Nahal Snir Hasbani
The River that Crosses Israel’s Border
The northern part of Israel is rich in green landscape and offers many hiking trails in wadis and along river beds and natural springs that are dry in the summer months and fill up in the winter. One such river that is typical of the area is the Snir Hasbani. It is a major tributary of the Jordan river and the longest of the tributaries, originating in two springs in Lebanon, where it is referred to as the Hasbani, asbaniand crossing the border into Israel, west of the Hermon, where it becomes the Snir.
(Video By Eran Altshuler)
The segment of the Snir that is open for hikers lies entirely within a nature reserve and is, therefore, ideal for families with young children and groups of older and physically challenged individuals who want an experience connecting to nature in a safe environment. After you have paid the reasonable entrance fee, you will receive a map of the area and information on trails and things to watch for. Hiking is allowed only on marked trails and walking through the water only in places specifically designed as such.
There are also designated places for picnics complete with grills.
Bathrooms that are kept neat and clean can be found at the entrance to the reserve. Binoculars can be rented at the nearby service area.
There are three trails to choose from:
Short Trail- This is a circular trail accessible for baby carriages and wheel chairs; children will especially enjoy the wading pool and adults and children alike will feel refreshed by the mere sounds of the many running streams and brooks.
Marvel at the botanical paradise of reed and bulrush that grow to great heights and the “snakegrass,” which are rare living fossils, unique to the Snir reserve. If you are lucky you may also catch sight of the some of the animal life within the reserve.
Medium length trail- This trail is also circular and relatively easy to walk. It is recommended for six-year-olds and above and takes you to the Snir river bed itself. Here, walking through the water (knee high) or jumping from one-stone to another, is unavoidable.
A few steps down will bring you to a waterfall and to the turquoise colored water pool. Some 15 steps up will take you back to the parking lot.
Long trail. The level of difficulty for this trail is also relatively easy and appropriate for six-year-olds, although longer that the others. The trail does not circle back to the starting point. It is a good idea to take along some snacks for the way or you may want to stop for a meal at the Dag on the Dan fish restaurant that you will pass. There are various other stopping points along the trail and sections of the river that require walking through water.
Closed shoes or sandals should be worn. In addition, hats, bathing suits and a change of clothing are recommended. About 1.5 kilometers of the trail are part of “Shvil Yisrael.”
Bird watching and observation point
(Video photographer- Eyal Bartov )
In addition to the hiking trails, there is a trail that leads to an observation point for watching the various birds that nest in the reserve. The trail leads to a wood structure with windows overlooking a large reservoir. This is the time to take out your binoculars and try to identify the wild life according to the charts and figures hanging on the walls. Best months for bird watching at Nahal Snir are October-March during migration.
Adults- 29 NIS
Ages 5-18 and over 65- 15 NIS
Summer: 8AM to 5PM Sunday-Thursday and on Saturday
8AM-4PM Fridays and Holiday eve
Winter: 8AM-4PM Sunday-Thursday and Saturday
8AM-3PM Friday and Holiday Eve
Directions for Driving
Drive north toward Kiryat Shmona. Immediately after passing KIryat Shmona, turn right (East) on Route 90. In one kilometer, at the Goshrim intersection, turn left (North) and continue 4.5 kilometers to Route 99. After the fortress you will see signs for the Nahal Snir Nature Reserve that will bring you to the parking lot.