Ayun Stream Nature Reserve and its gorgeous waterfalls

This family-friendly hike located north of Kiryat Shmona and by the Lebanese border is along the gorge of the Ayun Stream. The 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. This is a one-way hike and how to get back to one’s car needs to be thought out in advance. There are several options. There are wading pools for kids by the Lower Parking Lot, one of which is shaded,

THE HIKE

Time: About 2½ hours there and back.

Distance: About 6 Km there and back.

Type of hike: One-way.

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 WC’s but no other amenities.

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. Closes in the winter 1 hour earlier.  Adults 28 nis, child 14 nis, senior 14 nis. Their telephone number is 04-695 1519. This is their website.

Tanur waterfall at Iyon.jpeg

The Tanur Waterfall.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE HIKE:

If you have two cars this one-way hike is no problem. Obviously, you start at the Upper Parking Lot and hike down. But most people do not come with two cars. However, at peak times there is a shuttle. This means that you can park in the Lower Parking Lot and the bus will take you to the Upper Parking Lot. The cost is 10 nis. You can call in advance to find out if the bus is functioning. 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. And the last but on solution - hike up and down. It’s not difficult or that long, and the hike down is an easy one. The time and distance are those given above. And 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 and hike down to the Iyon and Tahana waterfalls and then back up.

Tahana Waterfall.jpeg

The Tahana Waterfall

Ascending path at Iyon.jpeg

The final or initial section of the hike. It looks far more daunting in this picture than it actually is.