Mount Gilboa

Great views and hikes, stunning seasonal blooming, and captivating history, in the beautiful Mount Gilboa, one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Israel.
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Mount Gilboa: great views over Jezreel Valley.

As the southern border of the Jezreel Valley, going up on Mount Gilboa will provide you with great views all around. On clear days, you can see some of the most magnificent views of Israel from here. Those, in addition to beautiful blooming in the spring and an abundance of natural springs, make Mt Gilboa a truly unique natural attraction.

Located at the Northeastern corner of the Samaria Region, and overlooking the Jezreel Valley, the Jordan Rift Valley and Beit She’an, Mount Gilboa is one of the most beautiful and popular mountains in Israel. Featuring beautiful landscapes, numerous springs, and unique flowers, it is definitely one of the best places to visit for nature lovers.

The Story of Mount Gilboa: Geology, history, Flora and Fauna

The Gilboa ridge consists of 11 peaks, the highest of which is Malkishua Peak (536 meters/1758 feet). The natural features of Mount Gilboa are hard limestone rock with cliffs and abundant and diverse vegetation. The main rocks that make up the mountain, beyond limestone, are dolomite, chalk, flint, and basalt. In addition, More than ten springs flow from the ridge, with the most abundant of which being at the foot of the mountain, in the region known as the “Valley of Springs”.

Mount Gilboa’s unique Middle Eastern vegetation includes hundreds of species of plants that create spectacular flower meadows during the blooming season in spring. Among the various species, there are anemones, bulbs, mountain tulips, and poppies. The most unique of them is the Gilboa Iris that blooms at the end of March and the beginning of April. The Gilboa iris is considered to be an endemic species, growing only in Mount Gilboa and northern Samaria. It’s also home to diverse wildlife, such as wolves, wild rabbits, turtles, and many kinds of snakes.

Mount Gilboa is also mentioned in the bible, as the site where King Saul had lost his sons and committed suicide, during a battle against the Philistines. The specific site of the story is known as Mount Shaul.

Best viewpoints in Mount Gilboa

Mount Shaul is the most popular observation point in Gilboa, and probably also the most beautiful of them all. The summit of Mount Shaul stands out a little from the rest of the Gilboa Ridge, providing visitors with a spectacular view of the Gilboa Ridge itself, Jezreel Valley, the Lower Galilee, and the surrounding area.

In the observation area, there are dining tables and a large picnic area in front of the view.
Near the benches, you will also find an accessible and short path that goes along the observation deck with quotes that tell the story of King Saul’s war with the Philistines.

Mount Barkan

A spectacular 360-degree observation point on Mount Gilboa, the valleys, and the surrounding area.
From the Mount Barkan parking lot,

Walk along the accessible path for about 200 meters until you reach the observation deck. On one side of the lookout, you can see the village of Faqqua and the settlements in the northern West Bank, and from the other side of the lookout, you can see Jezreel Valley and the Jordan Rift Valley.

If you want to do a short walk here, there is an easy circular red-marked path of 800 meters here, which will provide you with even more viewpoints of the magnificent surroundings. The route is short and also suitable for children. Around the parking lot, there are several shaded picnic tables, so you can combine a short walk with a nice picnic in nature.

Dovi and Eran Shamir Lookout

Adjacent to the turbine farms on the Gilboa, at an altitude of 425 meters/1395 feet, is the Dovi and Eran Shamir Lookout, which overlooks to the east, at the Jordan Rift Valley, the Lower Galilee, and the Gilead Mountains of Jordan.
The observatory was built in memory of a father and son who were both killed during their military service, about 20 years apart.

Best hikes in Mount Gilboa

Nahal Itzpor (Itzpor River)

Nahal Itzpor is one of the shortest and most beautiful river channels that descend from the summit of the Gilboa into the Beit Shan Valley. If you come to Mount Gilboa in the spring, you will be able to walk here among many stunning flowers. But even if you don’t come in the spring, you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, the small but challenging waterfalls, and the impressive cliffs.

The route starts at the Yitzpor parking lot and commences with a red-marked path. Already at the beginning, you will have to start going down the rocky stairs of the waterfalls on the way. Later on, you will also pass through a small and pleasant pine grove and carob trees, which will provide you with shady spots along the way. At some point, you’ll get an impressive view towards the valleys at the foot of Gilboa.
The length of the route out and back is about 4 kilometers and the duration of walking it is between three to four hours. The difficulty level is easy to medium.

Ha’emek Hane’elam (the Vanishing Valley)

If you are looking for a particularly challenging route, then the route of the Vanishing Valley is perfect for you. The route descends from the top of the Gilboa in a steep and challenging gorge, full of impressive seasonal blossoms and stories from the past.
This route starts at the Mount Barkan parking lot.

In a short time, you will reach Ein HaSamal, where there used to be a spring, which has been dried over the years. In this place, you will find a memorial, built in memory of Moshe Rosenfeld, who is considered to be the first Jewish soldier to be killed during the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. Later on, you will also reach an impressive observation point, from where you can enjoy an amazing view of the cliffs of Mount Gilboa. From there, continue your way towards the ravine of the Vanishing Valley and continue down until your endpoint at the Old Tel Yosef.
The length of the one-way route is about 4 kilometers and the duration of the walk is between three and four hours in each direction.

Opening hours

Mount Gilboa is open at all times.

Parking and transportation

There are parking spaces near every viewpoint and attraction on Mount Gilboa. Parking is usually not hard to come by, especially during weekdays.

Accessibility arrangements

  • The viewpoint on Mount Gilboa are wheelchair-accessible.

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