Springs in the Golan Heights

We visited the Banias Springs two summers ago when we took our two 16 year old grandchildren, one Israeli and one American, on a tour of the Galilee .

They were a bit disappointed because you were not allowed to enter the water of the springs. By the way we had enough places where to swim on that two day tour to the north.

The caves seen on the left are remnants of the Temple of Pan

We visited the ruins of the Temple of Pan

The springs, called in Hebrew Nahal Hermon Reserve, emerge from the bottom of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. It falls about 190 meters in the course of 3 Km forming the Waterfall one of the most beautiful in Israel.

The Hermon River, together with a few tributaries, the Nahal Saar, Nahal Sion and Nahal Govta, meet the Dan River a few kilometers further down. Together form the Jordan River the most important river in Israel and the most scared to Christianity.

These rivers flow year-round and in winter they are overflowed by waters coming down from the mountains. The when the snow of the Hermon melts it falls down with force from such an altitude.

The caves located nearby show some remnants of the Temple of Pan which gave the place the ancient name of Paneas pronounced Banias in Arabic.

The temple stands in front of the cave. It was built by King Herod who left it to his son Philip. Later Philip founded his capital near the site and called it Caesarea Philippi.

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The Banias Springs in full splendor after the big rains

Getting there

If you are coming from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa, I assume you are staying in one of the Kibbutz Hotels in the area. This area is called “Etzba Hagalil” or the “Galilee’s finger” because of the form it shows in the map.

To the springs: Drive about 3 Km east of Kibbutz Snir on road 99 from Kiryat Shmona to Masadeh to the waterfall: Drive about 2 Km east of Kibbutz Snir on road 99

From here there are two options:
Continue to the waterfall, about a 45-minute walk (you should leave a car at the waterfall parking lot).

Backtrack 150 m to the loop trail toward Agrippa's Palace and the Springs parking lot. You can also use your entry ticket and drive to the waterfall, where a loop trail takes about 30 minutes.

The ruins of a Byzantine Church near the Springs

There are trees, poplars and willows along the stream. On the slopes are Kermes oak, officinal storax, and a variety of Mediterranean woodland species that change with the seasons. The trail is beautiful year-round.

The lower reserve is a legally declared nature reserve: Everyone should follow the rules posted on signs. The cashier must open a gate for visitors who wish to continue from the waterfall area southward, along the trail marked in black.

When to visit: Year-round
Length of Tour: 1.5 to 2 hours

Hours of operation:

April – September: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
October – March: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
On Fridays and Holidays eves the site closes one hour earlier.

Arrive to site one hour before closing.
Important Rule: Do not enter the water in any of the pools.

The Banias River one of the tributaries of the Jordan River

Visit the amazing Upper Galilee

The area of Upper Galilee is full with attractions. You can dedicate a day or two to visit the area because the sites are near one another. We visited Tel Dan, we kayaked in Kibbutz Hagoshrim, and we hiked and had a great time.

You may stay in one of the Kibbutz Hotels in the area that are highly recommended. We stayed with our grandchildren in Kfar Blum Pastoral Hotel and it couldn’t be better. We even left time at the end of the day to enjoy their Olympic Swimming Pool.

Image Credits:
banias springs by netanel
banias river by matgania
cave by gugganij
church by bukvoed

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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