River Jordan for hiking, canoeing and swimming
This is a short, family, circular walk on a concrete path along the Jordan River and through agricultural land. The scenery along the river close to its southern exit from Lake Kinneret is exotically tropical. There are “beach” areas for swimming and also camping by the side of the river. You pass by Rob Roy which offers 1½-hour canoe rides. It is also possible to hike further along the river.
Time: About 1 hour.
Distance: Just under 3 Km.
Type of hike: Circular.
Difficulty: Easy walk along a concrete and then gravel path.
Directions: Enter “Yardenit” into Waze and park in their parking lot, or by the side of the main road by Yardenit if you have no intention of visiting it.
From the parking lot, take the tiled path in the direction away from Lake Kinneret. After a very short distance take the first left onto a broad gravel path.
You will pass Rob Roy. It has canoe rentals and a kiosk selling cold drinks. It is laid out with features of Red Indians, including a wigwam.
Continue on the concrete path by the side of the river. This is also a schvil Yisrael trail. There are portable WC’s along the way. There are a number of "beaches" from where you can conveniently take a swim. Where the concrete path forks at the beginning of the trail is a nice area. If this is too crowded, try by the second bridge. Foot ware is helpful for getting into the water, but not essential. Once you are in the water, no foot ware is needed. The water is deep in the middle of the river. The water is at a very pleasant temperature in the middle of the summer.
Continue along the concrete path until you come to a pumping station and take the path on the right through agricultural land. This path will lead you back to Rob Roy. The time and distance given are for this circular walk.
(Alternatively, you can continue along the path along the river. From the pumping station onwards the scenery is wilder and less exotic. At any time turn around and return the way you came.)
Rob Roy offers canoe rides that go southwards along the Jordan River to a dam. There and back takes about 1½ hours. A canoe for a couple is 150 ns, and for 2 canoes attached together holding 4 people with at least one occupant being less than 12 years old 220 nis. A larger group can also be accommodated. They also offer other activities. This is their website. Their phone number is 052 241-3176.
Note that this hike starts from the same general area as the hike Nature walk in Kibbutz Kinneret and Kinneret Cemetery. Both are nice hikes - so why not do both?
A convenient area for swimming.
OTHER NEARBY ATTRACTIONS
Galita Chocolate Farm is located near the entrance to Kibbutz Degania Beit. You can buy their chocolate products, the kids (and adults) can participate in a workshop making their own delicious creations, and also engage in an adventure in the Chocolate Garden. There is movie on the preparation of chocolate. Enter “Galita Chocolate Farm” into Waze and click on “Galita Chocolate Farm, 10, Degania Bet.” The cost is 99 nis per participant. The workshop needs to be booked in advance and this can be done through their website. The chocolate farm in Degania is open on Saturdays and holidays and therefore does not have a kashrut certificate. However, all the products and raw materials are Kosher Lemehadrin Halav Israel. Their phone number is 072 392-2340 and this is their website.
Yardenit Jordan River Baptismal Site is an alternative baptismal site to El Yehud, which is close to Jericho. It contains 12 baptismal pools, a riverside promenade, gift shop, restaurant, WC’s and showers. Entry is free. White robes can be rented or purchased. Enter into Waze “Yardenit Baptismal Site.” Their phone number is 04 675-9111. This is their Website.
The Museum in the Pioneers Courtyard at Degania Alef. The first kibbutz in Israel was formed in Degania Alef by settlers of the nearby moshava of Kinneret, except no one knew then what a kibbutz was. This museum tells the story of how it happened. The museum is open from 9.00 to 4.00 pm and there is no charge. There is a small charge to watch the movie. However, all the explanations are in Hebrew and there is probably a limited amount one can glean without a guide. A 1½-hour guided tour is offered for groups for a charge, and can be in English. This guided tour shows an authentic pioneer courtyard, a guided tour of the museum, and the movie about Deganya's beginnings. Their phone number is 04-660 8641.
Kinneret Courtyard has been restored and is next to Moshava Kinneret - note that Moshava Kinneret is a different place from Kinneret Kvutsa (also known as Kibbutz Kinneret). It was an agricultural and social laboratory for the Second Aliya (1904-1914) that formulated such ideas as kvutza (e.g. Degania), kibbutz and moshav. Key figures in the Labor Zionist Movement and Second Aliya attended its seminars. It has a permanent exhibit and tours (in Hebrew). Call 04-670 9117 for times.Click here for its English website.