The Meshushim Pool is part of the Meshushim Stream in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve and is accessed from route 888. (The Zavitan Stream is also in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve and this part of the Reserve is accessed from route 87). This is a beautiful there and back family hike along the same path. Be aware, though, that there are 400 rock steps down to the stream and obviously 400 steps up. The Meshushim Pool is called this because of the hexagon formations of the basalt rock. Helpful signs indicate the flora, animal life and geology of the park.
Time: About 1 hour there and back. Allow extra time if you intend swimming.
Distance: 2 km there and back.
Type of hike: One-way.
Difficulty: The path is an easy one. However, the path is on an incline down to the stream and contains 400 rock steps (so the rangers say). If you are not young and agile, two walking sticks can be helpful to assure balance as some of the steps are a bit deeper than regular steps.
Starting Point: Start from the main parking area for the reserve.
Directions: Enter “Meshushim” into Waze and click on “Nahal Meshushim Nature Reserve.” The park entry is a few kilometers along an access road from route 888. There is a park store and WC’s by the parking area.
Admission: Summer hours: Sunday to Thursday and Saturday: 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Friday and holiday eves: 8.00 am to 4.00 pm. During the winter the park closes 1 hour earlier. Visitors may enter the pool trail up to two hours before closing time. The reserve entrance closes one hour prior to the marked closing time. Request a brochure, which is also available in English. Their telephone number is 04 628-0238. This is their website.
The Meshushim Stream, its pool of hexagons, and the surrounding flora
The Meshushim Stream is the longest stream in the Golan Heights. Its springs start from the foot of Mount Avital and it flows 35 Km to the Sea of Galilee. Its tributaries are the Katzrin Stream and Zavitan Stream. It contains water all year round, and because there are no reservoirs in its path the amount of water flowing into the Sea of Galilee during the winter can be considerable.
The surface rock of the Golan Heights is basalt, which is a volcanic rock. When flowing magna cools, it does so as hexagonal columns. These have been exposed at the Hexagon Pool by erosion. If you look carefully at the colums you will see that they are slightly bent. This is because of different rates of cooling of the outside and inside of the column. The direction of the bend indicates the direction of the larva flow before it hardened. This is, of course, not the only place in the Golan Heights where one can see this type of rock formation, and this includes elsewhere in this park.
The main tree found in the Yehudia Reserve is the Mount Tabor Oak. Over the centuries, the forests in Israel became depleted of much of their trees, which is why the trees in this park are so sparsely scattered. During the Ottoman period, many trees in then Palestine were cut down to provide fuel for trains. Nevertheless, the forest is now gradually recovering. Other trees that can be seen in this reserve and other Israeli forests are officinal storex, Christ’s Thorn jujube, and Atlantic pistachio.
A recording on the Lookout Trail mentions an interesting fact. Acorns are large and heavy and therefore do not fall far from the Oak tree. They are taken away by rodents, but they do not eat the seeds and these remain in their lair. This becomes an ideal place for their germination.
A standard route includes first the circular Lookout Trail, which takes about 10 minutes, followed by the Pool Trail. It is also possible to add the Dolmen Trail for an additional 20 minutes or so, especially if you have not seen dolmens previously.
For the standard route, follow the signs to the Lookout Trail. There are two lookouts adjacent to each other. Then follow the sign to the pool. The Pool Trail is initially blue-marked, although it becomes red-marked at the first intersection and continues red-marked to the pool. The way back is the way you came.
If you are an experienced hiker, there is the Stream Trail which is a circular hike to the pool and which is slightly longer than the Pool Trail described above. It is a blue-marked trail. Note, however, that it involves a descent on a 3-meter cliff using handholds and footholds. It crosses the stream twice but on regular bridges.