Inaugurated in 1995, the Israel National Trail (INT) is a 680 mile (1,100 km) trail that crosses the entire country of Israel from North to South, passing a variety of natural and human landscapes, exposing hikers to Israel's many eco-systems and habitats.
In 2012, National Geographic named the INT one of the "holy grails of hikes." Its place among the top 20 epic hikes in the world has earned the INT great notoriety in the international community.
The trail is marked with three stripes (white, blue, and orange) - The white stands for the snowy Hermon Mountain in the north and the orange symbolizes the desert in the south. So usually, when you are walking south to north, the white strip is on top, and vice versa - and takes an average of 50 days to complete. It does not enter the Golan Heights or the West Bank.
According to statistics, only 4 out of 10 hikers complete the entire trail in one go, therfore the planners divided the trail into smaller sections that can be hiked separately. Some sections can be completed in day trips or over the weekend.
The southern section of the trail passes through many isolated desert areas, in which there are no cities or infrastructure. hikers can plant supplies of food and water at designated points on the trail before beginning the hike or order for the supplies to be delivered at a nominal cost.
Also, hikers can seek help from Trail Angels - people that live on the trail or next to it and offer hikers a place to stay. For example, at Kibbutz Yagur, a soldier leaves the key to her room for hikers who need a place to sleep and a farmer in Hadera forest offers sleeping quarters in exchange for a day's work.
You can easily combine a day's hike with an overnight in lodging nearby. So if you're hiking the shvil along the beach in central Israel, take a break at a vacation rental in Herzliya. If you're up north doing the section near Meiron and Nahal Amud, pamper yourself at a holiday home in Safed. Wherever you travel in Israel, be it at the home of a Trail Angel or a zimmer, a place to rest your feet is never far from the trail.
WHEN TO GO:The recommended time to start is either March or October, when the temperatures are mild. Hikers planning to embark on the entire journey should prepare for a two-month hike, depending on their fitness level. One can choose whether to carry several days of supplies or to stock up in villages along the trail every day or two.
The best hiking seasons in Israel are in the spring between March and May, and in the autumn between October and December. It is possible to walk some parts of the trail during the mild winters of Israel, but be careful. The mountain regions of Israel (up north) get cold and even snowy. In the southern Negev deserts, floods caused by winter rains are unpredictable and dangerous.
During the fall, most hikers begin in the north to avoid the wet season in the mountains. In the spring, you may prefer to walk from south to north to avoid the extreme heat of the desert as the days get longer.
the trail's mark - white, blue, and orange
Articles & PostsHiking the Israel National Trail on Ynet English news is a great place to start, giving some general information.
This Facebook Group of "Shvilist" website include updates on trail angels, trail changes and so on.
It is also a great place to find an israeli companion for the hike, as a lot of israelies post in this group looking for partners.
BooksIsrael National Trail - Third Edition (2016) (Hike the Land of Israel) (Aff link) -
If you are planning to hike the INT, we recommend that you look at this book. We don't usually recommend products, but as we cannot show maps on this website (due to copyrights) and the general lack of English resources - this book is the best investment you can make.
The guide includes 55 topographical maps (1:50,000), 7 road maps (1:250,000), and description and maps (1:15,000) of the Jerusalem Trail - All you need in order to plan & walk the trail.
All the maps are in English. It contains also a description of the hike in both southbound and northbound directions (northbound from Eilat to Tel Aviv).
On this websitePlease check our Stories Page to read the experiences of other travellers.
Check out Maps Page to find maps and other planning materials.
The Trail Angels Page include information about the trail angels.