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From Mt. Gamal to Karmiel

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From Mt. Gamal to Karmiel

Duration: 10 hours
Recommended season: Spring
Features: Archeology, Observation point, Nature,
Length: 10

How to get there

The Route

The starting point of the route (green) is 100 meters north of the Zurit-Gilon junction on route 85, the Acco-Karmiel road [1]. We turn in the north western direction and climb up to Mt. Gamal, in the Mt. Gamal reserve, part of a JNF forest. After 150 meters, we will reach a red marked trail and we will take it up to the top of Mt. Gamal (altitude point 324) [2]. On the way up, the trail passes a panoramic observation point of the Haifa Bay and the Western Galilee. From the top of the mountain, the trail heads steeply down northbound in the dense thicket of planted and cut down pine trees. After another 500 meters, the trail passes a Byzantine water well [3].

We cross the wadi and climb up to the pigeon caves [4] used for goat and sheep herds.

An archeological excavation was carried out in the large cave and therefore it is prohibited to enter it. The excavation found remains of prehistoric man from the Mousterian era up to the Natufian culture (150,000 years ago to 50,000 years ago), including animal bones, human graves, decorations made of bones and shells and flint and stone utensils used. The cliffs around the cave are used for learning climbing and gliding and many anchors were placed for climbers.

 

We return on the road (or in the creek parallel to the road) back to the Gilon junction, cross the road and reach the starting point of the Shagor stream canyon. There is a parking and camping area here [5].

We climb up heading east in the creek near the road to the Har Gilon School [6] and the community village of Zurit [7]. We pass the school and in the eastern part behind the school, we see remains of wine presses from the Byzantine period.

We continue to Zurit and at the end of the road we  reach a parking area. Continuing on the red trail leads us to the route encircling Zurit [8]. We cross the jeep route and climb up and reach an observation point overlooking the Hilazon valley.

 

We leave the red trail and join the green trail, descending carefully towards the community village of Shorashim [9] (you can stop at Nurit and Yoram Hadida's fish farm, see the site card).

 

We pass beneath the road eastward to the Hilazon stream creek [10]. This area was made part of the Partnership 2Gether bicycle trail and the marking is combined with the trail mark. The Hilazon stream, collecting the water from the Sachnin valley, is one of the farthest north streams in the lower Galilee. The stream creates a deep valley, 150 meters lower than the hills around it. On the south side of the stream there is natural flora and on the northern side there are exposed rocky grounds. There are two natural karstic caves on this side, the Lower Hilazon cave and the Upper Hilazon cave [11] where archeological digs were held.

In 2008 impressive prehistoric findings were discovered, demonstrating that the Lower Hilazon cave was used for burial during the Netufian period (12,000 years ago). A unique particle found was the skeleton of a shaman with offerings, the only such finding in the Middle East. The walking and bicycle trail mark will lead us to the road to Karmiel [12] and the Baruch Wagner park [13] (the first Mayor of Karmiel).

 

Here we can take a bus to the Karmiel central bus station, or if we still have energy continue to the west to the 'Fountain Circle' [14] and to the Rabin Park [15] combining play facilities and archeology (Hirbat Kav, remains of a Byzantine church).

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