Entering the Tel Dan Reserve is like stepping into a wonderland: scores of bubbling brooks feed into a running river and tall treetops reach for the sky, their leaves and branches keeping the ground shady and refreshingly cool, even at noon on a hot summer`s day.
Of the three sources of the Jordan River, the Dan River is the largest and most important. It is fed by the snow and rain which fall on Mount Hermon, the tallest mountain in Israel. The water seeps into the mountain, branching off into hundreds of springs by the time it reaches the foot. Together these form the largest karstic spring in the Middle East.
Although the Tel Dan Nature Reserve is only 120 acres large, it offers four vastly different hiking trails, parts of which are wheelchair accessible. One meanders around the rivulets and on the river bank, under a canopy of laurel, alaternus, and Syrian ash trees. Because of the abundant water here, the Syrian ash can grow up to 20 meters tall.
The trail from the water-powered flour mill (in operation until 1948) leads to the remnants of the Canaanite city of Laish, which was captured by the Tribe of Dan during the Judges period. Some fascinating finds are on display here, including a ritual site attributed to the days of Jeroboam. On the hilltop is a reconstructed Israelite-period city gate and the archway of the Canaanite gate, perhaps the earliest arch ever discovered.
A stop at Beit Ussishkin, the regional nature and archeology museum, perfectly complements your visit to Tel Dan. On display at Beit Ussishkin are the flora and fauna characteristic of the Hula Valley area, from before the swamp was drained in 1951 to this day.
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Restaurant, Place for barbecue