This is a beautiful family hike to the Meshushim Waterfall and Hexagon Pool of the Meshushim Stream. This part of the Yehudiya Nature Reserve is accessed from Route 888, as distinct from the Zavitan Stream, which is also in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve and accessed from Route 87. The Hexagon Pool is so called because of the hexagon formations of the basalt rock. Informative signs along the path describe the flora, animal life and geology of this area.
Time: About 1 hour total. But allow extra time if you intend swimming.
Distance: 2 km total.
Type of hike: Same way there and back.
Difficulty: The path is an easy one. However, the path is on an incline down to the stream and there are 400 rock steps each way (so the rangers say). Adults may find two walking sticks helpful to assure balance, as some of the steps are 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 is a few kilometers from route 888 via an access road. There is a park store and WCs by the parking area.
Admission: This is a site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Summer hours are 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. A brochure is also available in English. Their telephone number is 04 628-0238. Click here for their website.
Public transport: There is no close public transport.
The hexagons of the Meshushim Pool and surrounding flora
The Meshushim Stream is the longest stream in the Golan Heights. It starts from springs at the foot of Mount Avital and flows 35 Km to Lake Kinneret. Its tributaries are the Katzrin Stream and Zavitan Stream. It contains water all year round. Because there are no reservoirs in its path, the amount of water flowing into Lake Kinneret 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 columns have been exposed at the Hexagon Pool by erosion. If you look carefully at the columns, 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. It is widespread throughout the Golan, and there are other examples even in this reserve.
Over the centuries, the forests in Israel became depleted of much of their trees. During the Ottoman period, for example, many trees in then Palestine were cut down for fuel for trains. This is why the trees in this park are so sparsely scattered, although the forest here is gradually recovering. The main tree found in the Yehudia Reserve is the Mount Tabor Oak. Other trees that can be seen are officinal storex, Christ’s Thorn jujube, and Atlantic pistachio.
A recording on the Lookout Trail mentions an interesting fact about oak trees. Their acorns are large and heavy and therefore fall close to the oak tree. However, they are taken away by rodents. They do not eat the seeds but take them to their lairs, which happens to be an ideal place for germination.
A standard route includes the circular Lookout Trail, which takes about 10 minutes, and then the Pool Trail. Add the Dolmen Trail for an additional 20 minutes or so, especially if you have not seen dolmens before. Follow the signs to the Lookout Trail. There are two lookouts adjacent to each other.
Then follow the sign to the Meshushim 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 return is by the way you came.
Experienced hikers can consider the blue-marked Stream Trail, which is a circular hike to the Meshushim Pool. It is slightly longer than the Pool Trail described above and involves a descent on a 3-meter cliff using handholds and footholds in the rock. It crosses the stream twice, although on regular bridges.