneath the lines of the cable car that carries visitors to the top of the Menara Cliffs; a trio of cars passes us at eye level every few minutes. This cable car is used mainly for tourism purposes: visitors using it to ascend to the cliff top enjoy both the ride itself and the view they see when they get there. This view includes Kiryat Shmona, whose name, which means “Town of Eight,” commemorates Josef Trumpeldor and his seven comrades who fell in defense of Tel Hai.

Continuing slightly southwards, we pass the path that descends to the Kibbutz Menara cemetery before arriving at the blue-marked path that climbs back up to the upper cable-car station, where our tour comes to an end.

Additional Information for visitors to the Menara Cliffs

The site is open from Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays.
In July and August and during other holiday periods it is also open on Sundays.

Opening hours:

March to June; September & October: From 9.30 am until 5 pm.
July: From 9.30 am until 6 pm.
August: From 9.30 am until 7 pm.
November to February: Please check ahead of time whether or not the site is open.

Entrance fee:
Sunday to Thursday: 59 NIS; Weekends, holidays, July-August: 69 NIS
Combined ticket: 80 NIS (on weekdays); 90 NIS (weekends, holidays, July-August).
Regular ticket: Includes ascent and descent by cable car & guided tour.
At weekends: Activities for children, Gymboree and arts and crafts workshops.
Combined ticket: Includes slides or trampoline.

Parking: Parking is available at the entrance to the site and at the upper station, free of charge.
Drinking water: At holiday time a water cooler for the use of visitors is placed adjacent to the cable car.
Recreation areas: Picnic areas (no barbecues, please!) are provided at the upper station beside the Gymboree, adjacent to the observation platform.

Accessibility:
Parking: Disabled parking spaces are available in the parking lots at the entrance to the site and the upper station.
Main entrance: There is a ramp to the ticket booth, and the elevator and the cable car can both accommodate wheelchairs. The upper station is similarly accessible.
Public toilet facilities: Disabled-accessible toilet cubicles are provided at both the upper and lower stations.
Other facilities: Ramps and disabled-accessible paths are provided at the amphitheater, the scenic lookout and the children’s house in the Gymboree area.
Recreation and picnic spots: Every picnic site includes tables that are disabled-accessible.