Most visitors to Emeq Hama’ayanot are familiar with Gan Hashlosha (the Sachne), but there is another jewel right next door - Park Hama'ayanot. This park is at the foot of the Gilboa Mountain range and contains numerous springs and a network of paths. There is no admission charge. Family activities include swimming in the pools and two river hikes. You can also rent a golf cart for 4 or 8 people or a bicycle for the 15 Km of paths that wind between the agricultural land. A water-hike, short family hike and swimming area are described.
ADMISSION DETAILS ABOUT PARK HAMAYA'ANOT
Directions: Enter "Park Hama'ayonot" into Waze and click on “ כביש פארק המעיינות 669". At the traffic circle before the entrance to Gan Hashlosha turn right and continue to the large parking lot.
Admission: The park is open from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and the Visitor Center closes then. However, the park is never entirely closed and there is an exit to the parking area just before the gate. There is no admission charge. The Visitor Center is run by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. You can request a brochure in English. It contains a map which is helpful for exploring the activities here. The Visitor Center sells snack foods and drinks, and rentals for golf carts and bicycles are available from here. It also has WCs and lockers. There are no WCs or changing facilities elsewhere in the park.
Public transport: There are frequent buses between Afula and Beit Shean which stop at the intersection for Gan Hashlosha. From here it is a 1.0-Km/12-minute walk to the park entrance.
Where does all the water in Park Hama'ayanot come from?
This park is in Emeq Hamaya’anot, which contains many springs. There is not a lot of rainfall falls here, but there is plenty of rainfall in the Samarian Mountains. Water seeps through the rocks in these mountains and is released as springs from an aquifer at the foot of the Gilboa Mountain Range. The temperature of the water in the springs and streams is a constant 18 to 20 degrees centigrade, so you are assured of a pleasant swim whatever the season.
Map of the Park of Springs from the park brochure o
Hiking and swimming activities in the park:
RIVER HIKE IN NAHAL HAKIBBUTZIM
This water hike takes about 1½-2 hours from the park entrance gate and back. You will be walking with a gentle current. The depth of the stream is usually a bit above an adult male’s waist, but on occasion almost up to an adult’s neck. This is therefore a mixture of walking and swimming. The stream bed is fairly smooth. There are some escape areas through the reeds and onto the adjacent path. At the end of the river walk is an optional deeper area suitable for adult swimming. The return is on a paved path.
You will need foot ware suitable for both the stream and walking back on the paved road. You can change in the WCs in the Visitor Center. You can leave your clothes at the starting point of the stream (without any valuables!), but it’s safer to leave them in your car. You will need to somehow deal with your car key, although you can leave them with some clothes at the start of the river walk and hope for the best. Most people enter the water with clothing rather than swimming attire, but there are no rules about this.
There are dense reeds on both sides of the stream. However, there are a few open areas that can be used for picnicking, but they will probably be occupied unless you arrive early in the day.
From the park entrance, continue straight ahead and very shortly you will come to a pumping station. Just after this is an open area on your left where you can step into the water.
Eventually, you will come to a bridge with a short water slide that leads to a large pool area with deeper water. You can leave the pool by climbing up the rock stairs immediately to your right after the slide.
To return, turn to your right onto the paved path and this will lead you past the chicken coups to the park gates and parking lot.
CIRCULAR HIKE TO EIN SHOKEK, WITH WATER HIKE ALONG NAHAL SHOKEK AND A VISIT TO TEL SHUKA
The pool at Ein Shokek. The water is at a wonderful 18 to 20 degrees C whatever the season.
This water-hike is more suitable for children than the above water-hike since the depth of the water is only just above an adult’s ankle (about 30 cm) and the hike ends in a 60 cm-deep wading pool. There is therefore no need to change one’s clothing. A wise precaution, though, is to prepare your possessions (wallet, phone) in case you slip. A tip to prevent slipping is to hold onto someone’s hand throughout the water-hike, especially as there are a few small waterfalls. As with the other water-hike, you will need footwear appropriate for water and dry land or a change of footwear. After coming out of the water, you either turn back or continue on a 1½-hour/just over 4¼ Km circular hike.
Just after the park entrance gate, take the path to the right to Ein Shokek as indicated by the sign. It is about a 15-minute walk to the spring. There is a very nice pool at Ein Shokek with the water depth up to 100 meter or about an adult male’s waist. The descent to the river hike in Nahal Shokek is shortly after this. Total time in the river is about 20 minutes. You will come out of the water just before the Flour Mill Pool where you may wish to swim.
To continue on the circular walk, walk along the road by the stream. When you come to Tel Shuka you may wish to climb up to the top for the view. The intersection of the paths before the tel is a bit confusing. There is a footpath to the top and a concrete path a bit further along.
On top of the tel is a three-story watchtower constructed by neighboring Kibbutz Nir David after three kibbutz members were murdered. The tel has not been excavated.
Return to the park entrance via the road adjacent to Nahal HaKibbutzim.
SWIMMING AND PICNICKING IN EIN MUDA
This is a nice pool for swimming and picnicking. There are many shaded picnic benches around the pool. The pool is OK for adult swimming at a depth up to about 1/3 of an adult male chest. No foot ware is needed. There are rock steps for entering and exiting the pool, although their location is not obvious. Note that this site can get quite crowded on holidays and weekends.
Although in Park Hama’ayanot, this site is quite a distance from the main entrance and access is by a golf cart or by car from a road off Route 669. Directions: enter "Ein Muda" into Waze and click on "Parking Ein Muda (Spring)”. From the parking area to the pool is a walk of 0.65 Km/10 minutes.