Black falls and White falls

 Nahal Elal

The beautiful trail of Elal route offers a visit in the nature reserve of Nahal Elal (Elal stream), a perennial stream, which is famous because of two waterfalls that carved through the local basalt stone. The colour of the basaltic Golan Heights is black, and this is indeed the colour of the first waterfall. In spite of all this, the water had powerfully penetrated in some places and uncovered the white chalkstone layer below the basalt, which became the dominant colour of the second waterfall – the White Waterfall. Each of the waterfalls pours its water to a lovely pool and hikers can wade of swim in them.

Alternative trails:

1.       The northern part of the stream – A short trail starting from Henyon HaMapalim (the waterfall parking) to the HaMapal HaShahor (Black Waterfall) and back (an option for one vehicle). The length of this trail is 1.5 km and it ends in a sharp but short climbing.

 2.       The southern part of the stream – A walking for a moderate length that begins from  the parking next to Kibbutz Eliad, continues to HaMapal HaLavan (White Waterfall) and returns back (an option for one vehicle). A 3-km trail, which ends in a moderate but long ascent.

 3.       The entire stream –  the trail which is described in this page that starts from the parking at Avnei Eitan (Henyon HaMapalim – waterfall parking) and leads to the parking next to Kibbutz Eliad , a 4.5-km trail, which ends in a moderate but long ascent. An option which is based on two vehicles.

4.       The entire stream, a circular trail. Combined with an addition of 3km  of an unmade dirt track that follows the eastern bank of the stream. An option which is based only on one vehicle but includes more walking.

Getting there

The trail begins at Henyon HaMapalim  near Avnei Eitan. Continue from Afik Junction on Route 98 to Magshimim until you meet the access road that turns towards Avnei Eitan. Being a religious Moshav, you can enter with your car to the camping and descend to the red-marked trail during weekdays but not on Saturdays and holidays. To access the camping then you can bypass the Moshav through driving on a dirt road that diverts left from the road about 100 m  before the entrance to the Moshav. Drive on this dirt road and follow the arrows which are marked on some tires along the road that eventually leads to the camping. An additional option is to park near the entrance gate and take a longer walk from there by foot.

For those who arrive by two vehicles, it is recommended to leave one at the entrance of the Eliad community, in the eastern part of the encircling road, next to the end of the red-marked trail.

The Trail

The facilities of the parking-lot include cafeteria, water-taps and restrooms. Head from here north on a red-marked trail along the fence of the Moshav Avnei Eitan until the beginning of the descent  to the deep canyon of Elal stream (Arabic: wadi Dafila). Try to prick up your ears, especially at night: you might hear the wild howling of wolves, and other sounds of donkeys, hyenas, foxes, otters, porcupines, mongooses, and hyraxes. All of them are to be found in the nature reserve, and if you like to see them, visit at night. Rumor has it that there is a bear in the area.

Don’t descend to the stream without taking a good look of the view. The sight includes the Hermon Mountain in the north and the Sea of Galilee below. Eliad, the settlement downstream at which the trail ends, is seen too from here. Going downward is not simple, and cautious must be taken. Before reaching the riverbed of the canyon, stop at an orchard that during summer may bear figs, pomegranates, grapes, sabras (cactus opuntia), palms and other fruits. Continue down to the impressive waterbed, ascend to the north bank (the right side) and continue on the trail that winds among the vegetation. Use this opportunity to notice that the stone strata underneath your feet is basalt, a relatively younger stone than the one below it i.e. the chalkstone, which is the common strata that covers most of Israel. During a far geologic period and due to some pressures beneath the shell of the Earth, namely at the Great Rift Valley the Hermon was lifted upward and meanwhile a syncline was created in the Golan Heights. Volcanic pressures triggered an eruption into this syncline and consequently it was filled with lava that flowed from dozens of volcanoes. These volcanic mounds are inactive today and stand in-line over the eastern part of the Golan Heights. 

If you brought with you a flora book you can obviously define some of the local vegetation: the lupin, bugloss, alkanet, Italian honeysuckle and mainly the pink oleander shrubs that embellish each corner (note:  it is poisonous).

Walk for about 15 minutes until you reach a basalt surface from which the 8-meter high waterfall splashes and falls into a natural and beautiful pool – you are now at the HaMapal HaShahor, the Black Waterfall. This pool is enveloped with oriental plane trees, common willows bushes and southern maidenhair ferns, and to go down and swim in it follow carefully the steep footpath. Sure enough, making a stop here for breakfast and for a rest in this beautiful spot are very advisable, but please leave the area clean.      

Return to the trail and make your way on the right bank of the stream. Continue for about 2 kilometers and enjoy the tiny and charming water pools in your way to HaMapal HaLavan, the White Waterfall. The 14-meter high waterfall drains the water of Elal Stream into a big pool. When you arrive there continue down the trail until you meet with a trail splitting. Take the trail that goes downward to the pool. At the end of the steep descent enjoy the beautiful view of the impressive waterfall and the large pool in its bottom. Here the water of the stream had carved through the basalt stone until the white of the chalkstone layer beneath it was revealed. This pool, like the upper one, also invites for swimming and enjoying its cool water.

In the way back pass through the same way you went before, and from there follow the red-marked trail. There is a moderate but long ascent that starts from here and leads after 2km to the bank of the canyon which is located high above its waterbed. Notice that about 1km after the blue-red trail splitting, there is an observation point (8) exactly at the place where the path is curving sharply. It could be nice to stop here for taking a rest and a look at the landscape.

Leave a second vehicle at the end of the trail, near the access road to Kibbutz Eliad.

If you wish you may want to continue south on the exit road toward its junction with the main road. Walk for about 200m  to a dirt road which turns left and returns back after 3km to the parking at Henyon HaMapalim.

Caution: Do not to stray from the dirt road since there are still some mines around.