Type of Hike:
Kinneret, Sea of Galilee, GolanEasy
Moderate (swimming necessary)
Fall, Spring, Summer
Water hike for families – kids 6+
Early morning start recommended – to be completed before sundown.
Popular with families with small children this 3 hour walk inside the Zaki river with cool refreshing water is a great day trip for those visiting or staying in the north. The ideal time for this hike is in the hot summer months.
The entrance to the hike is at the north end of the Kinneret. If you are coming from route 92 (east side of the Kinneret) then you will be turning left exactly opposite Ma’aleh Gamla junction (the turning to route 869 that heads up to the Golan to your right). If you are coming along route 87 (west side of the Kinneret) then you will need to turn right at the Yehudiya junction on to route 92 and then turn right opposite the Ma’ale Gamla junction to the Bet Zayda Valley (see pic above).
Keep following the green marker to the Zaki trail. At one point the road splits and bends to the left towards the lake (there will be no sign), don’t follow this route but carry straight ahead on until you reach the end of the road. (See pic below).
If your group arrives in one car then park here and head towards the stream on foot. Start the hike here, and then just walk along the river bed for 3-4 hours.
If you arrive in more than one car I recommend leaving one vehicle at the end of the trail (a 5 min drive). When you finish the hike you will save yourself a fifteen minute walk back to the car.
So when everybody in your party is ready, start walking up the stream. You will be protected from the sun most of the time by a canopy of brush overhead. I recently went on this hike in July 2011 and was pleasantly surprised to see that the park rangers had trimmed back the trees and brush to make it easier to walk.
Israelis love the water, and the Zaki trail is no exception. The hike takes you through water throughout the trail, mostly up to your knees, but with several deep pools along the way. You will be walking on smooth rocks of all sizes, just watch your step as some are extremely slippery.
The hardest part of this hike is staying on your feet – so much so that we hold family competitions for the person to slip the most. The winner serves the rest for our picnic 🙂
Take your time and enjoy this hike stopping for breaks under the shaded trees while sitting in the cold water.
Zaki Trail – Our Tips and Recommendations
- Wear sturdy closed-in shoes and not water sandals. Your feet will get a constant battering from the rocks in the stream so protect them well.
- At least one person in your party should have a water proof container for storing the car key. (As you can see I took along a camera that was stored in a water tight pouch as well)
- Carry with you the recommended water supply of 2 liters or half a gallon per person (do not drink from the stream!), as well as a snack in a closed plastic bag. Always wear a hat and apply sunscreen every couple of hours.
- If you have children who can’t swim, remember to bring inflatable arm bands or an inflatable boat or tube to help them across the deeper pools. At some points even adults will not be able to stand due to the depth of the pool.
- If three hours or more is too much (depending on your group) there are several points along the trail that you can climb out onto the road and head back to your car.
- Bring a second set of dry clothes and shoes to change into when you get back to the car.
The End of the Trail
At the end of the Zaki trail you’ll find a lovely Eucalyptus grove. I recommend that you drive the car(s) back to the grove and set up a relaxing picnic under the trees. There are no picnic tables or benches so be prepared with a table cloth and folding chars.
An alternative hike and considered a little easier (more touristy) is the Majrasa Trail running parallel to the Zaki. For this trail follow the blue signs.
Book your Zaki Trail with a Private Guide