Jordan River

The Jordan River flows through the Jordan Rift Valley into the Dead Sea. The river forms the boundary between Jordan and the West Bank. The Jordan River has significant religous references in the Bible as a source of fertility for Israel. It is also the place where Joshua and the tribes of Israel crossed into Jericho, and the scene of many biblical battles. Today, Christian pilgrims can visit the site where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.

Northern Israel is blessed with abundant streams originating in snowmelt. They rush down the slopes of alpine Mount Hermon or seep slowly underground until they reach the Hula Valley. There, the clear water turns the region lush, the streams eventually uniting to form the Jordan and flowing into the Sea of Galilee. The three largest tributaries of the Jordan are the Dan with the most powerful flow, the Banias (the Hermon) that emerges right at the foot of Mount Hermon, and the Hatzbani (the Snir), which is the longest of the three.

The streams cut through a variety of landscapes, from placid reed-lined banks where you can glide along by canoe or kayak, smooth enough for families with young children to enjoy, to wilder, white-water rafting through basalt canyons.

Along the stream-banks you can see egrets airing out their wings in the willows and brambles after a fishing expedition, glimpse flashes of teal-colored king-fishers or the occasional Egyptian mongoose or porcupine. You might even catch a family of wild boars rooting around on the banks.

Hiking routes abound along all of the sources of the Jordan – the loop trails along the Banias and the Dan streams also take in fascinating antiquities.

Spend at few nights at one of the region’s charming bed-and-breakfasts, each day enjoying a different trail and another stream and varied landscape by car, bicycle, on foot or horseback. Rangers at national park sites are happy to provide information and maps.

– The Israel Ministry of Tourism