Ayun Stream Nature Reserve and its gorgeous waterfalls
This family-friendly hike located north of Kiryat Shmona and by the Lebanese border is in a nature reserve in the Ayun Stream gorge. This stream starts in the Ayun Valley in Southern Lebanon and flows to the Hula Valley, a descent of about 150 meters. There are four impressive waterfalls in the nature reserve. The most spectacular is the Tanur Waterfall, which is about 30-meters high. There are also wading pools for kids by the Lower Parking Lot, one of which is shaded. Most visitors treat this as a one-way hike, in which case you will need to think how to get back to your car. Alternatively, you can hike it as a one-way there and back hike as described.
Time: About 2½ hours there and back.
Distance: About 6 Km there and back.
Type of hike: One-way there and back.
Difficulty: The path is very easy. However, if you decide to ascend from the Lower to the Upper Parking Lot there are a lot of steps at the beginning. There are no benches for resting (presumably on the assumption that not too many people go up). There is water by the cemetery. The section from the Lower Parking Lot to the Tanur Waterfall is wheelchair accessible, although there are steps adjacent to the waterfall.
Directions: Enter into Waze “Ayun River Nature Reserve.” This will take you to the Lower Parking Lot. There is a store here that sells hot and cold drinks and snacks. There are shaded picnic areas and WC’s. For the Upper Parking Lot enter into Waze “נחל עיון חניון עליון". The Upper Parking Lot has WCs but no other services.
Admission: This is a site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Summer hours are 8.00 am to 5.00 pm Sunday to Thursday and Saturday, closes Friday at 4.00 pm. The park closes one hour earlier in the winter. There is an admission charge. Their telephone number is 04-695 1519. This is their website.
The Tanur Waterfall.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE HIKE:
If you have two cars, a one-way hike is no problem - you start at the Upper Parking Lot and hike down. But most people do not come with two cars. At peak times there is a shuttle. You can then park in the Lower Parking Lot and the bus will take you to the Upper Parking Lot. There is a small charge for this. Call in advance to enquire if the bus is functioning when you need it. Another solution is to start at the Upper Parking Lot and be extremely friendly to everyone you meet on the way down in the hope that someone will give you a ride back. Alternatively, hitch a ride or call a taxi by Gett. You can also hike up and down. It’s not difficult or that long, and hiking down especially is relatively easy. The time and distance to do this are those given. Finally, do the Short Trail from the Lower Parking Lot to the Tanur Waterfall. This is a ½-hour loop trail that includes the Gafni Lookout. Then go by car to the Upper Parking lot, hike down to the Iyon and Tahana waterfalls, and then return to your car.
The Tahana Waterfall
The final or initial section of the hike. It looks far more daunting in this picture than it actually is.