The waterfalls of Ayun Stream Nature Reserve
This family-friendly hike is along a gorge for the Ayun Stream north of Kiryat Shmona and by the Lebanese border. 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 this 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 wading pools for kids, one of which is shaded, by the Lower Parking Lot.
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, there are a lot of steps at the beginning if you decide to ascend from the Lower to the Upper Parking Lot. 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.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE HIKE:
If you have two cars this one-way hike is not a problem. You start at the Upper Parking Lot and hike down. However, most people do not come with two cars. 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. However, it only operates at peak times. You can call in advance to find out if it is functioning. Another solution, start at the Upper Parking Lot and be extremely friendly to everyone on the way down in the hope that someone will give you a ride back. Or hitch a ride or call a taxi by Gett. And the final 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 given above. Another alternative is to 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).