Although only one-third of the 21-acre Mount Carmel National Park is a nature reserve, the entire park is dedicated to nature conservation, and specifically to maintaining the Mediterranean habitats of Israel.
The mountainous Carmel ridge, with summits more than 500 meters above sea level, is a fine place to study both nature and history. This area has fascinating remnants from prehistoric settlements. Over 250 sites inhabited by prehistoric human beings have been identified in the Carmel area, dating back 500 thousand years, to the time prehistoric human beings are known to have inhabited this area. An unusually significant finding was that during the Mousterian period (100 thousand years ago), this area was inhabited by two groups with very different physical characteristics.
There are beautiful groves on the slopes above Kibbutz Yagur, near Nahal Kelah (known as Little Switzerland), and in Keren Hacarmel. As a rule, the thicket that grows under the kermes oaks is so tangled that people cannot walk between the trees, but the park staff has blazed some trails, most of which are signposted.
This area is magnificent in the spring when anemone, cyclamen, orchis, and a host of other flowers bloom on the ground that is exposed to the sun, i.e. outside the scrub forest. Madonna lily, a flower seldom seen in Israel, blooms in Little Switzerland in May.
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