Tourist Tip #80 / The Kinneret Trail

After encountering some bureaucratic hurdles, much of this 60-kilometer walking trail is open for business, offering stunning views and unhindered access to one of Israel's most beautiful and historic sites.

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Along the Kinneret Trail, just about the only thing you won’t find “as advertised” is the “rock-beating surf” Lord Byron described as he imagined the defeat of Sennacherib’s terrifying army. But you will certainly behold the “quiet blueness” extolled by another poet, the beloved Israeli writer Rachel, who is buried along its shores. All this, and much, much more.

The Kinneret Trail has brought the beauty, history and nature of the storied Sea of Galilee down to eye level. The 2003 brainchild of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, its volunteers helped clear it and also secure it a spot in Israelis' hearts and minds. Despite Israeli law mandating free access to all beaches, fences had popped up across the areas, and workers were tasked not just with removing the barriers but also with persuading the communities around the lake to come on board.

Now, about 45 of the trail’s 60 kilometers (28 out of 38 miles) are cleared, and the path is returning the lakeshore to a natural treasure open to all.
You don't have to be a seasoned hiker to enjoy a walk on the Kinneret Trail; just follow the markers – a purple stripe between two white ones, guiding you through the lake's premier natural, historical and religious attractions.

The trail is divided into seven segments, allowing a casual trekker to meander one segment for an easy walk and a more adventurous hiker to combine several into a full day's outing. Part of the trail has been paved, and information and directional signs are on hand to guide you from site to site.

One segment that will appeal to heritage buffs and pilgrims is the two-hour walk from Capernaum National Park on the Kinneret’s north shore to the inlet of the Jordan River, a bird-watcher’s paradise. It takes in the little-known Greek Orthodox Church of the Apostles with its trademark red domes, and continues to the Ayish Ruins, where the very first lakeside cottage may have been built back in the second millennium BCE.

Beautiful beaches await on the eastern shore. Near Kinar Beach and the Kanaf Stream estuary, remains have been unearthed of a Jewish settlement from the time of the Second Temple and the Talmud and the Mishnah.

Strolling with an elderly grandmother or a baby in tow? No problem. On the western side of the lake, where the trail meets the junction of Road 90 and the access road to Kibbutz Ginossar, you'll find the paved, wheelchair- and stroller-accessible Tsalmon Stream Promenade.

Be you an athlete or a couch potato, a history buff or a casual day hiker, you'll likely enjoy exploring the trail. So lace up your sneakers and get a-walking.

The Kinneret is one of Israel's national natural treasures, and now you can hike nearby.Credit: Moshe Gilad