Nahal HaShofet

An excursion to the Nahal HaShofet gully is an experience to be shared by all the family. The stream winds its way through a landscape of field and forest that imparts a sense of tranquility.


Geographic location: Mt. Carmel, Krayot and surroundings
Difficulty: Easy
Target audience: All
Season: All
Track type: Walking path
Duration: 1-2 hours

Identity Card

A pool in Nahal HaShofet. Photograph: Yaakov Skolnik



An excursion to the Nahal HaShofet gully is an experience to be shared by all the family. The stream winds its way through a landscape of field and forest that imparts a sense of tranquility. Willows and elms grow along the banks, together with brambles that produce delicious juicy fruit in summertime. KKL-JNF has provided a path along the most attractive section of the stream, and part of this trail is fully disabled-accessible. Water generally flows in the gully until the beginning of summer.

Nahal HaShofet flows through the heart of HaZorea Forest, which, together with its surroundings, forms part of the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve that covers an area of over 80,000 dunam (approx 20,000 acres).


Geographic location: Northern Israel, Mount Carmel

How to get there:
The access road to Nahal HaShofet branches off the Yokneam-Megiddo highway (Route no. 66) between kilometers 28 and 29. Signs reading “Ramat Menashe Park” and “Nahal HaShofet” announce our destination. At the entrance we turn southwards on to a surfaced road. After passing the gate into HaZorea Forest (this is just one of the gates into the park) we arrive at a wooden hut that sometimes serves as a KKL-JNF information booth. The hut is situated on the banks of Nahal Gehar, which flows with water in the wintertime. The Meiri Singer Bike Trail starts out from the small parking lot beside the hut and climbs upstream along Nahal Gehar, parallel to the road.

The road leaves Nahal Gehar at the point where the stream coming from the south makes a sharp bend. We continue on our way passing the Park Road (Derekh HaPark), which turns left towards Juara before continuing to cross the Ramat Menashe ridge. The road turns sharply to the right and brings us to a crossroads: straight on to HaZorea parking lot and left to the trail that descends northwards to Nahal HaShofet.

We turn left to go down to Nahal HaShofet. Our route crosses the stream at the appointed spot and brings us finally to the Haruvim (“Carob”) Recreation Area. This is where we park.

 
Before setting out we recommend that you call KKL-JNF’s Forest Hotline (Kav LaYaar) at 1-800-350-550 for any updates, such as closures due to extreme weather and any information that may be relevant to your route.
 

To Ein Hashrat

KKL-JNF has provided a circular foot trail that from the Carob Recreation Area. The path is accessible to wheelchairs and surfaced partially with asphalt and partially with wooden boards. There are a number of bridges along it. The path descends at first along Nahal Sanin, a short tributary of Nahal HaShofet in which water flows until the end of summer. Dense foliage adorns the river banks.

Further on, Nahal Sanin meets up with Nahal HaShofet, and the path continues along the bank. The flowing stream creates a small waterfall and a pool. A nearby lookout platform provides a view of this beautiful spot, which is dotted with field elms (Ulmus minor), a tree that grows only beside water and which is rarely found in Israel. In the winter the elm sheds the asymmetric serrated leaves that make it easily identifiable for the rest of the year.

Our route takes us past a small dam that is part of the station that monitors water flow in the stream, and past two small caves, before bringing us to a beautiful grove where the remains of a flourmill can be seen. This is the end of the route.

Before we retrace our steps we can cross the stream here to another, larger cave situated just on the other side of the gully. We follow the path uphill to Ein Choshrat (Ein Ami). This beautiful spring flows from a tunnel into a square pool hewn into the flat white rock. The rock above has been hewn into the shape of an arch. From here the path makes its way along the side of the hill back to the Carob Recreation Area.

To Peace Valley Farm

From the Carob Recreation Area we can drive to Peace Valley Farm, which lies only a kilometer and a half away along a dirt track marked in blue. The route skirts the northern flank of Givat Mishol, which is clad in KKL-JNF woodland. In winter and spring it’s best to cover this short distance on foot in order to enjoy the magnificent flowers that bloom at that time of year. After visiting the farm we make our way back to the Carob Recreation Area along the lower reaches of Nahal HaShofet (red trail markings) and enjoy the flowing stream fringed with well developed willow trees.

Along the way we pass by Ein Parur, a spring whose waters supply Peace Valley Farm. Two tall, straight lone cypresses stand opposite the spring, planted in memory of guards Yoash Zoller and Yitzhak Kalichevsky, who fell here in the Arab Revolt of 1936.

Peace Valley Farm was founded in 1960 by a German pilot. After undergoing a series of changes it was settled in 1964 by a German Biblical researcher named Hermann Bäzner who was later joined by a Czech named Josef Elisha, who became his pupil.

The two men, both devout Christians with a great love for Israel and Judaism, fully believed in the vision of the prophets. They grew fruit, vegetables and grains. Both died in late 1999 (Hermann Bäzner at the age of 99). They welcomed visitors and bequeathed the farm to the people of Israel. It is now operated by the Lotem organization as a nature exploration center that offers activities to people with special needs. Hikers and passers-by can still drop in and visit free of charge. Picnics, however, cannot be held at the site, and no fires may be lit.

A few words about Nahal HaShofet

Nahal HaShofet is a short river that rises between Moshav Ein HaEmek and Kibbutz Ramat HaShofet. This is the site of the river’s most important spring, Ein Rehaniya.

The river flows through a landscape of rounded hills and crosses Kibbutz HaZorea before entering the open spaces of the Jezreel Valley, where it becomes a canal that empties into the Kishon River. The river flows through Ramat Menashe for about seven kilometers, and through the Jezreel Valley for about another three kilometers. Nahal HaShofet’s catchment basin is soon to be declared a core heritage site in the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve.