Trek of the Month: Park Rabin

by Brian on March 9, 2011

in Travel

Jody and Aviv outside of Park Rabin

This month’s recommendation for a great hike in Israel is the lovely Park Rabin area, just outside of Beit Shemesh. It was also Aviv’s tiyul #11 of his 12 pre-bar mitzvah hikes in Israel – you can read his blog about it here.

The Park Rabin tiyul kicks off along the western segment of the famous Burma Road, the surreptitious back route to Jerusalem, built in 1948 to slip past the Jordanian blockade of Israel’s then nascent capital.

The western Burma Road is a popular biking path and there is a cycle rental place and parking lot just off Highway 38 (before the Paz gas station if you’re coming from Route 1). You can also buy a medley of potted plants and garden furniture or cool off with a gooey chocolate ice cream bar from the well-appointed snack bar. There are even a couple of showers – great after a strenuous ride, run or hike.

Since the Burma Road is, as its name implies, an actual “road,” the path is not as narrow and rocky as die-hard trekkers might prefer, but the scenery more than makes up for it. There are majestic pine trees, vineyards, agricultural fields and a host of small playgrounds with swings and slides. There’s also a pretty little picnic area mid-way through, just right for your tiyul-standard peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Every once in a while, a jeep or dune buggy may come rattling by, stirring up dirt and gravel. Surprisingly, though, most of the two-wheelers head off on another, perhaps less well marked, path (for those who are following along with their Israel Trail Map #9, you take the red trail to the green trail and back via the black trail).

The whole tiyul takes about 4 hours with breaks. It is mostly flat with a few short ups and downs; suitable for a family. It’s a loop trail, meaning you can do it with just a single car – no need to park one car at the beginning and the other at the end of the route. Also, as it’s near Beit Shemesh, you can arrive by a regular bus or shared taxi.

(You can also hike the Burma Road’s eastern route – a steep ascent with a spectacular view towards Jerusalem from the same parking lot up to Beit Meir. More on that here on the Israelity blog, and also on Aviv’s blog.)

This post appeared a few weeks ago on Israelity when it was bright and sunny. A storm is brewing today, so you might want to avoid the great outdoors at least for a couple of days!

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