Hiking the Holy Land
Tourists visit Jerusalem for many different reasons. Some visit with a desire to connect to their heritage, some to experience their religion on a deeper level and to walk where their ancient spiritual leaders walked, and some to gain a deeper understanding of the history of a city whose impact on history is unparalleled. Regardless of your reason, there’s a good chance you’ll feel overwhelmed by all there is to experience.
Maybe you only have a weekend in Jerusalem; maybe you’re trying to cram meaningful experiences between business conferences and plane flights. If you feel like this describes you, this article provides a few short hikes that you can fit in between meetings and layovers. With these hikes you’ll be able to explore the sights and experience some of Jerusalem’s unique heritage and history—and stretch your legs a bit after a long afternoon at the conference table!
- Jerusalem Tombs City Walk (approx. 2 hours) A loop that ends where it begins, your first and final steps will be at the Tombs of the Kings site. You’ll get to see many small and local points of interest throughout the Old City and get some nice views of the natural beauty of Israel. Or maybe you’re more excited to appreciate the beauty of the ancient graves and tombs that dot certain portions of this trail. Either way, this trail has a lot to offer someone—on a time crunch or otherwise.
- Hezekiah’s Tunnel (approx. 20 minutes) If you’re fine with a paying an entrance fee, Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a short walk through a long history. The tunnel is one of ancient Jerusalem’s most impressive and popular feats of engineering, and crossing it off from your list is more than worth finding the time for. And with how little time it takes to complete, the time commitment during a busy day is negligible.
- Yad Veshem and the Jerusalem Forest (approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes) If you don’t mind breaking a bit of a sweat, you can check out this trail. It’s a popular hike, so be prepared to encounter other like-minded locals and tourists as you make your way around this loop through the Jerusalem Forest. Located near the Yad Veshem Holocaust museum, you can visit an educational site in addition to taking a beautiful hike.
- The Lower Wadi Qelt to the Monastery of St. George (approx. 40 minutes) An out-and-back trail with multiple points of entry and exit, this particular hike is one mile long. Probably the most challenging route on this list, it takes you down a decline into the base of a stream. Along the way you’ll get a scenic look at St. George’s Monastery and the opportunity to tour the location. That said, make sure to double-check the hours; the monastery is still in use and the monks can’t take visitors all day every day!
Hopefully these hikes can keep you entertained and give you something to look forward to on what might otherwise be a trip dominated by gray rooms and long, brown tables.